This has been a big year for mobile. From growth in tablet shipments and multiple device use to an explosive increase in mobile-centric innovations at every level, mobile is where you want to be in the present and future.
Banks and other financial institutions have a great opportunity to thrive in this channel. It is an industry that is very customer-centric, with high engagement and long-term needs. So, it is no wonder that major banks like Citizens Bank (highest rated app at App Store and Google Play) are leveraging their mobile services to deliver a consistent, if not better, experience for on-the-go customers.
Banks can now make instant connections with banking apps, allowing customers to access account information, pay bills, transfer funds and deposit checks. Through mobile web optimization (responsive sites) and text banking (fraud alerts via SMS, low-balance notifications) marketers can now offer a variety of solutions to mobile customers.
The key to mobile is adaptability and being receptive to innovations that will help customers in their day-to-day activities. When it comes to thinking in terms of context and how devices are used - mobile is all action. Customers are using it on the go. The mobile experience thrives on convenience, speed and getting things done.
3 factors to keep in mind when developing and maintaining a mobile strategy for financial institutions:
1. Simplicity: Count the Steps
In practice, it takes a lot of effort for something to seem effortless. But, it’s worth it. Evaluate your mobile first impression by counting the steps (clicks to reach desired page/goal/etc.) and navigating from the customer’s perspective.
Ask questions that could improve usability. For example: "How many steps does it take for a customer to access their balance" or, "Can your customer reach a live contact in 3 steps or less?"
2. Personalization & Localization: Make it About Them
The future of mobile banking will shift as mobile becomes more commonplace. Instead of focusing on the quantity of services, the focus will shift to quality and context i.e. how valuable these services as they relate to the customer.
Customers increasingly want opportunities to customize. This applies to the alerts they receive, promotions, daily deals and the design/layout of an app on their device. They also want to prioritize and organize the tools/features that appear.
Geo-localization is an important part of personalizing on mobile. This can be applied to help customers find local branch information, improve promotions and introduce travel-based notifications.
3. Adaptability: Find what works, but keep your eyes open
Bottom line, choose what works for you. The mobile and digital landscape is constantly changing. It isn't about offering every innovation available on mobile, but it's constantly reviewing and adapting to what works for you and your customer. Keep new things on your radar so you can continue to increase loyalty and simplify their experience.
According to a recent Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey Study, a majority of smart-phone and tablet owners open their emails on mobile regardless of age and device. Owners aged 18-39 are clearly the most engaged when it comes to mobile interaction, with over 85% of the group opening emails on mobile!
Here are just a few things to consider as smart marketers.
1. Be sure to validate your emails on the most popular mobile devices – as an outsider looking in. Look for inconsistencies in content, images, layout and hyperlinks.
2. Use responsive design principles that optimizes content based on the device form-factor.
3. Test your emails with images off. Most email clients will render promotional or non-whitelisted emails without images. It is up to the customer to let you in.
There are many more things to consider. So, how confident are you about your next email campaign? Give us a shout if you'd like an expert opinion.
This year according to Pew Research, 91% of American adults have a cell phone, 56% have a smartphone and 34% have a tablet. Not only has mobile device ownership increased for tablets and smartphones but multi-device ownership has as well.
What does this mean for marketers? Keep an eye out for trends and innovations relating to multi-screen browsing behaviors. Think responsive/adaptive design, mobile optimization, localization and personalization to engage your customers across all touchpoints.
Mobile is increasingly the preferred touchpoint between banks and their customers. IAB found that 58% of customers surveyed use mobile banking apps. And, 45% of adults under 30 used banking mobile banking in 2012 (Federal Reserve Bank).
As a financial institution, it is important to consider mobile as your "first impression." Are you using mobile optimized websites, apps and design to maximize customer interaction?
Did Apple copy the color palette for the iPhone 5C from Nokia?
PS: The Nokia Lumia 620 has been available for a few months now.
So, Apple, if you're reading this, here's a great little tool called the Color Scheme Designer. You can see how CRAZY easy it is to pick colors that are different than Nokia's, even if you were blindfolded!
Read more about why competitors, especially Google, are laughing at Apple.
And, we're not alone in our thinking. Here's what Hartmut Esslinger, the man who helped Steve Jobs in the early days of industrial design, is saying about Apple (Sep 12, 2013)
In this age of micro-communications (Twitter, Vine, etc.) we are all used to using bit.ly URLs. But, have you ever wondered how you could create a QR code for that URL. Hmmm....I am sure you have. Well, it's easier than you think and here's the trick.
