Srikanth Srinivasmadhavan, Head – Marketing, HSBC India, lists seven points that will shape the immediate future of financial marketing.
The increased need for marketing and branding investment: Being visible is key
Branding and marketing investment in financial services will undergo substantial changes, owing to the increase in competition and the likelihood of new entrants. What your customers see, hear and experience with your brand becomes what your brand stands for and therefore there will be a strong pressure to increase the marketing and branding investment behind the brand. Success in what is fast becoming an overcrowded market will depend on effective brand differentiation, based on the identification, internalisation and communication of relevant brand values.
Polarising and fragmenting customer segments: Being prepared for the new segments of customers
There will be a significant change in all the segments, that is, higher, middle and lower end of the markets leading to more polarisation and fragmentation of customer segments. This new customer will be much empowered and will seek customisation, thus pushing the need to look at breakthrough propositions, media and communications, service and distribution. Despite these significant changes, the pressure will be on to manage the complexity of the proliferation and to manage the marketing and service cost to the consumers.
Integrated Customer data: One view of the customer
Customer data mining has always been a challenge as data sources have been with strong integration challenges, often leading to a partial understanding of the customer. The continued explosion of increased touch-points due to mobile phones and Internet has added to this challenge. Bringing together this rich and multitude of data will help to provide richer and stronger customer insights.
Marketing Analytics: A key driver to marketing success
The increased volume of information, especially with different streams of data, will need a strong marketing analytics arm. A strong integrated data analytical ability with a capability to add on the increased touch-points will be strong discriminator in driving actionable insights. Marketing analytics is probably the most important tool the marketers will use to not only understand the customer, but also develop sharper and targeted campaigns and will be a key differentiator.
Continued use of traditional media: While there will be an increased diversity of New Media usage, traditional media like broadcast and print will continue to dominate
The marketers will continue to reach customers through the increased and diverse options being present today. There will be considerable testing and experimentation in this space of New Media and will grow at a strong pace. Despite this growth, traditional media will consolidate and probably grow and that is simply because in India, Web is still not like TV. Broadcast and print will be present across many media, and are expected to continue their run. New technology like geo- and demographic-specific targeting with specialised technology will enable different feeds based on location and demography will help broadcast continue its dominant presence.
Permission marketing: Call and e-mail customer marketing will mature
While we have seen an explosion on the mobile messages and e-mail marketing, it is likely that there will be strong restrictions from the customer end. With smartphones increasing in great numbers, and Android free applications, such customers will be able to block calls and SMS very effectively. Marketers will need to embrace permission marketing in spirit and word to reach out to their customers.
The start of social media presence: From being cautious to being present
Most financial institutions will proceed very cautiously on social media and, therefore, the start will be slow on social media. Over the next couple of years, as the experimentation begins to settle down, social media will start to be leveraged as a key marketing channel.
(Srikanth Srinivasmadhavan is Head of Marketing at HSBC India.)