Updated on 29/04/2022
Digital communication in the Finance sector
The digital transformation also affected the financial sector, which, among other things, had to rethink its digital communication. Among Facebook profiles and personalized videos here are some of the most virtuous (and effective) examples of a digital communication in finance.
Digitalization in the financial sector has changed many things: it is deciding which players are winning and competitive and which ones are destined to stay behind, it is encouraging the birth of new products and services and Finally, it is forcing all companies in the industry to redesign their business model. Moreover, the same thing has happened in many other sectors that, invested by digital transformation, have completely changed face.
In some respects the financial sector is just beginning, although some traditional institutions have already started digitizing themselves to keep up with current trends. A transformation that immediately catches the eye (and that is interesting to analyze because it allows to understand the impact of the implemented changes) is that one that has regarded the marketing strategy adopted from such traditional institutes.
It is no longer enough to use the classic communication levers to get to the customer, for two reasons: Customers have been changed by digital transformation and the increase in the tools they can use to reach their customers effectively.
Customers have been changed by digital transformation
Customers are looking for a new kind of experience. To understand this, just see the results of the annual research on the state of digitalization carried out by Hootsuite. From the data collected for 2021, it appears that, in particular, about 51 million Italians have access to the internet, or more than 9 out of 10. With a consequent growth of users on social platforms, which now reach 43 million. Moreover, in Italy the number of smartphones is higher than that of the inhabitants: about 80 million mobile devices for 60 million population (source: ansa.it)
Habits are also affected by the constant digitalization of the customer-user. Italians, in fact, spend an average of 6 hours a day online, 2 of which browsing within a social platform.
But does digital also affect the Financial sector?
The answer is, yes, as the number of those using digital financial services has increased.
AGI reports that in 2021, those who access mobile banking from smartphone apps are +56%, compared to the previous year.
In addition to this, users are showing increasing interest in more advanced features, such as trading, peer-to-peer payments, and other services related to checking and managing the current account.
Communication in finance: many tools, many opportunities
Thanks to digital transformation, financial institutions must employ a digital marketing and communication strategy that makes use of new tools to reach customers.
Today, there are many more touchpoints that potential customers may encounter with your product, service, or brand. The devices through which to spread your content (e.g. smartphones, tablets, computers, smartwatches) and the platforms that can be used to diffuse them have multiplied.
An effective digital marketing strategy should involve these touch points, with perhaps a different for each of the available channels.
Direct Email Marketing, for example, can be very useful for the initial approach or retention strengthening phase, providing customers with interesting content built based on their characteristics, their needs, and depending on where they are along the customer journey.
On the other hand, social networks should also be monitored, so that they can be used to communicate directly with customers. Each of these platforms may be assigned a different role, depending on the type of customer being targeted.
This must all be part of a coherent strategy.
A well-formed digital communication strategy will seamlessly integrate touchpoint, channels, and platforms so that the customer feels at the center of things, regardless of which channel they are using to interact.
This is what we mean when we say that every financial institution must be open to all channels. This would allow each client to start a financial transaction from any device and conclude it through a different touch point without overlapping or unnecessary repetition.
In addition, a marketing strategy that employs an omnichannel strategy allows the bank to make the best use of every available touch point, revitalizing even the most traditional ones, such as the local branch office.
In Italy for example, although the number of local branches is in decline, this does not mean that they will eventually disappear.
Instead, they will become locations for consulting or perhaps become the last stage of a customer journey that started online or through a smartphone app. This allows the bank to provide the customer with an innovative experience by offering sophisticated services that are perceived as emotionally more engaging.
This is just one example of how digital transformation can provide traditional financial institutions with innovative communication and marketing tools that are ideal for effectively reaching as many customers as possible.
Here are some other examples.
1) Digital for bringing customers closer
Language is very important for improving communication in the financial sector.
Overly formal or technical communication creates a distance between the bank and its customers, thus making it more difficult to create a relationship of trust.
Instead, banks must be able to position themselves as not only reliable but also accessible, even friendly, in order to make the information understandable to all users.
A winning example is Bank of America’s Better Money Habits magazine, which contains articles and advice on how best to manage your savings.
In doing so, Bank of America provides a useful, free, and simple financial service to its readers, positioning itself as a credible authority able to understand the customer’s needs without being unnecessarily technical. With this type of content, the bank also positions itself as a resource for useful and practical information.
2) Social networking to build a community
Widiba is the digital bank of the MPS group that uses Facebook in an interesting way.
In addition to utilizing a decidedly youthful tone of voice in order to speak directly with millennials, Widiba has created a real community of so-called Widibers.
The type of communication they employed can be considered a form of emotional marketing.
