6 Things We Can Learn About Customer Engagement From Netflix

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Netflix is one of the most successful companies in the world, with over 94,000,000 subscribers. One of the reasons for Netflix’ success is the way they have engaged their customers at a level never-before-seen. The video streaming service has become a cultural touchstone. They have reached these heights because they do an excellent job of focusing on customer engagement. They can do this thanks to a nearly unprecedented amount of data available to analyze regarding their customers viewing habits. The interesting thing about Netflix is that none of their processes are impossible to emulate. If you commit to making customer engagement your highest priority, you can achieve similar results.

In this article, we will examine 6 areas that Netflix excels in and how those areas contribute to effective customer engagement. We will also relate those lessons back to the financial services industry.

1) Use Data To Learn Customer Preferences

Every person in the world has unique interests, wants and needs. Every action an individual takes is purposeful. Netflix clearly believes this and uses data to help inform every decision they make. Their commitment to data is a major contributor to their success. Netflix looks at factors such as:

  • When you pause, rewind, or fast forward
  • What day you watch content (Netflix has found people watch TV shows during the week and movies during the weekend.)
  • The date you watch
  • What time you watch content
  • Where you watch
  • What device you use to watch (Do you like to use your tablet for TV shows? Do people access the Just for Kids feature more on their iPads, etc.?)
  • When you pause and leave content (and if you ever come back)
  • The ratings that are given (~4 million per day)
  • Searches (~3 million per day)

With the data at their disposal, Netflix ensures that it knows as much as it can about their customers’ streaming preferences so they can offer a better service. Netflix has an algorithm that parses this data to recommend content. 70% of content watched on Netflix comes from these suggestions.

Takeaways for Financial Services: As a financial service provider, data can be harder to come by. The sensitivity of the required data means that people might not be willing to provide it for security reasons. This may be due to a lack of trust in the technology that will collect and store the data. It could also be for a number of personal reasons. Whatever data you have available can be used to match the client with content (and other information) that can engage them. You can use data to find your clients’ pain points and provide information that they will find useful and interesting. This has the opportunity to elevate the level of trust your client base has in your knowledge.

2) Communicate and Listen

If you want to use data to inform yourself about what your customers want and need, you should communicate with (and listen to) your customers. People generally know what they want, especially when given a set of options. Netflix has learned this lesson the hard way thanks to a 2011 communications gaffe. The company announced that it would increase prices while no longer supporting mail-order DVD services. They did not explain why the price was increasing and the explanation of splitting the mail-order service from streaming was underwhelming. Customers were outraged. The company suffered by losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers, leading to their stock price plummeting.

They heard the complaints and after seeing what happened, reversed the decision and made it a priority to listen and properly communicate with their customers. Now, every month Netflix announces new titles and original releases as well as other relevant information.

Takeaways for Financial Services: As a financial service provider, it should be even easier to listen and communicate with your customers. Most clients will come visit your practice on a semi-regular basis, giving you the opportunity to have conversations with them. You should use these conversations for communicating relevant information and taking suggestions. It will improve your business if you can provide clients with services they want and need. By providing targeted, relevant content, you can better engage your client base, having them become more active and interested in your services.

3) Give Your Audience What They Want

There is a song, written in 1975 and performed by The O’Jays, called “Give the People What They Want”. That song should be the anthem for all marketers and product development teams. Simply give your customers what they want. Netflix definitely follows this advice. Here is just one (of the many) examples where Netflix “gave the people what they want”.

In 2011, Netflix announced they were splitting their DVD-by-mail service and their streaming service into two separate businesses. This would have resulted in a 60% increase in price if a consumer wanted to keep both services. Splitting their two services lost them 800,000 subscribers over the summer of 2011. Their stock price tanked, and before it was too late, they canceled their plans. They never stopped supporting the DVD-by-mail service. In January 2017, the company announced that 4.1 million people still get DVDs by mail.

At the time, Netflix was set on splitting up the two services but decided against it because their customer base did not like the idea. They have clearly recovered from the fiasco, and this situation can serve as a reminder to any business: listen to your customers.

Takeaways for Financial Services: If your clients are vocal about wanting something, you should listen to them. Clients may really like a certain package of products that, due to lack of interest, you were considering giving up on. You won’t know if you don’t ask. You don’t have to lose 800,000 customers like Netflix did, but be willing to listen to your customers and communicate changes before they are made. Not listening to upset or angry customers will result in you losing clients, with even more becoming disengaged.

4) Test New Ideas

Netflix is constantly A/B testing new features, usually rolling them out to 10,000 customers at a time. They test what features improve engagement and motivate people to watch longer. The features that are popular are then rolled out to the rest of the user base. This was done recently with their new “thumbs up” button replacing a 5-star rating system. Netflix has also significantly tweaked its recommendation algorithm so the company can provide more accurate suggestions.

Another innovation that Netflix has spearheaded through a series of tests, is the streaming functionality of the website. At first, Netflix was built around the mail-order model. As new technologies were tested, they realized how easy it was becoming to stream video, shifting the company towards a streaming service business model. Netflix is constantly testing features and ideas. This idea can apply to all industries.

Takeaways for Financial Services: You can A/B test various marketing functions such as direct mail, email, social media and many other digital marketing functions. Try different copy, different imagery, and different buttons. See what tactics work best for motivating customers to engage with you. You can also test various personalization tactics. What methods work best for personalizing products and services to specific clients? Testing to see what methods, technologies, and communications methods are the most cost effective and easiest to implement while remaining compliant is yet another test you can carry out.

You might not be able to roll out your tests 10,000 people at a time, but any testing that leads to improvement is worth it. After all, any improvement is an improvement. Every little bit counts.

5) Be Available “On Demand”

Netflix is easily accessible 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Whenever somebody wants to watch a movie, or whenever they have some free time, Netflix is there. The constant availability of Netflix is one of the main draws to the service. Can’t sleep, and want to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 4:45 in the morning? Netflix has you covered. There is a reason that nearly 100 million people worldwide subscribe to Netflix.

Takeaways for Financial Services: Every business should strive to be as available to their customers as Netflix is. Although you likely won’t be available around the clock, your digital properties (website, client portals, etc.) should be high quality and accessible, regardless of where the client is in the world at any given time.

You should also strive to have enough content available to satisfy people’s thirst for knowledge. 67% of the buyer’s journey now takes place digitally. By providing high-quality content, you can educate your buyers, hopefully showing them how to solve their financial challenges. This gives you an opportunity to prove your value to the reader. This will engage their interests and motivate them to do business with you.

6) Personalize

The main factor contributing to the success of Netflix might be the company’s ability to personalize every experience. Netflix has used data to segment its library into 76,897 different genres. These genres are only recommended to people who (based on data) might be interested. A few examples of super-specific genres created by Netflix are:

  • Oscar-winning, visually-striking movies from the 1970s
  • Critically acclaimed animal tales
  • Witty dysfunctional-family TV shows
  • Emotional Fight-the-System Documentaries

Netflix has used data to analyze and categorize more movies and TV shows than any other entity. They know which movies are similar and why, as well as which categories a specific group of people will enjoy.

