The most important thing you NEED to include in your eNewsletters

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Are you a Financial Service provider trying to gain more traffic to your website? It’s a problem many businesses in the financial sector have. There are many different ways to cultivate engagement that can help lead to more traffic, and ultimately, conversions. Today, we will be discussing how a weekly (or monthly) newsletter can increase traffic to your website and what you need to do to nurture those readers into clients. The #1 most important thing that you have to consider when developing and sending out a eNewsletter is:

Value!

Why you might ask? Well, at the heart of a newsletter should lie value for the reader. Nobody wants to get sent an email chock full of promotional materials pressuring them to make a decision. If they get an email like that, chances are their decision will be to unsubscribe from future updates. There goes your future interactions with that prospect. They also don’t want an email full of information that they already know, or can find elsewhere with a simple google search.

Value in a newsletter can be provided in a number of ways:

  1. Exclusive Content

    Exclusive content is by far the most important aspect in driving value to your newsletter.

    Unique and exclusive content is a method of providing value to your subscribers. By writing a quality article or blog post, specifically for those subscribed to the newsletter, you can drive significant amounts of traffic to your website. People love unique and fresh content, and the feeling of exclusivity is the cherry-on-top of the content cake.

    The average buyer consumes 3-5 pieces of content before they even talk to a sales rep. By offering them a juicy, exclusive article (hosted on your website, of course), you will drive traffic to your website, build trust, and potentially become a thought leader in that consumer’s mind.

    Exclusivity is how top fashion brands, car companies, and luxury goods manufacturers help promote their businesses. What is stopping the Financial Services industry from using it as part of a content marketing and email strategy?

  2.  Special Offers, Discounts and Consultations

    Special offers, discounts and consultations can be offered either in the newsletter itself or as a selling point for signing up for the newsletter. Offering exclusive offers will make the reader more likely to engage with your business, perhaps even motivating them to spend more time on your website.

    70% of email readers open emails from a brand or company in search of a deal, discount, or special offer. As an Advisor, you could offer free consultations to motivate people to contact you. The reader will think “well it’s free, I might as well hear what they can do for me”. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to meet the prospect, humanize your brand and prove to that prospective client that you are the right person to manage their money.

    While many people are looking for special offers, it is important not to inundate your subscribers with promotions. If you do, the value will diminish with every offer. Discounts or freebies should be provided with valuable and unique educational material to help the reader better decide how to use that discount or to show them that your free consultation will be worth their time.

  3. Events and Giveaways

This one is somewhat related to “Discounts or Special Offers”. It goes back to the fact that people like a deal (or in this case, free stuff). Again, it should not be used in every newsletter, but more as a promotion to generate sign-ups or reward loyalty. You can give something small away to everyone who signs up, promote exclusive events (barbecues, picnics, etc,), that get people thinking about you and your business, and potentially gets you face time with these prospective clients (even if it happens to be over hot dogs).

You could give away an iPod, a drone, or another “big ticket” item in a draw that all members subscribed to your newsletter can win. This will encourage people to stay subscribed and check every newsletter to find out who the winner is.

Conclusion

In addition to these three methods, value in a newsletter should be provided by using the right mix of educational and promotional material. About 90% of the content in a newsletter should be educational to the readers. The other 10% can be promotional material. If the right balance isn’t struck, your newsletter will be nothing more than a glorified advertisement, which is not something that will attract clients in the Financial Services industry.

By educating your readers, and providing value in other ways, you will drive more traffic to your website. B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015).  Why not repurpose these blogs in your newsletter to extend their reach and get the most mileage out of your content? A newsletter can help you increase the reach of those posts to readers which will result in an increase in traffic. Remember, provide value above all else!

Best of luck with your content creation this week! If you want more information on starting a newsletter, check out our articles “Newsletters: The Forgotten Hero of Content Marketing” and “Do Advisors Really Need Email Marketing?”. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. @VeridayHQ.

The Three Biggest Marketing Mistakes Advisors Make

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This post was authored by Claire Akin and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

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Marketing financial advisory services can be complex and frustrating. Advisors today are confused because what worked in the past often doesn’t work anymore. Additionally, many have spent thousands on marketing mistakes that didn’t pay off and are wary of new approaches. But without spending on effective marketing campaigns, your business will certainly have a difficult time growing.

Yet, many advisors become paralyzed by their marketing efforts. They aim to get a market update or newsletter out, but after several rounds of edits, the project falls by the wayside. Their old website is an embarrassment but a website overhaul seems too overwhelming. They know they need to update their marketing but aren’t sure where to start. Sound familiar? Here are the three biggest marketing mistakes advisors should avoid.

1. Being a Perfectionist

Why is it that some advisors take weeks to create a new website and some take years? Does the quality of the website reflect the struggle and time spent? Rarely. Top advisors let go of perfectionism in favor of execution. This doesn’t mean their marketing results are sub par, in fact their marketing is much more effective because they deploy more engaging content and ideas on a regular basis.

Top advisors know that their marketing is always going to be a work in progress. They update their branding, website, and content every few years, so there is less pressure to reach perfection with each iteration. They’re able to get blog posts, videos, and advertisements out quickly to meet deadlines and keep their marketing on schedule.

As a result, their communications are nimble and they can afford to be timely with their marketing. When the stock market goes down or a big news story breaks, they can quickly release a marketing campaign to take advantage of the event. They stay top of mind with their network and centers of influence because they put out solid content on a regular basis.

On the other hand, perfectionist advisors conduct painful rounds of edits to each piece of content, including too many team members in the process. They decrease their posting frequency and kill the enjoyment of the process.

What perfectionists don’t realize is that most readers don’t care about a completely polished post. Your clients and prospects read your blog because they want to hear your thoughts and opinions on a topic. Blogs are a place to share ideas, a living breathing conversation, not a scientific journal. Advisors who are growing their business stick to a schedule and get their ideas out, no matter what.

2. Not Asking for Help

The most successful advisors run various marketing campaigns simultaneously and have someone else orchestrate their marketing calendar. They employ ghostwriters and outsource creation of their marketing content and ads. While each piece is based on their insights, opinions, and philosophies, they don’t create every blog post, whitepaper, or video script from scratch.

Marketing is typically based on a different skillset than financial planning. Top advisors understand that marketing consultants offer creative and technical skills that advisors rarely possess. By outsourcing to a qualified expert, you can save time, avoid costly mistakes, and take advantage of proven ideas with your marketing efforts.

Especially when it comes to the intersection of technology and marketing, like using your email marketing software or adding technical features to your website, it pays to outsource to an expert. Once you find a marketing pro you can rely on, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in a hurry.

3. Not Embracing Technology

Marketing today is one part technical and one part creative. Because many marketing campaigns take place in the digital world, technology is critical to creating and tracking your efforts. From your website to email marketing to social media, it’s important to use top technologies that can make your marketing more effective and save you time.

Technology investments result in more efficient and productive business models and make finding new clients easier. You would never attempt to run a marathon without food and water, yet trying to grow your business without fuelling your technology engines yields the same painful result. Plan to invest in your marketing technology and make updates as better solutions become available.

