The financial services industry is facing a loyalty crisis. While everyday technology makes it easier than ever for consumers and business buyers across every industry to take their business elsewhere, financial services firms must also contend with new fintech firms catering to a digital-first generation. It’s up to marketers at more established firms to create personalized omni-channel experiences centered around their customers in order to retain business and wallet share.

We gathered insights from more than 550 marketing leaders in the banking, capital markets, wealth management, and insurance sectors worldwide for Salesforce’s new report “Marketing Trends across Financial Services.” This research is a data-driven look at how financial services marketers are scrambling to ensure every customer interaction is helpful, personalized, and smart.

Here are just a few of the findings we uncovered:


Connected Customer Journeys Generate Loyalty


While marketers may assume that a disconnected customer experience is merely an inconvenience, it has a measurable impact on loyalty. For instance, if your marketing department is siloed off from services, customers will sense it in their interactions with your brand. Top financial services marketing teams are leading the charge by actively mapping the customer journey steps across their company.


Top Teams Are Actively Mapping Their Customers’ Journey


Delivering Top-Tier Customer Experiences Comes with Challenges


Customer experience is the new battlefield for customer loyalty among financial services marketers. In fact, 69% of marketing leaders in the financial services sector agree that their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. Despite the general consensus among financial services marketing leaders that customer experience is an important differentiator, there are several challenges that stand in the way:

Silos: For one, marketers in financial services can’t gain a single view of the customer if internal silos restrict the flow of data between marketing and other business units. Though 58% of financial services marketing leaders say they’ve been more focused on providing a single view of the customer over the past 12–18 months, only 24% say their current tech stack is extremely effective at driving collaboration across the business. For example, insurance companies will often divide teams based on products, which then creates missed opportunities to expand relationships with policyholders.  


Budget Constraints: While a majority of financial marketers say their budgets have increased over the last two years, many cite budget constraints as a top challenge to creating a connected customer experience. Still, 66% of marketing leaders in financial services anticipate that their budgets will increase over the next two years.


Multiple Channels: To succeed, top marketers in financial services are more focused on the connectivity of channels than the sheer number of them, meaning they’re delivering personalized content based on how the customer/policyholder interacts with marketing messages from one channel to the next. For instance, activity and account information they’ve viewed in a firm’s mobile app will influence future marketing messages they see in their inbox, social media feeds, and even direct mail.  


Financial Marketers Predict AI Will Experience Highest Growth Rates


Marketers are turning to emerging tech to make managing the customer journey a bit easier. Leading the pack are artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT)/connected devices, which are expected to see tremendous growth over the next two years (49% and 32%, respectively).

Most financial services marketers anticipate that AI will transform, to some degree, their ability to personalize marketing and deliver the right message at the right moment. At the same time, insurance marketing leaders say that IoT/connected devices is the top technology that’s absolutely essential to creating 1-to-1 marketing across every touchpoint. Consumers agree with the importance of intelligent tech, as 68% of them believe advancements in technology will positively impact their relationships with banks and insurance providers by 2020.


The research also digs into other financial services marketing trends, including:

  • How high performers are successfully gaining a single view of the customer

  • Why mobile is crucial to meeting consumer expectations of financial institutions

  • How connected customer journeys are a key influencer of customer loyalty, acquisitions, and revenue

Check out the full research report for more financial services marketing trends and insights.