Takeaways for Financial Services: While your business might not be able to customize your offerings to the extent Netflix has, you should try to offer personalized experiences for your client whenever possible. You should offer products and services that will appeal to your customers’ needs and interests.

How can you find out what content, products, and services will appeal to specific clients? Start gathering data about what your customers want, what their goals are, what life stage are they in and anything else you think will help match clients with a perfect combination of information and guidance.

In the financial service industry, you might need to meet with people in person or email them a (secure) survey due to the sensitivity of the data you need. Use your CMS to see who is visiting your website, what they are looking at, and any information they provide. With this data, you can cater content specifically to the customer.

Help students learn how to save for school, help young adults learn how to save for a home, help prepare older clients for retirement. Ensure that whatever solutions your clients adopt are right for them, meeting their specific wants and needs.  

By providing quality, relevant content you can better engage with your audience. This will allow you to build your relationships with them, which will motivate action.

What Can We Learn From Netflix About Customer Engagement

Netflix offers personalized, engaging experiences to a wide variety of people worldwide. They are constantly working on improving their service by testing everything and making assumptions using a vast amount of data. There is nothing they do that your business cannot do. By using data acquired by listening to customers you can give your audience what they want. Testing new ideas will help you discover what activities generate the best returns. We can all improve our processes by adopting the lessons we learn from Netflix.

Did you learn anything else about customer engagement from Netflix? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn here.

Are Banks Failing at Customer Experience?

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Welcome to Part 2 of our two-part series examining customer experience in banking, through graphics from the Financial Brand. In Part 1 of this article, we discussed which channels consumers use to research various financial products (or services) and what banks believe the biggest benefits of personalization are. We also looked at why banks struggle to provide an excellent customer experience and examined the gap that exists between banks (who believe they offer an excellent CX) and their customers (who believe the same). In this article, we will take a look at how banks intend to enhance their service, which channels consumers deem most important and why technology has not been more widely implemented to improve CX.

5. Intentions to Enhance Service

Intent to enhance customer experience

On the graph from our previous article, Customer experience excellence: reality vs. perception, we saw how customers and firms rated their customer experience. Here we get a chance to see what financial service providers plan on doing to improve their CX. At the bottom of the list lies social media. Something that, while useful for communicating broad information, does not make for a better experience in banking. Branch transformation, something that has been a focus for decades, also lies near the bottom of the list. 

Enhancing mobile and online channels is by far the most common answer. This shows that omnichannel is a growing concern for banking providers. The attention to omnichannel is beginning only after FinTech firms have begun to apply pressure to traditional banking sectors.

The other three most common answers go hand-in-hand with providing an omnichannel experience. Staffing and training, leveraging new technology and providing better support are essential to combating FinTech firms. The reason that mobile and digital channels need more development than the traditional in-branch experience may be due to the decades’ banks have spent trying to perfect the in-branch experience. Digital and mobile channels are still relatively new and need to be improved upon, as they are the greatest strength of most FinTech competitors. This graph provides hope that banks are finally moving to the modern era.

6. Ranking Importance of Customer Experience by Channel

Consumers view of the importance of channels for customer experience

This graph examines how important each channels CX is for banking. It is very clear that in-branch experience and web experience are the most important channels to provide an excellent customer experience in. For now, in-branch banking is the most important delivery channel. This could be for a few reasons, one being that many demographics, such as the elderly, are still far more likely to come into a branch than to use any another channel.

Very few people think that phone banking is the most important channel in regards to experience. However, it holds a very strong number of votes for second and third most important channel. This could be because people still want to talk to a real person if they experience issues with the channel of their choice. Regardless of how much progress digital channels have made over the last decade, people still often feel most comfortable solving their problems with a human.

The seemingly least important channels are those that are accessed via a smartphone or tablet. This might be due to low adoption rates but may be due to the fact that smartphones are not people’s only channel for banking. Perhaps most people use smartphones to check their balances or to transfer money to friends. They are not trying to do complex tasks and therefore, are less concerned about a great CX. 

7. Obstacles to Offering a Personalized Customer Experience

Obstacles to offering a personalized customer experience

So, after we examined how banks and customers think of customer experience in finance, let’s examine what obstacles are in place to determine what is delaying FinServ firms from offering a personalized experience.

The main obstacles appear to be budgets that are not large enough to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory requirements and security concerns. This is par for the course with the industry. Often regulations and security concerns are at the front of most companies minds. Budget constraints come with the territory, as handling security issues can be extremely costly.

Other major obstacles include disjointed business processes, providing omnichannel experiences, outdated technology infrastructure and competition from FinTech providers. Many of these obstacles are issues that banks need to handle internally and have not been because of a lack of budget or leadership.

None of these obstacles should scare financial service providers from adopting more personalized CX, yet they do. Financial service firms need to improve, their viability as stand-alone businesses depend on it.

These graphs conveyed a lot of information about customer experience in banking. The first two graphs showed the perceived importance of improving various channels, both for banks and consumers. Banks plan on improving their mobile and online channels with a secondary focus on providing better training to employees. Customers should appreciate those efforts as they believe in-branch and online experiences are the most important channels in banking.

The final graph shows the challenges faced by banks when trying to offer a more personal experience. Banks have a wide variety of challenges to face, from a lack of funding to a complex regulatory landscape. These challenges will need to be successfully maneuvered in order to offer the personalized experience customers expect.

Did you find these graphs informative? How do you think banking will change over the next few years? Is customer experience the most important aspect of banking? What takeaways can other FinServ firms take from these graphs? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ!

The Human Side of Digital Engagement

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Over the last decade, digital engagement has become an integral part of any marketing strategy. As the internet has grown from an academic and military repository to the hub for commerce, engagement, and content, people have changed their expectations about online experiences.

In fact, expectations have changed so much that, according to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions are predicted to happen without human contact by 2020. If you are rushing to automate your processes, hold your horses. There is still a human side of digital engagement; one that is absolutely critical to the success of your customer engagement strategy.

Here are four ways that humans can influence your digital engagement efforts:

1. Customers expect human interaction as an option

Human interaction is still a very important part of any customer service and engagement strategy. While there are many instances in which a consumer would like an automated experience there are still many where human interaction is still needed. 83% of U.S. consumers still prefer talking to a human instead of resolving issues over digital channels.

Are consumers willing to pay more for help from a real person? It appears that for the most part, they are. According to the Financial Brand, 38.2% of consumers are willing to pay more and 37% of consumers do not have an opinion on the matter.

Consumers Willing to Pay for Help: Digital Engagement

This fact can be taken advantage of by offering various levels of service. Consider an advisor that offers access to robo-advice for a small fee, but no in-person time with the advisor themself. That advisor can attract one niche to their business by offering robo-advice as a low-cost option, aimed at a certain type of investors. That same advisor could market their “full-service” package to more affluent investors and charge a higher fee. The “full service” option could include personal, in-person advice from the advisor themself along with other “premium” features. This would allow the financial advisor to market their services to two different niches, all at different price points.

