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Banking FinTech Insights

In an age of aggressive fintech marketing and consumer uncertainly, banks need to work harder to deliver innovative solutions and marketing messages.

Tight budgets, changing consumer behavior, disrupted markets, and fierce competition from aggressive fintech marketing companies forced rapid transformation across the financial industry. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic encouraged banking to accelerate some of these trends in effort to maintain their relevance and respond to disruption.

Four progressive bank marketing examples 

According to The Financial Brand, a successful financial services marketing agency would urge today’s banks to focus on customer experience, new media, and results-oriented efforts. To gain some inspiration, consider a few of the best examples from across the fintech and banking sector.

1. Encourage customers to save more

Acorns offers an example of a fintech company that grew its business by letting savers invest in stocks by transferring round-ups from purchases to their investment accounts. To use this program, Acorns investors have to register their bank accounts, so Acorns can track spending and withdraw the right sum.

As an example, spending $37.50 on takeout food with a registered checking or debit account would result in moving .50 to the Acorns investment account. Even though a father-son team started this company in 2012, it already manages over $1.2 billion in investments. This supports the idea that saving cents at a time makes financial sense for the company’s customers and of course, its owners.

Since Bank of America already had customers with checking accounts, they emulated some of Acorn’s ideas with their Keep the Change® program. Current checking account holders didn’t have to do anything but spend money in order to grow their savings.

Even if this program averages saving just a dollar a day, over the course of a few years, the balance can easily grow to hundreds of even thousands of dollars. With an interest-bearing savings account, savings can compound and grow even faster. As savings and interest returns grow, many customers will feel encouraged to save even more.

In particular, this kind of program tends to appeal to younger adults. This gives Bank of America a chance to invest in the financial stability and loyalty of long-term customers. At the same time, the bank benefits by encouraging the growth of their deposits through innovative fintech marketing.

2. Offer struggling customers crisis relief

In particular, banks should know that some of their customers may face unusual struggles during the pandemic. Very often, offering resources to tide these people over for a few months works out better for both the customer and the banks  than generating more defaults and losing customers.

As an example the Capital Good Fund offers reasonably low-interest loans for up to $1,500 with deferred payments and interest for three months. If the crisis continues, the finance company may extend deferrals too, though they were originally planned with 15-month payoffs in mind.

Even though offering loans to distressed customers might appear risky, the relatively small size of the loans can minimize risk and generate plenty of good will. Discover, HSBC, and other finance companies have their own versions of skip-a-payment programs to help tide over struggling customers.

3. Connect and teach

Some savvy banks have found a great way to add valuable content to their social platforms while improving customer experience. As one example, Queensborough National Bank developed a program they call IQ University. Topics include credit, investing, budgeting, and homeownership. Material like this can help inform customers and provide plenty of useful, engaging content for blogs and social sites.

As another example, other banks found that socializing on such established networks as Facebook did not help them reach younger customers as well as they would like. To support this idea, recent studies found that younger adults and older teens may gravitate to Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube as much or more than Facebook. Before making an investment in fintech marketing for financial services, it’s important use the platforms that are most likely to have already attracted the target market.

4. Use video testimonials

Testimonials help because they give businesses a chance to connect with new customers by letting current customers tell their stories. Instead of just having text testimonials, The Bank of Elk River produced a video that recounted the story of how their bank helped a family purchase a home.

The American Banker’s Association even recognized the video with an award. More than that, viewers could hardly help but feel touched by the heartwarming story and perhaps, imagine having a similar experience of their own.

A financial services marketing agency should put people first

Even without a global pandemic, customers probably don’t care that much about a bank’s bottom line. They want to work with financial companies that appear to understand their goals and problems. An experienced financial services marketing agency can help research both prospective and current customers to find innovative solutions and of course, the best marketing platforms to connect on.

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Banking FinTech

Banks have an opportunity to grow by serving millions of unbanked and underbanked people. Get fintech marketing insights to the unbanked and learn how to attract them.

In 2017, the FDIC ran their last survey of unbanked and underbanked Americans. Unbanked refers to the 8.4 million American households that do not rely upon banks or credit unions at all. This population doesn’t have bank accounts, credit cards, and other kinds of bank loans or investments. In contrast, almost 50 million U.S. adults had a bank account but still relied on non-bank services for many financial needs.

Banks can do more to understand why these people don’t access banks.  In turn, banks can use these insights to work with a financial services marketing agency to develop and promote services to more people. Helping these people benefit from banking services will give the banks a chance to grow.

Insights on the un- and under-banked from a financial services marketing agency

American Banker recently explored available research on people who rely upon non-bank, alternative financial services. With their research, they also offered some suggestions that banks could use for product and fintech marketing.

People who don’t use banks still spend plenty of money on financial services

According to the FDIC, alternative financial services can include payday loans, prepaid debit cards, onsite financing for cars, rent-to-own deals, check cashing or money order counters, P2P loans, and more. They say that more than 13,000 of these alternative financial businesses operate in the United States.

For some examples, the FDIC provided these estimates about common bank alternatives:

  • They charge fees to cash at least $58 billion in checks each year.
  • They sell at least $17.6 billion in money orders.
  • They process over 58 million bill-pay transactions.
  • They also sell hundreds of billions worth of pre-paid debit cards.
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As just one example, people who got checks cashed at a check cashing service had an average check value of about $400 and typically paid over three percent of that to get their money. In other words, they had to pay about $12 to get their modest checks cashed. They also pay for such other services as money orders, paying bills, and funding prepaid debit cards.

