Tax Time & Financial Institutions: Data from Digital Insight

The tax filing deadline is rapidly approaching, and for many consumers that means looking through last year’s financial records for various items like charitable contributions or tax deductions. Digital Insight, which offers TurboTax ® for Online Banking to its financial institution (FI) customers, took a deep dive into how consumers are using tax software and how it can benefit FI’s. Through tax exit studies and surveys, Digital Insight was able to see how the tax preparation software helps FI’s with customer engagement and retention. Below are key findings from the study, and you can view a more in-depth analysis here.

And, you can view previous Digital Insight studies on mobile banking behavior and online banking. 

Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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Is Your Financial Services Business Catering to Women? If Not, You’re Missing Out

Emily Doubet, Insights in MarketingA woman’s influence on the financial service category is strong, with 93 percent (or approximately 148 million women) saying they have complete or some influence on the financial services purchase decision. According to a recent Prudential Research Study, women are more in control of their finances than ever. They’re also earning more advanced degrees, filling more leadership roles at work and earning higher salaries than ever before. While 53 percent of women are primary breadwinners, they’re facing a number of challenges when it comes to financial decision-making.

Some firms have, indeed, taken notice. Citigroup, for example, offers a service called Women & Co, which links finance information/resources to various aspects of her life including: career, family, home and lifestyle. Similarly, Prudential has a Women & Money Sector, which includes a “Manage Family & Relationships” resource. While it’s promising that these companies are recognizing the need for such specializations, the question remains: Are they talking to her effectively?

Insights in Marketing, LLC, a marketing research consultancy based in the Chicago area, believes financial services businesses are struggling to effectively communicate with women. In our survey of 1,300 women and 200 men about which of the top brands effectively market their products and services, only 4 percent of women say Charles Schwab markets their products/services effectively to them and, only 3 percent say TD Ameritrade markets their products/services effectively to them. According to the Harvard Business Review, the financial services industry is the least sympathetic industry to women—and one in which companies stand to gain the most if they can change their approach.

Women have different needs, values and personalities.  Insights in Marketing defined five different psychological profiles (FBI ProfilesTM) that women fall under, and each of those profiles is designed to help businesses communicate more effectively with women. For example, a Profile 1 woman accounts for 26 percent of all women, and is the profile most engaged in the financial services category. These women have the highest household income and image, premium quality and convenience are important to her.

When it comes to finance, these women are more likely than others to:

  • Stay up to date by reading financial news/financial publications
  • Discuss her knowledge of the industry with others and recommend products/services she likes to other people, but also likes learning about financial products or services from others
  • Save her money for a specific purpose
  • Have others seek her advice when it comes to financial matters
  • And most importantly, she finds the rollercoaster (ups and downs) of the financial markets exciting, and is more willing to take risks when investing in hopes of a high return on investment

So how do you win her loyalty?

First, financial services organization need to show her that they recognize the need to talk to her directly. Let her know that you care about her needs and want to help. You should also:

  • Make her feel important and valued (don’t talk down to her). She is smart & savvy
  • Exhibit stellar customer service; make her feel important and special
  • She is busy so save her time
  • Show her how your product/service fits easily and conveniently into her life. For example, show her the ease and capabilities available via her smartphone
  • Simplify your offerings. Provide easy quality measures or comparisons on the bank’s website, and explain what separates your bank from other brands. If not, she will find it on someone else’s site
  • Make sure the sales team is well trained to identify her sensitivities
  • Explain any service benefits, such as first-time service discounts, perks/rewards, etc. Assure her that you are at her disposal and always available to help her. Small gestures will go a long way

Women offer an enormous opportunity for those in the financial services industry, but first, you must know what she wants and how to give it to her. Start a dialogue today, and you may discover your most loyal customer, yet.

 

Emily Doubet is the Consumer Intelligence Manager at Insights in Marketing. She has more than 8 years of supplier-side marketing research experience and has worked with some of the world’s leading brands at both the domestic and global levels. 