How to Move Forward

Unfortunately, there’s no step-by-step playbook for marketing your business in today’s digital world. Your most effective marketing plan will depend on your business, the specific demographic you’re trying to reach, as well as your personality and branding. But the confusion and complexity of marketing is no excuse for inaction.

Understand that your marketing will always be a work in progress. Make a commitment to create and stick to a marketing calendar, then track what efforts work best so you can do more of them in the future. Don’t take your marketing too seriously and remember that people want to hear from you, so enjoy the process and share your unique opinions and insights.

7 Reasons it Might be Time to Upgrade Your Content Management System

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Is your workflow becoming too much for you to handle?  Do you struggle to find content or other assets quickly and easily? Are you dealing with too many systems to count? Are your systems scaleable? Are you struggling to provide an effective online customer experience? If any of those questions rings true it might be time to invest in a new Content Management System (CMS).

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that allows you to create and manage all your digital content, whether for internal or external use. Odds are you already have some form of CMS in your business (or several unrelated systems that act as a loosely assembled CMS). CMSs range in complexity and cost; ranging from the simple, straightforward solutions that can be acquired for free to robust proprietary systems developed in-house, to a scalable solution somewhere in the middle.

A CMS can be helpful in a number of different situations, whether your company is building an intranet (a platform for internal use by personnel), an extranet (a platform for internal use by partners and other business-critical parties) or a webpage (hosted externally on the web) a CMS can help manage all of your content.

CMSs range in scale and complexity, whether it’s a folder on some computer’s desktop with a few old logos in it to a highly technical, top of the line enterprise management system. The type of CMS needed depends entirely on the organization’s needs and can range greatly in cost but in one form or another, every business has one.

So, without further delay, here are 7 reasons why it might be time to upgrade your CMS:

1. Website Personalization

Building an engaging, beautiful and personalized website isn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill to be able to design a website that engages your target market no matter what device they are on. A CMS helps you accomplish that, allowing you to personalize content on your sites to attract multiple target markets, providing content that is appropriate for each persona. Personalization involves plenty of pre-emptive research, planning and mapping to ensure that you fully and truly understand your customers. This is required so they can be grouped together by common factors, such as demographics, needs, challenges, interests; really anything can be used to place customers into segments depending on the business objective. When the customers are split up into common groups it makes it possible for your marketing department to craft messages that will speak to that type of customer directly.

A CMS will help personalize your website is by providing tools to  create, manage and analyze your content. These tools make it easy to A/B test different strategies and content in order to deliver an excellent experience to the end users.

2. Inconsistent Customer Experience (CX)

According to the Walker Study, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. CX has been proven to be one of the most important influences on a company’s success and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. The Aberdeen Group has conducted surveys that suggest that the top fifth of firms in terms of omni-channel engagement have a customer retention rate around 89%, while the other 80% of firms have an average retention rate of 33%. A CMS can help achieve consistency in the experience and message, regardless of the device the content is accessed with. From desktop to the tiniest phone on the market, your content and the general experience should be consistent across every platform. You want to be able to deliver the right content at the right time and an enterprise-grade CMS allows you to deliver the content in an engaging way to increase your chances at marketing success.

Omni-channel marketing is very important to consider because of the typical path the customer journey takes; moving through departments at various stages of the purchase decision. Customers need (and expect) cross-department consistency and consistency between experiences. This is something that a CMS, through integrating disparate systems, can achieve.

3. Control of Content

A CMS is an excellent tool to ensure the organization is fully in control of their content. If you have a liability to convey accurate advice/information or meet any compliance requirements, a CMS can put processes in place to send any potential content for approval. Some CMS solutions can provide you with relevant, approved content, letting the user pick and choose which content they want to display on their website. They can choose which features are available to partners on the company extranet or what permissions various departments have for altering different content. The CMS allows workflows to be secure and efficient, putting necessary checks and balances in place to ensure all content meets branding and quality standards.

4. Growth

Does your company website have more than one page? If it doesn’t, it should. Do you engage in online sales or ecommerce? How much daily traffic do you get? What would happen if that traffic doubled? What would happen if it increased a hundredfold? Any CMS worth its weight will be able to easily scale, add or remove pages and handle high levels of traffic without overloading the servers, missing any interactions, or losing any data.  You will need to be able to manage a large number of pages, microsites, different domains and URLs without losing performance or responsiveness. An enterprise-grade CMS is able to handle those needs as online and digital experience continues to explode.

5. Organization Purposes

Have you ever had an issue finding a particular document, brochure, photo, or video that you know you have and could use to wow a prospective client? A CMS will help you manage internal documents, so everything you need is centralized, organized and easy to find. An effective CMS will have plenty of tools available for organizing content, allowing your organization to ensure all your assets are in one place and easy to find, saving you time and money. A CMS might cost more upfront than paying a developer to make a website, but you will see the savings over time. You will see cost savings in terms of reduced costs of managing your own content rather than having to go externally for every small change, or not having to pay someone to fix your website after your content gets disorganized. You will also see efficiency in that you can get your messaging, and website changes live in minutes, rather than hours.  These tools can be as simple as a WordPress plug-in to a complex system with processes, checks and balances in place to ensure branding, regulations and content standards are complied with.

Without a CMS (or with a CMS that is too thin for the organization’s needs) you may have wings of the organization using outdated assets, distributing old content (and not having proper access to new content). This can lead to a disjointed customer experience; confusing and potentially upsetting those customers. This reduces your chance of reaching that customer with your message. It is easy to upgrade your CMS and avoid these problems, you shouldn’t be suffering from a disorganized digital deck.

6. System Cohesion

With the multitude of solutions available to businesses today, many companies subscribe to multiple services or purchase multiple different tools to help solve different business needs. Most of the time these tools are unrelated, acquired from different vendors and do not work together very well. This introduces a variety of problems for your business including information silos;where information is trapped in one system and can’t be exported to another. Another problem from lack of cohesion is time wasted logging in and out of various screens with different credentials. Without system cohesion you will waste time and money due to digital inefficiencies. A CMS solves these problems by integrating your systems into one cohesive application, with one login allowing you to manage content, data and other digitally stored assets easily and effectively with very little effort or stress.

7. Not Properly Utilizing Tools

There are many tools that even the more bare bones CMS will provide you with that can help ensure your website gets appropriate traffic. These tools allow the average person to keep track and add content, leaving the logistics of the website’s look and feel to more experienced designers. When content and information are spread across disparate systems, the tools available may not be properly used. This can occur because the tool is inconvenient to use given a particular system, because it is impossible. By combining all of your systems in one place with the tools you need to access, edit and manage all your data and content you will reduce “system overload’ you will save time and money.

Final Thoughts

Chances are you already have a CMS in place at your business. There are many reasons why it has become a necessity for every business; from efficient workflows to customer satisfaction, a CMS can be a game changer when used effectively. If any of these points hit close to home (or your business), it’s probably time to invest in an enterprise grade CMS! What was the moment that made you decide it was time to upgrade your CMS? Let us know over on Twitter @VeridayHQ

Liferay DXP vs. Liferay 6.2 : Interview with VP of Solutions, Nick Quach

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In this exclusive interview, Nick Quach, VP of Solutions at Veriday and resident Liferay expert, sits down with Veriday CEO, Marc Lamoureux, to discuss Liferay DXP (Digital Experience Platform), the latest and greatest Liferay platform. In this discussion, we will hear about what’s new and innovative, what changes you’ll see from the previous versions, what new business challenges it can solve and when an organization might choose to migrate over.

