10 Things I Learned At The Digital Marketing Financial Services Conference

On the 21st March, we (that’s myself and my colleagues Nick Wilkinson & Alex Burton) went to the Digital Marketing Financial Services conference in Mayfair, London. It was a pretty full on day of talks and panels, but I thought I’d share the 10 key things I took away from the event.

1. 29% buy insurance without really knowing what they need or what is involved

This stat came from Sam Taylor, DirectLine’s Head of Group Commercial Marketing – presumably because the content is just too complicated. It’s at this point they should feel like they can contact the insurer for more information. Have you considered how easy is it for them to do this? And could you make it easier?

2. Consumers need to feel empowered by your brand.
If you want to turn customers from accepting consumers into power players, you need to turn disconnected experiences into continued, omnichannel experiences… but what does this mean?

Perhaps it’s about moving away from all the siloed, legacy systems you have in place (although not necessarily getting rid of them) in favour of flexible systems that enable your brand to act like an ecosystem, helping customers achieve their goals.

The introduction of directives like PSD2 drive innovation and change from players that haven’t even entered the market yet. Putting your customers first will help you weather changes and hopefully make the industry a better place.

Ultimately, however, you don’t have an ‘omnichannel’ strategy but a ‘customer’ strategy.

3. The rise of the Journey Manager
As brands become more focused on customer experience, new job roles are evolving out of a combination of account management, customer services and customer success – Journey Managers, Experience Consultants and Proposition Managers.

4. Don’t take a blanket approach
We’re all guilty of this one (largely because of time and resource – or lack of) – but marketing campaigns should be modified for each channel, not a blanket campaign with one message.

Customers want a personal experience and, as brands become increasingly digital, customers need to be approached where they want to be, whether this is offline or online.

As I said, this largely relies on your resources but it’s also worth mentioning that just because xxx brand has a Google+ account, doesn’t mean it’s the right channel for you. Same goes for Facebook (which has basically zero engagement apparently, unless you’re using it for support).

5. Do you know your audience?
It’s kind of similar to the above point – but you should pick your audience first and then pick the channels and the content specifically for them. You should adapt your strategy for the audience, not the audience for the strategy.

6. Bring your compliance team into the conversation at the beginning
Compliance issues (any anything to do with regulation, to be honest) are huge for financial marketers – why not try getting them involved in campaigns or process changes from the very beginning. Invite them to kick-off meetings so they are on your side and understand how and where decisions are coming from. If they naturally have a low risk appetite, being involved at every step might help avoid last minute baulking.

7. You don’t always have to respond to the latest trend
Don’t jump on the latest news without thinking about how it affects your customers – they don’t want to hear about the birth of a panda from their savings bank. If it doesn’t link in any way back to why they are your customer, don’t post. Skipton Building Society ran a clever campaign around the Brexit announcement, advising customers what it would mean for them and their savings.

8. Innovation in banking… what does that mean?
The one thing we took away was that innovation has to become more of a mindset within the financial services industry.

Legacy systems, internal reshuffles, complicated products, siloed data – all can be overcome if you ensure buy-in from C-suite early on in the process.
Promoting innovative, creative thinking with in an institution needs to be led from the top and should be rewarded – promotions, incentivisation schemes… and these shouldn’t only be available for typically ‘creative’ roles. All employees should be active in innovating business processes. Why not include customers in your innovations? Ask for feedback on potential changes, or where you can change. Most importantly though, innovation must always give value back to the customers – not innovation for it’s own sake.

9. Reviews are important…
I know, everyone knows this already. But analysing reviews in the right way can help to reduce costs and helps reinforce company-wide KPIs. The question of who is responsible for reviews internally was raised also. Is it marketing? Social teams? Customer success? Or should it be a separate team who respond and distribute reports? Either way, they shouldn’t be ignored.

10. Financial services… are they scared of social media?
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the day was the number of speakers that focused particularly on social media. Given that this sector uses social media channels largely for support, rather than huge B2C campaigns, shows that they have recognised the opportunity but are looking for validation that it’s the correct strategy.

What did the rest of our team think?

“Great event, interesting content which was mainly focused on how social media is impacting FS now or in the future. Decent turnout of relevant contacts for Freespee which also gave us a chance to test our proposition with senior digital and cx folk.” Nick Wilkinson, VP Business Development UK.

“It seems to me that there has been a shift in messaging from product focused marketing (interest rates etc) to a more ‘Humanised’ approach and putting themselves in the mind of a customer, their day to day challenges and how their products/solutions can help them overcome them.

FS CX and digital marketeers are striving to put their customers at the heart of their board business strategies, as this has a direct impact NPS, Brand and Revenues. So they are looking to build better CX experiences by recruiting journey management teams who have mandate & budget to buy technology to enable their strategies.” Alex Burton, Enterprise Sales Manager

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got any questions/feedback please feel free to drop me an email or write in the comment section.