Innovate, Reinvent and Disrupt Your Business – Industry Expert Advice From LinkedIn FinanceConnect [Day 2]

May 11, 2015


If you missed our lessons learned from Day 1 of FinanceConnect 2015, including highlights from sessions with Carlos Dominguez, Jessica Gioglio and Shane Snow, you can find them here.

New technology and changing demographics have caused widespread disruption in the financial services industry. Millennials, who stand to inherit trillions in coming decades from their parents, are emerging as entrants to the space, and they’re expected to leverage their wealth in innovative ways – making it imperative that financial institutions reinvent their strategies to reach them.

As we found out on Thursday at our 2015 FinanceConnect Conference in New York, there are many opportunities for companies to connect with their customers. The biggest global names in finance are choosing to reinvent themselves by harnessing the power of digital and social media to enhance the journey for their customers, from start to finish.

Sharing some of their best practices, experts agreed that it’s not enough to have mounds and mounds of data or a simple strategy that pushes out content at a rapid fire pace. Your plan must be well thought out and always align with your brand. And perhaps most importantly, it should be delivered to the right person at the right time.

Industry disruption poses opportunities, not challenges

In a question-and-answer session with journalist Jill Schlesinger, Mohamed El-Erian, who is the Chair of Microsoft’s Investment Advisory Committee, provided valuable insights and predictions on the current global economic backdrop (heads-up, an interest rate hike is coming in September, and we’re not going to spike back to $100 oil prices anytime soon). He also spoke to the investment opportunities that can come from industry disruption (with LinkedIn, Uber and Airbnb as cited examples).

This sentiment was echoed by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who said companies should be proactive about where change is happening. “You never want to be in a position where you’re reacting to your competition,” Weiner said. “You have to be willing to disrupt yourself. If you’re not going to cannibalize your business, know that someone else will."

Even in wealth management, the business is changing rapidly. While robo-advisors are gaining attention over traditional financial advisors, industry experts on our panel agreed that no matter the preference, innovation and technology remain crucial to helping investors get better outcomes.

“People care about what they invest in, and the innovators have an advantage,” said Hardeep Walia, CEO of Motif Investing.

It pays to be a little creepy

It’s essential that companies think about the entire customer journey and how to make it easier for them. This might include using customer data to streamline and tailor their experience and know what they need before they even know they need it.

David Edelman, a Partner who leads McKinsey’s Digital Marketing Strategy Practice, advised getting consumers involved in a “real-time” journey, where they receive constant interaction and are engaged in an innovative way.

“Have a little bit of creepiness. … make my experience easier,” Edelman said, noting the pay-off marketers have for using information they have on their customers in a valuable way. “As marketers, we should connect with customers in many ways to drive growth. Marketing is about the journey you can provide someone, and journey is a product of your brand.”

Your efforts are only a failure if you don’t learn anything

donna sabino

In a sharing economy, brands can’t be static. Companies must think about how they have to evolve with the times and create a unique experience for customers on the journey – especially Millennials, who are a unique segment with specific banking and investing habits. In a preview of a forthcoming research study on Affluent Millennials, Donna Sabino, SVP of Ipsos, stated that Affluent Millennials want to be more in control of their financial decisions than prior generations, and 1 in 5 believe social networks will be the hub of all their financial info in the future.

Ed Gilligan

Ed Gilligan, President of American Express, provided insight on how his company has been able to be successful and evolve for the 165 years it’s been in business. “The only way is to reinvent yourself, and we have a good history of doing that,” Gilligan said. “As soon as you think you know everything, that’s the road to becoming obsolete.”

He also advocated for the creation of an environment where employees feel safe taking risks and said leadership plays an important role in setting the tone.

“Have a thirst for learning and doing something different. Don’t be afraid when something doesn’t work out right. It’s only a failure if you give up and don’t learn from it.”

For more insights on how Finance Marketers can succeed with real-time tactics in an ever-changing landscape, download LinkedIn’s latest edition of our Sophisticated Finance Marketer eBook Series.

*Image Credit: Matthew Breinich