Nick has extensive experience using and implementing the Liferay platforms, including Liferay DXP, for a wide range of solutions, clients, and industries.

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Marc: It’s Marc Lamoureux and Nick Quach from Veriday. We’re here to talk about Liferay DXP (Digital Experience Platform). To start off this discussion, I thought I’d ask you, in your experience, what kind of customers traditionally would be using Liferay?

Nick: I think one of the strengths of Liferay, even before DXP was introduced, is the fact that they have always prided themselves on providing a platform versus providing a product. What that allows the end customer to do is to use that platform to deliver their requirements in however many ways they need.

So, whether an organization is using it for a corporate intranet (which is probably one of the most prolific use cases for the platform out there), using it to build simple web sites, or using it to engage their customers. Whether it’s a B2B or an e-commerce type engagement, Liferay has them covered.

I think for us the diversity of the Liferay client base is probably what’s most compelling and what’s most telling about the actual platform itself.

The distribution of what we actually see clients using Liferay platforms for is quite broad compared to what we would see in the more traditional web content management system like WordPress, that are only used in situations where someone is looking to build websites. You see Liferay being deployed in a much more diverse manner.

Marc: Interesting; so traditionally Liferay has described itself as a “portal platform”, but now they’ve rebranded the product to the platform “DXP” (Digital Experience Platform). Talk to us a little bit about why they made that change and what do you think is behind the positioning of a product from portal to digital experience?

Nick: Liferay itself has always been a platform, however it was called Liferay portal because the problems that we were trying to solve 10 years ago dictated what most of the organizations were using Liferay for. A lot of the organizations that were interested in portal technologies already had a dispersed set of software in-house with information separated into different subsystems. These organizations were looking for a technology that would allow them to consolidate the data into a single touch point with the benefit of providing a more seamless customer experience, which is where the term “portal” came from.

The use case was to provide a more seamless customer experience, to provide a one-stop shop for their clients, allowing them to access everything they needed in one place. The portal was typically viewed as a system engaged with a touch point in which an organization could interact and communicate with their client.

Five years ago it was really about collaboration and aggregation, it was really about getting people onto a platform that allowed them to communicate. But the world has changed and what we’re seeing today is not so much a fundamental shift in the way people are viewing technology but the way in which people want to consume technology. I think that’s what’s really driving Liferay and the platform and where we see the marketing of the platform heading.

Before, portals used to solve the problem of “I have a lot of data and I need to be able to consolidate that data in a single touch point” but now it’s more about “I have a lot of data but I want to be able to engage with my client in whatever fashion they choose to be engaged”. It’s no longer about just aggregating the data but also using it to engage the customer. Your system is now part of a greater ecosystem of engagement, providing consistency between interactions with clients.

Marc: Let’s say I’m currently using Liferay to engage with customers. When I see that Liferay released the DXP platform, what would you want to convey to me about new tools, or features that provide better opportunities for engagement and improvement in customer experience?

Nick: Well, I think it would be naive of me to of sit here and list all the new features feature-by-feature that Liferay DXP offers but I would tell them that if you’re already using Liferay, the engagement model doesn’t need to change. What I would challenge them to do is to think about how you could extend your engagement model.

My main point in an explanation to a customer would be to consider your engagement model and think about how you could increase the number and quality of touch points in which you interact with the client.

So, for example, if you’re in a B2B context, there are a lot of different channels in which an  organization can interact with their business clients and so regardless of the channel, how do you take all the data provided by the channel, all the various engagement models and how can you use the platform to provide you with not only insight, but a richer engagement?

Liferay DXP allows businesses to increase engagement by having tools in place that can capture and analyze data and provide a more personalized experience depending on the situation, providing different offerings or information depending on their situation, whether the customer is using a desktop or a mobile device.

It’s all about engaging people in different ways, for example if the client was attending an event in which you were hosting a booth, could you interact with them in a way that lets them know “we’re just around the corner from you, come pay us a visit” and offers them an incentive to visit? You already have a good solid foundation to engage with your customer, but what else can you do to engage more seamlessly in other medium. How can you use DXP to deliver that engagement?  Then, and only then, we can start talking about some of the new capabilities that DXP is offering.

Marc: It sounds like the customer experience can change for people who are engaging with these websites or forms. A more personal experience can be provided, with real time enablement, so you can respond to all the data you have about that customer and become more engaging over time. Basically it boils down to thinking “with a digital DXP platform I’m going to get a much, much more personal experience”?

Nick: Absolutely. The idea of real-time engagement, the idea of personalized engagement and the idea of omni-channel engagement, where regardless of how you are interacting with a client, the experience is seamless and they will get the same consistent customer experience regardless of which touch point they are using to interact with your business.

I think the real key here is “what do you look for in technology and what do you look for in a platform that will allow you to engage with your client that way.”

Marc: If you’re a current Liferay customer and looking to make the move to DXP, what are some of the business or technology issues you have to be thinking through on the way to making that move?”

Nick: That’s a bit of a tricky question to answer due to the fact that Liferay is a platform with a diverse range of use cases. Not every client is going to be the same. That being said, nearly every single business is looking for ways to increase their business capacity. Whether that’s through sales, more efficient communication or by any other means, whatever their method is the Liferay DXP platform can enhance the experience of client interaction. This makes their business processes more efficient through providing a platform that allows the customer and the business to communicate and engage.

Regardless of what your use case is, what I would do is ask “what are you using the platform for?”. Whether it’s  B2B, B2C or an e-commerce situation, you must ask, “how do you engage with your customer and how can you do it better?”. How do you look at that engagement model and say, “can I provide a better experience? Can I provide a more seamless experience?”

Whatever you were using Liferay for in the past you can continue to do it. You’re going to get a lot of new features so even if you choose not to look at engaging your customer differently, you’re going to get new features, new capabilities and you’re going to get a product that is going to be able to meet the standards of web technology today.

Marc: So from a business consideration the first recommendation is just to think through your engagement model, your strategy, what you want the customer experience to be and then plan those components against the new platform?

Nick: Absolutely, and then also look at how to utilize the platform in your greater ecosystem.

Typically we used to think about platforms (and Liferay in general) as an engagement system but we always typically looked at Liferay being THE engagement system, i.e. “this is where you go to engage”.

What we’re seeing in the industry today and what we’re seeing with DXP is now the platform has the capability to be part of a greater ecosystem, a component in the Internet of Things. It allows you to look at Liferay DXP as not solely just the primary engagement model but a component of the greater engagement model.

However, what you’re getting from the platform is the ability to use a consolidated capability. You’ret not losing the ability to consolidate data and the ability to have a lot of systems underneath that you need to interact with.. You still get a lot of benefit in that sense however, you can start to challenge your thinking about what engagement means. DXP doesn’t stop at DXP. It has the potential to be used in a greater ecosystem as part of the Internet of Things.

