Digital Marketing Gaps in the Financial Industry Leave Opportunity on the Table

Cecile Baltazar

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

After years of falling behind the “big data” bandwagon, the oil and gas sector is proving just how traditional, dinosaur-esque industries are able to leverage advanced marketing technologies to become dynamic players and outpace the market. But does this hold true for the financial services industry?

According to the latest Digital Banking Report, the financial services industry is lagging behind in modern marketing compared to other industries. Financial marketers have been slow to adopt modern marketing tools like marketing automation, data analytics, data integration, and artificial intelligence (AI). The upside is that financial firms are finally looking to new age marketing talent to embrace these changes. Here’s a look at why this needs to happen.

How is the Lack of Digital Marketing and Other Technologies Impacting Financial Services?

While oil and gas companies adopt business intelligence and data analytics tools that allow them to steam ahead of the competition, financial marketers continue to rely on old methodologies for future success. A lack of digital marketing efforts and analytics is causing banks, credit unions, and asset management companies to miss out on critical opportunities to communicate with consumers, and valuable data has been falling to the wasteside. Surveys suggest that this slow transition has negatively impacted marketing ROI and customer satisfaction in parts of the financial services industry.

How Can Financial Services Companies Gain More Market Share through Modern Marketing Efforts?

#1. Invest in New Technologies and Strategies that Align with Customer Expectations

The state of the financial services industry in the modern marketing world isn’t all bad. National and regional banks have prioritized new customer growth and digital channels in their strategy and the results show through increases in new deposit and loan customers.

Another positive is that the industry shows the desire to change. Financial marketers who were surveyed stated that they want to improve in all the right areas: targeting, personalization, and the measurement of results. Where the challenge lies is in the commitment to these priorities. Only a small percentage of financial organizations allocated 30% or more of their budgets to improving their customer experience. Smaller financial institutions, like community banks and credit unions, are not investing enough in the right tools to achieve these goals. According to the report, many of these financial institutions are still allocating about half of their budget to traditional media rather than investing in online and mobile marketing.

To get the ROI they’re looking for, financial marketers must overhaul and replace antiquated marketing strategies with new product and channel strategies that meet consumer expectations. Priority needs to be placed on procuring customer insight, communication, and analytical tools that provide real-time feedback on customers. Failing to prioritize digital marketing initiatives now may make it more difficult for companies to acquire, grow, and retain a digital consumer base.

#2. Allow Customer Data to Determine Key Priorities

Modern marketing is all about personalized communication. Because customers respond best to communication, experiences, and offers that resonate with their lifestyle, mass marketing is no longer as effective as it used to be. In order to stay on top of what a customer wants, companies need access to real-time data that tells a story about that particular individual at any given time.

The fact is that most financial institutions are already sitting on a wealth of fragmented customer data but don’t know how to make sense of it all. What tools is the financial industry missing? Everything from  CXM platforms, marketing automation systems to advanced data analytics and data integration tools can help companies access and consolidate data that will allow them to relate to customers in a more personal way. This personalized approach has helped companies from various industries acquire new customers while providing contextual recommendations to upsell current customers.

Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions can begin this process by integrating their asset management system with a marketing automation system (MAS). This type of connection would allow an asset management company, for instance, to more efficiently perform lead scoring for firms that would buy into assets. By shifting the focus away from what has worked in the past and more towards gathering and aggregating customer data, financial institutions can establish marketing priorities and media channels that will help them win customers over one-by-one.

Here’s an example of one bank’s customer data before and after implementing data analytics.

With access to in-depth customer data and analytics, financial services companies are able to understand their customers better and deliver a hyper-personalized experience that resonates with that particular individual.

#3. Invest in Marketing Ops Support

According to Adobe’s Industry & Strategy Sector for Financial Services, there are several key factors needed to accelerate digital initiatives:

  • Senior level support with understanding of digital challenges
  • Right organizational structure to respond to customers
  • Good digital marketing technical infrastructure in place
  • Training/knowledge of new digital capabilities
  • Shared data across business units

Most financial service companies are lacking a modern marketing infrastructure to thrive in today’s quantitative, data-driven landscape. While traditional marketing skills, like strategic prowess and creativity, are still valuable, companies today require an operational, metrics-oriented foundation to navigate the virtual marketplace.

With the support of senior management, leveraging an experienced marketing ops team can help financial organizations build a solid modern marketing foundation through metrics, processes, infrastructure, and best practices. The team can also ensure sufficient investment in key marketing priorities that many financial institutions are missing. From a tactical perspective, marketing operations can guide the company to aggregating the right kind of data from different sources across the organization. It will also be responsible for selecting marketing automation and data integration tools that best align with the strategic goals of the company and improve communication with customers.

Learn more about how to integrate your CRM or asset management system with marketing automation systems and other applications by contacting Vertify here.