Meet Your Customer Before Deciding Your Next Mobile Strategy

By Joey Moore, Head of Product Marketing, Episerver

From checking account balances to choosing a mortgage, consumers are more comfortable than ever managing finances on the go; they’ll be the first to tell financial marketers, however, that not all experiences are created equal.

Perhaps more than any other industry, the financial sector has the most opportunities to get interactions right or, for that matter, wrong.

According to 2018 research from Episerver, two-thirds (67 percent) of people in the UK use smartphones to manage their finances, with Londoners the most likely of any region (74 percent). What is perhaps more telling is that nearly half (49 percent) of UK consumers manage their finances via a smartphone on a weekly basis with 14 percent of UK consumers now organizing their daily finances via a smartphone—with that number expected to rise dramatically in the next couple years.

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With so many opportunities for the financial sector to learn about a customer and leverage that information, the end user will expect their financial experiences to be more relevant to them particularly if they have given expressed permission to allow for the use of their data.In other words, the 87 percent of global consumers surveyed by Episerver who are OK with companies knowing more about them, will want something in return or deny access to their information. Here’s a few ways to get to know your customers while delivering a smarter mobile experience:

  1. Location, location, location
    While the Wall Street Journal recently reported that, as customers move, online banks are closing branches at the fastest rate in decades and so locality remains a critical part of a customer’s relationship with a financial institution. Rather than seeing mobile as a whole replacement to traditional real estate, consumers expect an increasingly omnichannel approach, with Episerver data indicating 22 percent now use their mobiles as a supplementary part of the offline experience.Geo-targeting will be a major part of this approach, with many cautious consumers using their phones to browse for options, but still not wanting to commit to a decision without a face-to-face discussion. Knowing a consumer’s location is one thing but delivering information to them based on location is what separates old-school institutions with modern ones.

    Location-based information should be intuitively delivered to consumers whether it’s through an app, a responsive site or push notifications enabled by the customer. Types of location-based personalisation include automatically serving up the nearest location and its hours and wait times, content such as a blogs about home buying in their area, and co-marketing with local merchants to allow for real-time messaging based on where customers are and what they’re up to.

  2. Follow the digital trail
    Between interactions with marketing campaigns, a website and a storefront, consumers are dropping breadcrumbs for brands to find where they are, what they are interested and why they are interacting with. An existing checking account customer, for example, does not need an incentive to sign up – they already are. Even visionary companies are discarding clues that could help them deliver an experience that is based on intent. For financial customers that could be the intent to buy a house, get a car, send kids to university, transfer retirement funds, invest or other major life events a bank wants to be part of. And this research is happening, for the most part, on their phones where they expect to access information relevant to them and in a way that is wholly accessible regardless of device.Episerver research indicates that of the 20 biggest financial services providers in the UK, 19 now offer fully responsive, mobile-optimized websites. In other words, the mobile standard is being met design/development wise, but companies are not piecing together the many interactions consumers are having on these channels.

    The problem is that it is not possible for an employee, or group of employees, to do this analysis and deliver the content needed to win the sale in any scalable manner. Supporting marketers with artificial intelligence (AI) based systems, however, can pick up micro and macro clues to automatically deliver the information needed to be part of the consumer’s decision wherever they visit (e.g., across the web, in-store, on social media, in search, email).

  3. Connect everywhere
    Financial brands not considering other ways that consumers will want to connect are already behind the curve. As it stands, one in seven consumers now owns a wearable device according to our research, with the majority taking the form of either smart watches or fitness bands.Despite this fact, our research further shows that 72 percent of marketers have no plans to incorporate wearable technology into their approach. Beyond wearables, home assistant devices will also play a prominent role in how people connect to personal information like their finances. In both scenarios, voice technology will need to be accounted for to deliver whatever consumers demand in a secure and scalable manner. Some financial organizations, for example, are investing in voice authentication to allow for this type of access while others are allowing for account inquiries and event payments via voice. The latter may become even more prominent if popular peer-to-peer payment apps get it right, putting the pressure on more traditional brands.

    While organizations will feel the pressure to be accessible on any device consumers are on, they will want to get the (now) basics of location-based marketing and personalisation right before committing to new channels rather than introducing novel technology for the sake of doing so.

When considering their next mobile strategy, financial institutions should know that relevancy rules the day by delivering content to show they understand consumer intent whether that’s visiting a local branch, making a financial decision or connecting via their preferred device.

Meeting customers’ expectations is not only knowing who they are and being available where they want to connect, but also building off the information they have already provided. Financial customers having to repeat themselves in the form of their preferences, typing in their location, dismissing irrelevant promotions time and again and more, will find themselves on digital properties that know who they are and what they want – on any device.

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