Marc: So in preparation for this conversation I was reading a little bit about Liferay DXPs technology platform and it seemed to me that there are opportunities for some technologists to make some improvement in the way they build and deploy these engagements/experiences. Talk a little bit about the opportunities that exist in the technology.

Nick: Of course, we already discussed Liferay DXP and what business challenges the platform is trying to solve and one of the things we haven’t talked about so far is the trend in the industry: that development is moving faster than we’ve ever seen before. The internet is constantly changing now, whereas before it used to change maybe once per year. What we’re seeing as a result is a greater need for modularity, platforms that will allow us to change capabilities, add, remove and update features in a safe way so that we can meet business goals quicker, cheaper and more efficiently.

I think that ability to change and evolve is fundamental to any platform that you’re looking for. So we’re not just looking at how to engage but how to select a platform that allows you to stay current with how quickly things are moving in the industry.

One of the key features of Liferay DXP is it’s move to modularity. Liferay spent a considerable effort to re-architect the platform. They’ve introduced a technology called OSGI which is very technical but put simply it’s a framework for modularity that allows Liferay (the platform) to be separated into separate components.  Everything that you do and interact with on the platform is a component in itself and you can add (or remove) components into the platform without having to disturb the platform itself.

The modularity brought to Liferay DXP by OSGI means users are looking at an increased agility, allowing you to quickly and easily develop new features and capabilities to your end customer.

Marc: So are the implications of the modularity that if I’m using DXP as a technologist, that I have a chance to make it extremely light (for a technology platform) and able to run really fast, really only using a small number of features?. On the other side, I am also able to turn on lots of robust features and drive a different kind of model. Would I have that kind of flexibility?

Nick: Absolutely! The ability to customize the platform is unparalleled to what was in Liferay 6. Having said that, Liferay has always been the strongest vendor in terms of providing “hooks” or “extension points” into their platform that allow you to customize the platform to your desires.

Liferay DXP has taken that flexibility and has increased it a hundred-fold so that now with modularity you can run a much slimmer, or heavier version of the platform, whatever you choose.

You can add new capabilities and alter what is provided out of the box much easier than you ever could before and in a very safe manner where it protects your code, your intellectual property which you are deploying or creating on the platform. It also allows Liferay to be able to update its system more readily so that it can provide new features and capabilities to the market in ways that it never could before.

While there is a steeper learning curve than previous versions of Liferay, the technology only shifted, not changed completely. Having said that the product is relatively new and is only now starting to be fully understood. I think the learning curve will solve itself over time.

Marc: Let’s talk a little bit about the reputation of Liferay. Traditionally, Liferay has been viewed as a really strong technology platform that is extremely cost-effective because of their business model and how they deliver a combination of open-source fundamentals but for an annual subscription model. How does the DXP release preserve that value?

Nick: I think if anything the DXP release increases that value proposition for customers. The cost hasn’t changed between DXP and Liferay 6. Materially you’re still looking at a platform that delivers a much lower cost of ownership than any of its competitors.  

Compared to Transfer Portal by IBM, compared to WebLogic, compared to Adobe Experience Manager, Liferay DXP is still a fraction of the cost of onboarding when compared to other competitive products. The ROI doesn’t stop there. Outside of the cost of acquisition I think what you’re going to see is the cost of ownership further reduced due to modularity. The ability to provide new capabilities, develop, extend and test the platform, with modularity, in a very safe manner is going to increase your ROI. Outside of the original cost of acquisition of the product, you’re going to see that the ROI benefits of DXP are going to be greater than what we’ve traditionally seen in the past.

Marc: Interesting, so if we wanted to recommend to the audience how to learn more about DXP, what would you suggest they do? With the technical community? With the business community?

Nick: From a technical perspective, Liferay provides resources online. Dev.liferay.com is a great resource if you enjoy reading code. Liferay is still a proponent of open source so there is a Liferay 7.0 which is the open-source version of the DXP offering. For the most part the two are very close. The code base is 99% the same so Liferay doesn’t hide anything. You can look at the source code, you can read the documentation and forms online. The community is still strong and so there are a number of ways to get information and tangible experience; play with the product if you so choose. You can also get trial versions of DXP as well.

From a technology perspective, I think being open source and the vibrant community that Liferay offers really maximizes your ability to learn and engage with Liferay, which is largely unchanged from previous generations.

From a business perspective I think there are a lot of ways to engage with Liferay. You can reach out to partners like ourselves, here at Veriday, to walk you through the thinking in terms of where we may be able to help you view your current offerings differently, how you can potentially engage your clients better, and how you can leverage what Liferay DXP offers in a way that is going to provide you with a greater ROI.

You can also always engage Liferay and their sales channel, or look at the plethora of literature available online (blog posts, podcasts, ebooks etc). There are a lot of different ways that you could get information from a business perspective

I believe that one of the things you’ve got to look at before you even think about a platform is: how do you want to engage with your clients today? How do you want to engage with your clients tomorrow? How do you look for a platform that gives you all the tools you need to engage with your customers in a way that provides you with all the benefits we previously mentioned?

Marc: Good stuff. I think that’s enough for one day. As Nick mentioned, you can reach us at Veriday.com if you’d like more information. You can also drop us a line on Twitter (@VeridayHQ). We’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding Liferay itself or Liferay DXP. We look forward to talking to you again on our next podcast. Thank you very much!

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That wraps up our interview with Nick Quach. Stay tuned for more interviews, with our Liferay experts, about Liferay DXP, the newest digital experience platform.

In the next part of our series, we will be sitting down with Sam Hyland, Service Delivery Lead here at Veriday, to discuss the new technological features that you can expect to see in Liferay DXP. As always, if you want to continue the discussion, you can reach out to us on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The Internet of Things Will Explode by 2020: Focus on the Internet of Experience

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In a past article, we said, “by the year 2020, there will be 24 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed around the world.” Internet of Things is a network of internet-connected objects that is able to collect and exchange data.

An extension of IoT is its ecosystem. The IoT ecosystem enables entities to connect to, and control, their IoT device.

Now, since there will be 24 billion devices, there has to be a focus on the ecosystems and the experience with them. We can all agree that with that many devices, there is going to be a whole lot of data – a lot of which may be in limbo between digital and traditional (pen and paper).

Experience when it comes to data analysis is key for workplace productivity.

All the data that is rapidly being created is next to impossible for humans to process traditionally, without any form of automation. Even more, it’s not valuable unless there is some type of conclusion extracted from it. The next logical step is creating artificial intelligence programs that can learn and perform predictive analysis.

In addition to knowing what is next, the smart program can learn from past trends to offer a better prediction of future trends. Has a specific workflow happened over and over? Was the user at a certain location and using a certain workflow? The simplest example of this is an email service creating automated replies according to the content of the email. These things can be accounted for and instantly predicted by a program to improve efficiency.

The experiences can also translate into improved inventory efficiency. Machine learning, the process of artificial intelligence learning from various input/output, can track usage of a product and predict when to purchase more to ensure there is no shortage in inventory.

The best example would be a smart printer.. They are fully integrated into the IoT ecosystem in which it tracks usage and predicts when the ink cartridge will run out. Then, if the settings are active, the printer can order more ink by itself, which minimizes time and effort on the administration. Expand this to more aspects within the workplace and the IoT greatly increases employee experience.

