The demand to “innovate” can stop a financial services marketer dead in her/his tracks, especially when the definition of “innovation” is not made clear up front. To some stakeholders, innovation means implementing a big idea or inventing something completely new to create a previously unknown brand experience for customers. To others, innovation may be as simple as creating a new solution to an existing problem or implementing new technology to improve the customer experience.
With thousands of local and global brands heavily impacted by the repercussions of COVID-19, either positively or negatively, one thing is certain: all surviving brands are thinking differently about how they interact with their customers, online and offline, and many are taking this opportunity to accelerate innovation within their organizations to meet the needs of the new economy.
There are many ways financial services marketers can instigate innovation in their organizations. Here are three ideas to get the conversation started.
1.Look at why retail eCommerce explainer videos are good for customer engagement and conversion to sales
eMarketer recently report that, in reaction to COVID-19, 20% of U.S. adults said they will visit a bank branch less often; we can assume similar metrics for other in-person financial services institutions. For marketers and sales agents, that’s an entire immersive communication channel completely eliminated for customers who like receiving in-person advice.
So, what does innovation look like to help solve this potential challenge? It may mean taking a leaf from the retail marketer’s playbook and looking at how you can optimize your website with video content and live chat. While the online retail shopping experience doesn’t allow you to talk to a sales representative or touch a product, explainer or “how to” videos can be a great way to determine if it is the right choice for you. In under 30 seconds you can learn what are the features of the product, who it is for and how it works. The same can apply to financial services products.
Start by making quick explainer videos using your most popular FAQs in each product category for content, and remember to include closed captioning and language options to maximize your reach. The key to the success of explainer videos is ensuring your marketing team, customer service and sales agents all have access to them and know how to match a video to a question.
Make sure training is included in your roll out. This is particularly important for the live chat team whose function is to address customer questions quickly and accurately.
Explainer videos are also a great tool for marketing teams who are aiming to engage and empower customers across multiple channels such as email, social media and digital ads. Wyzowl reported 84% of marketers say video has helped them increase traffic to their website and 80% say video has increased dwell time on their site.
2.Use AI and ML data to improve your content messaging
Times of crisis often mean marketing roles that are typically considered strategic, suddenly become more tactical – and accountable. With fewer resources and competing priorities, this is an example of when stakeholder demand for innovation can be satisfied not necessarily by a complete overhaul, but rather with critical thinking and implementation of small tweaks to processes and programs.
With many financial institutions using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the customer experience through personalization, there is potentially an abundance of data to help marketers pivot messaging and content strategies.
Take the time to get into the nitty gritty and determine what’s working and what’s not. Work with your content marketing provider to tweak and test messaging and images across channels. Remember to consult your language specialists too. Crises such as COVID-19, a recession, or local disaster requires on-the-ground expertise for how to create messaging with the right level of empathy.
3.Try using print to convince customers to lean digital
More traditional institutions and customers may be slow adopters of digital communications. We’ve all received “go paperless” suggestions, but that option is not going to be the first choice for all demographics. Instead of asking customers to make a sudden move from print to digital, look at innovative ways you can gradually educate them on how they’ll benefit from making the change.
For your more high-value customers, try sending a letter inviting them to a video chat with a senior-level expert whom they may not usually have access to at a branch or office to discuss their financial goals. High touch does not always have to mean in-person.
For a more inclusive experience, try mailing customers a QR code to scan on their phone for a fun augmented reality experience. We did this for graduates of the University of Louisville who were unable to participate in their traditional pose with the Rodin “The Thinker” sculpture due to stay-at-home restrictions. From their homes they scanned the code and through the magic of AR and a selfie, they got their photo with The Thinker, virtually, which they shared on social media. (I dare you to spot the difference between virtual and reality!)
I love this concept for financial institutions. Imagine sending customers a QR code that allows them to take virtual photos of themselves enjoying local attractions and vacation hot spots where they may be using their credit cards or retirement savings, or of something more aspirational like a boat, sports car or house they may be looking to finance. They’ll share it on social media, with your hashtag, and so begins your digital relationship.
When it comes to innovation for financial services marketers, the reality is that refining, redefining or rethinking an existing program, process, platform, or workflow can bring the desired results. With the right marketing partners, it is easier to achieve than one may think.
Tag is the global creative production and sourcing partner to brands and agencies. We help financial services marketers engage and empower their customers by executing creative ideas to produce more content across more channels, faster and within budget.