In the digital age, people want and need better and more closely targeted communications from their service providers. And these increasingly more demanding customer expectations have been a challenge for marketing teams in all sectors over the past couple of decades.
This is thanks to an increasing technological ability that makes engaging and communicating with service providers ever easier. So, people expect high standards of communication – and this is perhaps especially true of the financial services industry.
That’s because people want to be closely informed where money is concerned, which raises the bar high for marketers in the financial services sector. And with more communication channels around than ever before, financial services marketers must expand and innovate to connect with customers where and when they want.
In short, the industry’s way of working, and its target client base, are rapidly evolving – and new technology is driving how financial service marketers react and adapt to this brave new world.
And you can learn a lot from this process and how financial services marketing is changing and improving.
Here are three trends in financial services marketing that you can adapt and use to help attract and retain investment.
Enhancing Customer Communication Methods
Financial services marketers work very hard at understanding their customers and what drives them. And, crucially, they use this information to communicate with existing clients and prospects in the way they want.
This is vital, as consumers who are looking for financial services expect firms to understand their needs and expectations – and interact with them accordingly. This means that the old tactics of ‘spray and pray’ marketing are dead – mass messages sent out to a whole database with little or no differentiation will no longer cut it, as this approach does little to appeal to individuals.
Also, the vast proliferation of communication channels means there is now a large number of touchpoints where interaction is possible – web, social, mobile, email, phone etc – available to customers. This means that the ability of prospects and existing clients to contact firms has never been greater.
Financial services marketers know this, which is why they are turning to new strategies to engage with customers on a more personal level.
And financial services firms are increasingly adept at identifying the best channels and tactics in regards to customer engagement – and concentrating on them accordingly. With such a huge range of channels this is no easy task, but it means that instead of simply concentrating on tried-and-tested channels like email, web, and social media – emerging channels such as mobile apps and video advertising must also be given attention and consideration. Communication priorities and expectations change quickly. For example, even ten years ago very few businesses – in any sector – used Twitter to communicate with customers and prospects.
And this is why financial services places such importance on keeping up with communication trends and anticipating what their customers will be using.
How to use this trend in fund marketing
The expectation of a client or prospect that a firm should know and understand their needs and expectations is heightened in the funds sector. Large sums of money are involved and an investor wants to feel that a firm understands his or her best interests and has them at heart.
So, it is absolutely crucial to understand the importance of customer support and recognise that your clients want clear and effective communication that is both personalised to them in terms of content, and that takes place on their terms. So, be led by your investors and choose the channels that suit them, rather than those that suit you.
Bringing Data Together
Financial services firms really understand the importance of personalised communication as a means of both attracting and retaining customers.
And to achieve that personalised service they need to know a lot about their clients and prospects. And they achieve that by being masters of collecting, analysing and using data.
In fact, data is the lifeblood of financial services marketing. When it comes to money, the more you know about your customer or prospect the better.
And that’s why financial services marketers are using more and more data to create the highly personalised experiences customers expect – and which lead to sales.
This can come from email marketing engagement, social media interaction, conversations with customer services, sales calls etc etc.
And given the proliferation of sources – and the enormous amount of data that is produced – it’s little surprise that actually unifying all this customer data into one place is a top priority. Embracing the whole customer journey in this way ensures that an individual’s entire relationship with a company – before, during, and after a sale – is tracked and analysed to inform future communications.
This means that the customer retention rate is becoming an increasingly important statistic. Perhaps historically customer acquisition has been the one overriding and crucial statistic with financial services marketing, but firms are now realising just how important retention is and how vital it is to maintain healthy customer relationships. A cohesive approach to data gathering and analysis is massive in this regard, as if you bring it all together in one easily accessible form, you have an immediate source of information on any given customer or prospect that can be used to help that person and understand what they do and don’t like.
How to use this trend in fund marketing
You can use a platform like ProFundCom, which is specifically designed for fund marketing, to bring all your data together within your CRM.
This is very powerful, particularly at the latter stages of the sales process as your sales reps can bring up a lead deck that instantly shows a list of prospects accompanied by information from across the CRM to present key data about prospects and investors. So, a quick glance before an important call gives a full and accurate overview of preferences, interests and any existing investments.
But, perhaps more than anything, the biggest lesson to learn here is the importance of customer retention and how it ties into communication. Someone who is already investing with you is far more valuable than someone who simply may invest with you – not only from the point of view of asset retention, but also because a happy investor presents an excellent an ongoing cross-selling opportunity.
So, it pays to find out all you can about your existing clients by tracking and recording communication and engagement and storing it in one place. This helps you tailor your messaging more effectively to their needs.
Modernising The Rules Of Engagement
The unstoppable rise of the smartphone has brought with it a culture of immediacy, where people expect instant, on-demand engagement.
And, to meet the lofty expectations of consumers, financial services marketers are increasing the ability of their firms to engage in on demand communication to cement customer relationships.
This starts with real-time engagement – so that a customer or prospect is helped at their exact moment of need. This can mean anything from social media interaction to live chat facilities on web sites. But the firms that are doing well in this regard understand that the facility has to be in place for people to get a satisfactory response to questions and concerns as and when they need it.
Chatbots on websites, for example, aren’t just there to deal with minor questions and complaints any more. They can be used to deliver quality advice and information that potentially turns an interested party into an actual customer. The first step in this process is often being completed by AI, which is being used to good effect in that it can power webchat – and even social media conversations – and deal with basic queries. But there must still be the capacity for human interaction when the conversation becomes too complex for a machine response.
And this trend for non-traditional engagement methods has spread beyond web chats and social media. For example, client-specific push messages can be sent via mobile apps, so important information can be relayed based on location or banking behaviour. Also, marketing teams can send messages based on their clients’ financial goals or concerns, to inspire discussion.
A key component of real-time engagement, particularly in the context of channel proliferation, is the ability for customers to move across channels without losing context. Financial services marketers realise that customers want the ability to communicate with a firm how and when they want – without having to repeat themselves when they move to a different channel. It is, in effect, seen as one fluid conversation that is built upon at every stage, rather than having to constantly go over things again.
This also ties into the importance of data. Having a cohesive picture of engagement history across all channels – whether that be via email, social media, phone, or in person – is increasingly important. This isn’t just about sales, it also means that a complaint – for example – can be dealt with quickly and efficiently in a way that reflects that particular customer’s relationship with a firm.
How to use this trend in fund marketing
Customers expect more and more these days, and that is as true of fund marketing as any other sector. Just having an email and telephone number as contact points is becoming old-fashioned and doesn’t sit well with a new breed of investors who are used to immediate communication.
So, you should have the facility to engage with customers in real-time via multiple channels.
Perhaps the key thing that links all these strands together – and the reason why financial services marketing continues to make such strides – is a realisation that the customer expects a unified approach from a company. They don’t see different departments – they see a single entity and expect their experience and interaction to reflect that. They want a unified front across all interactions, regardless of whether it is a web chat with a customer service rep, a response to marketing communications, or a one to one discussion with sales.
And this is where many financial services companies are making great strides – as they realise that if it’s clear that the left arm doesn’t know what the right arm is doing within a company, then prospects and existing customers will turn away and look elsewhere. By combining everyone – and all available data – together across an organisation you foster cohesive customer journeys.
The same can be done within fund marketing. But for it to happen, and be effective, there must be a truly unified approach to both investor acquisition and retention that aligns marketing, sales, and customer service to produce an integrated approach to communication, data tracking and analysis, and customer acquisition and retention.
If you want to find out how ProFundCom can help you use digital marketing to raise assets schedule a demo here