While digital channels are very important there still needs to be a way to offer human interaction to every customer who wants it. Some are even willing to pay for it.

The need for human interaction is especially true for complex issues:

2. Complexity: Associated with Human Interaction

A Forrester study about self-service found the following statistics:

  • Use of the help/FAQ pages on a company’s website for customer service increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014 while phone interactions have remained constant at a 73% usage rate.
  • Online chat adoption continues to rise – from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 58% in 2014.
  • The use of communities and virtual agents jumped by over 10 percentage points each.

These statistics show that while self-service problem solving is still growing in popularity, the option to talk to a real person is still very important. Self-service solutions such as FAQs can only solve basic problems. A real person, either over the phone or through some digital communication channel, can suss out more complex problems and help implement solutions.

Some customers prefer to ask their questions over the phone. 27% of consumers prefer to ask commercial questions over the phone (pre-sale) and 35% of post-sale customers prefer to do the same.

Regardless of the communication channel customers want the option for a personal touch.

3. Consumers prefer human context inside a brand

In the Kurt Vonnegut novel, Player Piano (1951), the world was mostly automated, with only engineers and doctors remaining employed. Everything in the world is operated by robots except for restaurants and barbershops. Waiters and barbers were able to stay employed because the working elite felt that replacing them would make dinner and haircuts become too “impersonal”.

Even in a dystopian novel written far before the age of customer engagement, some level of human interaction is absolutely necessary. The same idea goes in business today. When your customer comes into your office, you should greet them as if they were an old friend. They should be able to get to know the people that are providing their financial services.

Reach out to your customers. Start a conversation with them. Answer their questions. Provide human context by mentioning something about employees, customers, partners or thought leaders. Show the customer that your brand lives in the same world that they do.

For more information on the benefits of personifying your brand, check out our article on brand personification.

4. Improving Customer Experience (CX)

Providing human interaction is a way to ensure a balanced engagement strategy. Take, for example, this chart by the Financial Brand  that takes a look at what banks think the biggest opportunities for CX improvements were over the past year:

Biggest opportunities for CX improvements in the next year in Digital Engagement

While improving websites was the #1 priority, employee development and call centre improvements are the next two distinct options.

This shows that while a digital presence is important, there are plenty of opportunities to improve the quality of human interactions in banking. Human interactions are very important to consider when planning customer experiences. Financial institutions realize that employees are one of their biggest assets and they wish to develop them even further. Employees are not digital but they are one of the most effective ways to supplement digital channels through human-to-human interaction.

According to Gallup, retail banking customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank than actively disengaged customers. Just under a quarter of banks believe they can develop their employees to provide better experiences to their customers. Providing better experiences will increase customer engagement which will lead to more revenue for your business.


Humans play a critical part in digital engagement. People are not ready for a world in which there is no human interaction in business, in fact, the opposite may be true. Many people have had their fill of digital-only experiences and are looking for more human-to-human interaction. Some people want a combination of both. Regardless, you should ensure that you can offer human-to-human relationships to customers who want those experiences. From helping customers traverse complex situations, to dealing with complaints, to putting a smiling face on your brand, people can do a lot for your branding efforts. Your customers will have a better experience if a human is there to empathize with them while solving their problems. Banks and other financial service professionals have been putting forth the effort to bring higher quality interactions to their customers. 

Do you provide a human face to your digital engagement strategy? Let us know over on Twitter @VeridayHQ how human interaction has helped your customers get a better experience. Every brand can benefit from a little bit of humanization.

Generation Z: The Next Frontier for Financial Marketing

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There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about millennials. They are seen as a group that is quite different from previous generations in many ways. The differences come in how they consume media, how they shop, and how they make decisions. Many financial service providers have changed the way they operate in an attempt to cater to this particular demographic.

Financial agents have joined social media in order to have their voices heard by millennials. Robo-advisors have been developed to meet the instant service expectations of millennials. Mobile apps and websites have been developed, in all industries, to meet the needs of millennials. Millennials want to be able to do their business digitally.

The financial service industry has been altered greatly to meet the demand for a seamless experience, instant service, and unlimited control. It will have to shift again to live up to the expectations of the next big demographic: Generation Z.

Financial service providers have already begun shifting their strategy, modernizing operations to meet the needs of millennials. Those efforts will prove beneficial because Gen Z expects the technology solutions that millennials enjoy. Even though some solutions have already been put in place, financial service providers will have to move towards providing a true omnichannel experience to capture the next generation of consumers.

Characteristics of Gen Z

Gen Z consists of individuals born in the mid-1990s and beyond. Eventually, when this generation ages, a line will be drawn (between Gen Z and the next generational cohort), but today Gen Z consists of consumers who are aged 23 and under. This means that while older members of Gen Z are just finishing college, the youngest may still be in diapers. It is very hard (and quite unethical) to market your financial services to literal infants. So, we will focus on the consumer habits of the older members of this group, the members who have already developed some sense of self.

Gen Z is projected to be 2.5 billion people strong, and are already spending around $200 Billion annually, including their influence on household spending. That number will only grow as they enter the workforce, inherit wealth, and begin to invest their own assets.

Members of Gen Z are considered “digital natives”. Having grown up with technology, they feel very comfortable making purchases online and through mobile apps. Growing up with these technologies, they also have very high expectations of them. 60% of Gen Z will refuse to use an app or website that does not load fast enough.

This generation is constantly connected, they expect a seamless, truly omnichannel experience. They expect everything to be available, through any channel, whenever they want it.

Generation Z grew up with any answers they needed right at their fingertips. The availability of the internet has made them self-reliant. This self-reliance has enabled them to be smarter shoppers, comparing prices, rates and the overall offers with those of your competition.

You might be thinking: “wait, you just described millennials.” I know it seems that way, but despite their similarities, the two groups are fundamentally different in many ways.

Technology: Mobile-first

For one, generation Z are more mobile-centric than any previous generation. According to Vision Critical, Gen Z uses their smartphones 15.2 hours per week, more than any other device. This is more than the 14.8 hours millennials use their smartphones. Generation Z also watches less TV than any previous generation, consuming around 13 hours per week. The youngest generation is also desktop averse, using a laptop more frequently than desktops. 74% of generation Z spends their free time online, 73% of them use mobile devices to text and chat socially with family and friends.

An example of how much they enjoy using mobile devices, 39% of Gen Z respondents ranked mobile banking as a top day-to-day banking service or feature, compared to only 17% of overall Americans and 32% of Millennials.

In order to get your messaging to Gen Z, you should focus your digital efforts on creating ads and content that looks good on mobile devices. Invest in responsive design and ensure the website is quick to load. 

