5 Takeaways for Marketers from FinXTech 2016

November 6, 2016

“Money is one of the most important inventions of human beings,” said Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman, CBW Bank, at FinXTech, an event hosted by LinkedIn and Capgemini and sponsored by American Express in New York on November 1. The event featured numerous speakers — such as Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase; Eduardo Vergara, Head of Payment Services at Silicon Valley Bank; and Chris Skinner, CEO, The Finanser — who examined how this essential invention, money, has evolved from coin to paper to Venmo and how fintech is transforming the financial services sector.

While the main topic of FinXTech was the findustrial revolution, the insight gleaned from this transformation has implications for many economic sectors — marketing in particular. Here are five valuable lessons from FinXTech on how technology is also transforming marketing:

Disruption is a fact of life

“Disruption is real, and it’s here to stay,” Vergara said during his panel at FinXTech. The trick is making sure your customers aren’t disrupted. “I don’t like the term ‘disruption,’” said Linda Duncombe, CMO, Citi FinTech. “I don’t hear any of my customers saying, ‘I want my life disrupted.’ I think about it form the customer’s perspective.” Digital’s progress will continue to spawn new businesses, and new business models will emerge. PayPal and a host of fintech start-ups are proof of that in the banking industry. Marketers know it’s also happening in their industries. The key is to embrace the disruption inside your company, but harness that disruption to improve the experience of your customers. Which leads us to the next takeaway…

Customer experience is key, and Millennials are the key to customer experience

Millennials embrace new technologies, ranging from Amazon to Uber, that provide excellent user experiences. This group is demanding the same sort of seamless UX from every other brand they encounter. How Millennials want to interact with brands is how we will all interact. While Millennials are often disparaged as a group, Neff Hudson, VP, Corporate Development, USAA, urged marketers to pay special attention to the members of this generation, many of whom have proved their mettle on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and virtually all of whom have been impacted financial meltdown of 2008.

Branding remains essential

In the financial services sector, as elsewhere, companies are focused on finding the technology that can move them ahead of their competition or at least keep pace. Having technology that provides a positive UX is crucial to attracting and retaining customers. At the same time, developing a positive brand can help a company make customers more at ease with their decision to use your services. For instance, Citi’s Duncombe said her company’s involvement in the Citi Bike program in New York City has boosted the financial institution’s brand. Additionally, panelists noted that the traditional banks and money managers lose a high percentage of customers when wealth transfers to Millennials, who appear to be more comfortable with bankers who wear jeans instead of suits.

Alex Sion, Executive Director, Mobile Banking, JPMorgan Chase, noted a unique brand challenge that financial institutions face in an era when customers want seamless transactions. He pointed out that Uber gets all the credit for its essentially invisible payment UX, when that UX is actually enabled by financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase. It leaves the bank in a quandary: How does a business get good will from the consumer for a transaction that is unseen and unacknowledged? “We are the electricity that provides that power, but the light switch gets all the credit,” Sion said.

Pay careful attention to talent and culture

Executives from traditional banks who spoke at FinXTech acknowledged that recruiting and retaining talent was crucial to adapting to the future. At his bank, CBW, Ramamurthi said, “We made it a point to hire people who’d never been in banking.” He wanted a completely new look at what a bank is and can be. Yolande Piazza, COO of Citi FinTech, said her team’s hiring practices focused on culture of internal disruption; it hired people who had been through transformation either at startups or disrupted at their previous companies. Jack Dugan, Global Financial Services COO, Capgemini, said financial institutions need employees who will change their outlook for what they offer to match more closely the needs of their customers, even if that means massive internal change. “It’s not a matter of (customers saying), ‘I need a bank. I need banking,’” Dugan said.   

Innovation isn’t reserved for Silicon Valley

The United States has a reputation for innovation, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on it. And customers outside the U.S. may be adapting to these innovations faster than Americans and other Westerners. The World FinTech Report 2017, produced by LinkedIn and Capgemini, showed that China and India were the leaders in adopting fintech, with about 85 percent of Chinese consumers and 80 percent of Indian consumers using fintech. By contrast, only 45 percent of Americans are doing the same. Additionally, Skinner said that many African nations, because of the lack of traditional infrastructure on the continent, are embracing mobile banking and other fintech innovations at greater rate than in many parts of the globe. 

To discover more about how fintech is transforming the financial services industry, download The World FinTech Report 2017 today. And to keep pace with the latest trends in digital marketing, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog