Digital marketing opens many new avenues for financial services organizations to succeed, yet many marketers are still unclear how to capitalize on those opportunities. The landscape is evolving so rapidly that it can be difficult for digital marketers to establish priorities, act on them, and measure the impacts.

According to Adobe’s Digital Distress survey, conducted among 1,000 marketers across a broad range of industries, 76 percent said marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the last 50. Sixty-six percent of respondents said their companies will not succeed without a digital marketing strategy, yet 60 percent say their marketing is ineffective. Also, 75 percent said they have difficulty proving marketing returns overall.

After evaluating the findings of the Digital Distress survey, we drilled down further into financial services to see how these findings translated. We polled marketers and executives in retail banking, insurance, and investment firms with more than 2,500 employees to understand what common challenges they share with other marketers, as well as pain points that stand out within the industry. (Of those surveyed, 88 percent of employees surveyed worked in companies with 5,000 or more employees, and 23 percent were marketers at organizations with more than 50,000 employees.)

Specifically, financial services companies are unique in terms of product offerings and organizational structures. However, the most important and telling difference was the financial industry’s need to meet stringent compliance requirements and regulations.

First, financial organizations were asked about top priorities, ranked among four choices. Seventy-one percent said that providing high-quality customer experiences was their utmost concern, followed by growing the client base (57 percent), deepening existing customer relationships (55 percent), and reducing service costs (18 percent).

Survey respondents were also asked where their main focus was in digital marketing over the next 12 to 18 months. For 88 percent, increasing customer retention was the main goal, followed closely by increasing new account volume (87 percent).

Additionally, we wanted to know about what they felt was holding them back. Compliance ranked top of the list at 84 percent, with data security and privacy issues (82 percent) a close second. Difficulty personalizing customer experiences (80 percent) and fragmented data (78 percent) were other issues marketers felt strongly affects an organization’s ability to personalize customer experiences.

Overcoming these challenges requires software solutions that can help financial services marketers deliver on their digital marketing objectives. Those surveyed most commonly turned to Web and mobile analytics software to automate data collection, deliver real-time performance metrics, and provide data-driven insights. Others are also using Web content management, segmentation and targeting, and social media software.

The ultimate realization is that successfully improving customer experiences across multiple channels requires an integrated marketing solution to overcome complex business challenges, not just individual technology hurdles. As digital marketing evolves and customer engagement diversifies, financial services firms need ways to deliver consistent experiences across all channels by using unified solutions that offer robust insights, as well as uncompromising ease of implementation, integration, and use.

I invite you to read our full financial services survey here and our customer success stories at Adobe.com, where you can learn how other financial services companies are addressing these challenges using Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions.

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