More In-Person Interactions

Believe it or not, Gen Z appears to be less interested in entirely digital experiences, preferring an omnichannel experience. Only 25% of Gen Z do more than half of their banking online or through a mobile app.

53% of Gen Z prefer in-person interactions over instant messaging or email. These preferences may have been developed after hearing about millennials struggling with in-person communications in professional situations. While they enjoy face-to-face interactions, technology solutions such as Skype, Hangouts, Facetime and Snapchat are still used to communicate digitally. These solutions allow them to utilize full sight, sound, and movement. They grew up with these solutions, which might be a reason they are more comfortable with in-person communications than millennials, who grew up with email and instant messaging (text-only mediums).

In order to attract generation Z to your practice, you will need to maintain a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Chatbots and other instant-messaging solutions will not be as appealing to generation Z as they are to millennials. However, solutions that allow for communication using sight and sound will be used and appreciated.

Social Responsibility

Much like their millennial counterparts, Gen Z has an interest in social and environmental responsibility. 76% of the generational cohort is concerned about humans impact on the environment, with 60% wanting to have an impact on the world (20% more than millennials). As a financial service provider, you will need to offer a variety of socially or environmentally responsible products and services for generation Z investors.

The social and environmental responsibility should not end there. Your business should have a cause that matters to you, something that you want to change. Make it a priority, giving employees time off to volunteer and partner with charities or causes. Do something to make the world a better place. Gen Z will notice and remember when it’s time to make their purchase decision. This generation may even be willing to give up a little bit of money to invest in social responsibility. 55% of online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Financial Concerns

Generation Z grew up in a very different financial environment than millennials. They have grown up seeing social security funds depleting, individuals crushed by student debt, and the 2008 recession greatly diminishing the economy. These experiences have left them with a different mindset about finances than the last few generations.

Seeing the banking system collapse the way it did, requiring a bailout, generation Z is skeptical of financial service providers in general. This skepticism will lead to the generational cohort diversifying their assets more than previous generations, using multiple financial advisors, banks, and insurers.

Gen Z has many other concerns about the economy that will factor into their financial decisions. A major concern is that the (still very) young generation will not be able to afford to get a higher education, or that if they do, they will be buried in student debt. This concern may lead to fewer post-secondary students in the generation, which could affect their future earnings. This concern about education may lead to them starting RESPs or otherwise saving for their own children’s education sooner than ever before.

The generational cohort is also concerned about having to support their parents or guardians in old age, which again may make them more risk averse. Having grown up in turbulent times, Gen Z will be wary of financial service providers. They were still young and impressionable in the post-2008 recession. Sentiments expressed by the media during that time may cause them to never trust anyone in the financial service industry too much. This makes it all that much more important to draw this generation towards your business.

Takeaways About Generation Z

So now you know a little bit about generation Z. They are digital natives, expecting the best experience, regardless of the device they are using. They care about the environment, about social responsibility. The generation is less trusting of traditional banking systems, based on their experiences growing up.

Many members of Gen Z saw the struggles of family members during the great recession. Many have older siblings who still live at home, parents, and relatives who were laid off or fired, cousins and friends who couldn’t find a job. This experience is still fresh in their minds and is a motivation to look for financial security. Because of their young age, we do not have a detailed profile of how this generation invests. However, due to the world’s financial situation during their youth, it is likely that they will be risk-averse investors.

To sum it up, generation Z is complex. Gen Z has a familiarity with technology that has never been seen before. They want instant, omnichannel experiences, regardless of what they are doing. You still have plenty of time to prepare for capturing this demographic. However, it will be a challenge unlike any you have experienced before. The benefits of capturing this demographic, while small today, will be huge tomorrow.

Are you ready to the next generational cohort? Do you think Gen Z are just millennials “on steroids”? Even though they are still young, their market will be huge. Tonka trucks and algebra classes today will be F-150’s and engineering jobs tomorrow. Are you going to prepare for Gen Z? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ, we want to hear your opinions on this next generation.

The State of Customer Experience in Banking by the Numbers

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Most people use more than one financial institution for their banking needs. It is easy to see the competition from other big banks, but many financial institutions struggle to quantify the threat from FinTech firms. Customer experience (CX) is a key factor in building and maintaining high customer loyalty, but this might be the area in which big banks struggle the most. If a bank provides an excellent experience to its customers, they will be able to maintain customer loyalty and keep money in their banks. So, how can you improve your CX? You’ll have to ask yourself some questions.

What channels do consumers want to use? What do banks think customers want? Why haven’t you provided the experiences that customers want? Is there a gap between the mindset of consumers and the mindset of banks? Today, we will examine these questions, using graphs from one of my favorite publications: The Financial Brand.

The Financial Brand is a digital publication for banks and credit union. The Financial Brand specializes in marketing and strategy. The publication creates many informative graphics about a wide variety of subjects. In this article, we will examine 7 informative graphs about customer experience (CX) in finance. We will take an in-depth at what insights they give us about the state of CX in banking.

1. Consumer Research Channels

Consumer Research Channels customer experience

This graph examines the channels used by consumers for researching and purchasing different financial products. I find it interesting and informative because of the stark differences in research channels, based on which product is being examined.

Websites, email and physical mail are all used disproportionately when searching for credit cards. What do all of these channels have in common? Perhaps the customer wants information without having to interact with an actual person. This could be the case because credit cards are a less-personalized product (compared to something like a mortgage or larger line of credit), meaning standardized rates may be published online.

Another reason that people may use impersonal channels when shopping for credit cards is because people often carry multiple cards. This is in stark contrast to chequing accounts and mortgages, where most people will only need one at a time. Since they are less of a commitment and you may have multiple credit cards, people won’t feel the need to come in-branch to learn about a product.

Mortgages are the one product that will motivate customers to call a bank. Again, it might be due to the fact that people generally only need one. They are more willing to visit a branch or talk to a real person because a mortgage will radically affect their life. A person is more likely to make personal contact with a financial institution when the solution they are looking for will dramatically change their life.

2. Benefits of Personalized Experiences

Benefits of Delivering personalized experience

This graph takes a look at what bank leaders believe the biggest benefits of delivering personalized experiences and content to consumers are. Using customer data to make the right offer at the right time is far and away the most common benefit. The second leading answer, improving cross-channel CX, shows the importance omnichannel experiences. If your cross-channel experience is slow, or subpar in any way, the customer will choose to get their products or services from elsewhere. They may even decide to do business with your competitors.

Many of these answers relate to communicating with customers more effectively. Aside from providing frictionless services at a lower cost and enabling flexible product/service bundling, improving communication is a key concern. Personalization in FinServ and all other industries will allow brands to communicate relevant information to their customers. This is something that every FinServ provider should aim for.

3. Funding Difficulties

Difficulties getting CX funding

This graphic shows the difficulties that FinServ firms face in getting funding for CX initiatives. Only 28% of firms rated the experience as easy or somewhat easy. The other 72% of firms found the experience difficult.

