‘Fintech’ has attracted some of the most buzz, and the most funding, of any category of start-ups over the last few years, with $20 billion estimated to have been invested in 2016.
Despite the potential disruption to their own organisations, an overwhelming majority of Australian Financial Services marketers in a recent survey – 97% – answered that they feel that competition from fintech start-ups is good for customers and the industry as a whole.
Qualitative responses from marketers at well-established organisations indicated that there is an appreciation for Fintech organisations’ ability to quickly deliver solutions based on user needs – something that mature organisations, with entrenched processes and legacy platforms find difficult.
Respondents to the survey came from across the financial services industry, from Fintech start-ups to Big Four banks; fund managers to superannuation. The results showed that while there were differences in answers based on each respondent’s vertical and size, there were also some consistent themes regardless of how large a respondent’s business was, or how long it had been established.
Some traditional channels standing strong
The move away from ‘traditional’ channels looks set to continue. 35% of survey respondents who use it will reduce their spend on print advertising over the next 12 months, 36% of TV advertisers will lower their investment and 21% or respondents will reduce their spend on outdoor advertising.
This is in stark contrast to digital channels. A broad range of digital disciplines, including digital display, SEO, website personalisation and content marketing will each each see an increase in spend from over 60% of respondents over the next 12 months.
Two tactics stand out against the decline in more traditional channels. Over 53% of respondents said that they would be increasing their financial commitment to PR, with a further 32% maintaining existing spend.
Equally, events remain a cornerstone of financial services marketing, highlighting the continued importance of relationships within the sector. 87% of respondents run events for customers, with over 50% of that number planning on increasing their investment over the next 12 months.
We can see then, that the divide in investment is not necessarily between traditional and new marketing channels.
It’s not between online and offline.
Rather, it’s between active and passive marketing, Financial services marketers are using all of the digital tools in their armoury to start and foster relationships with prospects, combining this with events and PR to build their brand and encourage action.
Marketing still struggles to prove its value within a sales-led industry
65% of survey respondents answered that they felt that marketing is seen as a cost within their business.
This may be because their businesses still do not understand the contribution of marketing to the bottom line. Sales-led businesses often view the ‘last touch’ of a sales team as the truly valuable sales-driver. This could be seen as a legacy of past attitudes, where marketing had more of a focus on brand building, than direct, measurable response.
However, it may also be that marketers aren’t doing enough to demonstrate their value and contribution.
The survey also found that a high number of respondents don’t feel that they have the tools needed to demonstrate their value to the business.
This indicates either that these respondents’ organisations haven’t invested in the analytics tools required, or that the tools are there but that marketers don’t know how to use them effectively to prove their contribution.
The survey clearly showed that most financial services marketers have embraced digital marketing, with a focus on inbound, automation, analytics and optimisation. By progressing from passive advertising to active digital channels and putting a greater focus on customer experience, respondents seem to be suggesting that they are doing everything they need to enable their organisations to thrive, even in the face of potential disruption.
Visit yellcreative.com/survey to access the whole survey and get more insights on the challenges and opportunities that financial services marketers facing right now, together with timely recommendations to help you plan your marketing efforts for the year ahead.
About Yell Creative:
We know it’s not something you’d expect a creative agency to say, but at Yell, we’re passionate about financial services. Our passion comes from our deep understanding of the industry and the opportunities for creativity that enable our clients to have a positive impact on their customers’ lives.
You could say it’s our unfair advantage. We combine this passion and knowledge with robust strategy and beautiful design to deliver extraordinary outcomes for Financial Services firms.