The digital revolution is all encompassing, swallowing up business after business and spitting out barely recognisable digitally transformed replacements.
Those companies that embrace the change are able to supercharge their service and bring their business to new, engaged audiences. Those shun digital are being forgotten.
In this blog, we’ll look at three ways financial companies are adapting to digital and what their successes can teach you.
#1 Being their brand everywhere
Remember that Lloyds TSB advert with the high-speed train zooming through the countryside and into a futuristic city? The protagonist meets his wife, gets married, buys a house and has kids.
Along the way, Lloyds is the helping hand supporting them along the uneven road of life.
As the advert draws to a close, we’re told: ”Every day we’re busy helping our millions of customers get to where they want to go in life.”
But the letters are super apologetic, right? I mean, this is Lloyds! They’re my friend, they want to help me buy a house and get married and stuff. So they probably apologise profusely, explain it’s something they have to do and sheepishly accept your payment, right?
No, of course not. The letter’s as dry and a Jacob’s cream cracker.
Cough up the dough or else, it says. We know where you live, Tim. We know where you live and we know what curry shop you go to every single Friday evening. We saw it on your statement. It’d be a shame if someone sneezed on your peshwari naan.
Okay, it probably doesn’t say that.
Actually, since I’m not a fan of being sued for libel, I should say that it definitely doesn’t say that.
There’s a proper point here, though. The way Lloyds talks to you in an advert is completely different to the bank talks to you in their written communication and that’s super jarring.
The problem stems from the rise of digital technologies, which have merged all our interactions into one place.
I compare providers on my tablet, receive statements via my email and talk to customer service reps online. Having all my communication channels right next to each other means I compare them a lot more and discrepancies just jump out at you.
The standout winners of the communication battle are the ones who are standardising their brand voice across all channels and ensuring they sound like the same business wherever you speak to them.
As a customer, I get the same brand experience whether I’m scrolling through Facebook, talking on the phone or opening a letter.
In the digital age, every business has to be a communications agency, designing and delivering a consistent brand message across everything it does.
Speaking, sounding and acting like your brand everywhere — from your social media and internal communications to your customer correspondence and your site copy — is no longer a nice optional extra.
The next time you’re writing a letter to a customer, ask yourself whether that letter sounds the same as your website and your interviews and you internal comms. If it doesn’t, it’s maybe time to start again.
#2 Investing in quality content
The pitch for content marketing is very attractive. Content will boost sales, content will increase brand positivity, content will help retain customers, content will enhance your street cred, content will engage your customers and content will develop your brand identity.
And for a lot of companies, content marketing is achieving all of that — and more!
NerdWallet, for example, is pumping out awesome blogs on topics like holiday debt hangovers, cash back credit cards and how to splash a tax refund on a new car. That type of content is bringing in exactly the type of young, financially inexperienced customers they want.
Done well, content marketing can deliver better results at a fraction of the price of traditional alternatives.
Content marketing sounds great but content marketing has there’s a but. And it’s a pretty big but, too.
When asked about their campaigns, only one-third of marketers said their content was actually effective. So, what about the other two-thirds?
Well, they were probably undone by poor promotion, crap content, paper-thin personas and one of a million other stumbling blocks.
You see, doing content marketing well is not easy. It’s time intensive and needs a really good team. If you throw together a patchwork marketing team and ask them to whip up a campaign in an afternoon, it’s probably going to crash and burn.
If you want to get anything out of a content marketing campaign, you have to do it right. That means bringing in (or training) the right people, assigning enough resources and giving the campaign enough time to work.
#3 Putting the customer at the heart of their business model
The digital age has empowered customers, giving each individual a voice and a platform from which to critique or praise companies as they please. It’s also opened up access to comparison tools, which means I can easily compare loans, mortgages, leasing deals and so on without even getting off the couch.
With a new empowered customer base, financial companies can no longer dictate what their customers want. It’s up to businesses to listen to their customers’ needs and build services around them.
Monzo is perhaps the most well-known example, having built a mobile-first service in response to changing behaviour. Monzo works its customers want it to work, not how its management thinks it ought to.
You can’t design your service in isolation. You can’t lock yourself away, design a product that you think might work and expect customers to jump on board.
You’ve got to invest time and effort into researching and understanding exactly what your audience wants. Do they want a personal service? Do they want an online-only service? Are they saving for specific goals? Do they need advice? Do they want advice?
In the digital era, the customer is king. Unfortunately, a lot of companies still haven’t realised this and they’re being left behind.
So, that’s three awesome marketing campaigns from finance companies. If you want to know more about modern marketing techniques, download our free eBook on inbound marketing today. It covers all the basics and teaches you how to set up a marketing campaign designed and built for the digital era.