Similarly, use all the data to improve customer experience.

With all the data, companies can build programs that will understand and predict a customer’s preferences. As opposed to a general strategy, implementing this type of strategy will keep the customers engaged and satisfied.

A positive experience and relationship with the customer greatly impacts ROI. Accurately targeted predictions lead to a more successful campaign and customer experience. The best part is that this experience occurs with fewer recurring expenses due to automation. 

The best example of this is Google’s platforms. The search, geolocation, and usage details of their search engine, maps, and Chrome browser all compile together to gain insight to what their consumers are like. This knowledge in turn, allows programs such as Google Now to curate products, articles, and useful information for the best type of consumer experience.

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The IoT ecosystem is a vast array of intermingled devices that connect through the internet. The immense amount of data that is being created, and will continue to be created, is jaw-dropping. Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is being created – that’s about 2.5 billion gigabytes. There are plenty of devices that create the abundance of data, though the processes that parse through the data and create a great experience are still being developed. Integrating these processes into the workplace expands the ecosystem into a full fledged IoT Experience.

Three Digital Transformation Lessons Financial Services Can Learn From Other Industries

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This post was authored by Christine Reyes and originally appeared here on Liferay.com


It’s no secret that digital transformation is a necessity for long-term, traditional players in business, if they want to stay relevant to consumers. In a recent study of financial service leaders, 49% of respondents stated they were roughly halfway through digital transformation, and an additional 37% were in early stages. The fact that so many leaders are making inroads in digital innovation is a good sign for financial services. It means that they’re paying attention and preparing for any coming disruption.

However, being “roughly halfway” through digital transformation means that FSI still has a long way to go. The numbers around customer experience improvement efforts hint at some of the remaining obstacles in transformation. Of those surveyed, 55% are currently working on coordinating their customer experience across channels, and 36% are gearing up to begin this work.

This means that, except for a few leaders and laggards, financial services are in the middle of redesigning their customer experience or about to start. In order to sustain this great momentum and not get stuck, FSI should look to examples from other industries that are farther along in the transformation process.

Here are three lessons from the retail and food industries to help financial services carry digital innovation into customer experience.

Three Digital Transformation Lessons Financial Services Can Learn From Other Industries

Lesson One: Pay attention to micro-moments

Google has identified different kinds of micro-moments, which it defines as “moments that decisions are made and preferences are shaped.” One fun example of this from the food industry is Taco Bell’s TacoBot. It integrates with Slack so that you can order food through an instant message. Since Slack is primarily used as a work tool, this is an innovative way to capture the moments when hunger is setting in during the work day.

Or take, for example, what Google calls I-want-to-know and I-want-to-go moments. Consumers are searching for information on their mobile phones the moment a question occurs to them, and searches that include “near me” have doubled in the past year. Banks could take advantage of this through mobile apps that use geo-location to let customers know that they are nearby and available to help with any financial questions they have.

Lesson Two: Find technology that makes brick and mortar stand out

With the rapid rise of IoT gadgets and VR technology, retail companies have to be brutal about which digital trends are worth pursuing and which will fade away. The point of coordinating customer experience across digital and physical environments is to “help the physical, brick and mortar, three-dimensional retail environment distinguish itself from an online experience,” according to a recent article on Forbes. Currently, consumers still depend on in-person interactions for many of their finance needs. Financial services companies need to establish processes for evaluating technology that enable them to both boost their digital channels, as well as redesign their physical locations so that all touchpoints are seamless, easy to use and valuable for their customers.

Lesson Three: Culture is hard to change

People don’t like it when things change. In 2011, JCPenney launched a digital initiative that failed spectacularly, leading some to conclude that its digital strategy was flawed. But when you look at the department store today, they’ve implemented many of the digital initiatives that were attempted five years ago. This suggests that the obstacles they faced were about people and culture, not technology or strategy. See this recent interview with Lance Thornswood, the Senior Director of JCPenney’s omnichannel digital platform. He states that, even when initiatives were successful, trying to create a new work culture “pushed people so outside their comfort zones that the natural tendency was to snap back to the old ways.” He goes on to say that seeking consensus within the company leads to risk-aversion and stops innovation in its tracks. Instead, executives should empower their employees to pursue new ideas that they really believe in. This creates a more optimistic culture that doesn’t condition employees to say “no” to risk. Financial service leaders need to be aware of the resistance to change within their own companies and find ways to guide their employees through the transition.

Final Takeaway

There’s one more thing that financial service leaders can take from the final JCPenney example: it’s not too late to change. Even if your company is stalled on digital transformation and customer experience improvement, it might not be too late to recover. It will take time and coordination across your organization, but hopefully these lessons from those who’ve been there will inspire you to keep pressing forward.

Outbound Vs. Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors

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Marketing is a necessary task for any business.  However, there are seemingly infinite ways to go about it given the current digital landscape. You might find yourself wondering, “how should I go about marketing my Advisory business?

Referrals used to be the bread and butter marketing tool to spread the word about your financial service offerings. Do a good job for one client, they tell two friends or family members and boom, off to the races. Today that method, while still sometimes effective, can’t be leaned on as heavily as before due to the many factors and channels that consumers are using to make decisions in today’s digital world.

So, what should you do? Plaster your name all over local benches? Take out ads in the paper? Make a commercial? Use one of the many digital marketing channels available at your disposal? How should you go about getting the word out about your business?

In this article, I will discuss two contrasting methods of marketing that will get your name out there; who the audience for each is, how the message will get in front of the audience and how the audience will likely respond to each message, as well as how that affects your business.

Outbound VS. Inbound Marketing

It’s a simple question that can confuse and confound those outside the marketing department. In reality, it simply refers to traditional marketing methods, such as broadcasting, print, direct mail and telemarketing. Everyone has been exposed to these methods, either through an ad on TV, fliers stuffed in your mailbox, or annoying phone calls while you’re eating dinner.

Why do we call traditional marketing “Outbound”? The term was intended to mirror “Inbound Marketing”, which is the process of tailoring marketing efforts to attract qualified prospects to your business and giving them an experience that turns them into promoters of your brand. Major techniques in inbound marketing are content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). The major difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing is generally targeted at consumers who are already interested or have an awareness, in some way or another. Outbound marketing is less targeted and casts its net on a wide group of people in an attempt to get them interested. “Outbound” marketing is sometimes referred to as “interruption” marketing because whatever people are doing (watching a TV show, reading the paper, watching the road while driving) is interrupted by the marketing message (commercial, a full-page ad in the paper, billboards).

Why Inbound Marketing Works

Inbound Marketing will continue to be effective in 2017 for a plethora of reasons; from the fact it can effectively target specific segments of the demographics, to the value it brings to potential customers pre-purchase, to the convenience and cost savings for the company.

Inbound marketing costs 62% less than a traditional marketing campaign and generates 3 times the traffic of a traditional (outbound) marketing campaign. It makes sense though, writing a blog post or a few Tweets is far less expensive than purchasing ad space. A domain name costs only a small amount per year and the long-term costs associated with maintaining social media feeds, a blog, website or other assets that are common in inbound marketing are quite low compared with various forms of advertising. Even advertisements online (Google Adwords for example) would cost far less than TV ad time.

