Written by Suzanne Burrows on January 27, 2016
in Financial Marketing, Strategic Marketing

The financial services industry is undergoing massive change. From encroaching tech-powered competition, to rapidly shifting consumer expectations, to generational shifts in customer bases, financial services organizations are feeling the pinch, and marketers within the industry are scrambling to meet these challenges. When you’re under pressure to revolutionize the way you do business, it’s tempting to try and change everything, and right now. But this approach, while anchored in good intentions, often leads to more problems. Overambitious timelines, lack of stakeholder buy-in, and the slow speed to market for massive projects can mire your team in an uphill battle that is difficult to win. That’s why we often suggest a different approach to our clients – pick one thing and make it fantastic.

Instead of trying to solve all of your marketing challenges at once, choosing one and doing it extremely well helps marketers for a few reasons:

  1. Customers want experiences that work: Your customers may have a dream scenario of how their desired “bank of the future” should work, but most often, their primary concern is that your existing or new experiences work and work well. App or web portals that are filled with new features that don’t work properly are incredibly frustrating to your customers. Adding one feature that works like a dream will do much more to increase your customers’ connection to your brand. Email money transfer or using your smartphone camera to deposit a cheque are great examples.
  1. Customers want experiences that meet a human need: Whether you are deciding on a new customer experience to add, or how to improve an existing customer experience, it’s important to focus on the customer’s need instead of your own business goals. Two excellent examples of this concept in practice is the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Emergency Cash feature that gives customers access to £300 if their debit card is lost or stolen, and Transport for London’s ‘One More Journey’ feature that allows transit riders one extra ride if their Oyster card is out of credit to make sure people can get home safely. Both of these experiences provide customers with help when they are at their most vulnerable, yet could be viewed (short-term) as detrimental to both organizations’ business goals. However, both will have a huge impact on a customers’ connection to their brands if these situations ever come to pass.
  1. One incredible experience can create a “halo” effect for other experiences: By creating a fantastic customer experience, your customers will associate all of your other experiences (even if those have not had a chance to be made fantastic yet) with their positive one. Even if your bank’s app isn’t winning awards, if, say, its cheque deposit feature is an excellent customer experience, customers will often view the entire app as a positive customer experience.
  1. Wins buy you time, both in the market and in the workplace: Small customer experiences made fantastic take less time to go to market than large projects or overhauls, but they have the added benefit of buying you the time needed to complete large, complex campaigns and projects. And, internally, a quick win can buy your team or business unit the goodwill, budget, and time necessary to implement your ambitious plan.

So, next time you’re feeling the weight of expectation, both from your customers and from internal stakeholders, to go from 0 to 100 in 0.1 seconds, take a step back and try to pick one thing to make fantastic.

Suzanne Burrows is a Group Account Director at Ariad Communications

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