The un- and under-banked have various reasons to use alternative financial services

People who rely upon banks a lot, use them a little, or avoid them entirely have many of the same financial requirements. They need a way to save and access money, pay bills, and sometimes, get loans. People who understand and use banking services frequently would probably say that their bank provides them with the best solution. So, why do so many other people avoid banks entirely?

According to American Banker, over half of the unbanked don’t believe they have enough money to use a bank. A smaller percentage say that banks don’t keep convenient hours or lack services that they need. Others don’t believe that banks can serve them because they have a lower income and perhaps, credit challenges.

Also, almost 30 percent of the people who used to have a bank said that they closed the account because they lost their source of income. As an example, some banks waive fees when customers have paychecks deposited directly from an employer or maintain a minimum balance. When their direct deposit ended or funds got low, the unemployed people didn’t want to incur extra fees.

As a note, American Banker also found that these populations tended to have greater percentages of unbanked and underbanked households:

  • Low income or unemployed people
  • Young families
  • Some ethnic groups

How to Improve digital marketing for financial services

A basic checking account at a bank already includes many of the services that the unbanked pay for from alternative financial services. A bank account can also provide a more convenient option.

For some fintech marketing examples:

  • Many banks even have apps that let people deposit their checks by phone and pay bills. They have ATMs, debit cards, and often, offer credit cards to customers.
  • Typically, banks will also provide money orders to account holders without an extra charge. They also offer the ability to write checks or use debit cards and even with modest credit, apply for credit cards and loans.

People who understand and frequently use banks would probably say that their financial institution offers them lower costs and more convenience than many alternatives. In general, even people who don’t use banks have mobile phones that they could use to take advantage of mobile and phone banking services.

A bank marketing agency might suggest some tactics to help banks reach the unbanked by capitalizing upon the resources they already offer. Some examples include:

  • Look for ways to maintain ties with people who have had changes in economic status: As an example, some bankers have suggested waiving fees for people who use their accounts to pay bills, even if they don’t have direct deposit or a specified minimum balance. In other cases, banks might encourage the use of the most efficient methods to get services, like ATM, phone, or electronic banking by limiting the number of more expensive services each month for basic accounts.
  • Promote mobile banking: Banks should engage in some fintech marketing to show how such mobile features as text alerts, balance checks, scanned check deposits, and even bill paying can help save time and manage accounts better.
  • Promote banking services as better solutions than bank alternatives: As an example, compare spending $12 to cash a check to simply depositing the check in a bank ATM and getting cash without having to pay. Perhaps, banks could also consider offering small loans at reasonable interest rates, even for customers with some credit challenges, that can serve as a better choice than payday loans.

Mostly, people with bank accounts generally enjoy more convenience and lower fees than the unbanked do. Banks can work with a financial services marketing agency to find the unbanked and underbanked and clearly demonstrate that the obstacles to dealing with banks are more a perception than a reality — and how banks provide better solutions.

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Banking Marketing/Business

After recent increases in mobile and online banking, financial marketing should now focus on an adjusted message and technology in these changing times.

The COVID-19 pandemic spread quickly and left a grave impact on worldwide economies and societies in its wake. As part of the fallout, paid search behaviors have also shifted abruptly and dramatically. Some industries have struggled because of this; however, the banking and financial industry can also take advantage of new opportunities. Look at some important changes to PPC for financial services and bank marketing.

COVID-19 behavior changes to PPC for financial services and banks

Of course, the financial and banking industry includes a variety of services and types of companies. As you might expect, paid advertising campaign strategies could vary with the kind of business impacted. To learn how to adjust to behavior changes for PPC for financial services, it’s important to consider a few different aspects of the way customers and businesses have changed.

Financial and bank marketing paid search in general

The WordStream platform provides keyword and other paid advertising services to companies. Thus, they have a long history of monitoring paid search behavior for all kinds of industries over the course of several years. According to WordStream, the financial and banking industry has historically competed for some of the priciest keywords and phrases. Unlike other industries, PPC for financial services may have gotten somewhat easier during the pandemic.

For instance, these are WordStream figures for coronavirus-related changes to the effectiveness and cost of financial keywords:

  • Average CTR: Average click-through ratios have increased 23 percent.
  • Average CVR: Average conversion ratios have increased one percent.
  • Average CPC: Average cost-per-clicks have decreased 27 percent.

As you can see, conversion ratios have not changed much. Even so, financial and bank marketing can benefit from significantly improved CTRs and lower bids. WordStream did not provide any specific keywords, but they did say that less-competitive PPC advertising has actually helped relieved some of the pressure on an extremely competitive industry.

At the same time, they did note that users have shifted towards looking for more experienced assistance with their finances. During a time when many banks and other kinds of finance companies have reacted to social distancing measures by promoting their online services, a bank marketing agency might consider shifting at least some of the budget to helping consumers find live, personalized financial assistance, even if they switch to accessing it by phone instead of by visiting an office or branch bank.

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COVID-19 social responsibility ads

Of course, the pandemic has also generated plenty of coronavirus-related searches for all sorts of businesses, including financial ones. Since the virus spreads easily, any threat to local employees also poses a potential threat to everybody around them. During this crisis, people certainly want to know how companies have reacted to the crisis in order to protect the health of their employees and customers.