This speaks to the disillusionment of many FinServ leaders about the need to fund customer experience initiatives. As the competition from FinTech firms heats up, challenger banks become more established and traditional competitors begin to invest in technology solutions, CX will become a key differentiator when it comes to retaining your customers.

Would a customer accept a subpar experience on a social networking site? Would somebody use a very frustrating dating app? Why would they accept poor CX from their financial service providers?

4. Customer Experience Excellence: Perception Vs. Reality

CX Excellence: Perception v. Reality

These graphs really jump off the page for a few reasons. They are so telling of the systematic customer experience issues FinServ has. Over half of retail banks and wealth management firms believe that they provide an excellent customer experience. The issue is that their customers don’t agree.

It appears that leaders in financial services may have missed the mark on their customer experience estimates. Perhaps, the research process needs to be slightly tweaked. How can a firm over-estimate how good an experience they provide by 27%? That doesn’t even begin to approach the 41% overestimation by wealth management professionals. The answers by financial service professionals to this question call for financial institutions to take another look at these problems. 

These graphs show that leaders in financial services need to communicate with their customers better. They show that leaders in FinServ need to put more resources towards understanding their customers. Without putting the effort towards understanding your customers, you will be unable to serve them in a way that meets their needs.

This large a gap cannot be logically explained. Talk with your customers, ask them how satisfied they are with the CX you provide, engage with them. Not only will they appreciate it, but you can begin to bridge the CX gap from a realistic starting point.   


This is the end of part one of our two-part series examining customer experience through graphs by the Financial Brand. Did you find any of these insights surprising? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. Next, we will be publishing part two, which contains insight into how banks plan on adapting to improve CX.

You Won’t Believe How Data Silos Are Killing Your Business

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More than 80% of marketers say that data silos within marketing obscure a seamless view of campaigns and customers. That’s just one department within an organization suffering at the hand of data silos. Data silos negatively affect everybody, from IT to sales.

A data silo is a repository under the control of a particular division or department. In a data silo, data is isolated from the remainder of the organization. Silos are often found in large organizations, although they can occur in small or medium sized organizations as well. Each department needs to use their own data to meet their own goals and responsibilities. This means that data often doesn’t get shared with others in the organization. Data silos occur accidentally (or through outdated processes), a result of different departments using various information systems that while meeting the departmental needs trap information. Thus, the trapped information is kept away from other parts of the organization.

You spend so much time, effort and resources ensuring that your organization has great data. If you have all your data in a single readily accessible location you can do so much with it. Great data allows you to:

  • Improve efficiency and success in customer acquisition
  • Improve your capacity to make informed decision
  • Streamline processes
  • Increase productivity

Having access to high-quality data allows your business to increase revenue by making better decisions due to the insight provided from analyzing the data. Having yet-to-be analyzed data, while seemingly innocent, can have negative consequences for the organization, both today and in the future.

Issues Today

The fact that data cannot freely move to where it’s most needed forces people to duplicate the data, mostly through imports and exports. This leads to manual data manipulation by employees who need to move the data to another system. Then all of a sudden, we are stuck with duplicate data that has been manipulated by hand in some systems while remaining easily accessible in its original form elsewhere. Any time you start changing or cleaning up the data before moving it to another system, you are asking for trouble. Errors and wasted time are often a consequence.

By not properly handling and analyzing the data that your organization collects, you are leaving room for mistakes to be made and for opportunities to be missed. Often times there will be waste in multiple departments because data is not shared between them. These mistakes and missed opportunities will arise, either because the decision-maker does not have the data available to them, or the decision-makers do have the data, but due to an error during manual manipulation of the data, it is inaccurate.

Companies continue to utilize a wider variety of services, both internal and third-party, for different aspects of their business. The average small-business is now using 14.3 different systems. We are seeing more segmentation of data within these silos, with less interaction between them. This results in poor communication between departments, systems, and processes, leading to unproductivity and difficulty meeting both your clients’ needs and company’s business goals.

Issues Tomorrow

In the future, as machine learning and other predictive technologies fully infiltrate your industry, you will be left behind if you have not yet dealt with the issue of data being trapped within silos. In order to be fully effective, any artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning programs must have access to the entirety of your firm’s unmanipulated data. The AI or machine learning program needs to analyze the data for any relationships between categories and cannot do that if the data is not in one comprehensive database.

Low-end machine learning solutions will soon be able to make better conclusions about relationships in your data than you will. You need to make an investment to consolidate your information into one system before it’s too late. If you don’t, you are missing out on valuable insights that can benefit your business. Your information management system needs to meet the individual goals of each department as well as the organization as a whole.

By having a restricted flow of data organizations cannot possibly analyze all available (and already collected) data to draw broad, overarching conclusions about potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats. This restriction defeats the whole purpose of collecting the data in the first place, which is to get a holistic view of an organization by looking for relationships within the data.

So, what can you do about data silos?

To avoid having information trapped in data silos, you need to preemptively develop a plan and solution. There are several options you have to ensure your data can be easily moved. A content management system (CMS) will help collect and share information within your organization. Other solutions include marketing automation software, an integration platform, or a data lake.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software is defined by Hubspot as:

“Platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.”

Integration Platform

  • An integration platform is a platform that allows an organization to integrate different applications and services into one solution.
  • While similar to an enterprise resource planning system (ERP), or a CMS, an integration platform is more generic, not designed for any specific purpose.
  • This allows the system to be more flexible, having a wider variety of features when integrating programs.

Data Lake

  • A data lake occurs when data is moved from separate silos into one system. This can be done using a variety of platforms or programs, such as a CMS or an integration platform.
  • While very flexible, these lakes are hard to govern, making them less useful than the above solutions.
  • Data lakes should only be created in absence of a CMS/ERP as a last case scenario.

An organization must ensure all departments are on the same page. The solution should have enough complexity for it to allow every department to accomplish their goals without massively changing their workflows. Data should not be “owned” by a department, it should be shared in an unaltered form with other departments.


Existing data silos are preventing you from knowing your customer and limiting your ability to make informed decisions. There are many ways to avoid data silos, each solution unique to your business needs. Whichever method you use is of less importance than your main goal: eliminating silos so data can flow freely through your organization.

Do you notice issues with the flow of data through your organization? Do you think a CMS could potentially solve your data silo issues? Let us know what you think over on Twitter @VeridayHQ!

Association of Canadian Compliance Professionals 16th Annual Conference

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What: Association of Canadian Compliance Professionals 16th Annual Conference

When: Monday, April 24th, 2017

Where: The Carlu – 444 Yonge St. Toronto, Ontario – Round and Sky Rooms


We are excited to be sponsoring and attending the Association of Canadian Compliance Professionals (ACCP) 16th Annual Conference, in Toronto on April 24th.

The one-day conference will involve several panels on how industry leaders are handling complex compliance issues, what new regulations you need to be aware of and an update from the MDFA. Real-world cases will be used to examine nuances within compliance regulations. There will be discussions centered around what actions you can take to minimize the impacts that overly expensive, complicated and time consuming compliance processes have on your business.

