Somewhat late to the party, 2011 is billed as the year that the financial services sector will truly embrace the mobile. Other sectors have been more forthcoming in driving mobile revenues but perhaps the mobile marketing opportunity for finance products and services is worth waiting for? James Richards, Director of mobinetic, IE, takes a closer look…
Beyond apps to view your current account balance, there are a whole host of opportunities for the delivery of financial services via smartphones, from credit card management through to the ability to view and pay off store card balances for leading retailers.
The business case has always been difficult to define in this area but for retail banking in particular, IE carried out a survey with YouGov that revealed one in four of generation Y (aged between 18 and 34) would improve their opinion of their bank if it offered mobile phone banking services. Compelled by the customer satisfaction benefits that opening up the mobile channel will bring, banks and financial service providers are getting serious about mobile strategy.
What does this mean for marketers?
The growth in mobile financial services brings a fresh take on in-app marketing, enabling a new wave of targeted marketing efforts that are closely linked to a customer’s financial behaviour. Marketers won’t just know the profile of their customer base, they will be able to correlate financial activity such as over-spending on credit cards or regular store card purchases directly to marketing initiatives.
The mobile channel allows financial institutions and (any organisation that has financial account holders), to gain a better understanding of not just ‘what’ but also when and where their customers are reviewing their account information. Being able to deliver timely, tailored marketing messages to the right customer, in the right place, at the right time is a powerful differentiator. For example, a customer that checks their current account balance on a Saturday morning from a shopping centre and is about to go overdrawn is likely to be receptive to marketing messages around loans or credit cards.
The challenge for the marketer, as we reach a critical stage in mobile app roll out, is to ensure they are involved with other stakeholders in the organisation in the development of this new channel to exploit the clear opportunity to offer innovative and targeted marketing to their customer base.
Making mobile a reality in financial services
In a recent IE survey, 34 per cent of marketers in banks and financial services companies identified the main challenge to mobile services roll out as ensuring that they have the right resources in place, suggesting that companies are anxious about their in-house teams capacity and experience.
Part of the difficulty here is knowing which mobile operating platforms to invest in. For the marketer, this means ensuring that the brand and overall look and feel are not distorted across different platforms as a result of a lack of attention/expertise from banks in-house developer teams. The mobile must be seen as an extension to existing channels after all.
Overall, offering customers greater functionality and empowerment to choose how they interact with their bank is crucial, and will ensure that financial institutions can build sustainable competitive advantage through increased customer loyalty, as well as adding a valuable marketing channel to drive additional revenue. If you haven’t already heard about your organisation’s mobile strategy to support its credit card / store card / loyalty card, it’s time to ensure that the marketing team is included in internal preparations to reap the many business benefits that mobile has to offer.
By James Richards