As one example, BBVA has launched a campaign to let customers know what measures they’re taking to keep people safe. According to the bank’s website, they use paid search, but mostly on social media and not major search engines. Besides using online ads, they also promoted this campaign on TV and radio.

As part of this #StayAtHome advertising campaign: 

  • BBVA has also encouraged customers to make use of their website and app before visiting a branch.
  • In addition, they let people know that most of their branches would limit access to their drive-through windows and ATM machines.
  • They told customers that they have left a few branches open but reduced hours. Typically, they chose to keep branches open that didn’t have drive-through banking or a nearby branch with this service.

In summary, the bank has recognized that some customers may feel inconvenienced by limited access to the bank’s physical branches. In turn, BBVA has explained that they’ve taken these steps to help protect people’s health. They have also let people know that they can find alternative ways to get most of the services that they need.

Just as important, BBVA has also introduced some services to help customers with coronavirus-related financial issues. These include special loan programs, refunds, fee waivers, and extensions or deferments on payments for some of their loans. Thus, they’ve let customers know that they understand the pandemic could have negatively impacted them and want to help. Naturally, they’re using this advertising campaign to promote these new services too.

The CMO of BBVA, Enrique Cornish, says that they want to tell people about the work they’ve done to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Mostly, underscoring the point of these ads, they want to send the message that they’re working to cope with the crisis in the best way they can and are here to help.

How the financial industry can benefit from COVID-19 changes to financial and bank marketing

Plenty of industry analysts have noticed the sudden spike in eCommerce use since the outbreak began. While online shopping had steadily grown more popular over time, the coronavirus crisis has sparked a rapid boom. Similarly, bank customers have grown more accepting of online services over time and even more so since the crisis started.

The Financial Brand, one finance and bank advertising agency, believes this change to customer behavior will remain permanent, just as other analysts predict that consumers will keep using eCommerce more after the crisis ends. They published these results from a recent J.D. Powers survey on banking trends:

  • About one in three banking customers plan to rely upon online services after the crisis. The analysts expect to see this number rise even more as the pandemic runs its course.
  • Banking customers appear most interested in P2P payments and online or mobile check depositing.
  • Acceptance of online and mobile banking services has increased more with younger adults than older ones.
  • People who have already used online banking appear more willing to try mobile apps than people who have only ever visited branches.
  • Customers of the largest banks appear more satisfied with their online and mobile banking experiences than customers of midsize banks.

Overall, banks that can promote their excellent alternatives to physical banks can benefit from these changes to consumer behavior. Customers may find banking websites and apps convenient because they’re available 24/7 and don’t require leaving home. Also, banks may have a chance to save money because these online alternatives cost less than keeping branches and phone banks fully staffed.

Using bank marketing to overcome COVID-19 obstacles

It’s obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up digital transformation in the financial and banking industry. Still, as one industry analyst ironically commented about the shift to eCommerce, in some cases the digital transformation wasn’t completely ready for the digital transformation. Of course, this abrupt shift away from physical branches has generated problems for both customers and banks. Besides, financial companies did not just have the chance to offer digital services as an alternative; they also abruptly needed to limit access to traditional phone and in-person banking.

For example, almost 30 percent of customers surveyed said they’d had more problems trying to get assistance over the phone. As might be expected, about 40 percent of respondents said they’d had trouble finding an open branch when they needed to. Older and less tech-savvy people will take longer to adjust to a new way of banking than younger ones or people who already made a habit out of banking online.

In any case, user behavior has abruptly changed to embrace more online and mobile services. Analysts expect the trend in the future. On the other hand, customers did express less satisfaction with internet banking from midsize banks than large ones. Other areas of banking impacted by the coronavirus might have included longer wait times on phones and more trouble finding open branches.

Overall, more people expected to rely on mobile and online banking more and less upon physical branches. Still, banks and finance companies that hope to benefit from advertising their internet or phone services to replace physical branches need to make certain that these offerings can perform well enough to please their customers. They may also need to invest some extra resources to help some of their customers adjust to the change and understand why its happening.

Making the most of PPC for financial services and banks during and after COVID-19

Like other industries, the financial industry had already begun to shift towards more online access and away from in-person contact. Many customers had already discovered the convenience of having ways to check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks without needing to travel. On the other hand, banks could work more efficiently by shifting services and customers online instead of always having them visit or call a person. Right now, during the outbreak, financial companies may also enjoy the advantage of lower bids and more clicks on their paid ads. Even after this current crisis, consumer behavior trends will probably have changed permanently.

Still, the previous digital transformation had gradually occurred over the span of years and not weeks, so every facet of the industry and all customers were not completely prepared. Taking a page from some of the largest banks and finance companies, it’s a good idea to use paid advertising to respond to customer’s changing behavior and to underscore your primary message.

As demonstrated by some changes to paid search behavior, if customers need experienced financial assistance, financial services companies still need to create and promote a mechanism to provide that. In general, banks can do well by promoting their websites and mobile apps to serve the routine needs of their customers. On the other hand, they should also invest in making sure they have the features and technology to provide great service after customers respond to their ads.

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Banking Content Marketing

Banks and other financial services need an edge to stay competitive. Here’s why content marketing can help them better connect with prospective customers.

Banks and credit unions are hardly celebrated for their innovation or mastery of digital tools. There’s a reason for this: The industry is by nature conservative, and it is also constrained by regulations. This is why the banking sector has been relatively behind on the digitalization curve.

