Getting stuck when creating a marketing strategy can just mean you've lost sight of the "purpose" behind your goals. For demand generation, lead nurture or customer retention, it is critical to step back and draw up an outline answering why this next move will forward your goals and how it will position your company.
Consider this when mapping out a solid and comprehensive strategy:
1. Introduce: Prospect in "Search" Mode
It's human nature to test the waters, whether that's meeting a new neighbor or choosing a breakfast cereal. In the digital age of ubiquitous and connected devices, a company’s first interaction with your brand, product or service could take place on a mobile device, via email or a customer-initiated search. Consider what insights about your company you want prospects to gain from that first introduction, how those introductions are made, and how usable/simple that first interaction is.
At this point, feeding too little may leave the prospect confused and too much may translate into information-overload. Whatever the channel, strike the right balance and make that great first introduction...or impression!
2. Educate: Prospect in "Gather" Mode
This next stage goes beyond the introduction and offers an opportunity to showcase details about your brand, product or service.
The prospect is in the process of gathering information and narrowing down choices while actively seeking the "right" company to engage with. Educate them through information distributed via websites, email, mobile apps, social media etc. Offer links to online portfolios, case studies, past performance highlights, etc.
It's important to maintain a multi-channel presence, given the ubiquitous nature of connected interactive devices a prospect has at his/her disposal. If the prospect interaction is taking place via a mobile device and your website or emails aren't responsive, you will leave a bad "impression" and potentially risk losing out to your competition.
3. Differentiate: Prospect in "Buy" Mode
This is the moment of truth. Pinpoint values, process and other factors that differentiate you from others. Then, communicate that through your chosen marketing mediums. What makes your offer, service or product stand out from the competition? If it's simply a message you wish to share, why should your audience pay attention amidst other messages they are receiving?
Your added value and differentiator may be highest ethical standards the company sets in place. Starbucks is an example of a company that leads with corporate responsibility. It can also come from factors like improved efficiency that can result from using a product/service, great customer service (think Zappos), or the assorted tools/apps/resources you offer to customers. Added value is also found in the way you are presenting the product; free trials, interactive demos, loyalty programs, perks for social sharing, etc.
4. Retain: Hooray! You have a New Customer.
Now that you've earned a new customer, give them a reason to stay with your company. It is building affinity and brand loyalty by consistently and constantly offering added value. In the realm of digital marketing that could mean introducing or improving a branded mobile app, using data and analytics to improve efficiency or gain insights, or adjusting campaigns to the multi-screen customer instead of sticking to one channel.
The marketplace is constantly evolving. So, even if your programs are air tight and you are getting great responses – it is important to keep an eye out for innovate ideas and trends to help meet new demands from an ever changing customer.
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.
There are two main ways customers use digital to address health related needs.
Using health tracking devices/applications, researching to gain a better understanding of health concerns (like the infamous self-diagnosis) and consuming overall health/wellness related content.
Using digital to research healthcare facilities and caregivers, interact with brands through mobile apps or social media, or to maintain information with an online portal/CRM.
Pew Research found that 7 in 10 US adults have tracked health indicators for themselves or someone else. And, in a Google/Compete Hospital Study it was found that 1/3 of customers use mobile devices (including tablets) daily to research care and/or book appointments.
Technology has enabled customers to be more self sufficient when it comes to managing their health. People have access to information so people are more informed than ever before.
What this Means for Marketers
Create Content that is Easy to Find and Use
The modern customer is the informed customer. In a B2B marketing study, CEB and Google found that 57% of the buying cycle is complete before a B2B customer reaches a sales rep. Why? Because, we as consumers now use technology to gather all of the information we need before purchasing.
Whether you are sharing content that relates to inwardly focused needs like self help and heath/wellness tips or outwardly focused research, that content has to be easy to find. A strong mobile-optimized website, social media presence and SEO strategies will play a major role in making content more usable and more visible through search.
When we say usable we often refer to mobile optimized, but usable can also mean sharable – through social media or other preferred channels (email, blogs, etc.).
Use Digital to Target Different Segments
Find what suits your customer. Identify key customer segments based on common needs. Then, design strategies around those segments. You can focus on factors like demographics – men, women, teens, seniors or behavioral/lifestyle characteristics – parents, college students, customers interested in weight loss, etc.
Consider developing a mobile app for existing patients that offers appointment scheduling, reminders/notifications, and content related to health & wellness.
In contrast, a prospective patient may be interested in receiving information about specific programs or procedures, about locations and hours of operations, insurance options, etc.
Use Big Data to Improve Connectivity & Engagement
There's been a great shift toward improving the customer experience with tactics like trigger based marketing and multi-channel integration. Many healthcare companies have adopted trigger-based CRM to provide notifications and personalized content based on patient history and behaviors like joining a program or starting a new medication.
By integrating digital channels, healthcare marketers can improve connectivity while gaining new – more intuitive information about their customers. But, be careful not to violate HIPAA regulations and respect and treat your patient's privacy with the utmost care.
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.
78% of surveyed social media users stated that their purchases were in some way influenced by social media (Forbes). Facebook had the primary influence at 47% while Twitter was far behind at a slim 5% (State of Search). To top it off, the percentage of social media users who follow brands more than doubled (106% increase) between 2010 and 2012.
Do you use social media to connect with customers, encourage brand loyalty and offer unique value? Try including the occasional call-to-action in your posts and integrating social with your other marketing efforts.