Disrupt or Die? Three Marketing Lessons for Financial Services From the Tech Sector

Disrupt or die? Which side of the digital tsunami is your brand or employer on? It may not be a straight yes/no answer. But if you’re not surfing the wave(s) you’re facing a real risk of wipe-out. Literally.

Why? Evidence, analysis and data all suggest it’s soon to “disrupt or be disrupted”.

So what should CMOs and CEOs in financial services do when faced with the wave?

Learn from those who created it, and stay on there right side of it.

The top three marketing strategies used by disruptors that we see as more mature players:

1. Influencer marketing (think ANZ’s current ‘Your world, your way’)
2. Social CRM (it’s smart but creepy that my bank tweets back at me now)
3. Challenger brand strategy (RaboDirect beats up the big banks)

Whether you think social is a no brainer or high risk/low return channel (yes, plenty of people in our industry think the latter) the evidence is now overwhelming.. What’s more interesting than the business case is “how” mature businesses are mimicking.

The latest KPMG report titled Unlocking the potential: The fintech opportunity for Sydney, reminds us tomorrow’s customer will be more demanding, less loyal to their financial institution and characterised by a desire for immediate, transparent and personalised service. That kind of service will be powered by technology and social media marketing.

1. Influencer marketing: Just as Uber launched at SxSW … so too are banks and FS businesses going after influencers. Not so new, not so novel but all “shiny object” powered by social media networks and specifically the power of influencer networks. Take Jeff Bullas, Kim Kardashian or Warren Buffet. We know a tweet from Kim is worth $15K to a sponsor. What’s the value of 250,000 new signs ups in a week to you? Someone with the power to deliver it to you can probably tell you what it’s worth to them. They charge you. Call it blogger relations at its most basic, thought leadership marketing in a traditional asset management sense or experimental marketing to consumer opinion leaders, effective influencer marketing can create great visibility for your product or service as long as you’re also great at service delivery.

Here in Australia Uber conducted a slightly different influencer campaign, not with an influencer but with kittens. Uber launched #UberKittens where customers could order a kitten car and for $40 a kitten (along with a handler) would come and play with you for 15 minutes. The internet loves cats and who wouldn’t want to share a selfie with a kitten? This campaign shows Uber’s ability to use popular culture to generate social buzz and engage with what their customers are talking about.

Source: http://www.cnet.com/au/news/uber-for-cats-uber-kittens-hits-australia-for-one-day-only/

Taking a look at financial services, ANZ’s recent ‘Your world, your way’ campaign – aimed to empower and to encourage people to follow their dreams. You too can be as cool as the founder of ATARI Nolan Bushmell, or as adventurous and determined as sailor Jessica Watson. Different to Uber’s direct approach, the ANZ influencer campaign uses opinion leaders or well-known people to tell us anything is achievable – our way.

2. Social CRM: customer relationships management, as cited in Temenos’ ‘Lessons learned from Banking industry disruptors’ report, is using social media and big data to help firms to get a clearer picture of their customers’ lives. In doing so, it allowed them to determine customers’ creditworthiness – leading to better pricing and well informed online relationship management (also known as social CRM). Through CRM companies are able to better understand their customers and in turn hyper-personalise the user experience.

German bank, Fidor Bank, has embraced social media and interaction throughout its business model. Using social media Fidor Bank not only speak with customers but also consult with customers when developing new products and provide a space for peer-to-peer online forums. Last but not least, Fidor Bank pays increased interest on certain accounts for customers who are fans of the bank on Facebook. That’s a good incentive if I’ve ever heard one!

National Australia Bank (NAB) also saw the need to embrace social and in 2012 opened its ‘social media command centre’. The team of seven – drawn from the bank’s marketing, digital and corporate affairs divisions – was tasked with managing the 5000+ social media interactions per month. NAB’s seven day a week service enabled its social media community to grow by more than 350% in 2012, with content reaching over 12 million users. NAB’s early adaption to social CRM has allowed it to outperform its competitors and gain greater insights into their behaviour patterns, wants and needs. How often do you tweet your bank?


Source: https://twitter.com/Westpac/with_replies

3. Challenger brand strategy: disrupting the disruptors: Challenger brand marketing is just as it sounds. Non-dominant brands overturning and undermining the status-quo through innovative marketing that connects with the customer.

Let’s take a step back to 2011 when RaboDirect launched their attack on the big four banks. What were the big 4 doing? According to RaboDirect they were stealing people’s dreams through low interest saving accounts. RaboDirect represented the big four as enjoying your holiday, buying your diamond ring and even buying your daughter’s pony. Comical, and without directly shaming another, the campaign called for customers to act in a bid to steal back their dreams from the bank.

Source: http://www.adnews.com.au/campaign/stealing-your-dreams

Like RaboDirect’s ‘stealing your dreams’ campaign, the Commonwealth Bank’s (CBA) ‘CAN’ campaign aimed to show customers what they were missing. The CBA ‘CAN’ campaign was launched in 2012 in a post GFC environment that had dented consumer confidence. The wide reaching campaign aimed to show CBA’s difference in technology and customer service. CBA’s ‘CAN’ campaign aimed to change brand perception and relied on the positive positioning of what it can do rather than what others can’t.

Remember these slogans?

Source: http://mumbrella.com.au/inside-commbank-can-campaign-214880

Traditional businesses can use marketing exceptionally well in the age of digital disruption. They have a great foundation: often large and loyal customer bases, access to rich, long term data and the ability to innovate and cross sell financial services products.

What’s the gap? Bringing all these assets together to leverage them. Killing unhelpful aspects of legacy culture and technology/ processes, getting to know the customer’s journey so they can truly offer multichannel service and upgrading (revolutionising) their ability to use their own and external data.

Only then will we have earnt the right to survive, prosper and enjoy the ride in stormy seas.