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Digital Marketing: Time for Finance to Invest in Optimization? Customer Experience Depends on it.

24% pie chart.pngThere’s no way to sugar coat it: the digital world has the financial industry facing some tough challenges when it comes to reaching their customers.  Financial marketers are looking for solutions that will move the needle big time.


Banks, healthcare providers, and other financial services organizations are having a hard time not only attracting new customers but retaining existing ones as well. Aberdeen's The "New Normal" and Its Impact on Retail Banking found that 24% of financial executives cite the inability to retain customers as one of their top drivers for exploring new initiatives. I did some digging and talked with some of our top financial clients to find out what’s making marketers’ life so difficult.


First challenge:  successfully engaging with the always addressable customer
Forrester has been talking about the always addressable customer since 2012.  In a recent eMarketer report describing key digital trends for 2014, data shows people spending more and more time on multiple portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.  


Financial brands are realizing they need to be everywhere all the time because their customers already are.  One insurance provider I spoke with quipped that it sometimes seems like their business hours are any time but 10 am – 7 pm.


Realistically, though financial brands have the obvious goal to attract and retain customers, many have yet to identify and overcome the obstacles hindering their efforts. For starters, banking, insurance and other B2C financial interactions are increasingly moving online and away from brick-and-mortar interactions.  It’s never been more important for these brands to define and optimize their digital customer experience. Though offline transactions still take place (of course), online customer experience now has the ability to drive offline sales more than any other factor.


Second challenge:  high abandonment rates, high churn

Financial institutions typically require a wealth of customer information, whether online or on paper, in order to complete transactions like loan applications, healthcare registration, or even just simple profile updates.  This means they need people to fill out forms that make the Lord of the Rings trilogy look like a quick bedtime story and go as far as asking for details that you might find on a profile.  Name, occupation, all about your child’s tendency to climb and fall off things, your hobbies—everything.  Completing lengthy forms is hardly anyone’s favorite activity, right? 


40% pie chart.pngAnd then there’s churn, to which the industry is no stranger.  Earlier, I mentioned that retaining customers is a top priority for financial execs.  Recent studies show that 40% of consumers will abandon a brand for a competitor after just one less than satisfactory experience.  People feel they can easily get a similar product from one brand to the next and rely heavily on experience to define the extent of their brand loyalty. 




Opportunity:  Too much data is a good thing

Despite these challenges, I see a huge opportunity for financial brands.  Customers today are generating massive amounts of incredibly varied data. We all know that raw data doesn’t automatically reveal actionable insights, but this overwhelming amount of information doesn't need to be a bad thing.  In fact, all this data gives marketers unprecedented insight into their customers’ world.  And with the right tools and expertise, marketers can deliver the individualized and contextual products, services, and experiences customers expect. 


Marketers in the financial industry have an opportunity to understand their audience more than any other vertical.  By leveraging the analytical power of a robust digital marketing platform, these financial brands will have everything they need to execute smart, targeted marketing and deliver more relevant customer experiences based on a wealth of consumer behavior.




There are some major challenges keeping financial industry marketers up at night, but the good news is that HP Autonomy's marketing optimization solutions are uniquely positioned to help businesses overcome those challenges and thrive in a quickly evolving market.





With the "always addressable customer” expecting more constant and customized interactions with brands than ever before, marketers understand that they need to make a huge push toward smarter marketing.  This graph from the eMarketer "Digital Trends" report shows how businesses expect to do just that.  (Obligatory but sincere product plug:  HP Autonomy can help them do a lot of this even better.)  


Are you building an optimization program from the ground up or just looking to revamp an existing one that’s not quite performing? Share your story in the comments below, or talk with us today.





Get more from this author:

Digital Marketing: Optimization Challenges and Tactics for the Travel and Entertainment Industry

Digital Marketing: The blind men and the elephant

Digital Marketing: Why are you ignoring the best part of your MVT data?


Jay Sahourieh | ‎05-29-2014 10:40 AM

This is solid!  We are hearing this from our clients on a frequent basis, and they are happy to see our solution.

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About the Author
Jenny Ryan is a Director of Product Marketing at HP Autonomy. She’s devoted to helping brands learn to love their data, understand their au...

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