Consumers grow more open to managing their money from a mobile device, but financial marketers and their organizations need to advance carefully. This evolution presents an opportunity to reach customers in new settings, to build rich, omnichannel brand experiences and, ultimately, to open up a new avenue for sales. But potential hazards lurk along with the opportunities.
With these mobile opportunities come potential risks for banks and credit unions that many nonfinancial ecommerce players don’t face. A combination of strict regulation and consumer privacy concerns mean that financial marketers and brands must be extra cautious. But beyond this, several myths about mobile have to be abandoned before they chew up much time and money.
With that in mind, here are three of the most common myths that today’s financial marketers must leave behind if they are to succeed in their mobile approach.
Myth #1 – Every Financial Product Needs Its Own Mobile App
Apps are great. They provide an easy and direct way to reach customers and they are often the most convenient way for customers to access products or services.
However, while this may be true for those financial services that people need to access every day, not every financial offering must be tapped so frequently. When it comes to other financial products, maintaining such regular access at the cost of developing and maintaining an app isn’t necessary.
Consider the real matter of mobile device “real estate.” For many consumers, being forced to clutter their homescreen with multiple apps that they rarely use is frustrating and leads to an inferior customer experience. Beyond homescreen space, apps consume memory.
Instead of turning everything they do into apps, financial institutions should take a contrarian route: Focus on developing a truly functional, mobile-responsive website or adopt “progressive web apps.”
Progressive web apps provide consumers with traditional app-like functionality without requiring them to actually download and store an app on their device. While progressive web apps load like regular websites, they offer features like the ability to work offline and to receive push notifications, plus device hardware access that only apps used to have.
These alternative approaches are not only better for consumers, but also require less maintenance in the long run. As a result, many players are already moving this way. 90% of leading financial brands have a mobile-responsive website, but only 55% have a mobile app.
( Read More: How To Give Mobile Banking More Curb Appeal )
Myth #2 – Mobile Content is Great for Reaching Younger Audiences
This one is only partially a myth, really, a demographic exaggeration that continues to hang on even though the appeal of mobile content has become broader and deeper.
It’s true that mobile content is a very effective way to reach younger audiences. At the same time, however, research by my firm highlights that mobile use is rising across the board, with 67% of people now using their mobile phones to manage some elements of their finances. Even among the over-55 age group, 45% of consumers now manage their money via a mobile or a tablet device. (These figures come from our research in the U.K.)
The reality is that mobile content is increasingly an effective way for financial marketers to reach any audience — regardless of age, gender, or location. Marketers should be careful not to stereotype different groups, assuming that just because a customer is past a certain age, they will not be interested in content or services delivered via a mobile device, tablet, or even a smartwatch.
Myth #3 – You Must Embrace All The Latest Innovations
The menu of innovation opportunities keeps growing. From big data analysis and artificial intelligence chatbots to blockchain-based security, the financial sector is awash with technological innovation possibilities. While there’s no denying that these technologies are leaving their mark, financial marketers should be careful not to get too caught up chasing the latest technology trends just for the sake of it.
Instead, marketers should take a step back and consider whether these trends really help to achieve their longer-term strategic goals, or whether they are better off focusing their time and investments on more fundamental tools that genuinely improve the customer experience.
Case in point: According to our research, 1 in 10 leading financial service providers lack a mobile website, yet 28% of them are already looking to incorporate chatbots into their digital offerings.
Until they have the basics in place, marketers should be cautious of investing in more unproven innovative technologies.
If financial marketers are going to stay ahead of the curve, they need to work hard to dispel these myths. Lazy assumptions about “Millennials” and “innovation” only muddy the waters. If financial brands are going to keep up, they must start to think about why they’re investing in these technologies in the first place — not for its own sake but to genuinely enhance the quality of their services and improve the customer experience.