Emotional marketing aims to provide a memorable experience that exceeds customer expectations. In other words, emotional marketing aims to leverage the customer’s emotions and sense of empathy to convey messages and stimulate certain behaviors.
There are many reasons that consumers decided to purchase something from you. One of those reasons may be emotional—because the product is tied to a fond memory, or because the customer wants to experience a certain feeling again, or because they feel emotionally close to the company.
Companies can tap into these reasons for purchasing and at the same time be even more relevant to their target customers by using emotions such as happiness, fear, gratification and even a sense of belonging.
Widiba’s communication is based on the latter, exploiting the aggregative power of social networks through ad hoc content.
This type of strategy is very widespread among native digital brands (such as Widiba) that are at ease in operating within social networks.
There are many advantages of such an approach.
- First of all, creating an emotional bond with your consumers allows you to increase retention; customers who feel a connection or sense of belonging will keep coming back;
- Secondly, customers who feel loyal to a company’s products or services will often become ambassadors, especially when they can identify with your values and principles.
In this way, thanks to one of the most effective influencers—word of mouth—companies can create a strong network to increase penetration of its products and services to even more customers.
3) Communication that positions
In digital communication “content is king,” and the focus is no longer only on the product.
The center of gravity has shifted to the customer and his needs and interests.
For this reason, several banks have begun to diversify their communication strategies, combining the functional with the aspirational.
Here, the example of BNL and its use of Instagram is an interesting story. This strategy stimulates customer engagement through attention-getting editorial content.
The same approach is also followed by banks such as UniCredit Italia and Hello Bank!, which, in addition to their social media presence, also produce a magazine that provides interesting and informative content on banking related issues, as well as on lifestyle topics such as culture, travel, music.
4) Original is better
While it is true that the focus of communication is no longer on the product, the communication strategy must still be well rounded, and any forward-looking digital communication strategy must be able to find original ways to offer its products and services.
Again, the use of social media is crucial given the options and features that digital platforms offer.
An alternative, for example, is gaming.
Banks can use original tools to convey institutional messages or to make complex financial instruments more comprehensible for customers in order to increase adoption.
For example, BNL – BNP PARIBAS, for the launch of its new logo, built an advertising campaign based on the famous “Game of 15,” which included a series of traditional materials (such as newspapers, posters, and clothing) to which interactive content designed specifically to engage users was added.
But they’re not the only ones. Hello Bank and Widiba have also often used games to explain their offers.
Using the mechanics of gaming is very effective, because it allows you to take advantage of the fact that many potential customers often surf the internet and social networks for fun.
In doing so, banks go out to meet their customers, providing them with small moments of entertainment, which are strategic for transmitting relevant content, which is more easily received because it is not really considered advertising.
The second feature that is offered by social platforms such as Facebook and that is useful in the context of a digital marketing strategy is the ability to precisely target the content, based on certain categories.
This makes it easier for banks, for example through Facebook ADS and Facebook Audience Insights, to distribute different messages to different targets, so as to increase the relevance of communication and the degree of personalization of content.
5) Win through personalization
Personalization is one of the great communication opportunities offered by digital transformation and it has proven to be effective in the customer experience.
As we have seen, this kind of experience can be provided using social media (also through innovative and automated customer care), but there are also other solutions that employ different digital tools and achieve equally positive results.
This is the case of Credem and Doxee Pvideo®, Doxee’s personalized video service that banks can use to reach customers through original and interactive content.
Credem contacted Doxee to activate a communication campaign promoting financing services to Ego Classic cardholders and current internet banking accounts.
In the first phase, the customers relevant to the campaign were identified, and they were sent an email containing a link to a personalized video that addressed each recipient by name and presented them with a special loan officer.
This video also allowed the user to immediately access the loan through their internet banking account via an interactive pop-up inside the video.
The campaign was successful, and this is because the strategy combined many of the strengths described in the above examples:
1. The language used was simple and immediate, within the reach of all consumers, and designed to build a personal connection with them
2. A memorable experience was provided, one that was well beyond customer expectations, calling each customer by name and allowing them to respond to the call to action directly from the video
3. The bank has been perceived as open to innovation and new technologies
4. Interactive content was provided (users could decide what to see and not see in the video) built thanks to careful and consistent targeting
5. Finally, the customer experience was perfectly personalized, where each user received a video designed solely for him, and where the avatar was male or female according to the recipient.
The tool used by Credem was also effective because it satisfied another important aspect of any digital marketing strategy: relevant data.
Doxee’s Pvideo® has, in fact, allowed the bank to collect valuable information on customers, so as to optimize future communication and to improve the identification of services to be offered during subsequent campaigns.