Get yourself a bit.ly URL @ bitly.com. Here's ours.
http://bit.ly/dw-website (yes, you can even personalize the URL if you have an account!)
Suffix the URL with a ".qr" as in http://bit.ly/dw-website.qr and, you've got yourself a QR code. Voila!
In a recent survey of senior bank and credit union executives, noted blogger, Jim Marous, found that a common strategic priority is to improve the customer experience. He cites lower margins, increased competition, higher operating expenses and channel disruption as factors that are pushing bankers to look to customer satisfaction as a means to competitive advantage through differentiation.
Where to begin the journey?
We believe the journey to an enhanced customer experience begins with a methodology developed by Hank Brigman in his book: Touchpoint Power. His four point methodology, while applicable across a spectrum of business models, is especially powerful when applied to the retail banking model as it is evolving today.
Based on reported research from Forrester, more consumers are centering their customer experience on mobile banking. Given this shift from branch and ATM interactions it is clear that many banks and credit unions, while offering transaction-based apps, are not taking the next step to deliver, in Hank Brigman’s terminology, "TouchPoints" that consistently offer customized experiences to advance the customer relationship.
In a recent report The U.S. Mobile App Landscape: An Annual Evaluation of Mobile Banking at Top U.S. Banks, Celent found that larger banks out-develop and out-adopt smaller institutions by a significant margin. "The channel is still relatively new, but leaders in the digital channel space are beginning to take offerings into the realm of value-added services that are context-sensitive, timely, and utilize big data", says Dan Latimore, senior vice president of Celent's Banking Group and coauthor of the report. "There's a large disparity among digital offerings—industry leaders are light-years ahead of the laggards."
At Digital Wavefront, we look at this trend as both a challenge and an opportunity for banks and credit unions. Today's technology tools are widely available and not expensive for these smaller institutions to create and build their mobile banking footprint. Technology can help them contextualize the customer experience and make them feel more connected and more empowered.
How to delight your (banking) customer?
We see technology as this great equalizer between large and small banks when it comes to creating a Touchpoint "hub" through the mobile channel. With many choices, Customer Experience Management will be centerstage as we move into 2014 and beyond. As experts in marketing best practices with experience working with banks and credit unions, ask us how we can help you deliver a delightful banking experience or request our banking case study.
Understanding how people really interact with their devices will help you provide a tailored and more streamlined experience for your customers.
At the NEDMA annual conference a few weeks ago, Google agency strategists Mike Hawkins, Anthony Phalen and Connor Green presented some interesting material pushing past why multi-screen usage is an important turning point for marketers and shedding light on how people use their devices. This was especially interesting because it presents new possibilities for advertisers and marketers who want their content and brand to move across devices with their consumers.
For example, we understand that many people use tablets or smartphones in addition to watching television. By understanding that behavior, it would make sense to create television ads that respond to multiscreen behavior and encourage interactivity with a related app, website or social media.
So, how do we choose devices?
Google found that people choose devices based on context. The amount of time they have to spend, the consumer’s purpose for using that device, location and state of mind determine your choice of device.
Laptops and PCs are primarily used for productivity and to keep us informed. This accounts for 24% of our daily media interactions. They are usually focused and prepared to spend a good amount of time researching.
Smartphones "keep us connected" on the go. Consumers use their phones for immediate information over short periods of time. Much of this is when they are out and about but a surprising 60% of smartphone use occurs within the home.
Tablets are more of a downtime device. Consumers use tablets to stay entertained when they have an "unbounded sense of time." Only 9% of our daily screen interactions are on tablets. Tablets are also an overwhelmingly home-centric device – accounting for 79% use.
Second Screen Success
Second screen interaction through apps is a great way to capitalize on simultaneous use. If done well, these apps work with the users' natural behaviors and simplify the multi-tasking process.
Shazam is an example of a second-screen app. It is a song identification app that allows people to tag, purchase and share music and media that is playing around them. Shazam has done a great job of adapting to various consumer needs, time constraints and choice of device.
Who is Your Multi-Screen User?
If people choose devices based on context, then it is important to consider what context your campaign fits into. Will your app be appropriate on a mobile device for someone who doesn’t have much time? Is your mobile site approachable to the customer chilling with a tablet who has time to be entertained? What could you be doing to move across devices with the multi –screen user?