The lower costs, and the agility of inbound marketing means that you may personalize the message to its target market to a near infinite extent. For example writing a blog post about how investing would work in the Harry Potter universe (to attract wizards and fans of wizardry), or what Batman’s portfolio would look like (to attract Gotham billionaire Bruce Wayne) at very little cost and in very little time compared to traditional forms of marketing. Inbound marketing allows hyper-targeting, tailoring your message to a specific audience in a way that will feel personal and convey that you can speak to and meet their specific needs and challenges.

Convincing people to trust you with their assets is hard. No matter what medium you use. Selling your financial service to people online, and showing them that you can meet their needs and benefit them is even harder. While inbound marketing generally costs less than outbound marketing, the challenge of appearing to be a legitimate solution to someone’s problem can be much more difficult online.

By sending a hyper-specific message to somebody who already recognizes that they have the need for a specific financial service, inbound marketing generally ensures that all marketing efforts are put in front of people who will actually consider your message, increasing your chances of attracting an MVP customer that can help grow your business.

So why is outbound marketing dying?

There are many reasons why outbound marketing is losing its lustre, from it’s interruptive nature to the slow, inflexible, and often costly process of creating an outbound campaign.

A commercial break in the middle of your favorite TV show, an unexpected cold-call (which always seem to be at the most inconvenient time), spam mail with offers you aren’t interested in coming into your home and bringing clutter with it. People are growing tired of the interruptions and will do what is needed to avoid the interruptions.

Over 200 million people worldwide use ad-blockers when browsing the internet, which renders banner, sidebar and pop-up ads ineffective for a large part of the target audience. The trend of blocking ads is not limited to browsing the internet. More and more people are using PVR’s or services like Netflix, Shomi or Hulu to avoid watching TV ads. Outbound marketing has annoyed people into avoiding as many ads as they can.

Another issue with outbound marketing is the fact that these measures are often slow and inflexible. TV commercials, print ads in major publications, and billboards all take significant time to develop and arrange for them to be released to the public. This means that it is very difficult (and expensive) to have an ad that is current and based off what prospective clients want. Inbound marketing efforts such as Social media, content marketing and SEO are much more agile, meaning campaigns and marketing efforts can be real-time and relevant, with more flexibility and timeliness, all at a much lower cost.

In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, there are issues in outbound marketing involving putting your message in front of the appropriate target at a reasonable price. There are still a few mediums with high viewership for a specific market segment (such as ESPN for sports fans) but many segments do not have such an outlet. This means that to market your product to your target market you must cast a wider net, perhaps by making a commercial and playing it during a show with massive viewership, hoping that some of your target market is watching. These efforts are very costly and generally return a very low ROI.

If we were trying to attract clients to our financial advisory firm we could put an ad on the back cover of our local newspaper, potentially paying tens of thousands of dollars for that ad space. The issue is that although some targets may see the ad, it still got in front of many people who wanted nothing to do with it and are not at all interested. This can be a wasteful process. We could spend far less money designing a top notch website, paying for a domain name and using SEO to ensure that every single person who Googles “Financial Advisors in (Where you live)” will see our website, and our thought leadership content. Simply put, inbound marketing is far more effective at matching your value proposition to a target customer.

Today, if people want something, they Google it, Bing it, or Yahoo search it. They understand there is a market for whatever they are looking for, from financial services to a new furnace. People today don’t want to be sold something. They want to buy it themselves.

Not today, but soon

How does this affect you? That depends entirely on how you want your business to grow into the future. Are you satisfied with an aging client base, who will soon begin to retire, divest and live the easy life? Would you rather have a client base full of millennials just getting into the workforce, still needing to buy a house, plan for a family and work for many years to come?

Generally speaking the older someone is the more likely they are to be influenced by outbound marketing. Younger generations want personalized, unobtrusive marketing efforts. For your practice to thrive and survive in the future you will need to meet the needs and expectations of those generations.

Why you need to recruit milleninials

For your business to thrive you need clients who are still in the Wealth Accumulation stage of the Financial Planning Life Cycle (as shown above). At this time most Baby-Boomers are moving through the “Children in College” phase and into the “Empty Nester” phase. Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and that will continue for the next 15 years.

To maintain relevance in such a competitive industry, financial advisors must work twice as hard to cater to the future, even if that means moving away from word-of-mouth referrals that has been the gold standard for your entire career.  It may mean moving towards having a strong digital presence that draws in targets who have already identified a need that you might be able to help with.

Another reason to focus your marketing efforts on inbound tactics is that studies show 70% of internet users would prefer to learn about products via content instead of advertisements. Roughly half the world’s population uses the internet, with that figure even higher in developed nations. With the increase of internet users with adblock technology installed and the population steadily migrating away from traditional forms of media and towards digital media, nearly every industry is going to have to get serious about their content marketing, use of social media and their ability to personalize messages.

What does this mean?

For financial advisors and financial service providers, inbound marketing can be the next generations referral system. Instead of attracting one client and building through their network, establish your own network. Create engaging, informative content that can help solve consumer’s challenges and put it out into the world so those looking can find it, and more importantly find you.

This means you need to create your own social network, create engaging content, teach people things about finance through creative, engaging, educational content. Have them come to see you as a thought leader and when it’s time for their purchase decision, it’s likely they will choose the most experienced, capable financial advisor in their social network, which thanks to your efforts educating and engaging them is YOU.

Don’t be left behind in the new generation of digital marketing. Establish your name and build your social network. The only way to thrive in the future of of financial services is to show the world just how good you are – online!

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What’s your most successful method of attracting people to your practice? Do you still rely on referrals? Are you a LinkedIn giant or is your website the go-to place to learn about finance? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ #OutboundIsOut

Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali & Serena Williams: What They Can Teach You About Business

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I’m a big sports fan. In my day to day life, I tend to think about sports a lot. I’ve come to idolize and respect athletes from many different sports and walks of life; not just because of their actions on the field (or ice, diamond, court, course, take your pick), but because of their wisdom which can be translated to many other aspects of life. Sports are a medium to build teamwork, friendship and to learn the value of hard work, all while having fun. Often lessons learned during a game can translate wonderfully to the business world. Below, I’ve compiled my top 10 favorite sports quotes that can also be related to business.

 1. “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.” –Muhammad Ali (World HeavyWeight Champion Boxer)

Muhammad Ali, while being one of the greatest boxers ever, was also one of the best speakers of his era. This quote should hit home for anyone with a desire to make something of themselves, boxers and entrepreneurs alike.

 2. “The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.” –  Knute Rockne (College Football Hall of Fame Coach)

If you work with a team at your company, this quote holds true for you. If you manage a team of people this quote should hold especially true. Great teamwork will always get more accomplished, with a higher degree of quality than a skilled performer who doesn’t work well with others whether that be on the field or work environment. Nearly every job involves teamwork.  I (and many others) believe that team synergy is one of the most important aspects of success.Just because you can’t measure the ROI of teamwork directly, the value of good teamwork is certainly not to be ignored.

