How FINSYNC Can Help Solve What The Financial Brand Calls the 4 Toughest Marketing Challenges

Editor Bill Streeter published his thoughts about contemporary marketing challenges in '4 Toughest Digital Marketing Challenges Financial Brands Face Today.' Let's examine how FINSYNC might help.

For those that are not familiar with the publication, The Financial Brand is a great resource for thoughtful research about running a modern financial institution.

Editor Bill Streeter recently published an article that is particularly relevant to how FINSYNC is used by financial institutions to raise their game. Please consider reading the article in full:

The 4 challenges as detailed by Streeter are:

  1. The Marketing Strategy Isn't Digital-First
  2. The Strategy Lacks a Higher Brand Purpose
  3. Defining Target Segments Using Brand Personas
  4. Narcissistic Marketing

We appreciate Streeter's perspective and believe FINSYNC supports positive initiatives in the areas indicated. However, this assessment is not a statement or claim that The Financial Brand has evaluated or opined on FINSYNC as a solution for the 4 challenges mentioned.

1.  The Marketing Strategy Isn't Digital-First

As FINSYNC has worked with financial institutions throughout the Covid-19 crises, we've seen banks address this out of necessity more than perhaps as a reaction to shifting generational preferences. For the PPP Loan and Forgiveness programs, branch interactions were not possible and so banks had to provide a way to apply for and receive loans electronically. 

More rudimentary solutions included printed and scanned PDF applications with significant email and phone call exchange.

Others quickly adopted electronic loan applications developed by third parties like FINSYNC.

No matter the approach to PPP, it became clear to bankers that they could deliver digitally and while somewhat uncomfortable for some at first, they could get acclimated to working with clients that way.

We completely agree with Streeter that cognitively approaching marketing from a digital approach aligns better with the growth segment of customers: Millennials and Gen Xers.

However, our belief is that while in-person interactions will be less prevalent, the importance of relationship banking is not going away. The trusted financial role is not disappearing but is likely to become delivered via chat and updates via platforms throughout the day versus across a desk in a meeting.

2. The Strategy Lacks a Higher Brand Purpose

Streeter outlines common approaches to differentiation as a restatement of capabilities and their delivery, whereas younger generations are looking for help achieving a goal or a direction, and messaging would be better received centering around that.

FINSYNC is fundamentally a suite of connected business tools that together form a cash flow management platform. Capabilities include transaction import and categorization for bookkeeping, financial statements, electronic invoicing, electronic bill pay, payroll and time tracking and much more. One approach would be to message a business about all those features.

Another approach that is more in line with Streeter's suggestions would be to speak to what it all means:

Our financial institution realizes you are passionate about what your business does, but not its administration. We want to help you automate administration and have more free time for your business or your personal life.

The goal is peace of mind, more free time, and a better lifestyle overall. The various FINSYNC capabilities along with other tools available through FIs already are just a means to an end, a desirable emotional state for the decision-maker.

3. Defining Target Segments Using Brand Personas

Having spoken with hundreds of banks who want to be more competitive for business services, I've always been surprised by a lack of clarity around customers the bank would like to acquire beyond geographic concerns. 

What I find even more surprising, however, is a lack of clarity of how many business clients there are in total and within that group, who these clients are. A great way to set the desired business client acquisition personas is to look at the client base and figure what segments the bank serves particularly well.

Lenses to consider:

    • Industry
    • Size
    • Time in business
    • Age of business decision makers
    • Transaction volume
    • Services currently used

Once the existing base is segmented into clusters, life time value (LTV) calculations can be made to then figure out what clusters need to the focus for growth.

4. Narcissistic Marketing

Streeter mentions some common catch phrases as to-be-avoided because they are all about the institution: 

"Great rates

Amazing service

Free accounts"

Beyond being about the institution, what is differentiated about those statements? Any competitor may say the same thing.

Streeter suggests a better approach: making the client the star of the show or "hero" as Streeter terms it.

We couldn't agree more. Telling the story of a client that other prospective clients can relate to is powerful and infinitely more social-media friendly (shareable) than repeating the same bland statements that everyone makes.

For FINSYNC, we like to help financial institutions develop before and after stories. The business needs help and is able to improve the situation (typically cash flow related for us) via adopting our platform via the bank's offering. Neither the bank nor FINSYNC are the focus of the story. The story is a business wanting to solve problems and solving them because of the advocacy provided by their financial institution.

We hope you found this analysis helpful and would again encourage you to read the article in full as you put your digital transformation initiatives together. We're also happy to schedule introductory sessions to help your business team evaluate how FINSYNC can benefit your business-facing marketing.

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