Better Together (Part 3 of 3)

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Launching digital banking: some bullets

Hint: Your future is at stake

This is the final sneak peek at my presentation at next month’s ABA Marketing and Retail Conference in Orlando. My session, “Better Together: Marketing Mobile and Tablet Banking with the Help of IT,” is on Sunday, September 7, at 3:45.

In my prior two posts, I have done my best to persuade you that your future lies in offering and heavily promoting a killer suite of mobile banking services. In this post, I’ll provide some bullets. If there are naysayers in your organization, perhaps these will help them see reason.

• Not just tomorrow’s, but today’s banking customers want easy, fast, accessible, and versatile mobile services. According to AlixPartners, 60 percent of smartphone and tablet owners who ditched their primary bank for a competitor in the first half of 2013 cited mobile banking as an “important” or “extremely important factor.” Just to emphasize the point, please note that another way of saying “60 percent” is “OVER HALF OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.”

• Digital bankers generate more fee revenue than non-digital bankers. You may recall that according to Fiserv’s proprietary research, “more” means an average of 428 percent.

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That’s my title slide. Aren’t you just
dying to see the rest of them?

• Besides driving fee revenue up, mobile banking drives costs down. According to Javelin, “down” meant an industry-wide savings of $1.5 billion in 2013 alone.

• Mobile banking is a sticky product. Once customers are comfortable with an app, they are loath to give it up and face having to learn a new one.

• Banking-by-tablet has begun to outstrip banking-by-smartphone in terms of time spent and number and complexity of transactions. No wonder: tablet screens are bigger and, therefore, easier to use. Caution: Do not use this as an excuse to neglect smartphones. When it comes to quick, on-the-move transactions, smartphones still reign.

• Mobile deposit is a must. Banks offering mobile deposit see a per-customer increase of about 30 percent in logins and about 60 percent in transactions.

• Besides offering a killer suite of mobile products, you must pour energy and resources into signing on customers. Your early-adopting competitors are unabashed about raiding your customer base. This is no time to be shy.

I’ll go into a lot more detail in my session, “Better Together: Marketing Mobile and Tablet Banking with the Help of IT.” Again, it’s on Sunday, September 7, at 3:45. I hope to see you there.

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Better Together (Part 2 of 3)

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Musts for launching digital banking services

Hint: Be a marketer

This is the second of three sneak peeks at some of the points I’ll cover in my presentation at next month’s ABA Marketing and Retail Conference. Note that I said “some of the points.” For the whole shebang, I hope you’ll join me in Orlando on Sunday, September 7, at 3:45 for my session, “Better Together: Marketing Mobile and Tablet Banking with the Help of IT.”

YOUR FUTURE HINGES on offering a killer suite of mobile services. But that’s just Step One. For a killer suite to do you any good, you’ll need to put some effort into Step Two, that is, getting customers to sign up and use it. Here are some enrollment musts:

• Don’t be a wimp. Incredible, I know, but some marketers actually worry about “badgering” customers with too many messages about mobile services. I have three responses. (1) You’re not badgering as much as you think. You live with your messaging, which means you’re exposed to it all the time. Your customers aren’t. (2) Think back to when you studied Adam Smith and learned that the appropriate response to demand is supply. Now consider that mobile banking is hot because your customers demand it. If you want your bank to stick around for the long haul, now is not time to worry about bringing up mobile services once too often. (3) You’re a marketer, dammit. Market!

• Capitalize on your proprietary media. Paid advertising is fine, but don’t overlook the media you own outright. Promote mobile services on your website, ATM screens, statements, stuffers, lobby posters, tent cards, e-letters, newsletters, and more. Your messages will have the advantage of appearing in an environment free of competing advertising. And by marshaling this low-cost solution, you will have the advantage of earning brownie points with the even most austere corporate bean-counter.

• Use smart banners. Of your customers who access your website from a desktop computer, some 30 percent also access it from a mobile device—but do not have the mobile app. This is the ideal time and place for a banner that lets them download the app. If your financial institution is like most, you will see a marked increase in enrollment beginning on the day you implement this tactic alone.

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• Icons help. Back in the Stone Age, when direct marketers wanted phone calls instead of clicks, they found that displaying a telephone icon (like the one on the right) next to a phone number actually increased calls. Likewise, today icons resembling smart phones and tablets increase clicks. Display them in your messages.

• Sign up your employees. You cannot expect your people to extoll what they haven’t experienced. Then, once your employees are signed up and hooked on your mobile services, you can …

• … Motivate employees to sign up customers. This will require training. If you’re interested in increasing the results of said training several-fold, you should also offer meaningful incentives. I recommend incentives that every employee can receive, as opposed to contests that yield only a few winners. If you want to do both, even better.

• Parade your security. In the old days, one way to allay fears of low-tech theft was to have a huge, thick, impenetrable vault door in plain sight from the lobby. A beefy guard packing heat tended to reassure, too. Today, a fear of high-tech theft keeps some people from using mobile services. Be sure to promote your commitment to and procedures ensuring security. This will require some finesse. You want to talk about security in a way that allays fears, not increases them.

Coming up next in Part 3: Important take-aways

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Better Together (Part 1 of 3)

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428 Reasons Digitally Engaged Customers Matter

Hint: Each reason is a percent

If an average 428 percent increase in fee income is small potatoes to your bank, you can skip this article and my breakout session at next month’s ABA Marketing and Retail Conference. I won’t be offended. After all, the other breakout sessions look good. I’d attend them myself, but—I’m sure you understand—I’m kind of obligated to attend mine.

