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TECHNOLOGY IS A GAME CHANGER FOR MARKETERS: ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT TOOLS?

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By Katie Jameson, Director of EMEA Marketing at Act-On Software

 

Marketing in the financial services industry has completely transformed in recent years in response to quick technological advances and rising consumer expectations for streamlined, personalised digital experiences. With 81% of consumer financial research now beginning online and 7 out of 10 people doing their banking digitally, financial institutions find themselves needing to meet their customers where they prefer to engage.

The answer to these rising demands is clear. In order to get in front of your target audience, stand out from the competition with relevant and valuable content, and engage with them to gain their business, you need digital marketing tools and workflows that enhance the customer experience. Furthermore, the technology tools help you, as a marketer, automate manual and laborious tasks like segmenting contact lists, optimising landing pages and email templates, sending out communications, scheduling content, and qualifying leads.

And while technology has proved to be a game changer for marketers, the sheer number of available tools can make anyone’s head spin. How do you know what’s the best fit for your business? What’s worth investing in? What’s essential for business growth and what’s considered “nice to have”?

There is a notable difference between using low-priced technology that tackles basic everyday tasks vs. investing in technology that supports the financial institution’s bottom line and drives ROI. If your MarTech stack is a frankensteined collection of freemium tools that help you get by, seriously consider the long-term impact and whether it truly bolsters the customer experience. While this approach may meet immediate needs, it lacks opportunity for sustainability and growth that digital marketing is designed to achieve. Choosing the right technologies and software vendors help maximise internal resources and set the business up for success in the long run.

How to Identify the Right Tools and Vendors For Your Business

No matter your specific business goals and amount of resources, there are three must-have aspects to look for in a valuable software tool and vendor partner. In order to implement a long-term digital marketing process that meets customer expectations, ask both yourself and potential vendors these questions:

 

  • Scalability: Will the technology scale to meet your needs in the future?
  • Training: How much training will be needed across the organisation? How much support is available?
  • Reporting: Will your chosen platform produce reports that everyone in the business will understand?
  • Integration: How easy is it to integrate your platform with the other MarTech products that you use or may want to use?
  • Future-proofing: What does the vendor’s roadmap for its platform look like, and does it match your company’s goals and ambitions?

 

Now for the question of the moment: What kind of technology tools meet these criteria? The simple and honest answer–marketing automation.

A marketing automation platform is the digital marketing engine of a business, and the biggest impactful step toward enhancing the customer’s digital experience. The robust tool serves as an all-in-one marketing software hub that enables users to develop, launch, track, report, and optimise your campaigns from a single convenient source that integrates with your CRM and other essential marketing and sales tools. The marketing automation solution provides segmentation and personalisation capabilities to help financial marketers understand the distinct behaviours, interests, and needs of your target audience and deliver the experience, services, and recommendations your customers expect.

However, the financial services industry has admittedly been slow on the uptake of implementing this software solution into their digital marketing efforts. According to the 2019 State of Marketing Automation, 27% of marketers in financial services aren’t using any type of digital marketing platform, though 48% are planning to purchase some form of digital marketing software in the next year.

The Distinction Between Marketing Automation Software and Email Service Providers

Both marketing automation software and email service providers fall under the “digital marketing platform”; however, it’s important to establish the difference between the two.

Email marketing platforms enable marketers to grow their contact lists, automate communications, and mass email to their customers and prospects. However, between consumers having higher expectations for personalised communications and inbox service providers (Google, Microsoft, etc.) discouraging the batch-and-blast approach, these email marketing platforms are no longer a long-term and scalable solution.

Marketing automation software, on the other hand, goes far beyond email automation with the introduction of lead generation and personalised customer experiences. This is what ultimately drives results, and with The State of Digital Growth reporting that 87% of financial brands do not have a lead generation powered by marketing automation, there is a massive opportunity to advance your financial brand’s digital marketing maturity ahead of the competition.

Real Numbers, Real Results

When the right technology tools are leveraged, the marketing results speak for themselves and, in turn, drive business growth and sustainability.

For instance, with marketing automation, TruStone Financial Credit Union averages 68.8% open rate on nurturing emails and up to 83.3% for highly-segmented emails. There is a big appetite for personalised information and this kind of sophisticated segmentation creates opportunities for customer interaction that moves them along the buyer journey. Similarly, Tower Federal Credit Union saw a two-three times increase in their open rates, especially in follow-up emails, since implementing marketing automation, which has led to customers starting more loan applications.

AuditFile, the world’s leading provider of cloud-based audit management solutions, achieves conversion rates from trial sign-up to paid customer, three times the industry average of 20-25%, thanks to the experience customers receive through their marketing and while using the software.

Financial marketers already have too many things on their plate to navigate mismatched, short-term software tools, which do not benefit the business’s overarching objectives. It’s time for financial institutions to fully optimise their marketing practices with technology designed to drastically improve effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.

