By Ben Michaelis – Managing Director, ThinkEngine
The future of Financial Services is exciting, right? Even the present is pretty impressive. Whether we’re talking about handy banking apps or fund compliance platforms for global firms, the evolution and innovation within the sector is there for all to see, but I suppose it does bring another question front and centre – are marketing teams able to sustain this pace and workload with their current marketing toolset, or should they be looking even further ahead to try and consider what the next generation of marketing innovations/software may bring in terms of value? In this article, we’re going to consider both the current and next-gen marketing and productivity opportunities.
Be ‘always on’ even when you are not
We’re living in a world where there is now an expectation from website visitors that your business is ‘always on’ – i.e there is something that they can speak to on-demand, whether that is a human or AI. Even back in 2018 Outgrow suggested that by the end of 2021 80% of firms are projected to integrate some form of chatbot system. Even now the expectation is there from visitors too, according to Salesforce 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots because they deliver quick answers to simple questions.
The development of LiveChat, AI solutions and website engagement platforms has created the opportunity for your businesses to generate leads/sales even where they are not there, a marketing and sales dream scenario, right? Well, yes – but have you considered which platform to use? Does it integrate into your existing marketing stack (a new, contemporary term for marketing tools/software!). Have you considered the impact of how these workflows and solutions can be further tailored based on your existing marketing data, analytics and intelligence – can you deliver a truly tailored and personalised experience for your visitor? How much will it impact our customer service? ChatbotLife predicts that companies will save 2.5 billion customer service hours using chatbots by the end of 2023. In addition, Relay suggests that 58% of websites that use chatbots are for B2B companies. All of these types of questions and considerations would have to be considered by your firm and mean that planning is an integral stage of this process. Critically these types of technologies are only impactful if the appropriate types of visitors are arriving, navigating and engaging with your website.
It doesn’t really matter which angle you look at the benefits of Chatbots and Livechat tools, they are advantageous options for firms. In fact, the team at LiveChat suggest that chatbots can take care of 30% of live chat communication, reducing pressure on business resources. The commercial perks across the board are vast and it just means that your firm can be ‘always on’ when really you might not be.
Marketing automation – understand how intelligent workflows can streamline and personalise visitor experiences
Marketing automation platforms offer a great way for firms to delve deeper into marketing data and build tailored workflows which can enhance user experience and revenue. These integrated solutions mean that a marketing team has a central cloud-based platform to manage marketing operations. The value of marketing automation is important for growing teams and allows sales and marketing departments to work in conjunction with one another, rather than against each other, which can often be the case.
Financial Services firms, especially FinTech/SaaS teams are often well versed in the benefits of automation and are actively using these solutions to drive customer/client growth and engagement. In my experience having worked with a number of global FinTechs, they already understand how the productivity benefits will help their business improve, often due to their lean and tech-focused business models. However, there is great scope for the wider industry to take note and realise the potential, even if it is already considered, how can it be even better?
The impact of Covid-19 and the movement to home working drove a new wave of innovative thinking across the industry and it’s great to see that firms who had not wished/wanted to interlink automation solutions into their business have now started to see how it can help support their teams from lead generation to commercial decision marketing for leadership teams.
Regardless of whether you are working in a B2B or B2C environment, the implications of automation can be staggering. Lenskold.com suggests that 78% of successful marketers say that marketing automation is most responsible for improving revenue contribution. Equally important is how automation can drive productivity benefits, Nucleus Research found that marketing automation improved business productivity by an average of 20%.
Reporting can be challenging and time-consuming for marketing professionals – good news, automation can become your new best friend and take away that pain. Step away from complex reporting and streamline your processing time with more meaningful data that can improve your marketing. One of the biggest frustrations for marketing teams is being overloaded with lots of data and analytics – but the key question is: how do we understand it and use it for meaningful improvements? Has your firm [really] answered this question yet?
Creating an innovative culture
There is nothing better than working in a team of people who want to bring new ideas and initiatives to the table – why? Because they are driving your business forward and initiating a culture for constant improvement – in fast-paced markets, this is essential. If you’re standing still, you’re out.
A great way to bring new ideas into your team is by collaborating with other business departments. Coupling fresh ideas and knowledge with a dynamic task management software can be really powerful. This can also set the groundwork for collaboration within the firm and can drastically increase productivity. According to Mckinsy, up to 80% of businesses use social collaboration tools for enhancing business processes. This foundation of an ‘open’ workplace where it’s easy for team members to share ideas creates a work culture that promotes change and innovative thinking. This is often where great ideas like AI and automation result from. In fact, in a survey by the Business Consulting Group more than 30% of senior innovation leaders expect AI to be among the areas of innovation with the highest impact on their company in the next three to five years. And almost 30% are actively targeting AI in their innovation cycles.
Harness your organic and paid marketing with great tech
Investing in effective SEO & PPC has proven to be an effective marketing strategy for financial firms to drive more targeted traffic. In fact, 61% of B2B marketers stated that SEO/organic traffic generate more leads than any other marketing initiatives. Therefore having a focus on relevancy and thought-leadership style content is essential for financial services firms.
Innovative SEO technologies with features such as competitor research and tracking, keyword analysis and reporting can be a real game-changer for industry firms – which company doesn’t want to understand what SEO and PPC activity/campaigns their competitors are working on? The intelligence provided by these technologies can give you invaluable insight into areas of improvement within seconds.
The round up
Ask yourself the question: are you really maximising the potential of the marketing tech available to you? My suggestion is to consider and utilise the most cost-effective tools available to you to ensure that your marketing team is ready for consistent growth. I would also suggest not being afraid to eliminate software if they are not delivering ROI – some firms are frightened to do this, but why? The reality is simple, if it doesn’t bring the business the value you expected, it means that budget is not being utilised well enough and it could make way for another, more powerful marketing tool which will.
The array of software that can now be leveraged everyday makes the world of marketing so much more exciting and what’s more, the rest of the business will also benefit from the insight, collaborative working methods and innovation focused thinking. Let’s try and convince marketing leaders and professionals to update their thinking from:
“Oh no, not another piece of technology to pay for and use? We have loads of tools already..”
and let’s get them considering an alternative perspective:
“How will this technology meet and exceed our marketing and corporate objectives, and more importantly streamline our team’s workload?”
If your mind works more towards the latter, keep it thinking that way!