Back to that average 428 percent. That figure comes from Fiserv’s proprietary research. It represents the average of how much more fee income digital banks generate than non-digital banks.

The numbers behind the average are more surprising and quite telling. At the low end are customers aged 61-70, where the average increase comes in at a not-paltry 242 percent. At the other extreme is the 0-18 age group, which comes in at 1,137 percent.

In real dollars, the 61-70-year-olds account for almost twice the fee income as the 0-18-year-olds. No surprise there. Older folks have more money to throw around. That is, they have more money right now. I seem to recall that an issue weighing heavily on bankers is that our not-too-distant future depends on winning over the young’uns. If the young’uns want digital banking and don’t mind paying for it—and the numbers suggest they don’t mind at all—it takes little vision to realize that a winning bank will not just offer but champion digital services.

This article is the first of three before the conference. In the next article I’ll share some best practices, and in the final one I’ll share a few important points to remember. For the whole story, I hope you’ll join me for my session, “Better Together: Marketing Mobile and Tablet Banking with the Help of IT.” It’s on Sunday, September 7, at 3:45.

I hope to see you in Orlando.

 

 

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A lesson from a bit of yellow journalism

YellerJournalismCanYou may know that Rupert Murdoch acquired the New York Post in 1976. You may also know that Murdoch is less known for responsible journalism than for pandering to mass audiences to serve up to advertisers at top dollar.

So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised last week to see this New York Post headline: “Bank outlets shutter as mobile services grow.” Nor to see writer John Aidan Byrne’s equally despairing lede: “Bank branches are falling like tree limbs in a storm …”

The cause of all the mayhem? None other than “America’s profit-hungry banks… ” who are “… dismantling more of their brick-and-mortar outposts with lower-cost, increasingly popular tech and mobile services …”

Curse you, you profit-hungry bankers!

Funny. I visited New York not long ago. I don’t recall stepping over a single fallen tree limb, much less a fallen bank branch. Maybe I need to pay more attention to where I’m walking.

Instead of a banks-falling-like-trees metaphor, Byrne could have used an evolution-of-stronger-banks metaphor. He could have shown how mobile banking creates jobs, drives down costs, reduces fraud, and brings opportunities to more of the world than ever before. He could have explained that profits are vital for building a strong economy.

But then, that’s not his job. It’s ours.

Byrne did his job. He spun a story in sync with the Post’s tabloid nature. Meanwhile, we, the mobile banking industry, have for too long focused on promoting the awesomeness of the mobile banking world, and the even more awesome world to come, to the banking industry. It is equally important that we promote it to the masses. Else, they are left to the voices of naysayers and sensationalists.

Mark Twain said it well: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Pro-active PR is easier than remedial PR. It’s not too late to tell our side, the real side, the positive side, of the emerging mobile banking world. But we need start now, before we find ourselves having to play catch-up.

On a positive note, click here to check out Phillip Ryan’s responsible reporting on the same information on bankinnovation.net. But, to my point, this is an intra-industry piece. We need to address more than just one another. If consumers knew what we knew, they’d be thrilled at what is to come. Let’s no longer talk just to ourselves. Let’s get busy placing truthful, positive stories about mobile banking in the popular consumer press.

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This Digital Bank Marketing Lesson Comes from an Unlikely Source

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Levenger publishes the good with the bad, along with their replies.

Some marketers avoid acknowledging even the slightest negative word. That’s not just naïve but risky. When a negative tweet can reach millions, the only question is whether you want to try turning complaints to your benefit or leave them to them run rampant on their own.

That is why last week I dared digital banking marketers to show their laundry. For a look at how that can be a winning strategy, I commend you to respected catalog marketer Levenger. They publish every customer review, good or bad, of every product, and bazaarvoice guarantees it. Even more courageous, review sort options include “rating–low to high.”

These are not acts of self-sabotage. For one thing, posting the negative increases the credibility of the positive. For another, Levenger uses bad reviews to showcase good policy. Take, for instance, the response they posted to a criticism of their iPad Mini folio: “…We apologize this case did not meet your expectations … Customer satisfaction is our first priority and we offer a 100% guarantee on all of our products. Please contact our customer service center at 1(800) 544-0880 to discuss how we can make this right.” Or take their reply to an unhappy leather billfold owner, which, besides offering a replacement, says, “… We have forwarded your concerns to our Product and Development team for review … [and they] have made improvements to the design of the wallet that will eliminate previously encountered problems.”

With a few lines, Levenger shows that they willingly replace or refund, that feedback does not fall on deaf ears, and that the design team actually uses feedback to improve products. You may be dissuaded from buying the folio or billfold, but your confidence in the risk-free nature of doing business with Levenger will only rise.

Occasionally there is the odd complaint from the customer who thrives on being displeased. (We all have them.) Levenger doesn’t take the bait, and counts on reasonable customers to understand.

Do not turn up your nose because the catalog business isn’t the banking business. Catalogers were the original interactive marketers. (Benjamin Franklin had a mail-order catalog.) We ignore 200-plus years of the art of customer interaction and satisfaction at our peril.

So, bankers, back to you. Do you have the courage to publish pans as well as praise, put on display your approach to handling complaints, and use valid feedback to improve products and practices?

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