Yet this also provides an opening for financial services enterprises — as long as they are willing to adopt new approaches that are aligned with changing consumer preferences. One recent example is the Capital One Cafe, a coffeehouse/bank location hybrid that allows customers to enjoy meet-ups and drink coffee while conducting basic banking services. This “bank barista” concept was designed to target the millennial market and make banking an enjoyable experience, rather than routine drudgery.

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With banking services increasingly migrating online, however, banks and credit unions also need to harness the full potential of digital tools. Content marketing, specifically, is one of the most impactful things a bank can do to modernize its digital strategy and generate new business.

Let’s take a closer look at why this approach pays dividends, and how partnering with the right content marketing agency will help deliver results.

Developing a content marketing strategy that works

Financial marketers understand the value of strong content marketing. A recent Brandpoint survey showed that financial marketers view content marketing as an essential tactic for generating brand awareness and engaging with customers. That same survey, however, showed that half of financial marketers struggle with content creation and staying current with the latest techniques.

Other common problems include:

  • Insufficient resources to create top content
  • Inability to determine ROI or effectiveness of the content 
  • Poorly defined strategy
  • Difficulty managing a multi-channel approach with consistency
  • Lack of budget
  • Lack of content marketing expertise
  • Leadership not buying in

That financial services firms struggle with content marketing is not surprising. If you asked most people about memorable marketing, banks would certainly not top the list. Some financial services firms, however, know how to do content marketing correctly. Here are two examples:

  • Citibank is highly-regarded for its brand awareness initiatives — and for good reason. The company’s sponsorship with New York’s popular Citibike program means that 10 million-plus New Yorkers can’t rent a bike without thinking about a bank. Citibank also uses content marketing and sponsorships with major artists as part of its Citi Entertainment program for customers. In both cases, Citibank attaches its name to something that consumers love (bike riding, concerts) — a significant boost, considering most bank brands have little inherent cachet. It’s an example of savvy bank marketing.
  • Deloitte is best known for being a global consultancy and financial advisory operation. Not exactly the type of enterprise to give retail consumers warm and fuzzy feelings. Yet every year Deloitte issues a “Back to School” survey that uses clever, data-rich visuals to help consumer optimize their purchasing habits. It’s not related to Deloitte’s core business, but it is a smart piece of content marketing that improves brand awareness and builds brand trust. Parents engaged with this campaign identify Deloitte as a company that helps them solve a perennial problem.

So now that we’ve discussed some challenges and seen some strong examples, let’s talk about what financial services firms can do to jumpstart their content marketing efforts and start building brand awareness and loyalty.

Actionable advice for your financial content marketing strategy

Companies that generate exceptional ROI from their content marketing efforts tend to have some commonalities. A recent Content Marketing Institute research survey investigated the factors shared by firms that are especially successful in this regard. According to this research, the four elements that separate winners from losers are:

  • Having a documented content marketing strategy. 65% of firms who report being successful in content marketing have such as a strategy, while only 14% of unsuccessful firms have one.
  • Measuring the ROI of content marketing initiatives. 72% of successful firms do this, while only 22% of unsuccessful firms measure ROI.
  • Proficiency with the latest content marketing technology. 67% of successful firms report proficiency, while only 7% of unsuccessful firms do.
  • Using personas for content marketing campaigns. 77% of successful firms use personas, while only 36% of unsuccessful firms use them.

By implementing or improving these four elements, you can lay the groundwork for a high-performing content marketing strategy. Not every financial institution or marketer has the experience of savvy to get the most out of this approach, however. In these cases, it makes sense to partner with a leading content creation agency.

Finding the right inbound marketing agency

If you’re in need of SEO marketing, content marketing or any other digital marketing service, we encourage you to contact Bigeye. We have the technical skill and domain expertise to help financial institutions gain immediate traction with high-performing digital marketing campaigns.

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Banking Branding Environments Marketing/Business

If you’re not embracing environmental branding for your financial institution, you’re missing out on a key piece of the overall marketing puzzle.

Companies in the retail sector have long leveraged the power of the branded environment (incorporating an organization’s brand and the distinctive characteristics of that brand into the interior and/or exterior design of its brick-and-mortar stores). Whether it means liberally integrating the retailer’s name into physical location signage or imbuing in-store displays with the unique charm and appeal of the retailer’s brand identity, environmental branding can work wonders when it comes to driving customer loyalty and on-site sales.

The banking industry, however, has traditionally lagged far behind top retailers when it comes to leveraging the power of branded environments. This makes perfect sense considering the history of banks in the United States and elsewhere. In most communities, there was only one bank in operation. Effective branding and marketing operations in general were completely unnecessary. Customers banked with a specific organization because it was their only option, not because they preferred it over any available alternatives.

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Now increasingly savvy about branding practices, the financial institutions of today are finally beginning to reverse this trend, realizing that effective branding is absolutely essential if they want to get a leg up on the competition in the modern marketplace. The creation and maintenance of branded environments should be an absolutely essential component of any banking organization’s greater marketing efforts.

If you are looking for ways to develop effective branded environments for your bank location(s), you will want to employ a marketing agency with the established expertise to address the specific wants and needs of your particular institution. The following four guidelines can get you headed in the right direction. 

