Written by Colin Withers on November 3, 2016
in Digital Marketing, Financial Marketing

A recent survey from Ernst & Young provided some new insights into the banking habits of Canadians and the results paint a clear picture – Canadians are moving away from the “one bank for life” model and are looking to change. According to the report, 25% of those polled agreed with the statement “I’m less reliant on established (financial services) companies and banks these days, as there are more options to self-manage my finances” while 5% strongly agreed. Additionally, 36% said they had used an online-only financial product or service from an investment firm, FinTech startup, or alternative financial provider (a retailer for example). Of those that said they haven’t used an online-only financial product, 20% said they would consider doing so in the future.

What does this mean for marketers? It means that they need to work harder than ever to create a digital customer experience that not only matches those of new market entrants but exceeds them. The respondents in the report also cited some of their reasons for considering a non-bank provider to be: more attractive rates, access to different products and services, how easy it was to set up an account, and that they were looking for a better online experience.

It’s vital for financial services marketers to realize that many of the new entrants aren’t revolutionizing banking. While some areas (like peer-to-peer lending) are truly revolutionary, others (like digital-only retail banks and investment firms) are simply offering customers the experience they want. While it may be easier for four people in a garage to create a captivating digital experience versus the large, complex team structures and legacy IT systems of a big bank, it isn’t a skillset that is exclusive to new market entrants. In order to compete, banks must now capitalize on their biggest advantages – data and access to the customer – to create a digital-first experience in order to hold off disruptive competitors and build trust and loyalty. Those who cannot adapt will retreat to becoming specialists at the basic business of deposit warehousing and financing, leaving the savvy new generation of investors, homeowners, and families to their competition.

The big banks can create digital experiences that rival that of the new entrants, as long as they truly commit to making it a priority. And, what the big banks can do that FinTech cannot, is leverage years of customer data to create truly personalized digital experiences. Financial services marketers are uniquely positioned within their organizations to begin this change now by championing the customer experience across whatever channel the customer prefers. While it isn’t easy, it’s certainly worth it. And, it’s something that isn’t limited to the new guys.

Colin Withers is the Brand & Communications Manager at Ariad Communications


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