Personalized Digitalization – An Oxymoron or a Real Thing?

Financial institutions continue to invest in automation, analytics, AI, and digital technologies in an effort to provide more services, mitigate risk, increase efficiencies, drive revenue, and reduce costs.

But does it drive greater personalization and improved consumer experience or reduce it?

Consumers want their financial institutions to demonstrate that they understand them, and consumers want to be rewarded for their loyalty. Consumers want to receive outstanding service. But what does this mean in practical terms?

A recent bank consumer survey attempted to better understand what “personalization” meant to them. Here’s what some said.

1. “Bells and whistles great, but so what.”
2. “Keep my money safe and secure. That’s what banks are supposed to do.”
3. “Just make it easier to start new services and open accounts. Why is it so hard? Why do I have to go into the branch in this day and age?”
4. ‘It’s a pandemic. Branch hours were reduced. So now I have to do more virtually. So, make it easier for me. There’s so much technology for virtual meetings. Why do I have to make an appointment online to go into the branch? Why can’t I just make an appointment to meet online? Or just get in an online queue, no different than standing in line in the branch? My doctor can do it. Why can’t my banker?
5. “Why do I call a contact center, have to verify my identity in the system, then wait for a long time to get to a customer service rep, then have to verify again over the phone with the human. Why do I get verified twice? By the time I get to the customer service rep and actually get to the reason I called, 10 minutes have passed. Personalization means you respect my time as much as you respect your time.”
6. “Really all I want is for the time bank to try and get my item resolved as quickly as possible. Be efficient. That’s personalization to me. That’s how I pick an institution.”
7. “Personalization? Keep fraud and breaches from happening and don’t make mistakes with my money. This makes me trust you. This let’s me know you take my money seriously.”
8. “If you want to ‘personalize me’, make it easy for me to do all my transactions on my mobile device, on my laptop, on all my points of contact.”
9. “If personalization means getting more of my wallet, it doesn’t sound like personalization to me.”
10. “If I’m conducting my business digitally and have a challenge, make it easy for me to get interact with a human and get help. Don’t make me wrestle with a chatbot before it becomes apparent that this can’t help.”
11. “I’d like my financial institution to understand my needs and to treat me like they know me.”
12. “I’ve been a long-time customer of one bank. I’m leaving them. Why do I always see incentive programs offered to get new customers but in all my years at the bank, I never see an incentive or reward program as a loyal customer. They don’t care about me. I don’t care about them.”

The survey highlights that consumers want their digital experience to respect their time, get their issues resolved quickly, increase their ability to bank outside of the confines of the brick and mortar, increase their ability to get human help, recognize their loyalty, and personalize their experience.

Some financial services institutions are achieving these customer goals with their digitalization, some are not. Does your institution’s digital strategy include or align with these customer asks as well as meeting the institutional revenue and cost goals?

AscentBT can help your firm develop and execute a digital plan that will meet both the customer and institutions goals.

Intelligent Automation: Capture the Right Prospects

Maintaining a competitive position in the industry means not only driving traffic to your website—it also means converting those visitors to future clients. With only two percent of website visitors converting on their first visit, your approach to discoverability must be strategic and replicable.
By implementing these seven steps, you can optimize your prospect-to-client conversion process.


1. Define Your Ideal Prospect

With the seemingly infinite reach of the internet, it can be tempting to take a wide-scale approach to attracting prospects. However, it’s more effective to narrow your target market, meet prospects where they are and communicate through the channels they prefer.
Take a moment to assess your top ten higher-value clients: What are the common themes that emerge from their demographics, interests and habits? Use these insights to develop a client profile. Understanding the interests and concerns of your ideal prospect will help inform your targeted marketing strategy and better attract these prospects to your website.


2. Implement Social Listening

To gain deeper insight into how prospects view your brand and your competitors, it’s important to monitor the social media channels that your qualified prospects frequent. However, finding the time to implement this useful strategy may be challenging. Broadridge’s in-house editorial team helps expand advisor capacity by actively researching which topics are most attractive to investors. Our experts analyze engagement and monitor keywords that are trending.


3. Diversify Your Touchpoints

Research shows that a cross-channel digital strategy is a must for growth-oriented advisors. A 2019 study that Broadridge conducted1 revealed that growth-oriented advisors who use a multi-channel digital approach achieve a client acquisition rate greater than three times the rate achieved by advisors who don’t use multiple channels. Digital channels include website, social media, email, digital advertising (including remarketing ads) and search. It’s critical that every touchpoint leads back to your website so you can recapture traffic and create a lead capture funnel.

Adding elements of each channel into your strategy will help ensure you’re reaching your prospects in the channels they frequent the most; this is especially true of remarketing banner ads, which create ongoing brand reminders to your previous website visitors. This is a non-intrusive marketing strategy you’ve probably seen in action. Online retailers, especially giants like Amazon, use retargeting ads to remind visitors to return to their website and pick up where they left off.


4. Establish Multiple Routes

Consumers today have multiple ways of finding websites online–social media, search engines, review sites, map apps, etc. While it is important to have a presence through as many channels as possible, these efforts must be replicable and sustainable. You must monitor your brand information online to ensure it is recent and comprehensive. Research suggests that complete and accurate local listings have a 50% greater chance of leading to a purchase2. Whatever combination of channels you choose, they should complement each other to maximize their collective impact.


5. Craft Valuable Content

Delivering relevant and compelling content, consistently, is an industry best practice. As you deliver your content through multiple channels, you open the door to lead nurturing, becoming a valuable resource and building trust with prospects. This is the same trust you want them to have in your ability to maximize their life savings and future retirement.

As an added bonus, sharing keyword-rich content through your website and social media profiles is a surefire way to boost your discoverability as investors search for answers online.

6. Optimize Your Website

The overwhelming number of search results competing for a consumer’s attention puts the first impression you make at a premium. Growth-oriented advisors take a methodical approach to designing a website that delivers ROI. Starting with the basics, key components include simple navigation, a clear goal on each webpage, and messaging and imagery that resonate with your target client. Upgrading your visuals to include an intro video will elevate the look and feel of your site. Communicate clear calls-to-action on every webpage to motivate visitors to engage with your brand.

Once the basic components have been integrated, strategically build upon them to increase engagement. A mobile responsive and flexible design for your website is a must. To ensure mobile-friendliness, highlight three to five of your services best known to generate referrals. Research shows that mobile websites which load in five seconds or less retain visitors for 70 percent longer than their slower counterparts3. Carefully evaluate each component of your website to ensure you optimize every visitor’s experience.

Finally, your website must be optimized for search engines and for users. Implementing XML sitemaps, optimized title tags, correct website heading structure and other key elements helps ensure your website can be found and indexed. The Broadridge team includes SEO experts who analyze our advisor website templates to ensure websites are discoverable.


7. Automate Your Approach

Coordinating and consolidating the various components of your marketing strategy requires commitment. The road to prospect conversion can take weeks to a few months. Even though the payoff is worth the investment, too often advisors lose potential new clients by neglecting the lead nurturing process.

Limited time is a primary barrier to successful conversion and is the reason leading advisors turn to automated digital solutions. Automating the time-consuming, manual processes frees you to focus on what really matters—your clients.

Make Your First Impression Count to Maximize Your Discoverability

Understanding what matters to your prospects better positions you to deliver what they need. Integrate these seven strategies into your marketing strategy to attract the right prospects, gain their trust and convert them into new clients.