1. Concentrate on relationship building in the lobby area

When it comes to building a new bank branch or remodeling an existing bank location, the design masterminds at HTG Architects suggest rethinking the fundamental purpose of your lobby area. As HTG puts it, “Co-branding can change your space from “transaction-based” to “relationship-based.” And in today’s banking world, this shift can make all the difference.”

In addition to incorporating ample on-brand elements into your lobby, HTG suggests reducing the size of banking transaction areas if it can make lobby space feel more comfortable and inviting.

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2. Reflect evolving technology

Different banking organizations will inevitably target different consumer demographics, but the vast majority of todays’ customer base will respond favorably to technological innovation. This is particularly true of consumers in the modern banking sector, who tend to expect the companies with which they partner to be on the cutting edge in terms of state-of-the-art financial operations and security measures.

In order to reinforce strong technological ties, the physical design of brick-and-mortar bank branches must reflect high-tech engagement in a variety of ways. This might mean the inclusion of advanced ATM machines and smart kiosks or it might mean simply crafting on-site sign imagery and typography that is compatible with technological themes.

3. Emphasize convenience and public responsibility

Smart financial institutions will also design their buildings to not only deliver optimum customer convenience, but reinforce their commitment to public service through effective on-site messaging. Two great examples of this emphasis on respect and responsibility are ADA compliance and environmental sustainability.

All bank locations should go far beyond the mandated regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that all customers have equal access to banking processes regardless of physical or mental disability. Furthermore, bank locations should offer the latest in recycling amenities, responsible resourcing, paperless technology, and other green modalities. Remember, your physical location speaks volumes about your company’s priorities and values.

4. Consider environmental co-branding

If you really want to boost consumer convenience while engendering considerable lobby cross-traffic, you may want to look into partnering with a well-known brand from another business sector and welcoming that partner into the physical space of your bank branch(es). While traditional environmental co-branding partnerships in the banking sector have included insurance agencies, accountants, and title companies, more and more banks are incorporating comfort-inducing retail organizations such as coffee shops into their lobby areas.

For more information

To guide them through the considerable intricacies of the environmental branding process, wise companies seek out the assistance of highly trained and specialized marketing professionals. An environmental branding agency that is both forward thinking and rooted in current best practices, Bigeye can answer any questions that you might have about your bank’s practical environmental branding options.

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Banking FinTech Marketing/Business

Bitcoin is disrupting the banking sector by creating enormous interest among institutional investors, creating a need for smart FinTech strategy for brands.

2018 was a tough year in the cryptocurrency space, as the value of Bitcoin tumbled from $20,000 to below $4,000. 2019, however, has been a different story, with the market rebounding and cryptocurrencies becoming a core part of institutional FinTech strategy and banking strategy.

So what does the future hold for Bitcoin and the financial sector? 

How Bitcoin went from novelty to banking industry disruptor

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular digital currency, began life as a hobbyist pursuit. Created roughly a decade ago by the anonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was designed to be peer-to-peer digital cash. People could send it to each other with no bank or third party needed to validate the transaction.

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That’s because Bitcoin transactions are validated not by a bank, but by a technology called blockchain. When one person sends Bitcoin to another, the transaction is confirmed by a miner. This miner isn’t a person with a pickaxe and persistent case of black lung, but rather someone who uses computing power. When Bitcoin transactions are made, miners use powerful computers to compete with each other to solve complex cryptographic puzzles for a small transaction fee. Whomever solves the puzzle first validates the transaction, which is then recorded on the blockchain – a public ledger that can’t be changed. 

That’s Bitcoin in a nutshell – and you can see why the technology is so transformative. Instead of waiting several days to have a bank clear a transaction, a Bitcoin transaction is completed within ten minutes, in most cases. Other cryptocurrencies with a higher degree of centralized control can confirm transactions almost instantly.

Here’s the irony: Bitcoin was created and later developed by a band of misfit programmers who were entirely outside the financial system. Yet today, cryptocurrency adoption is being pushed forward by the financial services, marketing agencies, and companies that Bitcoin promised to make obsolete.

Why institutional adoption is driving market growth

Bitcoin’s price rebound in 2019 has been driven, in part, by the movement of institutional money into the cryptocurrency space. A few years ago, most legacy financial firms were bearish on cryptocurrencies -Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase famously called Bitcoin a “fraud” that governments “would crush.”

Today, Dimon has reversed his position and is pushing his firm headlong into the space. JPMorgan Chase has launched their own cryptocurrency. Facebook, too, recently announced plans for their own cryptocurrency, while Google and Amazon both have significant partnerships with cryptocurrency projects.

Why the abrupt about face? As with any radical new technology, skepticism abounds early – “magic Internet money” created by a person named “Satoshi Nakamoto” seems almost too far-fetched to believe. Then, once people grasped the fundamental innovation Bitcoin offered, the financial services sector began to view cryptocurrencies not as a joke, but as an existential competitor.

And that’s where we are today. Cryptocurrencies hold the potential to radically transform how the banking sector operates. Using the traditional banking system, the fastest way to get $10,000 from New York to California is to fly it in a plane. In a 21st century hyperconnected world, that seems absurd.

Cryptocurrencies makes such transactions instant, as there is no need to wait for third parties to validate that the money being transferred is actually there. That’s the reason cryptocurrencies have become a core part of banking FinTech strategy – and why we’ve likely only seen the very earliest stages of what could be the most significant technological development since the Internet.