This event is a great opportunity for Canadian compliance professionals to gain insights on pressing compliance issues. For more information on the conference, click here.

Are you planning on attending? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or come say “Hi” at the conference. Digital Agent, our flagship product, can help simplify the compliance process in financial services. To learn more about Digital Agent contact us!

Brand Personification: Why Should You Care?

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The financial service industry has traditionally relied on word-of-mouth marketing to attract business. Financial advisors and other agents would rely on referrals from their current clients to gain new clients. These marketing methods are becoming antiquated, thanks in large part to a fundamental change in how people research and purchase services.  These days, people engage in online research to determine which service provider fits their needs. This change in the decision making process has lead to the proliferation of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing involves creating and sharing content in an attempt to gain visibility with search engines. You must earn your website traffic in an increasingly competitive landscape by focusing on SEO, creating quality content, and utilizing social media to spread your message. Brand personification is a method to help make your inbound marketing efforts feel more natural. A company and brand can feel like a faceless entity, which will discourage people from engaging with you. Thanks to this fundamental shift, we decided to learn a little bit more about brand personification in the financial service industry.

We sat down with the CEO of Veriday, Marc Lamoureux, to ask a few questions about brand personification in the financial service industry. Marc has years of experience helping financial service providers personify their brands and effectively engage with their customers while maintaining compliance.

During the course of our conversation, we asked Marc several questions regarding the benefits of brand personification in the financial service industry. From his experience, Marc discussed basic facets of personification and eventually progressed into the finer details and specific benefits of brand personification.  

Here is the transcript from our conversation:

Rob Glenn: What does brand personification mean to you?

Marc Lamoureux: Brand personification involves adding a human element to a brand. A brand on its own is inanimate, so we want to add a human element to the brand. We know humans want to connect with people, so if your brand has human qualities you can build a better connection with your customers.

Rob: Why should companies care about brand personification?

Marc: We should care because in the last twenty years, the way technology has gone, there has been a lack of human connection between brands and their customers. At the same time, social networks have seen a monumental surge in popularity. Those social networks represent the opposite of what has happened with technologies. As technology makes everyday experiences more impersonal, social networks are about connecting people. As a brand your goal is to figure how to connect with people using technology. That is the problem that lies at the heart of brand personification.

Rob: What benefits can be realized by associating real people with a brand?

Marc: The main benefit of associating people with your brand is that it creates a stronger connection with your customers. By associating real people with your brand you can develop trust between real people and your brand. When you build a stronger connection with your customers, you end up keeping more of the customers you already have, in addition to gain new customers.

Rob: How does personifying your brand effect where and how you deliver your messaging?

Marc:  I think personifying your brand brings you into the local community. The strategy we recommend, here at Veriday, involves aligning local representatives of your brand with a local customer. When you do that, you get a much stronger connection and you feel like you are part of the community, not just a large, faceless presence.

Rob: Do you think that engaging in brand personification opens new engagement channels for companies?

Marc: Yes. I think you have a lot more flexibility and capability when you add personification to your brand. Take email for example:

In an email world, a customer may receive an email from a generic brand. They may not recognize the brand, or they may not trust the email. They’re naturally going to suspect a generic sales email. Contrast that with an email from an individual associated with the brand, someone that the reader is familiar with. They are almost 3 times more likely to open that email and do something with it because it comes from someone they know and trust.

Rob: How does brand personification help drive real engagement?

Marc:  I think brand personification is a strategy that is going to provide a must stronger connection to customers. In the market today, when customers are looking at your website, the standard “contact us” option is a 1-800 number or a form you fill out and wait for a response. At Veriday, we would advocate for a “contact me” button, directing customers to a specific individual. They will know who they are speaking with, and sometimes they can be offered a choice of who they wish to contact. That will instill a level of trust in the customer, because they can research that person and make the engagement themselves. For an organization, it’s a more productive way to engage with the customer. You will experience a lot less abandonment with that strategy.

Rob: Which technology solutions can aid in the personification of a brand?

Marc: I think at a high level, you can employ this solution on social networks, on web, and in email. At Veriday, we have created a product called Digital Agent, which was designed expressly for brand personification. It organizes all your brand and marketing strategies and aligns them with your people, to create more trusted human connections across social, web and email.

Rob: Will brand personification add to compliance costs?

Marc: One of the perceived challenges of expanding your marketing programs out through individuals, is that it creates a very expensive burden on compliance reviews, especially in financial services. Regulators are asking financial service companies to review and approve every piece of content that is distributed to customers. The benefit of the compliance workflow that Veriday provides, is that we can increase the volume of personification in the engagement models without dramatically increasing compliance costs.

Rob: How will personifying my brand affect how I attract clients and grow my business?

Marc: The advantage you get as an organization (from personification), is that you can associate real people immediately with a customer inquiry. When a customer researches your company, they will immediately find a human connection. If they are engaging with 1-800 numbers, or online forms, where they don’t know who is going to call them back, they are less likely to take advantage of the engagement model.

Rob: From your experience, how do customers respond to a humanized brand?

Marc: Is a customer more likely to engage with Facebook.com directly or with their friends on Facebook? They are more likely to engage with friends. We view brand personification as evoking the same strategy. A customer is more likely to engage with somebody they know, compared to a brand or somebody they don’t know.

Rob: What happens when you activate the people within your organization to engage with customers?

Marc: When you activate your human resources in engaging with customer you do two things:

  1. You create stronger connections with customers and the customers have a comfortable place of trust to engage with your business. That is a very positive advantage.

2. Another thing you get to do (in terms of analytics) is making decisions about the success of your engagement efforts. You might see hotspots where there is great engagement. That information can be used to glean interesting insights to try to recreate those circumstances elsewhere. Therefore, you also may see some weak spots, where you may need to alter various aspects of your strategy.

That wraps up the conversation with Marc Lamoureux, CEO of Veriday. His insights on brand personification inspired the creation of our article: Being Yourself: Why Brand Personification Increases Customer Engagement.

Does your brand engage in personification? How have you enabled your human resources to offer a more personal experience? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn.

6 Open Source Technologies That Changed The World

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When something is referred to as “open source”, it means that people can modify and share the code because its design is publicly accessible. Anybody can modify the code to suit their own needs. Open source technology has been around for quite some time now. In the early days of software development, code was shared among developers so they could learn from each other and advance the sector. As the industry began to become more commercialized and competitive, developers began to advocate the idea of free software. Some developers felt that software should be accessible to all, not restricted to those with deep pockets.

In 1997, Eric Raymond published a reflective analysis of the hacker community and free software principles. This lead to the Netscape Communicator internet suite becoming open source. Such a big player in software development joining the open source movement helped gain the idea traction. The fact that any developer can alter the software makes the systems more secure, affordable, transparent and flexible. The more diverse your development group is, the more innovation you can pack into a product. Open source software can be locally changed to save costs, making it very popular for many purposes. It is often used for local applications where only a specific task needs to be accomplished.

