Advancing technology, consumer demand and innovative startups have all played major roles in disrupting the financial services sector and placed added pressure on long-established companies to evolve.
Digital marketing for financial services firms in 2019 needs to be more sophisticated than ever.
We've outlined what we believe to be four core opportunities for marketers responsible for digital marketing in financial services organisations.
Online chat is now commonplace for financial services businesses in providing customer support.
This is not surprising given a staggering 42% of customers now prefer live chat to email or social media support. The next step in this revolution is the chatbot, initially designed to remove the need for a customer services representative to respond to questions in real-time.
The idea is chatbots should be able to resolve a proportion of commonly asked questions without the need for human interaction.
Utilising chat bots cuts costs, gathers data and provides customers with round the clock support.
However, they are currently in their infancy and still have limitations.
Banks are already testing the use of chatbots, including JPMorgan Chase who are trialing the use of chatbots internally and Bank of America who use a chatbot within their app to provide basic account information to customers.
Delivering personalised experiences in real-time was identified as a top priority for financial services firms in the Econsultancy 2018 digital trends in financial services report.
Not surprising given that the sector is now more competitive than ever.
Delivering personalised solutions can help make customers feel more valued and increase loyalty.
It's also becoming expected.
Two in five millennials complain the offers they receive from banks are not personalised. [source: the importance of personalisation in financial services.]
Digital-first firms are in a far better position to deliver on these aims compared with legacy organisations.
Utilising the right technology and the right skillset will be paramount to success in delivering personalisation.
Financial institutions can leverage financial content marketing to inform and educate potential customers through online articles.
If well-optimised, articles should rank organically and get found by people looking for help with specific challenges and answers to common questions.
There is a huge opportunity for financial services companies to leverage inbound marketing techniques to generate leads by providing high-value content like guides, calculators and research papers in exchange for some basic details.
Once leads are being captured via the website, there is a further opportunity to nurture these contacts utilising marketing automation until they are sales ready.
Inbound marketing is certainly not a new concept, but many financial services businesses have not yet fully adopted a completely cohesive approach.
Virtual assistants like Alexa, Bixby and Cortana are are growing in popularity and usage is increasing rapidly as the technology becomes more accessible and more widely adopted.
Figure 1: Size of the virtual digital assistant (VDA) market worldwide from 2015 to 2021
This continuing shift in search behavior will require financial marketers to facilitate the needs of customers wanting convenience by optimising their websites, especially mobile sites, for voice search.
There is still a way to go before voice search starts to overtake text search, though those wanting to start incorporating voice search content now should think about longer-tail search queries and using natural language.
Smaller, more nimble financial services companies may be able to get ahead of larger corporate organisations who may find it harder to adapt quickly.