The takeaway

Brands in need of FinTech marketing services should consider one question: Does my FinTech marketing agency have the necessary domain knowledge to provide us with truly informed, high-level digital marketing for financial services?

At Bigeye, we understand FinTech strategy and cryptocurrency on a much deeper level than most financial services marketing agencies. When it’s time for your next campaign, we urge you to contact us and find out why Bigeye is so much better.

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Audience Banking Consumer & Healthcare Consumer Insights Healthcare Technology, SAAS, & Other High Tech

Making predictions is a risky business. In 1994, the Rand Corporation — a famous quasi-governmental think tank long-celebrated for their strategic prognostication — confidently predicted the following:

“During the 21st century, those houses that don’t have a robot in the broom closet could have a live-in ape to do the cleaning and gardening chores. Also, the use of well-trained apes as family chauffeurs might decrease the number of automobile accidents.”

While selectively breeding an army of highly intelligent ape butlers and chauffeurs might seem ridiculous to those of us living in 2019, it probably seemed semi-plausible then — and that’s the risk that comes with forecasting. However, when you’re right, the payoff can be immense. If you can predict what’s next, you can position yourself (or your organization) to profit from this shift before it occurs.

That brings us to the subject of this piece: “Connecting the Dots: Consumer Trends That Will Shape 2020.”

What We’ve Learned By Connecting the Dots

Recently released to the public, “Connecting the Dots” is a research and forecasting document compiled by GlobalWebIndex. The report, which is produced annually, offers a valuable window into technology, society and marketing.

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For pure prognostication, GlobalWebIndex has a reasonably strong record. In last year’s report, it was predicted that e-sports would finally enter the mainstream. 2019 subsequently saw 50% year-over-year growth in e-sports, the Fortnite World Cup and top e-sports stars appearing on famous late night talk shows. Last year’s report also perceptively noted the continuing trend of social media becoming less social and more utilitarian, as platforms such as Instagram and Facebook become closer to one-stop-shops for consumer needs.

So what does the latest version of the report predict for the upcoming year? Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most relevant predictions offered in the report.

The Emergence of Online, On-Demand Healthcare

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if booking a physician’s appointment was as simple as booking a ride with Uber? That’s the future we’re hurtling toward, as AI and telehealth begin to augment — and in some cases replace — conventional primary care.

Today’s AI-powered health offerings are a far cry from the limited telehealth patient sessions of a few years ago. Healthcare operators are also taking things a step further by combining telehealth services with mobile clinics and pop ups. By marrying the two approaches, providers can offer the same suite of services found in any brick and mortar doctor’s office, yet in a far more accessible way.

The public interest is certainly there. According to “Connecting the Dots”:

“Our global research reveals 36% of consumers are using the internet to research health issues and healthcare products, jumping up to 42% for users aged 55-64, where a focus on health becomes even more crucial.”

The study also found that:

  • 75% of consumers use the Internet to research which medications to purchase
  • Half of consumers say that video physician consults will help them manage their health more effectively
  • 70% are willing to make their health data accessible via smartphone

In a world that’s conditioned to expect on-demand services — and where access to healthcare remains an intractable problem — this is one projection that seems almost certain to be realized.

Privacy and Cashless Societies

In some ways, privacy has become almost a quaint notion in the digital era. We trail streams of data as we navigate our phones and the web — much the same way that city buses trail exhaust fumes. Every follow, like or page visit is duly recorded and used to optimize our marketing and ad profiles.

This hyper-transparency has been largely shielded from two key areas, however: Medical records and financial data. Both areas are regulated to varying degrees. Yet our daily financial transactions could soon be subject to the same level of transparency as our daily web browsing.

That’s because digital currencies are on the rise. Bitcoin, Facebook’s Project Libra and efforts by China to develop a national digital currency all differ in some key regards. Yet they all share one characteristic: Anyone using these coins/tokens will have their transactions recorded on a public and immutable ledger. That’s the nature of blockchain technology.

While there are so-called privacy coins that obscure transaction history, these offerings are not likely to see the wide consumer adoption associated with a Facebook cryptocurrency or a state-sponsored digital asset.

For those invested in privacy, things aren’t completely dire. The European Union has introduced the world’s strongest digital privacy protections — laws that give consumers much more control over how their data is harvested and used. Yet in a world that is quickly going cashless, maintaining financial privacy may soon become a much more difficult challenge.

A Mediated Existence

Just how mediated through technology have our daily lives become? Consider this: The average person, globally, spends almost seven hours per day online. As companies and industries pursue greater degrees of digitalization, it is only a matter of time before seven hours seem like an exercise in restraint.

Given how much of our lives are now lived online, is it truly possible to detach? Have we lost the ability to prioritize the human touch without sacrificing convenience?

According to “Connecting the Dots,” many people now fear the answer is a resounding “no.” The number of people who report that technology complicates their lives, or who report being constantly connected online, continues to rise each year.

These concerns are shared by the people who seemingly know best: Silicon Valley CEOs and developers. Over the last year, we’ve seen repeated articles in the press about “dopamine fasts” and “technology detoxes.” Many tech leaders have mentioned that they strictly regulate screen time for their own children.

The scale and rapidity of the “tech takeover” of modern society is astonishing, if you take a moment to place it in context. A generation ago, personal computers cost thousands of dollars, had limited utility and were not owned by most households. Tech, in general, was not a lifestyle, except for hard core enthusiasts. 