 3. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky (Hockey Great)

Wayne Gretzky definitely knows a thing or two about being a great hockey player, but this quote also holds true in any situation. Top performers are always ahead of the curve. That means being ready to adapt to the next shift in the market or the next challenge to overcome. The puck is a metaphor for your business. If you can stay on top of things that’s good, but if you can get ahead of the trends and be one step in front of your competitors, your business truly has the chance to be great.

 4. “Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.” – Mia Hamm (U.S. Soccer Great)

I think Mia Hamm wanted to let others know that they should always be striving for greatness, no matter what field they’re in. If you just landed a big client, turned in an amazing project or just passed your sales goals, it’s important to continue to strive for the next big thing.

 5. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it” – Michael Jordan (6-time NBA Champion)

Michael Jordan, probably the greatest human being ever to play basketball, was a pretty competitive guy. So competitive, in fact, that when he said this he might have been talking about literally running through a brick wall because somebody said he couldn’t do it.  This quote, while it definitely applies to athletes (and people who need to get past a literal wall), it also applies to business. It’s important to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacle gets in your way, from a difficult client to a seemingly impossible engineering problem. It’s important to move forward, keep going and work around your obstacles.

  6. “It doesn’t matter what your background is and where you come from, if you have dreams and goals that’s all that matters” – Serena Williams (Tennis Superstar)

I’ll admit, this quote is a little bit of a cop-out. It can really apply to any part of your life but it applies fittingly to business as well. No matter what your goals are, it’s important to realize that nothing is impossible. Whether you want your own business to grow to become an industry giant or if you want to get a promotion, your goals can become a reality with some hard work!

 7. “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersey (Track and Field)

I think that this quote is very fitting in today’s rapidly changing technological landscape. While Jackie Joyner-Kersey (3-time gold medalist) was talking about competing in the Olympics against a field of much younger competition, this quote can apply to your everyday business needs as well. Adopting new technologies (for any purpose) can be beneficial to the growth of the company. That can mean anything from setting up a Snapchat or Instagram account to trying to engage the Millennials, or investing in robust ERP software, don’t let yourself fall too far behind in regards to technological trends. Be willing to innovate! Don’t let years of doing things a certain way stop you from adopting a new trend or technology, it just might help and make things easier.

 8. “As the leader, part of the job is to be visible and willing to communicate with everyone” – Bill Walsh (American Football Coach)

This quote goes out to all the leaders out there, whether you’re a team lead, manager or CEO. If you lead you should listen to the wise words of Bill Walsh. Communication is an essential part of team success. If you lead a team of people you need to be available and ready to listen to your team and ensure they are all working in tandem. This cannot be done without top of the line communication. While your team members may have very little in common with the NFL athletes Bill Walsh had on his teams, the job of a leader is the same, no matter the situation.

 9. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath (NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback)

Throughout history, there are hundreds of variations of this quote, said by people from all different walks of life. It boils down to the idea of doing whatever you do to the best of your abilities, giving it your all and bringing everything you can to the table.

 10. “In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”  – Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager

This quote needs no explanation. Which one of these types of people do you want to be? The choice is up to you!

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What do you think of our list of quotes? Let us know your favorite sports and business quotes. We’d love to hear from you on Twitter: @VeridayHQ #MotivationMonday

FinTech Trends and the Response from Traditional Financial Services: Part 2

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This series takes an in depth look at the report “Blurred Lines: how Fintech is Shaping Financial Services”.  For an intro on the topic, check out part 1 of the series before reading on. Part 2 will examine the future of FinTech and what strategies financial service providers should use to counter FinTech.

There’s a definite disruption. So, what are the exact risks?

There was a time when physical video rentals or purchases were the only way for people to watch movies from the comfort of their own home. As technology progressed, these physical video outlets didn’t take the steps needed to counteract the disruption from newer video streaming companies. Slowly but surely, the newer technologies gained market share and won over the mass consumer market to the point that outlets that rely solely on physical videos are just not sustainable.

Similarly, the risks are clear in the financial services industry. 23% of financial services business is at risk of being lost to other FinTech options. That means 1 in 4 services offered by most financial service companies will end up being taken over by standalone, independent FinTech companies. The services at risk of being lost to standalone FinTech companies within the next five years are shown in the graph below.

FinTech Trends and the Response in Traditional FinServe: Part 2

The pressure is being felt within the sector with 2 out of 3 companies believing that FinTech will cause pressure on their own margin in the next 5 years, with 59% believing that they will also lose market share to FinTech firms. Both of these threats can be attributed to FinTech offering high-tech options for basic and convenient financial tasks. The high-tech options are often leaner, carrying fewer overhead costs, which, in turn, allows for the service to be offered at a lower rate. That cost reduction is passed down to the consumer, lowering traditional financial institutions market share and putting pressure on the margins of traditional financial institutions.

However, it isn’t bleak as it seems. There are opportunities related to the rise of FinTech. If a traditional financial service provider is willing to adapt and pivot into the future the risks discussed above can be turned into competitive advantages and lead to improved customer retention through simplification of processes, reducing inefficiencies, and innovation.

What are some strategies?

Integration – if you can’t beat them, join them. 60% of survey respondents in the financial services industry agree that FinTech should be put in the heart of their strategies and 78% of CEOs believe the same. However, there is quite a disconnect between the beliefs expressed and actions taken towards integration.

While 84% of the fund transfer and payment sector believe that FinTech has been put at the heart of their organization’s strategy only 56% of banks, 45% of AM & WM sector, and 44% of insurance sector have put FinTech in the heart of their strategy. All of these figures fall well below what the average respondent believes should be done towards integrating FinTech into the company’s strategy.

The first strategy involves developing a “mobile-first” approach. This strategy has grown in popularity because the majority of the financial service providers believe that up to 60% of their clients will use a mobile application to manage or transfer their finances. Currently, 53% of the industry has a mobile application and 18% of firms in the industry have an app in development. It seems this has become a standard strategy to combat the evolving landscape caused by FinTech.

A second strategy involves collaborating with FinTech companies and integrating the FinTech systems into their own organization. There are many ways this could happen, with acquisition of the whole company, internal R&D, or a joint partnership. All of these have their own pros and cons, which is more of a business problem – but the end goal remains the same.

Since developing a “mobile-first” approach and bringing FinTech thinking into your own organization are the two predominant strategies, many financial service providers have made strides towards modernizing their systems. Other potential strategies to combat the ever-shifting landscape caused by FinTech companies involve altering organizational structure, however, for this strategy to succeed many factors such as talent innovation and luck must be present and the organization must be flexible.

The overall strategies fall in line with the mentality of “if you can’t beat them, join them” because the amount of business FinTech can disrupt is fairly high. Getting ahead of the curve in terms of new and emerging technology is the crucial step in dampening the disruption.

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These strategies will become more mainstream as late adopters to FinTech get out competed and the industry matures. However, for the time being these strategies are the only way financial institutions can retain margins against the competition that is FinTech.

10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 2)

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Welcome to Part 2 of our 10 Trends To Watch: 2017 series. In part 1 we talked about some technologies that have the potential to disrupt markets and a business model that appears to be on the rise. In this article, we’re going to talk about a few more technologies and business models that might change the world, a growing trend to be concerned about, and the ongoing trend of shifting demographics across the consumer market.