 

About the author:

Katie Jameson is the Director of EMEA Marketing at Act-On Software, a leading provider of marketing automation and one of the fastest growing tech companies in North America. She has previously implemented, integrated and executed programmes on a variety of marketing automation platforms at industry leading companies such as Symantec, Paywizard, and ResponseTap.

 

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Business

SMART WEARABLES IN HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

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Gavin Bashar, UK managing director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses smart wearables in health and social care, the benefits, and what the future holds.

For many years, technology has been integrated into every sector in the economy, from banking to shopping, to enhance the experience of customers.

However, health and social care services have fallen behind in terms of technology adoption and innovation, for reasons including fragmented structures, limited resources, and reluctance to change.

Yet person-centred technology has the power to transform lives, not only enabling the ongoing delivery of support services to vulnerable people, but reshaping the health and social care sector as a whole.

Technology-enabled health and care is the service of the future and the ongoing and unprecedented rapid acceleration in the adoption of care and health technology has demonstrated the numerous benefits in practice.

 

Why wearable technology?

Wearable technology enriches the lives of a range of cohorts, including people living with long term conditions such as dementia, and connects vulnerable individuals to key stakeholders such as clinicians and family members.

The better application of technology and wearable devices can deliver significant benefits including improved patient outcomes and service-user experiences, a reduction in the strain on staff and carers, and potential cost savings or avoidance.

Wearable devices and the systems they’re linked to use wireless and digital technology to enable support services to be efficient, flexible, responsive, and tailored to the individual. The unobtrusive devices also ensure that care delivery is discreet and won’t interrupt the daily life of service users.

Proactive healthcare is also easier thanks to wearable technology. Service users become much more engaged with their own health and have greater opportunity to develop a proactive approach to their health monitoring, rather than reacting. Technology can be used to enable intervention at an early stage by identifying irregularities before they become more significant health or care issues which require expensive care and treatment.

There is significant evidence that wearable technology offers users greater choice in terms of the care they receive and prevents incidents in the first place, by recognising an emergency as soon as it occurs. Community alarms and telecare services in particular are effective methods of signposting to clinicians and additional services when a user requires care, and this has been particularly important during the pandemic.

 

Wearables in a home and residential care setting

When providers are presented with unique opportunities to drive the adoption of digital health solutions such as wearables, there must be a focus on designing holistic services which fit seamlessly into the user’s life, work with clinical practices, and ensure any data that is collected is stored securely.

There is a huge range of wearable technology and devices available which perform a number of functions and can therefore be tailored to suit the needs of an individual and their stakeholders, such as carers and clinicians.

Small, discreet pendants available on the market can raise alarm calls in emergencies, and protect users living independently at home or in group living environments. Features can include integrated alarm buttons, LEDs for visual reassurance that a button has been pressed, easy to wear options, and auto low battery monitoring and alerts.

Falls are the main reason that older people are taken to hospital and unaddressed fall hazards in the home are estimated to cost the NHS over £430 million1. Smart wearables use advanced technology to allow users to raise an alarm from anywhere in their home or care setting if they are in difficulty. Some devices can also automatically raise an alert if a fall is detected.

This technology offers confidence to individuals who are at risk of falling, such as people with limited mobility, the elderly, and people with long-term conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Wearable technology not only benefits vulnerable individuals living at home, but also those in residential care settings and their carers. Nurse call systems which are integrated with smart wearables can be personalised to ensure individual safety with minimal disruption to other care home residents. It also respects dignity while improving management insights, workflow efficiencies, staff morale, and care quality.

Devices can also be worn which protect users when away from home, automatically detecting falls, offering an SOS function and providing the user’s location.

 

The benefits of managed technology and smart wearables

Technology can require equipment from a range of manufacturers. Identifying, purchasing and managing devices from multiple sources can prove challenging and resource intensive for local authority community alarm centres.

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) has a managed healthcare service which includes home units, telecare sensors and wearable devices which are all tailored to the needs of individual service users.

All connections are monitored and referrals are made to the NCC Responder team, nominated contacts or the emergency services, as appropriate. NCC also has Reablement Assessment flats with telecare in place to support people leaving hospital, helping them to increase wellbeing and regain skills to enable them to return home.

Between October 2019 and December 2020, significant benefits and improved outcomes have been observed. Over 280 cases where a high and immediate risk of admission to residential care were avoided, and over 650 cases which required additional community care costs were avoided.

In total, savings of over £2.2 million have been achieved after additional service costs, costs of homecare for people diverted from residential care, and loss of client contributions have been deducted.

 

The next generation of wearable technology

The deployment of smart technology, including wearable devices, enables vulnerable people to live safely and independently for as long as possible. However as demands change, the care journey is now evolving rapidly and healthcare services must adapt accordingly.