While increasing computing power and the birth of the Internet ignited the consumer tech takeover, it wasn’t until little more than a decade ago — with the development of social media and the smartphone — that we truly began to live mediated existences. In fact, we’ve hurdled headlong into a radical societal shift, in a very brief period of time, without any real idea about the consequences.

Politicians have become aware of this anti-tech sentiment. Several US senators have urged social media platforms to take steps to make their products less compulsively engaging, claiming that the current paradigm is bad for the mental health of heavy users.

“Connecting the Dots” makes the case that while the tech takeover may be in full flight, human concern about (and opposition to) our new reality will only get stronger.

About Bigeye

Bigeye is a leading creative agency based in Orlando, Florida. We help clients create marketing campaigns that are driven by exceptional creative work, domain expertise and sophisticated technological tools. For more inspired reading, visit our Insights page.

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FinTech Marketing/Business

The FinTech space is responsible for some of the most exciting tech innovations in recent years. But has their marketing been as compelling and innovative?

The FinTech space has given us an extraordinary number of new products and services.  Square has changed the way we pay for meals, goods, and services. Venmo allows us to send money back and forth to friends and family with the press of a button. Roboadvisors allow us to invest in stocks without even speaking to a human for guidance.

All thrilling innovations, to be sure. Yet, has FinTech marketing and advertising kept pace with these product innovations?

Along with the basics (such as smart content marketing and audience segmentation), let’s take a closer look at some high impact ideas FinTech firms can use to develop successful campaigns.

Creatively inspired FinTech marketing ideas

Today’s FinTech companies have completely reimagined the way we pay for products and services, conduct our personal banking and send money peer-to-peer. 

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FinTech is also a highly competitive space, however — which means that it’s imperative to have your products and services supported by a compelling and well-executed marketing strategy. 

While many of new FinTech products are based on transformative new technological leaps, the space itself isn’t especially fascinating for the average consumer.

Given that, let’s review a few tips and examples you can incorporate when devising your next FinTech marketing campaign.

  • Make your marketing campaigns and strategies mobile first. Consumer-facing FinTech is largely driven by mobile — just think about PayPal, your mobile banking app, Venmo, Square, Zelle, etc. It’s estimated that two billion people worldwide will use at least one FinTech mobile app within the next two years. This means that everything you do should be optimized for mobile. These efforts should be supported by advanced digital targeting services to help you engage your ideal audience and give them relevant messages.
  • Push out great content that’s highly relevant. You may have the most innovative consumer-facing FinTech product the world has ever seen — but if you can’t tell a compelling story about what the product is and how it can help people, nobody’s going to pay attention. Additionally, exciting new FinTech products often come with a bit of a learning curve, so it’s important to be informational and educational when necessary. It’s important to illustrate how your technology will have a practical impact on the lives of users. Advanced audience analysis can help you segment your market and deliver relevant, customized content.
  • Focus on trust, credibility, and reliability. FinTech products are decentralizing authority. Today, for example, you can use FinTech applications to engage in peer-to-peer or decentralized lending, cutting banks and financial institutions out of the process. If you’re going to minimize the role third party authorities play, trust and reputation becomes ever more critical.
  • Zig when others zag. Sometimes the most impactful marketing or advertising campaign is the one that runs totally counter to your expectations. Domino’s Pizza launched a media campaign decrying the terribleness of their original recipe in order to promote their new and improved pizza. It was a bold — and very successful — approach. Instamojo, a FinTech payment platform, took the same strategy and published an article called “Six Reasons Not to Choose Our Free Payment Platform.” It’s an attention grabber, and that’s half the battle.
  • Create a spectacle. If you’re looking for something that’s truly attention-getting, consider the case of WePay. The payment company deposited a 600-pound block of frozen ice outside of a conference staged by its competitor, PayPal. The ice, which had frozen money embedded within, was a stunt designed to highlight complaints that PayPal was freezing too many user accounts. As you might imagine, the stunt went massively viral, gaining top-level media coverage from major tech and advertising industry publications. 

The Takeaway

FinTech technology moves at breakneck speed, so it’s critically important for FinTech marketing to keep pace. Innovative and exciting new products need to be paired with creative marketing that is equally engaging.

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at helping FinTech firms pair their innovative new products and services with the right marketing and ad strategies. We’ll help you reach new audiences and build market share with compelling creative supported by advanced AdTech.

Contact us today to discover what BIGEYE can do for you.

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Banking Marketing/Business

Banks face a significant marketing challenge. Long valued as steady, reliable institutions, they need to show consumers today that they can be innovative organizations as well. 

Ask most people what they think about banking, and they’ll say that it’s a necessary service, but one that hasn’t really changed much through the years.

That perception is slowly changing, however, thanks in part to clever marketing and advertising on behalf of financial institutions.

Let’s review two creative marketing campaigns that paint the banking industry in a different light, and see what actionable lessons can be drawn.

It’s payback time!

Ally Bank is a pioneer in the online banking sector — and it used this status to full effect in a recent ad campaign. The campaign played on classic tropes involving banking and subverted audience expectations to spark interest and engagement.

Called “It’s Payback Time,” the initiative kicked off with a TV ad that used classic bank robbery imagery and ominous music. There’s a twist, however: In this ad, the bank robbers are the banks, and the victims are their customers.

