Mobile Channels Are Turning Financial Marketing Upside Down

How will financial marketers promote banking products when the shopping experience starts and stops purely in the mobile channel? Because that day is just around the corner.

Not long ago, when financial marketers needed to promote a banking product, they knew exactly what to do. They would simply run some ads in the newspaper and sent out a few postcards. The campaign ran, the numbers came in, and voilà… success!

But in the next few years, consumers are going to shop for financial services in completely new ways. What will financial institutions do when the shopping experience is 100% mobile — from start to finish? How will banks get people to take out loans using nothing but their iPhone? How can credit unions get new members to open checking accounts purely on a tablet device?

That day is coming… and soon.

Financial marketers are completely unprepared for this shift. Back in the late 90s, pundits started saying that offline/traditional marketing was dead — that the online channel would dominate. But before banks and credit unions could even get a firm grip on the basics of online marketing, along came social media. It’s like financial marketers went from running print ads and postcards one day, to “engaging” on Facebook and Twitter the next. What they skipped in between were the fundamental marketing skills required to succeed in the online channel. And now mobile? How can they figure out how to market banking products in the mobile channel when they are still trying to wrap their heads around online marketing basics.

Reality Check: Twenty years ago, financial marketers understood precisely how they could move the needle, how to launch new products, how to run major campaigns. In the mobile future of tomorrow, they are going to be completely lost.

( Read More: People Can Switch Banks in Under a Minute With Smartphone Cameras )

The Mobile Marketing Shift Has Already Started

A research study by xAd and Telemetrics shows just how heavily consumers rely on their mobile devices for everything from conducting transactions to shopping for banking products and services — particularly Gen-Y.

Many consumers are already starting their initial research for a financial product on their smartphone or tablet device. 54% of those studied said they rely solely on the mobile channel to make their purchase decisions in banking. This was the highest percentage of on-device conversions vs. any other category studied (retail, gas, insurance). The majority of mobile research and browsing activity is spent researching checking and savings accounts, followed by credit cards.




As much as people love their mobile devices, branch proximity still plays a critical role in conversion rates, with most users expecting their institution to be within five miles. 62% of smartphone users and 52% of those on tablets felt that a nearby branch was vital. In other words, people love the fact that their bank or credit union has a mobile app… because it makes it easier to find branch locations. Now there’s a twist of irony most financial marketers never saw coming.


Having an optimized mobile site is the most important feature — 40% for smartphone owners, 37% for tablet users.

Nearly three out of four younger bankers notice mobile ads during their research process, giving financial marketers rich opportunities to promote their products, services and special offers.

The “Mobile Path to Purchase” study is part of a massive research project examining how mobile devices are changing consumers’ shopping patterns in the retail, gas/convenience store, insurance and banking categories. Results are based on data from an online survey of 2,000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users. Researchers also observed the actual usage patterns and behaviors of some 6,000 Apple and Android users. This is the second consecutive year the study has been fielded, giving researchers a solid perspective into trends.

( Read More: Marketing Strategies To Shatter The Mobile Banking ‘Glass Ceiling’ )

Financial Brand Forum Workshop: The Mobile Future of Financial Marketing

Banks and credit unions are going to need to know how to generate new business using mobile as a marketing channel — ASAP. Fortunately, there will be a workshop on this very topic at The Financial Brand Forum 2014, April 3-4 in Las Vegas. The highly esteemed and widely regarded Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst with the Aité Group, will be delivering a session titled “The Mobile Future of Financial Marketing” showing financial marketers what they need to know, the skills they need, and the strategies they should employ to generate new business through the mobile channel. Don’t miss this session! Register today.

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