We’re beginning to see the next generation of predictive care technology and smart wearable devices, and over the next few years this will encompass integration that enables diverse and scalable models of health and social care. Using AI and taking data-driven insight from multiple sources, providers will use this next generation of solutions to optimise Population Health Management programmes by providing personalised and anticipatory care.

Smart wearables in health and social care are designed to improve quality of life and empower individuals to take control of their health, while supporting the NHS and additional stakeholders by reducing the number of required GP visits, ambulance callouts, hospital admissions, and demand for local authority funded residential care

For more information on how wearable technology can support the ongoing delivery of proactive and effective support, please visit www.tunstall.co.uk

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Finance

TRENDS IN FINTECH IN 2022: FROM ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO FINANCIAL WELLNESS

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By Jayne Zhang, Lead Digital Transformation and Commercialisation consultant, FPT Software

 

The financial services industry has been pivoting towards digital transformation for the last decade or so.  The onset of COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the importance of this transformation as the demand for digital solutions has rapidly grown.  The rise of fintechs and brands has also fostered the maturing digital landscape and changed customer expectations.

As competition increases, it’s no longer enough to only offer financial products through digital channels. Surveys show that the main drivers for customer attrition are poor banking apps and a lack of digital services, so the financial services industry needs to embrace new strategies and technologies with a renewed focus on the customer context (experience and engagement) and provide enhanced digital experiences to retain and acquire new customers.  Here are seven trend predictions for 2022 and beyond:

Increased investments in digital platforms, composable banking options and innovation

According to Forrester Research, in 2022, it’s predicted that a quarter of banks will increase their tech spending by 10% or more. Banks must invest in and build an infrastructure that facilitates their digital transformation and helps them provide an exceptional customer experience with digital intelligence and automated decisioning. This includes increased investment into the adoption of the micro-service and API layers that allow for seamless integration into digital platforms and ecosystems.

Creating a unified customer experience and journey

The digital experience is now the primary driver of customer attrition and it’s a major factor for consumers when it comes to choosing a bank. To stay competitive, banks need to deliver an attractive and comprehensive digital experience that works in parallel with their physical branch and call centre services. Business must look at the entire customer journey from end to end – from fast and seamless onboarding to real-time notifications with personal and relevant messaging, offering products relevant to the customer life cycle, well integrated self-service tools, enhanced security and fraud protection, and also offer insights for customers.

Increased focus on creating an AI structure which enables contextual and connected decision making

In order to leverage the digital decision platforms and logic that helps with decision making, there must be an increased focus on data-driven decision intelligence technologies, such as machine learning and AI. Many institutions are moving to a hybrid human and AI decision-making model to compose a full view of the customer, which enables customer life cycle management with intelligent, relevant and timely decisions. According to the International Data Corporation, global spending on AI systems is forecast to jump from $85.3 billion in 2021 to more than $204 billion in 2025. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the 2021-2025 period will be 24.5%.

The power of data

To leverage the vast amount of data available, companies must be able to define, map, analyse, and use this data to create customised digital experiences with personal and relevant messaging and offers that customers want. Data responsibility will become increasingly important with the rise of data aggregation.  Banks must balance the power of data with responsible AI, keeping in mind the importance of ethics, transparency, and security. Consumers are also more data aware with a maturing understanding of how their data could be exposed and used.  This causes them to be more risk averse when it comes to giving out their data without a clear return.  Banks will need to provide data value such as data insights for enhanced risk assessment or fraud protection, to empower customers with their own data, which in turn could give them better engagement and personalisation.

Financial wellness and education – humanising the digital experience and rethinking what it means to be customer-centric

A bank’s bottom line relies on the financial wellness of its customers, thus a focus on the financial health of customer should be a primary strategic goal. Having access to financial services does not necessarily mean they’re financially healthy. The younger generations may be more digitally savvy, but they aren’t financially savvy. What this means for banks is that there’s a renewed need to understand their customers’ life cycles, and their journey, be able to empathise with them, anticipate their needs, and deliver products/services to help them improve their financial wellbeing at the point of need – allowing their customers to feel financially secure. Studies show that putting their customers’ financial wellness at the centre will help banks grow profitable portfolios and increase long-term shareholder value.

Expand their line-up of sustainable finance products

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are gaining importance. Some regulators are proposing that climate reporting by banks be made mandatory. The ESG transition will need banks to balance business while embracing and implementing ESG-related policies and standards. Financial services firms will be keen to accelerate their speed to market for ESG products and services, such as green loans and mortgages, and checking accounts with sustainability and carbon-tracking features.

Open banking and embedded finance

With regulators in the EU and UK proposing measures to extend data sharing principles across financial and nonfinancial products, 2022 will see a growing number of banks experimenting and pivoting their business models toward a more open, collaborative platform approach. Leveraging this open-banking connectivity and focusing their efforts on delivering select capabilities as a service, powering the growth of embedded finance. This all goes back to the focus on the customer, and being able to provide financial products, features, services and education at the point of the customer need, and not through a separate journey.

 

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