From lead generation to customer experience

While a few years back lead generation was the base of every single marketing effort, now 81% of financial services firms say that optimizing the customer journey is “very important” to them over the next few years.

According to Adobe’s 2017 Digital Marketing Study, more than a quarter (28%) of all financial institutions rank optimizing the customer experience as the “single most exciting opportunity” in 2018, and one in three say that “making the experience easy, fun and valuable” will be the primary way they seek to differentiate themselves over the next five years.

It is now common understanding that the experience that financial services must deliver need to be as seamless and intuitive as the best e-commerce, ride sharing or food delivery app out there.

According to Chris Young, who leads Adobe’s financial services division, In financial services, brands are no longer competing with each other. They are up against the best-in-breed for digital.”


A Ferrari without a driver

The proportion of financial services companies that viewed themselves as advanced in terms of digital maturity nearly tripled from 7% in 2016 to 19% last year. That’s an enormous improvement, but there’s still much work to do.

Regardless of the advance in AI, automated marketing and other platforms out there, when implementing the strategies financial services seem to be forgetting a key driver: content.

Adobe says financial brands are neglecting the role content plays in the recipe for creating engaging experiences. According to the study, banking providers struggle to see the value and importance of a content marketing strategy versus their peers in other sectors.

The creation and management of content — particularly video content — isn’t something that’s on the radar for the vast majority of financial marketers when compared with those outside of the industry.

And that’s like having the car ready to race… and leaving the driver behind.

Your Client Doesn’t Want you on Facebook

A Survey conducted by Putman Investments found that the majority of financial advisors are gaining new clients through social media and they are active on at least 5 social networks. This helped them report an increase in AUM through digital channels.

But HNW clients are not so sure

However, according to Temenos, almost two thirds (62%) of HNW clients, while now in favor of ‘the digitization of wealth management services’, they  still want to meet often with an advisor. To make it even more complicated, only 17% of HNW clients say technology is now essential. Half of the surveyed clients actually cited cyber risk and hacking as a top concern when using technology.

So what is the right balance? Do you create a social media strategy with the single objective of getting new clients and then grow the relationship by meeting with them in person? This scenario takes the ever increasing wave of robo-advisors for HNW completely out of the equation.

Achieving the right balance between digital and personal communications is definitely the main challenge with HNW and other financial services clients.

The key then is to figure out which types of conversation and interactions the client will be more open to have on a digital format and which ones should still be kept over coffee or drinks.

Which is best?


I have heard it once and again: “We can serve target market A, B, or C. And we can provide all of the services they require.”

Deeply narrowing a target market and servicing is something every single entrepreneur – and sales executives or financial advisors – have been at one point or another at least hesitant to do. They have what we would call FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – on a bigger, better, wider market.

So in order to get over that fear, here are the top three reasons you should narrow your target market:

1. Stand Out 
The closer your message gets to what your audience is interested in hearing, the higher the chance that you will stand out on their radar and be heard. Not only that, this will create a “top of mind” factor for them to reach out next time they are thinking that they need help. For example, if you were to by an Audi, where will you think of going first? The multi-brand car dealership or the Audi one?

2. Be a Thought Leader
Yes, we all know you have a wealth of knowledge and can solve many of your client’s problems. But you have to solve just one issue to get your foot in the door. Present one thing you know well and position yourself as the leader of that one area/service/industry niche. Once they open the door, you will be able to present the world of services you have for them.

3. Open the Door to Develop Relationships 
Here is where most financial organizations and others many times fail: they gain clients and forget to reap the benefits – or cross sell – to show the many capabilities their firm has.
It is key that once you have introduced yourself and proven that you can solve a client’s problem, you work on deepening your relationship by staying in tune to the challenges that your client is facing. Little by little, they will be open up for you to show them that you – and your organization – are capable of solving not one, but many of their problems.

The marketing traits of highly successful financial services firms
For boutique financial services, stand-alone marketing is counterproductive

By Alejandra Slatapolsky
Slata Financial Marketing

Financial institutions have been selling to customers the same way they did half a century ago. This is especially true of boutique asset managers, family offices and wealth management firms that target ultra high-net-worth clientele. However, it’s no news that consumers, including older generations, have different views of how they should be served by their bankers. Consider, for example, that one-quarter of U.S. adults who go online would consider banking with a firm with no physical branches, according to Forrester research.

I used to head the marketing and communications department of a burgeoning boutique investment bank. In several opportunities, we overheard our competitors trumping their services in comparison to ours and wondering out loud why our name was more recognized in the target markets than theirs, when their offering was truly superior. Perhaps the answer was that their marketing and sales processes needed to be updated to compete in a commoditized market. In a world where almost any firm can offer access to the world’s markets, the boutique offering had to become much more than just access or advisory.

Consumers have long stopped responding to in-your-face marketing. Recommendations from friends and trusted peers, word-of-mouth and online reviews are factors that hold maximum sway over their buying decisions. People want fast, efficient, personalized help when they’re making a purchasing decision. Not surprisingly, long sales pitches and marketing brochures with less quality stuff just don’t cut it anymore.

The firms that excel at marketing and gaining and keeping loyal clients have six key traits that we can all learn from.

They believe a great brand breeds from within

It is very common to find private bankers or brokers that come and go from one firm to the other with their book of clients. These types of team members may bring in some much-needed short-term inflow of business, but they are not contributing to their firm’s long-term brand building.

This is the reason why internal communications for boutique, specialized financial services firms has a whole new meaning when most of the interactions with prospects are in person.

Firms that succeed in building a trusted, lasting brand in the eyes of their clients have dedicated as much effort to their internal communications as they do to their external communications. Getting authentic buy-in from their team means that all the messages coming from the organization will fall in line with one consistent brand story, that will be built one team member, one interaction at a time.

They integrate marketing into their processes.
The marketing department should not be an isolated team sending out invitations to the next event. Marketing efforts are part of a business’s everyday operational flow.

A great marketing flow includes a thorough examination of all the touch points along the customer’s journey, producing a consistent brand experience. This should include everything from phone greetings, to statements, to email protocols and onboarding documents. 

Design is consistent
A brand story is not only verbal but also visual. Great brands have consistency throughout their efforts and have a strong hand at the materials that front end team members provide to their customers and prospects.

Selling is integrating and cross-selling
Today, bankers not only require a solid understanding of consumers and their behaviors, but they also need to deliver services in the way a client prefers.

Unfortunately, financial services firms tend to have always worked in silos. In a world where the cost of acquisition of a new client keeps escalating as margins keep shrinking, looking inwards to find cross-selling opportunities is not only a great practice, but should be a given. And a key factor in this process is creating a culture of ultra-focus on the needs of the client. This means that all efforts should be on getting to know each and every one of the clients to be able to anticipate their needs.

They deliver an experience
The dynamic between customers and banks is changing. Customers no longer want their banking relationship to be solely transactional; they want advice-driven banking that is personalized to their needs. Great financial brands focus on human-centered design that ensures the needs, wants and limitations of customers are prioritized on each of the interactions they have with their brand.

They know there is no silver bullet
Great brands are built one touch point at a time, one client at a time, over time. Throwing money at just one marketing tool isn’t enough. Successful brands integrate their marketing efforts and brand story into everything they do, and let the process work for them in the long term.

In sum, great financial services brands have a marketing machine that constantly feed into the building of their brand.

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