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Finance

INFORMED DECISION: WHY FINANCE BUSINESSES ARE TURNING TO BUYER INTENT TO DRIVE COMPETITIVE EDGE

Jon Clarke, CEO of Cyance

 

In today’s crowded market for financial products and services, attracting attention is tough. 24/7 access to the internet and web-connected devices have changed the way individuals communicate and engage with organisations and each other, making it harder for businesses to identify who prospective customers are and what they will respond to.

In the same way individuals frequently go online to choose a new consumer product or service, rather than walking into a shop or bank, professionals now automatically turn to the web for fast information and peer-to-peer feedback. This makes it more likely that potential business purchases are influenced by forums, LinkedIn discussions and online reviews or whitepapers than promotional brochures or face-to-face contact with sales reps.

As a result of this increase in online engagement and decision-making, finance businesses have begun to turn to digital tools such as machine learning and data analytics, which are now increasingly within the financial reach of even the smallest organisations. With the right technology, companies are able to identify active buyers in their prospect market (typically just 2-5%), intricately analyse their online behaviour and micro-target them with the products or services that they are actively seeking – significantly increasing customer satisfaction and engagement and, in turn, campaign success and sales conversions.

 

Jon Clarke

Tuning in to buying signals

Despite the huge potential for online engagement, operating in a highly regulated industry, sales and marketing teams in financial businesses still face the combined challenge of ensuring campaigns are compliant before launch, as well as the complexity of understanding who potential target markets are and how to reach them. When the message does get through to a potential customer, by the time someone responds to a lead, it could already be too late: in the B2B buying journey, Sirius Decisions found that 66% of research takes place before potential buyers have even spoken to a person working for a potential supplier.

All of which points to a pressing need for today’s marketing teams to respond to the changing behaviour of customers and reach target audiences much earlier on in the buying cycle. While this might sound impossible without a crystal ball, adopting a data-driven approach such as behaviour-based marketing (BBM) can help to unlock rich insights which help to identify prospects within key target markets that are actively indicating an intention to buy.

 

Getting personal with behavioural analysis

Rather than missing out to a competitor, by reaching the right prospects at the right time with tailored, relevant messaging, businesses are far more likely to gain their attention, increasing the likelihood of high-quality leads, valuable conversations and, ultimately, sales conversions.

For modern marketing teams, understanding customer needs and journeys as their focus has increasingly shifted online has made it essential to look adopt more strategic, analytical methods such as BBM. In a nutshell, BBM is a qualitative adopted data approach that enables marketing teams to get more personal and more targeted in campaigns focused around financial products. Its foundations are in buying intent data – the signals that buyers give off during the online research process – i.e. where they are looking at, what they are looking for, where they are searching for it and who they are engaging with about it.

Using a predictive analytics technology platform, BBM identifies and collates buying signals, scanning relevant keywords from tens of thousands of forums, websites, brochures and other downloaded marketing collateral. Armed with this information, marketers can use the platform to analyse online activities and generate strategic insights into buying intent. The information and insights are then used to inform and create relevant content to help the customer based on their individual requirements, converting early interest into a quality lead.

 

Targeted engagements that drive competitive edge

From niche services to major product launches, achieving a better understanding of who target customers are, what they’re looking for, where they’re looking for it – and where they are in the buying cycle – puts organisations of all sizes in a far stronger position to target and engage customers using the right messaging.

While mass marketing methods will always have their place in marketing communications, as B2B customer expectations and buying journeys evolve, so too must sales and marketing’s approach to engagement. Better-quality leads invariably mean better conversations, more revenue opportunities and a more strategic role for marketing in any go-to-market strategy.

As increased security and confidence brings consumers and B2B customers to the internet for financial decision making, finance businesses will need to achieve a better understanding of their active market and fine-tune their engagements with the customers within it in order to remain relevant. In this fast-changing and competitive environment, the use of behavioural insights and buying intent data could well prove to be a key enabler and, crucially, a key differentiator.

 

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Finance

WILL BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTIONIZE FINANCE?

