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Spearheading Digital Marketing in Finance? Prioritize These 3 Initiatives

March 08, 2022

Contributor: Jordan Turner

Plus, some tips to get started.

In short:

  • Customer needs have pushed digital marketing leaders in financial services to rethink where and how they invest.
  • The 2021 Gartner Digital Marketing Survey for Financial Services highlights their top focus areas.
  • Leaders should prioritize three initiatives: digital transformation, customer acquisition and personalization.

Uncertain times, changing customer needs and ever-evolving technology have pushed financial services marketing leaders to rethink their investments. In the 2021 Gartner Digital Marketing Survey, we asked 350 finance marketing executives across the globe to identify how their current and future digital marketing strategies are shaping up. From the data, we’ve identified the top 3 initiatives to prioritize now.

Download now: The Top Marketing Predictions and Trends to Know

No. 1: Implement transformation initiatives

Financial services (FS) is lagging other industries in implementing digital marketing transformation initiatives. According to the survey, only 15% of financial services leaders had fully done so in 2021. 

This suggests that while digital transformation is considered critical, leaders are fairly conservative in their approach to business model innovation. It also highlights challenges in catching up with technology and overcoming regulatory hurdles.

To begin forging ahead, ensure your digital marketing transformation projects focus on improving the customer experience. Identify what your customers need to feel supported in their pursuit of financial empowerment. Most need to feel in control, confident and capable of making the right financial decisions. To create this mindset, pay careful attention to presenting information in a way that feels relevant, timely and intuitive.

Learn more: What Is Digital Marketing Strategy — And What Are the Keys to Its Success?

No. 2: Prioritize customer acquisition 

Organizations continue to shift their focus toward customer acquisition and away from retention — a trend that looks likely to accelerate. The top 3 postpandemic objectives for financial services leaders are all focused on customer acquisition, with “drive increased sales among identified leads” coming in first. 

Customer acquisition has jumped in priority for digital marketing leaders. Two years ago, 63% of them called it important, compared to 68% today, and an expected 86% by 2024. Given all of the disruptions of the past few years, the need for financial institutions to invest in and improve their digital marketing capabilities in pursuit of customer acquisition has never been greater. 

To do this, evaluate your presence across each digital channel relative to the customer objectives it supports. Place your bets on your website to help drive customer acquisition. Design it to provide a combination of self-led and assisted channels that account for both self-service and self-support needs, cognizant of the fact that your customers' needs vary based on where they are in their journey.

No. 3: Evolve your personalization strategy 

While personalization remains an important lever in driving customer acquisition, financial services digital marketers appear to be shifting their focus. Of the leaders surveyed, 55% say their marketing messages are targeted to customers through a one-to-many rather than a one-to-one approach. 

Personalization strategies can often be tricky to implement in this space, because there is a fine line between a message that is targeted and relevant and one that is too personal. For customers, the risk of over-personalization (i.e., demonstrating to a customer that the brand knows an alarming amount about them) is much greater than that of no personalization at all. 

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of marketers who have invested in personalization will abandon their efforts due to lack of ROI, the perils of customer data management or both.

More personalization also results in higher costs and doesn’t necessarily equate to increased value for the brand. To ensure success, rightsize your personalization efforts by exercising the minimum data requirements for relevant messaging. Particularly in financial services, personalization requires a surgically precise strategy to be relevant rather than invasive.

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