Thinking in terms of Context – how much time your customer has, where your customer is and what their state of mind is will help you map out the best way to reach those individuals.
Multi-screen means campaigns are no longer limited to a single platform. We can now work alongside the consumer's experience, choosing platforms that offer the most natural fit.
It's the Ads on their smart phones that people dislike. It's the tiny message that you can't seem to quite read, let alone digest and respond to the call-to-action. Which car company was that? Who cares?
Let's face it. Those tiny ads just aren't working. Very few people click on them, some even accidentally, and surveys show that 4 out of 5 dislike them. According to a recent study done by Azullo, an Ad solution company, only 21% of people even remember seeing an Ad on their phone in the last six months. And, of those who did remember, only 14% said it made them want to buy what was displayed. That said, mobile accounts for 10% of people's time spent on media and that percentage is only going to grow because mobile devices are always-available, instantly-on. There's no login screen, no lengthy boot cycles, or taking your computer out of your briefcase. Smart marketers know this but are still struggling to figure out how best to use this channel for their brands.
In the view of Sunil Gupta, Professor of Business at Harvard Business School, among others, the future of mobile is in Apps not Ads. Observe how people use their smart phones. A lot of time on these devices is spent on calling, emailing, texting and browsing and yes also on apps for games and entertainment, social networks, utilities, discovery and brands. Games and entertainment and social networks account for 73% of the time spent on one's phone. That doesn't leave much air-time for other categories which includes brands.
So the key is to create Apps that stand out just the way an Ad has to stand out on television or radio. The list of ways to do this revolves around strategies that deliver convenience, unique value, social value, offer and entertainment. And that is where the holy grail for your brand is i.e. to create the right combination of these strategies into an App that fits the product category and delivers the brand's value proposition. Brands like Nike (Nike+ Running, Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Basketball, etc.) and Coke (Coke Drink, Coca-Cola Freestyle) are already doing it but the list is small and non-existent in many product categories.
At the end of the day it's about relevant content presented in an engaging manner that smart phone users go back to again and again.
So, what will you bet on? Apps or Ads? Give us your feedback here or join the conversation on our Facebook page.
How can you keep your email marketing relevant this year?
The rise of mobile and social media has changed the way consumers view content. It has also elevated our users' expectations. Just like marketing tools have adapted to the way consumers view and receive content, email marketing will make way for an increasingly mobile and more personal user experience.
Let's start with the facts:
Over 80% of people are using their smartphones to read and send email (Google 2011).
In the second half of 2012, 40% of emails were opened on a smartphone or mobile device (Knotice).
Two-thirds of businesses will integrate social media and email marketing this year (Strongmail).
Increasing subscriber engagement was considered the top email marketing initiative by 50% of businesses.
It's clear that email is becoming an increasingly mobile experience. It is also a tool for marketers to engage their readers and build relationships via social media integration.
Here are four keys to forward focused marketing:
- Email marketing should be MOBILE friendly
Because of mobility, content should be USABLE
To increase engagement, content should be PERSONAL
The user experience should be SIMPLE
It is likely that your customer's relationship with your company will not only evolve online but also through mobile. Mobile content should create a positive experience for the user every time they interact with your brand.
For email, layouts should be optimized for mobile reading. Send emails that are device agnostic and responsive to screen size. Mobile also means time sensitive. Create concentrated content, allowing users to hone in on key aspects of your message and easily engage in calls to action.
Because of mobility, email should also be highly usable. Create links that are designed for touch screen capabilities (larger buttons, larger font). If the email is linked to other websites or landing pages, ensure that those destinations are also optimized for mobile.
The email should not be fully dependent on graphics or outside links. There is often a lag time between opening the email and the images loading.
Provide more than an email personalized with a name. With the rise of social media, users are searching for a company that can deliver messages more personal and relevent to them.
Tailor the message to targeted segments. Make use of data that provides information on who your readers are and what they are interested in. Use these insights to create content that is meaningful, relevant and informative.
Don't let the impact of social media overshadow your efforts, but use it to your advantage. Integrate social media into your emails, including social links and create opportunities to share content using chicklets or widgets. This allows users to connect with you on their preferred channels while expanding your reach.
To paraphrase, "A designer has achieved perfection when there is nothing left to take away."
We love things that make life simple. Keep your message clear. Keep the call to action obvious and minimize distractions.
Nothing like seeing good practice in action, check out these 10 Simply Awesome Examples of Email Marketing from the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Blog.