By Ken Timsit, ConsenSys

 

Over the last 10 years, researchers, software developers, start-ups, and large companies have been conducting experiments aimed at determining whether networks based on blockchain technology can ultimately – in whole or in part – replace the infrastructure on which financial institutions and capital markets are built.

 

In today’s electronic databases, any information can theoretically be replicated at will. This is why most governments allow only regulated actors to keep records of digitized assets (banks, depositories), to avoid pitfalls such as the execution of misleading transactions or the creation of artificial assets. With blockchain, these pitfalls can be avoided at the source code of the technology, which is available to all members of the network. The creation of Ethereum enabled a more robust blockchain network capable of “smart contracts”, which once programmed, can run automatically without the results being modified or manipulated.

 

Contrary to what some critics argue, the potential of the blockchain is not the creation of a free and unregulated space in which everyone can invent new financial instruments. Rather, the potential lies in creating a much more efficient and globalized commercial and financial infrastructure, in which many layers of control and intermediation are no longer needed as they are replaced by transparent and immutable IT rules that ensure the same risk management functions.

 

For example, bonds are essential financial instruments on which a large part of our economy and savings are based. The issue and exchange of a bond requires the intervention of several dozen financial institutions (issuers, intermediaries and investors). Some regulated players in this intermediary chain exist mainly to ensure that it is possible to know, at any time, who holds each bond, in order to guarantee their rights to its bearers.

 

It is theoretically possible to simplify these stacks of operators by linking them to a global blockchain network, open to all stakeholders in the industry. The blockchain network can thus ensure at any time that the number of outstanding bonds corresponds exactly to the number of bonds issued, and that each exchange transaction is carried out without the risk of default.

 

The blockchain revolution is first and foremost the reduction of costs and delays caused by the current financial infrastructure. The blockchain revolution also creates innovation opportunities for consumers, savers, and investors.

 

 

The Web3 revolution, often used to refer to the blockchain revolution, will be driven by the reduction in transaction costs, allowing the emergence of new peer-to-peer business models that we are not yet able to accurately predict, but which will probably participate in a rebalancing of the relationships between financial institutions and their clients. Some international peer-to-peer payment and loan-to-peer savings investment models are already attracting increasing interest from the most sophisticated consumers.

 

Where are we in 2020?

Today, the blockchain revolution is still in its infancy. Transaction volumes through blockchain networks, public and private, are low compared to those of existing systems. The fixed costs of the technology are still relatively high, and the user experience leaves something to be desired.

 

However, innovations abound. It is already possible for me, from my smartphone, to buy digital assets whose value is equal to about one US dollar, and to lend them in three clicks to other users who will pay me between 1% and 10% per year for this service, depending on the type of platform.

 

The number of large operational business projects is still small, but very promising. Numerous international commodity trading players have joined forces to create Vakt and komgo, two platforms that contribute to a significant simplification of trade and oil financing. Similar and competing projects, Voltron and Marco Polo, are being launched. On the corporate side, the Capbridge 1x platform (Singapore) already allows shares to be traded on an Ethereum blockchain network. Other important projects such as LiquidShare (France), SIX Digital Exchange (Switzerland), Daura (with Deutsche Borse and Swisscom in Switzerland), Synapse (Hong Kong Stock Exchange) are in preparation. The World Bank, Société Générale and Santander have issued bonds on an Ethereum blockchain network. These initiatives are still experimental but have attracted significant interest from financial institutions around the world.

 

And of course, many projects aim to revolutionize global payments by creating digital assets on blockchain networks that are fixed in Euros, U.S. Dollars or other currencies, such as those of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the South African Reserve Bank, and Union Bank of the Philippines. Since the announcement of the Facebook-initiated Libra project, many governments have expressed concern about the possibility of private companies controlling global payment flows, and have asked their domestic financial institutions to redouble their efforts to explore competing initiatives.

 

All of this is to say that adoption is happening, albeit gradually. The middlemen and intermediaries of the financial world will not be replaced overnight. Moreover, the exact formation or architecture of the new financial system is impossible to predict with accuracy. However, it’s safe to say that blockchain will enable a financial system that is more efficient and yields more value-add to consumers, users, and investors.

