Tag Archives: Citi

5 Accelerating Trends in Digital Marketing

I recently attended the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit (#DMFSToronto). Digital leaders from Citi, Facebook, Wells Fargo, MetLife, Allstate, Salesforce and more were there talking about what is working, not working and what is coming next within digital marketing for financial services.

Five accelerating trends:

1) It’s all about the data.

It has ALWAYS been about the data in digital marketing, but now with so many advancements in programmatic advertising, real-time media buying, CRM, data lake technology and data visualization services, it’s easier than ever to track results, test, learn and optimize your marketing efforts.

Hari Pillai from Invesco spoke on a panel about a struggle many companies have — being data-rich but knowledge-poor. His keys to success were to create a strong infrastructure for your data and an API to simply and effectively leverage your data, so you know where the customer is in the journey. In his words, “Data is the secret weapon to move the customer down the journey.”

See also: Data Science: Methods Matter (Part 2)

2) Customers matter more than ever.

As we all know, the dynamic has flipped to a customer being in charge more than ever in the buying process. Fifty-seven percent of the purchase journey is done before a customer ever contacts a supplier per the CEB, so you need to listen to the key needs of your customers and figure out how to solve those needs.

Ramy Nassar from Architech had a great presentation about focusing on customer needs instead of financial products. My favorite line from his presentation was, “Think about the need, not the transaction. No one wants to buy a mortgage, they want a house.”

3) Social will soon rule the world.

The typical North American adult checks social media 17 times a day. SEVENTEEN!

Combine that with the fact that cold calling and emailing response rates are hovering around 3-4%, and millennials preference for social as the No. 1 method of contact, and social will soon be taking over as the primary communication vehicle for marketing and sales.

Any financial professional or salesperson who does not have a complete LinkedIn profile that is optimized for search will slowly begin to lose their client base.

I spoke on the value of social selling to financial institutions in this new digital world and how to use the power of social media to generate leads and sales.

See also: How to Capture Data Using Social Media

4) Wearables are not going away.

If you are looking for the next big thing, wearables are it. How long is it until our Fitbit we use on a daily basis to track our steps starts feeding that information to doctors? Insurance companies? Retail stores? It’s a matter of time until everyone knows everything about everyone else. Enjoy your 15 remaining minutes of privacy! And be prepared to have everything measured and managed in real-time.

Rachid Molinary of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico presented an informative use case on how the company quickly integrated mobile banking into wearable technology. Now you can check your BPPR account balance in a matter of seconds on your Apple Watch. What was even more impressive was the processes and systems they have put in place to bring this new tech to market in a short period of time.

See also: The Case for Connected Wearables

5) The pace of change is fast (and will get faster).

Mitch Joel gave a fantastic keynote about how fast the world is changing and how every company thinks they are being innovative. However, to truly create innovation is to “create something that the market did not know that it needed, that then becomes adopted (and paid for) in a way in which we could have never imagined our lives without it.” Not many companies are doing this today.

Erin Elofson from Facebook spoke about their roadmap and how VR is playing a huge role in their future. To get a small glimpse of the company’s VR capabilities, check out the first film shot with the new Facebook Surround 360 camera. This is just the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg.

So, how will you and your company react to this new digital world in financial services? These changes are coming sooner than anyone expected. Those that adapt quickly will thrive, those that don’t will struggle to survive.

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Traditional Insurance Is Dying

Finance. Taxis. Television. Medicine. What do these have in common?

They’re all on the long–and growing–list of industries being turned upside down by disruptive technology. 

The examples are legion. Once-sure-bet investments like taxicab medallions are at risk of going underwater. Bitcoin is giving consumers the power to bypass banks. Traditional television is at risk from online streaming.

Insurance Is No Different

In fact, innovative players have been disrupting the insurance market since before “disruption” was the buzzword it is today. 

Look at Esurance, which in 1999 rode the dot-com wave to success as the first insurance company to operate exclusively online. No forms, no policy mailers–it didn’t even mail paper bills.

By going paperless, Esurance told customers that it was the kind of company that cared about their preferences–and established itself as a unique player in an industry that places a premium on tradition. Insurance isn’t known for being innovative. 

Most insurance leaders operate under the assumption that if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. And in a heavily regulated industry, that’s not totally unreasonable. 

But you only have to look at the scrappy start-ups that are taking down long-established players to understand what awaits the companies that aren’t willing to innovate.

Thinking Outside the Box

Take Time Warner–profit fell 7.2% last quarter as industry analysts foretold “the death of TV.” Meanwhile, Netflix’s profits are soaring beyond expectations–even as the risks it takes don’t always pan out. 

Remember the “Marco Polo” series that cost a reported $90 million? Neither does anyone else. But for every “Marco Polo” there’s an “Orange Is the New Black.” Highly successful programs on a subscription model show that Netflix’s willingness to take risks is carrying it past industry juggernauts.

The market is changing–and if you want to stay competitive, you need to use every weapon in your arsenal. Millennials aren’t buying insurance at the rate their parents did

To a consumer population weaned on technology like Uber and Venmo, the insurance industry seems positively antiquated. Facebook can advertise to you the brand of shoes you like–so your insurance company should be able to offer a product that you actually want.

The Information Importance

According to Accenture, “Regulated industries are especially vulnerable” to incumbents. When there are barriers to entry based on licensing requirements or fees, competition is lower. Decreased competition, in turn, leads to less incentive to innovate. This can leave regulated industries, such as insurance, healthcare and finance, in a highly vulnerable position when another company figures out a way to improve their offerings.

Other attributes that can make an industry vulnerable, per Accenture’s findings, can include:

  • Narrow focus: If a brand focuses entirely on cost savings, convenience or innovation, it isn’t effectively covering its bases. A disruptor that manages to offer two or three of these factors instead of just one has a near-immediate advantage.
  • Small scope or targets: Failing to expand offerings to all demographics can mean that industries or service providers aren’t able to replicate the broad reach of disruptors.
  • Failing to innovate: Disruptors don’t always get their product right on the very first try. Companies must innovate continuously and figure out ways to build continuous improvement into their business model.

Tech start-ups use information as an asset. How can you tell if information is a valuable weapon in the battle you’re fighting? 

“Big data” isn’t just a buzzword; industry analysts are calling it the wave of the future. At Citi, they’re talking about “the feed”: a real-time data stream that leverages the Internet of Things to reshape risk management. 

Auto insurers are turning to connected cars to let them reward safe drivers. Some life insurers are even offering discounts to customers who wear activity trackers.

It Can Happen to You

For most insurance companies, incorporating an unknown element into the way they operate is daunting. 

But talk to any cab driver, grocery store clerk or travel agent, and they’ll tell you that the only way to survive in a technology-driven world is to innovate.

Look at the insurance technology market to see what improvements you can incorporate into your organization, and think expansively about how you can use information: for agency management, to attract new customers and retain old ones, to expand your profit margins or to streamline operating costs. 

Your survival depends on it.