Key Takeaways from the Financial Brand’s Forum Conference: Put Humanity Back in Banking

Ten years ago, the country faced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Consumers were apathetic and lacked trust in financial institutions. In recent years, banks and credit unions have shifted their focus back to the customer and member experience.  

Last week, Total Expert was at the Financial Brand’s Forum conference in Las Vegas. Here are our top takeaways from the conference.  

Embrace Change in the “Accelerating Present” 

Banks and credit unions are facing a “kodak moment,” according to Jeffrey Hayzlett, Former CMO of Kodak.  

Either adapt and change… or die.  

As consumer expectations in today’s Amazon, Uber, Airbnb world continue to rise, financial brands are racing to transform the customer experience and set themselves apart from competitors. The on-demand world we are ushering in is beyond our imagination.  

Data Silos Prevent Financial Brands from Truly Knowing Their Customers and Members 

Banks and credit unions have massive amounts of data, but it’s segmented, siloed and frequently impossible to make sense of and use.  

Because financial brands don’t understand their data, they don’t really know their customers and members. Without personas, it’s difficult to be empathetic in your marketing because mass marketing lacks specificity and relevance to individuals.  

“If you’re in marketing and you can’t access your customer or member data, you are driving a car with half the windshield blacked out,” said Jonathan Rowe, CMO at nCino. We’ve all been the recipient of personalized marketing gone wrong. Nothing turns a consumer off quicker than feeling misunderstood because they’re receiving marketing irrelevant to them and their specific needs. This is especially true when it comes to financial marketing where people long for advice tailored to their particular financial situation.  

Banks and credit unions have more data and insights on their customers and members than ever before, but in many cases, the customer experience isn’t evolving or improving as a result of these insights.  

Humanize Complex Financial Decisions to Build Trust  

In the “accelerating present,” the most premium experience for any customer or member is the human touch. Human interaction is required in the financial services industry, especially for the more complex products and services.  

There’s a direct correlation between people’s physical well-being and their financial well-being.  Banks and credit unions are in a unique position to give their customers and members the financial confidence they long for. Among consumers who receive financial advice, eighty-nine percent of them become repeat customers.  

As Gary Vaynerchuk said: Value, value, value – then ask for their business. Knowledge is power. Education-centric marketing empowers banks and credit unions to build trust as they educate customers and members

Disney is continually focused on “plussing the show” – always improving the customer journey –, according to Doug Lipp, Former Head of Training at Disney. In order to do this, you have to get up from your desk and go walk the bank or credit union branch, talk to tellers or apply for a loan through your financial brand. Actually live your own customer journey to know how to make it better.  

If you don’t keep improving your customer or member experience, you’ll lose them. And once you lose them, it’ll take a really long time to earn their confidence back.  

One bank, IdeaBank launched the first bank branches on commuter trains in Poland. They are literally meeting their customers where they are and humanizing their customer experience.   

“The best way to do personalized banking is to include a person,” said Rilla Delorier, EVP/Chief Strategy Officer at Umpqua Bank 

From Inspiration to Action 

With so many great speakers, insights and takeaways, you may have left the Financial Brand’s Forum conference wondering what to do first. Here’s a roadmap. And remember – take small bites. 

  1. Consolidate and understand your data.
  2. Create customer personas.
  3. Define your customer journey and identify gaps.
  4. Produce content specific to your target customer personas.
  5. Deliver a multi-channel customer journey.

Conclusion: Make Your Marketing Organization a Revenue Center 

In the just-released Digital Banking Report: 2019 Financial Marketing Trends, Jim Marous writes: “Rather than leadership of financial institutions asking to see the newest TV commercial or hear the next radio commercial, they will increasingly say, ‘Show me the money’ as it relates to the impact of marketing initiatives. It’s time to move from being viewed as a cost center to being a revenue center within the bank or credit union.”