 

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Finance

RECOLLECTING 2019 CRYPTOCURRENCY TRENDS & LOOKING FORWARD TO 2020

Marie Tatibouet is the CMO at Gate.io

 

It has been a bold and progressive year for the digital asset market with exciting announcements flowing in from technology behemoths and government bodies around the world. However, Facebook’s launch announcement of Libra (though they are now facing regulatory issues) and China’s new cryptocurrency law caught all the attention, affecting the Bitcoin price, and the overall market sentiment.

In 2019, the global market saw several catalysts emerging for mainstream adoption despite increased scrutiny around several burning issues such as wash trading and security breaches. For over 400 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, being able to constantly improve on aspects around user experience and fund security is the only way to be sustainable. However, only a handful have real trading volume and technical expertise to build strong trust in the community. For instance, global wash trading has been the hottest topic of discussion in 2019 but new rankings on CoinMarketCap clearly indicate that the industry is working towards eliminating market manipulation.

 

Looking back at 2019

In 2019, digital asset organisations have constantly innovated to attract users but at the same time, the trading process has become increasingly fragmented, spiking the time gap between new users becoming long-term users.

 

Marie Tatibouet

Holding & Lending Funds

Since 2014, the Bitcoin margin trading market has expanded from $10 million to $100 billion. Margin trading has been a great use case in the cryptocurrency space. Many exchanges launched the feature to provide diversity to the trading experience and attracting a huge amount of users to the platforms. It allows traders to multiply their profits on successful trades, providing a range of possibilities for both profits and losses.

Staking is a process where users can buy digital assets and earn interest by keeping (holding) them in a cryptocurrency wallet for a particular period of time. It has proved to be a strong use case for digital asset companies as it encourages user participation. In 2019, staking programs brought stable earnings for cryptocurrency investments made by the users. For instance, HODL & Earn launched by Gate.io in August 2019 has been bringing stable earnings for cryptocurrency investments made by its users. The competitive advantage for HODL & Earn is its annual interest rate, which is as high as 32%.

 

IEO

Crowdfunding as an approach to build and grow products has seen a lot of traction over the last decade or so. One of the highlights this year was the emergence of “Initial Exchanges Offerings”, more commonly termed as IEOs, an alternative to traditional IPOs where companies can raise funds by selling a quantity of digital assets to investors, supervised by cryptocurrency exchanges. With over 1.5 Billion funds raised, IEOs shook the entire cryptocurrency space in 2019.

Owing to the richness and variability that we have seen so far, there has been no one clear winner to pick, but there’s also no ignoring the leaders; Gate.io has the second best average IEO returns, raising over 80 million dollars in its first 5 projects and has similar offerings panned out for 2020.

 

Source: https://medium.com/@neironix.io/top-8-largest-ieo-whats-happening-to-them-now-f7e60a638dda

 

Deals and Discounts 

Discount deals are being increasingly leveraged by digital asset companies, encouraging users to maximize their capital. Holiday seasons such as Black Friday are packed with jaw-dropping discounts. However, as an industry, we should aim to integrate discounts in digital currencies into the mainstream world, which would bring price stability.

 

Dynamic User Relationship

Cryptocurrencies are being taken seriously and companies are designing consumer-specific strategies. It is a great indication of the fact that more and more people are interested in trading digital assets. However, we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling the industry challenges and unlocking value for the entire ecosystem.

 

Regulation, Security, and Mass Adoption 

Central banks of the US, Europe, China, and Ghana are looking at creating their own central bank digital currencies, putting a structure to the adoption of the blockchain technology across finance and other industry verticals. Japan’s recent regulation amendments, China’s new crypto law have laid the right frameworks for mainstream crypto adoption.

While we have major countries pushing for the mainstream adoption, security remains a major concern. Cryptocurrency thefts and frauds in Q3, 2019 annual stand at USD 4.4 billion and this will only increase if fund safety mechanisms aren’t strengthened. Therefore, the strongest will survive as far as digital asset security is concerned.

Nonetheless, blockchain technology is helping to create an innovative and accessible financial system around the world and its mainstream adoption is closer than we can fathom.

 

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