In November 2022, Vericast attended the Financial Brand Forum, the world’s most elite conference on marketing, CX, data analytics, and digital transformation in banking.

During the forum, the host of the Business to Human podcast and Executive Director of Content Marketing at Vericast, Matthew Tilley, sat down with some of the most respected marketing leaders in the financial services industry, Leigh Anne Bentley, Lauren Tatro, Alyssa Armor, Lisa Nicholas, Stephanie Stackpole.

We asked them to share what they’ve learned over the past couple of years, some of the key challenges they’ve faced, and how to overcome them.

The biggest challenges facing financial marketers today

From these conversations, we learned that in the financial space, there are two challenges that everyone is focusing on: (1) Siloed systems that get in the way of a single view of the customer and (2) Creating competitive differentiation by connecting financial services offers with customers.

Breaking down silos

While a lot of data is usually a good thing, it really comes down to processing. Let’s say you have a mountain of customer data that will help you better identify the exact needs of your audience, leading to better retention rates and new business.

The problem, however, is your system can only digest a tenth of the data, leaving a lot of value and opportunity on the table. Not having enough data is frustrating, having all the data you would ever need with no way to fully utilize it is worse.

But it doesn’t have to be like this, Leigh Anne Bentley explains,

“We’re being very intentional about what platforms and programs we have — which ones are overlapping, which ones do one department use that another department is not using? Does everybody know what platforms are out there?”

Leigh Anne Bentley, Leaders Credit Union

To fix this problem, financial institutions must bring their siloed programs and platforms together to consolidate and unify the data. In doing so, financial institutions deliver improved personalization, create consistent experiences, and engage customers with accurate and relevant financial product and service recommendations.

Differentiating for the customer

With financial services, there’s been a commoditization of product offerings. For most customers, the reasons behind choosing one financial institution over another is often uncalculated. When most of the competition offers the same thing, why does it matter?

“Fifty-three percent of people do not find specific value or any sort of value proposition with their bank. There’s nothing above and beyond that their bank does that another financial institution couldn’t do for them.”

Alyssa Armor, United Community Bank

Current strategies used by many financial institutions today fail to deliver on the customer’s need to connect. If these institutions hope to stand out, they need to start focusing on building a positive emotional connection with customers.

“How do we break through the noise? And the noise isn’t just all the competitors in that space. It’s the noise in people’s heads. ‘Where am I going? What am I doing? What is my purpose?’ The reoccurring theme among financial brands is that we are in the business of dream building.”

Lauren Tatro, Broadview Federal Credit Union

Top Two Forum Trends You Should Know In 2023

Financial institutions have two critical business goals to address in 2023: deposits and loans.

As marketing budgets suffer the consequences of a shrinking economy, it becomes more challenging to sell CFOs on the need to increase their budgets to allocate funds more effectively. Customer data provides the evidence to make sound, less hypothetical, budget recommendations and decisions.

“I can go to a branch and tell them why home equity lines of credit don’t make sense here. But a checking account does make sense. So being able to help clients really use data to prove those points is critical.”

Lisa Nicholas, Vericast

Another example of how data is helping the customer experience: Results reporting.

Lisa presented an Opportunity Score Demo during the Forum, showing available market opportunities, the why behind them, and how to go after them.

How financial marketers can use data to their advantage

The pandemic’s impact on business is still being felt today. Consumers are more likely to save than splurge, their buying behavior has changed, and who they ultimately bank with comes down to who offers the best deal.

For financial institutions to stay profitable, it’s crucial that they use their data to support customers through these delicate times. And while that investment may seem like a loss in the short term, you’re creating loyalty and differentiation for the long term.

“If you invest in consumers, appreciating and empathizing with where they are, you’re going to see long term loyalty.”

Matthew Tilley, Vericast

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