Overall, the world of software would be much different without open source software. Below we will take a look at 6 things that the world be missing if it wasn’t for the Open Source Initiative.

1. Linux

Linux is significant to the open source community thanks to its early adoption and use in creating (and running) much of the modern internet. It is an operating system built in 1991, by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish student at the time. His goal was to create an operating system that takes into account user feedback into its development cycle. It was based off Unix, an open source system. While I don’t want to get into the history of developing these systems, simply due to the amount of technical knowledge included, the subject is very interesting. For a very (very, very, very) thorough explanation check out The Linux Documentation Project.

Today, Linux is one of the most popular operating systems in the entire world. Around 98% of the world’s fastest supercomputers are Linux based. As seen in the chart below, 68% of tablets and mobile operating systems are Linux based.

Open Source technology dominates the mobile OS market

Worldwide Mobile OS Market Share

By W3Cook’s analysis of Alexa’s data, 96.3 percent of the top 1 million web servers are running Linux. The remainder is split between Windows ( 1.9 percent) and FreeBSD (1.8 percent).

Without Linux, it is nearly impossible to imagine where the world would be in terms of computing ability today. Web search would not exist and, the usefulness of the internet could be diminished greatly. The stability, standardization and security, all at a low cost, is the reason the OS has survived and thrived. These features would not be available if not for the open source origins of Linux.

2. Android

84.82% of smartphones worldwide run on the Android operating system. It has been growing exponentially since 2009, back when it only had 3.9% of the smartphone OS market. One of the reasons that Android is so popular is due to the open-source nature of the software. Google, Android’s parent company, makes deals to provide the software to hardware vendors for use with their devices. This opens access to Google services and marketplace to those using the devices.

Open source dominates Smartphone OS market

Smartphone OS Market Share

This strategy is completely opposite to that of their biggest competitor, Apple. Apple only puts iOS on Apple products. iOS is a closed-source system. Since it is restricted to Apple products, the adoption rate of the iOS is limited simply due to market constraints.

The open-source initiative that Android is based on has allowed the operating system to thrive in a competitive smartphone market. Google has become a major player in the smartphone environment, in less than a decade, due to their excellent implementation of open-source fundamentals. Without open source software, the smartphone market would look very different today.

3. Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

A Geographical Information System (GIS), is a computer system used to capture, store and analyze geographical and location-based data. GIS allows researchers to recognize patterns and relationships in geographic data. They are commonly used in industries that involve natural resources such as forestry, oil & gas, water management and in a variety of transportation-heavy sectors. GIS, when used in conjunction with GPS and logistics control solutions can help businesses become more efficient.

While not every GIS solution is open source, many of the early pioneers in the technology were proponents of free software. The original GIS solution MOSS (Map Overlay and Statistical System) was developed by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1978. Nearly all systems built since then, from GPS to location services, have built on the original open source solutions. Without these open source fundamentals, a large number of logistics control systems and location-based services would either not exist or still be in their infancy.

4. WordPress

WordPress, one of the world’s most popular blogging and web content management systems, is based on open source fundamentals. Without the Open Source Initiative, the software script that supports 27% of the web would not exist. The fact that WordPress is open sourced means that anyone can alter the code or create plugins. There are over 30,000 of these plugins, which add additional functionality to the website or blog. The plugins are responsible for things such as SEO, security, analytics and e-commerce functionality. All of these plugins are open source as well. Without the Open Source Initiative, one of the most functional CMSs in the world would not exist.

5. Firefox

Without Firefox, the browser market would be extremely different. Instead of a relatively competitive four solution battle, it would be reduced to three. Once you factor in that Safari is only available to Apple users, that becomes a two solution battle. You would have to pick between two technology giants, Google (with Chrome) or Microsoft (with Internet Explorer). The fact that there is a third option (for non-Apple users) completely changes the market. It forces the proprietary systems to be continually improved upon, or risk losing market share. Open source technologies like Firefox push innovation.

6. Liferay

Liferay Inc. is a technology company that is based on open source fundamentals. Their platforms are all offered in an open source format. The platform allows you to change the software so it can meet your specific needs. Liferay 7 is an open source version of their newest platform, Liferay DXP. The only differences between the open source version and the enterprise version is the level of support provided by the company.

Without Liferay, many corporate intranets and extranets, as well as a variety of portals would not exist. Costs associated with proprietary, black box systems would discourage many companies from adopting a portal, intranet or extranet. Liferay can provide a cost-effective solution that developers KNOW will work, simply based off being able to dive into the code.

The foundations of Liferay were developed over the years by a variety of developers. These efforts lead to the creation of various features of Liferay products, the system would not be the same (if it even existed) without the Open Source Initiative.


Without these technologies and platforms, the world would be an extremely different place. While there are closed source alternatives available for some of these technologies, the entire landscape would be completely shifted if open source software was not a thing.

The world would be a very different place if it was not for open source technology. Everyone would be using an iPhone, or maybe Blackberry would never have taken a tumble in market share. Internet Explorer and Chrome would be the two dominate web-browsers, never facing any external competition for non-Apple users. The internet would be dramatically altered because there would be no Linux or WordPress. Finally, we would not have any of the Liferay solutions. The world would be lacking top-of-the-line portal, intranet, and extranet solutions.

Open source technology has dramatically altered the world around us, nearly everything would be different. We would have no search engines, and the functionality of the internet would be significantly different. Proprietary solutions would be the only options, restricting who can even afford to use their technologies due to price. I for one, am thankful for the Open Source Initiative.

What did you think of our list? Would you have changed anything? Did we miss any big-name open source technologies? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. #OpenSource

The Importance of Digital Marketing In Financial Services

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Fundamentals are important in anything you do. As Jim Rohn, author, motivational speaker and mentor to Tony Robbins, once said:

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

Having great fundamentals are as important in digital marketing as they are in anything. The profession is constantly shifting to new places and adopting new technologies. Every now and then, it pays for marketers to reexamine their fundamentals.

The financial marketing landscape is quickly shifting to new, unforeseen territories. Some firms are implementing chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge technology solutions. Others are still playing catch-up; designing websites, getting on social media and finally beginning to create digital content. The digital world is extremely competitive and you need to be prepared for it.

This article will discuss a few reasons why you need to get serious about the fundamentals of digital marketing.

1. The Great Wealth Transfer

Younger generations will be inheriting $30 Trillion from baby boomers over the next 30-40 years. Financial service firms, including advisors, brokers and banks, need to prepare to court these digital natives if they wish to continue managing the wealth currently held by baby boomers. This shift of wealth can be a never-before-seen opportunity for FinServ providers, or it can be the event that leads to the extinction of many members of the FinServ community. Advisors, brokers and other FinServ firms, who do not get on the digital bandwagon will lose their client base. They will be unable to attract younger clients, and as baby boomers begin to transfer their wealth, outdated FinServ providers will quickly become irrelevant.

