The Impact of the iPhone 5 on Bank Marketing

by Jim Marous September 18, 2012   Voices

*This blog was originally posted on Bank Marketing Strategy by Jim Marous. Jim is the senior vice president of corporate development for the direct and digital agency New Control focused on building strategic solutions for the financial services industry. You can follow him on Twitter @JimMarous or connect on LinkedIn.

So, the anticipation is over and the newest version of the iPhone has been introduced. When all was said and done, there were few surprises left as to what the iPhone 5 would offer, and for those of us who were crossing our fingers for the possibility of NFC integration (and further payments disruption), there may have even been a bit of disappointment.
And while additional enhancements to the Passbook app provides a glimpse into the potential for a head on competition with Google Wallet for payments supremacy in the future, the shop-with-your-phone coupon capability is not applicable to most bank marketers. What should be of more importance to bank marketers is the additional marketing real estate provided with the new phone and the growth in sales that may be on the horizon.

Bank marketers should see promise with the iPhone 5′s larger, 4-inch screen with Retina display which provides 18% more pixels for delivering enhanced mobile ads, banners, landing pages and interactive campaigns. While the extra pixels may not seem like much, it moves the iPhone experience closer to that of the iPad, which has already proven itself to be a major tool for consumer consumption. And for those who are still tablet-less, it is possible that this new device will a bridge for engaged behavior.

According to Rachel Pasqua, vice president of mobile at digital agency iCrossing, “the enlarged iPhone is enough to make mobile creative a little more eye catching and get more users more deeply engaged.” She mentioned that there will also be less potential for mis-clicks leading to better potential interaction. The potential for greater speed through the LTE and the new iOS6 also will help.

Charles Golvin from Forrester Research noted in a recent post that while other competitors already offer a larger canvas in some cases, “Apple still outpaces the competition when it comes to the entire package — the new iPhone unites significant improvements in industrial design, imaging, audio and connectivity, along with the wealth of new capabilities that iOS6 enables.”

The key for bank marketers is that iPhone 5 users, and smartphone users overall, will be spending more time with content on their phone. It is therefore important to provide the level of content that optimizes both the customer experience and marketing potential of the new devices. Consumers are no longer content with static web pages and difficult to use links and landing pages. Content (web pages, banners, ads, landing pages, etc.) will need to be easier to interact with and be more dynamic.

There is no way of knowing how popular the new iPhone 5 will be in the marketplace, but if the past is any indication of the future, not only will many current iPhone users upgrade to the new model, but the overall iPhone penetration will increase as well. As shown below, nearly 2 in 5 of the 38.2 million Americans using iPhones are on the iPhone 4, which was released just 2 years ago. More impressive than that is the fact that 35% of iPhone users today are on the iPhone 4S, which was introduced less than 12 months ago.

Just as with the tablet, bank marketers should realize that simply ‘super sizing’ a current app or website is no longer enough from the customer’s perspective. It is important to leverage the tools and advancements that are available with the newest generation of phones.

And even though our industry does not have products that are as visually appealing as in retail and other industries, the challenge to differentiate our offerings may be greater, but the opportunity is still significant.

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