“Financial services are intimidating to most people,” said Rob Pinkerton, CMO of Morningstar, in an exclusive interview with CMO.com. “The math is difficult, the behavioral dynamics are confusing, and, frankly, financial [companies] tend to exacerbate the problem through cold, institutional experiences and high-pressure sales and marketing tactics because their access to customers is so limited.”
That’s where mobile comes into play. According to research from Adobe Digital Insights, mobile traffic to top retail banking websites is up 121% since 2014. Additionally, 87% of financial services executives indicated mobile will be an equal or higher source of new account origination in the next three years.
Generally speaking, mobile is all about convenience and access for customers, said Chris Young, head of financial services industry strategy at Adobe (CMO.com’s parent). “Transferring money, paying bills, taking a picture of a check and depositing it—those are all highly transactional,” he told CMO.com. “The future of mobile will be more insightful, advisory, and personalized.”
Pinkerton echoed Young’s prediction, adding that as voice services become more commonplace and financial companies embrace artificial intelligence, voice-automated financial concierges also will become a big trend.
Mobile’s opportunity doesn’t just apply to B2C financial institutions, either, Pinkerton noted. B2B companies, for example, have the opportunity to rethink and innovate their entire content marketing continuum, reaching advisers, wholesalers, researchers, and investors through different mobile touch points. Mobile apps, in particular, are very useful for learning customers’ preferences—insights that can then be leveraged to tailor experiences regardless of where they are in the buyer journey.
Another trend in the making: mobile-only banking. Although mobile-only users currently represent a very small percentage of global banking customers, the number is growing. The majority of mobile-only banking consumers are, no surprise, Millennials and younger generations. That could mean mobile-only banking will become the norm as each generation matures and makes more money. Financial institutions should be keeping a close eye on new market entrants, such as Atom Bank, and GoBank, Young advised.
“Banks today aren’t extending all of their services into the mobile environment yet,” he said. “But this new wave of younger, empowered, mobile-first consumers want to be able to perform any task on the one device they take with them everywhere they go. The onus is on the financial companies to figure out how to make it the most seamless and simple experience.”
Added Young: Because younger generations are comfortable with emerging tech, AI-informed chatbots are likely to become a common offering among financial institutions as well. “The promise of AI is that it can replicate human interaction through mobile and digital channels and provide an end-to-end service to an individual,” he said. “And there are companies out there who are already testing that.”