6. Voice Search

Voice search technology has been around for a few years now (can you believe Siri is about 5 years old?) but with developments in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, as well as evolving consumer habits, voice search is becoming more common. In turn, it is becoming more integral to Search Engine Optimization. Major tech companies are realizing this trend, especially with the proliferation of mobile device use and the convenience of an accurate voice search bringing value to users, not only to the “mobile-centric” millennials and Generation Z but also to older generations. 55% of teenagers and 56% of adults use voice search daily and the trend is not showing signs of slowing down.

Amazon, Microsoft and Apple each currently have their own digital assistant, Alexa, Cortana and Siri respectively. They allmake voice search a more pleasant experience for theuser by communicating results back verbally, limiting the amount of focus the user needs to put on their screen. Other technology companies are not far behind, either developing their own digital assistant or working out a deal with one of the 3 companies previously mentioned in order to use their digital assistant.

These developments in voice search and digital assistant technology are occurring in large part due to advances in AI and voice recognition which makes the search more accurate and user friendly, providing them with the results they wanted.

With Alexa being introduced by Amazon, continual improvements in AI and voice recognition, there is very little doubt that voice search will continue to be a major focus for technology companies in 2017. Marketers also need to embrace the trend, tailoring their terms and SEO strategy to embrace voice search.  After all, it’s the future of mobile in a mobile future.

7. Cybersecurity

2016 was a year where several high-profile cyber attacks dominated the news cycle. Anyone, from private individuals, to businesses, to government organizations; it seems that nothing is safe from hackers.

With the huge amount of personal, confidential, or strategic business information online even the least technologically inclined people are aware of online threats and that they have information that could be lost to hackers. The risks of lax cybersecurity are there for everyone using the internet and while security experts and long-time internet users have been aware of the problem for decades, it seems as a result of highly publicized events that everybody and their grandmother is aware of risks online.

Nefarious groups and individuals attacking businesses with a variety of ransomware, phishing attacks and other methods of breaking online-security is nothing new. 2016 brought a new level of attention to the subject thanks to cyber attacks on power companies, hospitals and most notably the attack on the Democratic National Convention and the many email controversies surrounding the last Presidential election.

In 2017, organizations of all kinds should reconsider the defenses and systems in place to deal with a potential cyber attack. While there is very little anyone can do to preemptively strike against potential hackers, you can can invest in top of the line security, use cloud storage and maintain high employee awareness about potential threats. There must be a protocol in place for when a hack does occur to limit the damage and protect confidential information as much as possible.

In a report sponsored by Intel’s cybersecurity solutions provider McAfee, called “Net Losses – Estimating the global cost of cybercrime” released by the Centre of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), it was estimated that cybercrime costs businesses $400 billion worldwide.

For these reasons, organizations will open a dialogue (and their wallets via investments) about internal cybersecurity this year. Security experts and firms will be in high demand and there will be plenty of discussion on how to motivate employee awareness about the threats.

8. Autonomous Vehicles

If the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 was any indication it will be a big year for automakers utilizing technology and preparing for the era of autonomous vehicles. Google has been exploring the technology for quite a while now but 2017 has signaled that other automakers and new entrants to the automotive industry will begin exploring the technology. Companies like Uber, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are investing in self-driving technology. Automakers are also leading the trend with firms like Ford, GM, Honda, Tesla and new entrant to the autonomous-electric vehicle segment, Faraday Future, exhibiting their progress with the technology at CES 2017.

In addition to the cars themselves, ancillary technologies for these vehicles are being developed to support efforts of the automakers with companies developing sensors, bandwidth solutions and software to operate the vehicles. These technologies, while by no means new, need to be refined before they can safely be sold to consumers. The internet connection of the cars must be perfect and the software must be flawless, with any failure likely to lead to a crash, potentially tarnishing public perception of the technology.

While we won’t see any self-driving cars on the road this year, 2017 is the year that self-driving vehicles will become mainstream. Governments will consider their potential implications, companies will continue to refine and develop the necessary technologies to operate the vehicles, keeping the terms “autonomous vehicles” and “self-driving cars” in the news for 2017.

9. Drone Delivery

Another technology that may not make its official debut in 2017, but will be at the heart of 2017 conversations about supply chain management, delivering goods and the potential for automated delivery with no need for human hands (or eyes).

The reason it may not debut in 2017 is not because the technology is not available yet, drones have been in use by the military for years now, and consumer drones are available to the public at a fairly low cost. Sure, the technology for automated drone delivery is still a few years away but that’s expected.

Right now the issue with drone delivery is the fact that governments ban the flying of drones over populated areas in the United States and the fact that non-commercial drones (owned by hobbyists) have had some run-ins with air traffic.

Drone delivery will be a popular topic in 2017. Many companies including Amazon, Google, Walmart and many VC funded startups are right on the precipice of being able to utilize drones for delivery. The biggest issue and conversation points will involve the general safety of drones (you don’t want them to land on someone by accident or fall out of the sky), the ability for drones and other aircrafts to coexist in the same airspace (or the ability for governments to split the airspace in a way that works for both human controlled aircraft and drones) and ensuring a positive public perception of drone delivery in general.

The conversation regarding drone delivery in 2017 will center around the legality and safety issues of drones. Once those issues are dealt with the delivery industry should be able to continue full steam ahead. The current regulatory situation, mixed with the willingness of companies to invest in drone delivery makes this  a very interesting trend to monitor.

10. Millennials and Generation Z

It’s not exactly a trend, but definitely a shift in power, momentum and the beginning of a drastic change in the demographics of many markets. In 2017, millennials are projected to spend $200 Billion worldwide, and are projected to collectively spend $10 Trillion dollars in their lifetime. This fact coupled with the fact that 10,000 baby boomers retire daily (with the oldest members of the group beginning to age into their 70s) means that businesses are going to need to begin replacing their current generation of customers with a new generation, one that is mobile-centric, tech-savvy and responsive to different factors then the baby-boomers.

Gen Z, while its members range from recent college grads to toddlers, will have (and already has) an extreme impact on the economy. While this generation will be more educated, more likely to multitask and slightly more ambitious (in regards to owning a business or changing the world) than millennials, the two groups still have much in common; from their love of screens, to their social decision making style and constant viewing of content. A lot of the traits that make millennials seem “millennial” are present in Gen Z, just more extreme.

Compared to Baby-Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers are focused on technology, are extremely social, and listen to their networks when making decisions. They do not like to be interrupted or bombarded with ads and they do not wish to be solicited by companies. If they have a question they will ask, likely over Facebook, and expect a response ASAP.

This means that brands must begin to cater to these generations to continue to grow and thrive as businesses. That means engaging with them through creative, fun content that they can share with their friends. It means being present on the newest, coolest social media platforms to get an audience for your product. For some firms it might mean a complete overhaul of your business strategy.

It may not be a trend, but the youngest Baby-Boomer is 53 today, the youngest member of Gen X will turn 40 within the next 5 years. The future is now, and 2017 is the year to adapt.

 

So what do you think about my Top 10 Trends of 2017? Do you agree with them? What trend are you most excited about this coming year? Is it AR? (Mines AR). What trend most concerns you? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ #TrendsToWatch