Financial services ‘must get to grips with marketing’

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British financial services firms need to improve their use of new marketing channels if they are not to be left behind by their rivals, with the sector typically behind the curve when it comes to the adoption of innovative advertising solutions.

Strict legislation around data protection and complex target audiences have been two factors in retail and investment banks’ unwillingness to change their marketing plans, an expert has claimed.

Ben Mott, client services director at Smith & Milton, wrote in the Guardian that brands such as Red Bull and Virgin have been at the forefront of developing social media strategies and engaging with consumers – compared to these global corporations, financial services companies are lagging behind.

One factor in this confusion is a lack of integration – the “siloed, product-led nature [of retail and investment banks] means their divisions all have their own voices”, declared Mr Mott.

“With the advent of social, they are trying to reorganise this internally instead of focusing resources externally to engage with customers,” he explained.

Social media can be extremely complex for financial services organisations, forcing them to deal with a number of different issues while putting pressure on them to keep sensitive information as secure as possible.

“A lack of trust in the financial services category makes it hard even for the good companies to use it effectively. In fact, most customers have their head in the sand when it comes to communicating with the big bad world of banking,” the expert indicated.

However, this does not mean firms should simply ignore the possibility of connecting with British consumers – if anything, it heightens the urgency with which they should be adopting engaging marketing techniques.

It is important financial services organisations keep track of changes in marketing approach if they are to regain the trust of prospective customers, concluded Mr Mott.

Natwest Business Banking, owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, recently praised the impact Microsoft Dynamics CRM had on its marketing policy.

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