This article is part of our August series about the state of financial services. Click here for more.
The No. 1 priority for financial services organizations today is getting the customer experience right.
That’s according to a recent study by Econsultancy, in partnership with Adobe, which explored the digital maturity of FSI marketers compared to their peers in other industries. (Note: Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company.) The “2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services” report is based on a sample of almost 700 FSI (manager level and up) respondents worldwide who took part in the annual survey in November and December 2017.
Among the findings:
1. Twenty-eight percent of FSI respondents rank optimizing the customer experience as the "single most exciting opportunity" in 2018.
2. Thirty-seven percent say that targeting and personalization will be top priorities in the next 12 months.
3. More than a third of all FSI respondents say that CX--specifically making the experience on their properties easy/fun/valuable--will be the primary way they seek to differentiate themselves in the next five years.
4. Companies in the financial sector are significantly more likely than their peers to regard customer journey optimization as very important over the new few years (81% for FSI vs. 69% for other sectors).
5. The majority of FSI companies (61%) are either using AI already or plan to within the next 12 months, a percentage that puts this sector ahead of others (44%).
6. How are FSI respondents using AI? Analysis of data is the most popular use case, with 43%. However, it is important to note that a sizeable portion of respondents are already using AI for on-site personalization, optimization, testing, and automated campaigns.
7. Forty-eight percent of FSI respondents said that their company has a well-designed user journey that facilitates clear communication and a seamless transaction.
8. Additionally, the report found that FSI companies place less value on creating good content than companies in other industries. In fact just 7% of FSI stated creating compelling content was a top priority, compared to a 15% average for other industries.
9. Sixty-six percent of FSI respondents say that having a consistent message across channels is very important to them.
10. Just 7% of FSI companies have implemented a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack.
11. Seventy-five percent of FSI respondents said that their organization has a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives.
12. Sixty-five percent believe that the financial services company they work for has a cohesive plan with a long-term view.
13. Fifty-four percent of FSI respondents said that their company fosters collaboration via tools that streamlines workflows between creative and content marketers/web teams.
14. In terms of upskilling the workforce, 33% of financial services organizations plan to "invest significantly" in digital skills and education this year. Fifty percent said they would invest "somewhat" in digital skills and education.
15. A whopping 71% of financial services organizations plan to increase their digital marketing spend in the year to come.