If you cannot communicate in a way that speaks to younger audiences, you will be one of the FinServ providers who loses clients and capital quickly. The younger generations expect social interaction and digital communication, even with their FinServ providers. To gain the trust of generation X, Y and Z, you will need to be present digitally. Check out this article to learn more about marketing to millennials. 

Communicating in ways and places that speak to your audience is a key fundamental to digital marketing. Consider what your messaging is, and how it speaks to your target audience. Can you easily be reached online? Is your website engaging and able to draw people in? These are key factors to consider when rexamining your digital marketing fundamentals.

2. Young Adults Using Social Media

FinServ providers aren’t going to have to wait very long to feel the younger generation’s impact on their business. Do you actively target millennials? They are far more likely than their parents to pick their FinServ provider through internet research and social media. Research by McKinsey showed that two thirds of the buyer’s journey touch points in finance are consumer-driven. The consumer-driven touch points include word-of-mouth (sometimes taking place on social media), online research (using a search engine to find information) and customer reviews (both offline and on websites such as Yelp).

These younger generations, such as millennials, basically require you to have a high-quality website in order to gain their trust. If FinServ providers don’t have a strong digital marketing presence, they risk becoming irrelevant. Digital marketing includes being present (and active) on social media, having a quality website and communicating with prospects via the channel(s) of their choice.

Remember, there are 2.3 billion people using social media, you should be one of them. Engaging and sharing quality content on social media is an excellent way to attract clients. Social media use has become a fundamental piece of the digital marketing equation. Information gets spread online through social media. Every generation uses at least one social network en masse. Not having a strong social media presence to share and spread content, news and as a touch point for communication is a huge mistake in digital marketing. Strong use of social media is a fundamental of digital marketing.

3. Baby-Boomers Love Social Media Too

Baby Boomers love Facebook. They represent about half of Facebook’s user base, and more than half of adults over 50 use some form of social media. You might not be aware of that fact, but the last decade has seen a major digital transformation. Everybody, from the youngest consumers, to the oldest grandparents are now active on social media and regularly use the internet.

The gap between the average person’s expectations for technology options, and what technology options FinServ firms provide is very, very wide. This gap has always existed. Financial service providers are slow to react to new technology. Compared with other industries, technology leaders in FinServ are behind the 8-ball. Just over two thirds of CEO’s in the financial sector are worried that they are too slow adopting technology.

If you want to grow your client base using digital marketing, social media is a fundamental aspect. Everybody uses it, and it has become a primary source of information for a large number of consumers. There are some aspects of the digital transformation that are often poorly implemented due to poor fundamentals.

So, what are some of the reasons financial service providers are so slow reacting to the digital transformation?


The main reason financial service firms are so slow on the adoption of digital marketing is compliance issues. FINRA has guidelines for oversight of content, but many leaders are worried about compliance issues involved with the adoption of new technology. They are worried that confidential information can be stolen, and that the new technology will not aid in oversight. Another worry is that the solution won’t make a meaningful impact on compliance timelines. Compliance is a very big deal in FinServ. However, that does not mean you should be gun-shy about adopting digital marketing tools and tactics, especially when there are marketing and compliance solutions built especially for financial institutions.

Digital marketing is essentially a requirement for growing any business these days, therefore you need to have your compliance requirements sorted out before beginning. There are many solutions to help with this process (such as Digital Agent). Compliance is such an essential, fundamental aspect of digital marketing that it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Once you have a compliance system in place, you can begin content marketing, using social media, and engaging with customers online, without fear of breaking an industry regulation.

Leadership Disconnect

Another reason why FinServ firms might not adopt digital marketing practices or invest in technologies, is because their leaders do not know of their existence. Older people might not realize that there are many, many demographics who spend a large amount of time on social media platforms, simply because they don’t use them. They justify this anti-technology rhetoric by saying all of their clients are the same age as they are, that everyone is like them. This allows them to (wrongly) sit in their own bubble and not have to face change.

These leaders don’t realize that every generation is on social media, every generation searches for business online. They will severely slow down efforts to modernize, losing clients in the process because the leader doesn’t cater to them. To summarize, leaders who (for whatever reason), may not understand the ubiquity of technology across all industries. As a marketer, you might need to advocate for the adoption of even the most widespread technologies.

To be successful at digital marketing, your business must have full buy-in from leadeship. It is a digital marketing fundamental and without it, your efforts will fail. Digital marketing takes a unified, agile approach to be successful, something that cannot happen without a connected leadership team, working hard to make things work.

Legacy Systems

One reason that FinServ is behind on adopting digital marketing technologies is that very few of the leaders realize the pressing need to change. Very few (if any) leaders in FinServ rise out of the marketing department. Most leaders do not realize the extent to which their business is falling behind on technology adoption in the marketing department. The average leader in financial services simply struggles to see the value in adopting new technologies that may speed up certain processes.

It’s not that leaders do not wish to stay up-to-date with marketing technologies, but due to expensive legacy systems and ingrained processes, they simply can’t. There are simply too many obstacles blocking the path to change. These obstacles, along with leadership who are somewhat disconnected with the reality of the situation, are the reasons that FinServ providers are falling behind on technology adoption.

Having legacy systems slow you down can be annoying, it can even be quite harmful to your business. It is not breaking any fundamental principles of digital marketing, but can be a symptom of having disconnected leadership. To be successful at digital marketing, you will need to be flexible, you will need to be able to adopt new practices and technologies as they gain popularity. A fundamental aspect of digital marketing is staying on top of current trends. If legacy systems are preventing you from doing that, something must change.

Inadequate Flexibility

Smaller, or independent firms often have a much easier time reacting to technology trends. Their flexibility allows them to control compliance issues in-house, not having to communicate with another department or location. They can motivate change internally. The fact that these firms are less reliant on legacy systems and procedures make them less resistant to change.

Many digital marketing technology solutions do not carry with them a significant up-front cost, especially compared to a decade ago. For this reason, smaller firms are at no disadvantage compared to giant institutions with legacy systems. The larger your organization is, the slower the compliance process can be. There is more material flowing through the compliance department, slowing everything down. The more reliant on legacy systems an organization is, the slower the organization will be to adopt in new technologies. If you cannot stay up to date on the adoption of technologies, it will be very difficult to succeed in digital marketing.

If you have those legacy systems or procedures, don’t worry too much. With proper leadership, willingness to change, and an investment in technology, you can easily become a leader in digital transformation in the FinServ industry. 

Think back to your marketing fundamentals. Communication is a key component, another is delivery of your message where it will be received by the intended audience. Ensure that you are constantly working on getting the basics right, or else, as the digital age progresses, you will lose clients and your practice may dry up. It is important to stay modern, ensure your digital marketing efforts have a basis in strong fundamentals.

How are you preparing for the great transfer of wealth to millennials? Is anything holding you back from adopting technology? What do you think the major reason that FinServ hasn’t adopted these technologies sooner?