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Ally’s ad points out that banks historically have earned billions in interest payments by holding consumer cash. Ally calls this robbery and provides compensation in the form of a 1% interest payment offered on all online accounts.

It’s a clever reversal of a classic bank robbery theme. Yet more than that, it draws consumer attention to the fact that banks are profiting immensely by holding their money — and charging them for the privilege.

Ally supplemented the first ad with a second, long-form video. This advertisement took a comical “man on the street” approach, with an extremely energetic interviewer handing out money and explaining the campaign to people passing by. 

He points out repeatedly that in-person service at a bank is overrated — and pales in comparison to the prospect of earning cash for your deposits, rather than paying banks to sit on your funds.

Ally knows that getting a return on their money is a major motivator for consumers — and these ads are engaging (and pointed) enough to move people into the prospect funnel.

Skip the ads and show them programs

Advertisers must always contend with an eternal truth: Most consumers don’t want to engage with their creative work. There are two ways to solve this. You can create ads that are compelling and relevant enough to grab their attention anyway, or you can disguise your ad in a more palatable form.

Renasant Bank opted for the latter approach. Instead of focusing solely on conventional ads and marketing, they choose to transform into a media production studio. The bank, which has roughly 200 locations, creates original programming distributed across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms.

This programming includes three distinct shows: “Building Us with Tera and Wes,” an HGTV-style remodeling show “Crafted,” which spotlights local small businesses, and “Bootstrappers,” which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs with products and services that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.

By offering relevant local programming (and leveraging advanced tools such as geo-fencing and real-time monitoring and tracking), Renasant is connecting with audiences on a deeper and more meaningful level.

All shows created by Renasant are short enough to sustain attention and have enough production quality to appear professional. More importantly, the concept behind each show is very on-trend (something that helps attract audiences) and ultimately can be tied back to the services offered by the bank.

Obviously, creating a mini-production studio requires committing significant resources. Yet Renasant’s efforts are paying off. The bank’s shows received nearly 10 million views in a single year and created numerous cross-promotional marketing opportunities.

The takeaway

At Bigeye, we believe that banks can update their image to show that they’re both dependable and dynamic. With the help of the right agency and the buzz produced by creative campaigns like those executed for Ally and Renasant, financial institutions can reach a larger audience and grow their customer base.

Contact us today to learn more about how we handle campaign creation and development and to get details on our full stack of marketing services.

Categories
Banking FinTech Marketing/Business

While credit unions are almost universally admired, many consumers are still unclear on their benefits. Here’s what credit union marketers need to know.

Credit union marketing comes with a significant built-in advantage: Most consumers are predisposed to like and trust credit unions. This, in turn, means they are primed for smart marketing and advertising messages. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective strategies credit union marketers can use to connect with audiences.

Hammer Home the Core Credit Union Value Proposition

Credit unions are (correctly) perceived as less commercial than banks. This makes them inherently more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers. Credit unions, by virtue of their design, also offer consumers a range of benefits that most banks can’t match (cost, accessibility, etc.). This is an incredibly strong value proposition for most people. 

Credit union marketing campaigns should therefore place a strong emphasis on the distinction between banks and credit unions and the many advantages consumers receive by opting for the latter.

Help Consumers Break Free from Inertia

Marketers should also consider the reasons why people don’t automatically opt for a credit union, even given the benefits involved. In many cases, the answer is simple inertia. 

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Let’s be frank: Inertia and procrastination are powerful forces. Most of us have to power through our natural inclination to put things off, or maintain the status quo. Bank consumers are no different — and that’s why smart credit union marketers design campaigns with this in mind.

Think about how you can incentivize bank consumers to make the switch, whether it’s by using special limited time offers or creating an easier way to sign up.

Don’t Let Banks Win on Technology

Credit unions own roughly 14% of the Baby Boomer demographic and are doing almost as well with Generation X.  However, credit unions are lagging with millennials and members of Gen Z.

Why? Part of it is attributable to technology. Banks are farther ahead on the digitalization curve, and younger consumers demand digital-first solutions. In order to stay competitive, credit unions need to target younger consumers. 

This means staying competitive in terms of technology, and using credit union marketing and advertising campaigns to raise awareness of these efforts.

Credit unions are largely viewed as trustworthy and a good deal for consumers, yet they are also sometimes perceived as less than cutting edge. Marketers need to do their part to counteract this perception of stodginess and slow innovation.

Segment Your Audience and Reach Them with Targeted Messages

We just covered younger consumers and technology — now it’s time to talk about older consumers and their desires. By using market research, demographic profiling, and programmatic advertising tools, credit union marketers can segment their audiences and reach them with highly targeted and relevant messages.

In the case of the credit union’s most loyal consumer category (Baby Boomers), these messages should be calibrated to focus on the aspects of the credit union model that most appeal to them: Namely, cost and accessibility.

Studies have shown that older credit union members visit their branches much more frequently than bank consumers do. In an era where banks are relentlessly automating and scaling back the human touch, credit union marketers can draw a powerful distinction between that approach and their own more accessible, community-minded model.

The Takeaway

Credit unions have a powerful value proposition that banks can’t match. Yet they also have their own challenges, particularly with younger consumers. By following the strategies outlined above, credit union marketers can create well-executed strategies that help convince consumers to make a change, or become even more loyal.

At BIGEYE, we specialize in forward-thinking, tech-enabled credit union marketing campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about what our marketing strategies can do for your credit union.