To learn more about Insights in Marketing and their Female Behavioral Insight Profiles (FBI ProfilesTM) visit insightsinmarketing.com. For more ideas on how to elevate your marketing to women, download Insights in Marketing’s latest eBook “Getting Women to Buy:  Better Insights to Transform Your Marketing” here.

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions. What do you think about the trends below? Which one do you think rings most true for 2013 and 2014?

*click on each image to enlarge it

 

1. U.S. Consumers continue to favor large financial institutions. There are over 13,000 chartered financial institutions in the United States, yet close to three-quarters of all deposit dollars are held by just 100 financial institutions. Although deposits are flowing into large national banks, an opportunity exists to gain market share for regional & community financial institutions by offering consumers the most relevant services available in the market today.

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2. The U.S. population is aging and changing banking behaviors. 39% of the U.S. population over the age of 44, compared to 34% 10 years ago. New consumers opening their first account at a financial institution represent a demographic that is different than five to 10 years ago, meaning an “older” consumer is opening up their first account with the bank and/or credit union.

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3. Younger generations are becoming more active bill pay users. Although the population is aging, the age of active bill pay consumers is declining, with Gen Y consumers becoming more active bill payment users. In addition, mobile banking consumers are 14 years younger than offline bankers.

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4. Boomers and Seniors are engaging in digital banking. Although Boomers and Seniors have tended to be late to technological adoption, these groups are showing an increasing willingness to engage in digital banking! The traditional product curve for online banking reveals early adopters are younger demographics who embrace technology, have grown up with a computer and internet access, and value anytime/anywhere convenience. Technology services such as email, Skype and eBay have become increasingly popular with Boomers & Seniors, and as their technology comfort level grows, so does their adoption of online banking.

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5. Consumers are moving to mobile-only banking. More and more consumers are starting to “ditch” their PC and rely solely on their phone and/or tablet to conduct their banking needs. Mobile-only banking is increasing, while PC-only banking has declined over the past year. One challenge that financial institutions face from mobile banking is the inability to grow cross-selling opportunities through the online and branch channels.

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6. Mobile bankers are early adopters. The majority of mobile users become engaged in mobile banking early in their digital banking lifecycle. Of new consumers who adopt mobile, 62 percent adopt within 90 days of registering for Internet Banking. Mobile banking leads to higher engagement for financial institutions’ customers. Over a month-long span, the average offline banker visits the branch two times and the ATM three times; a total of five touch points. When compared to an engaged online banker, the financial institution has three times the opportunity to cross sell to this customer.

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7. Digital bankers user multiple devices to connect with financial institutions. Now more than ever digital banking consumers are using multiple ways to interact with their primary financial institution, and the trend of consumers using multiple “touch points” continues to rise. Approximately 40 percent of digital bankers are using multiple devices to access their financial information.

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8. More devices means more time online. As consumers use more devices to interact with their financial institution, they spend more time on their financial institutions’ website. This provides financial institutions additional opportunities to cross-sell their most profitable products to their customers. Online bankers spend approximately 38 minutes per month on financial institutions’ websites.

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9. Mobile remote deposit capture is changing consumer behavior. Mobile features, such as mobile remote deposit, are changing how consumers interact with their financial institutions. For banking and credit unions, cross-sell opportunities will become increasingly relevant as more consumers rely on the digital banking channel to conduct transactions and become less dependent on brick and mortar visits. Consumers who adopt mobile remote deposit capture display similar deposit activity to consumers who never use remote deposit, but once mobile remote deposit consumers start actively using the service, they quickly become less dependent on the branch.

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10. Personal financial management users are more engaged with their financial institution. The percent of consumers aggregating outside accounts into their online banking experience has doubled in three years. Consumers are able to see their entire financial picture in personal financial management (PFM) solutions, which means intelligent cross-sell opportunities are growing dramatically. Consumers who enrolled in FinanceWorks (Digital Insight’s PFM offering) in 2012 were two-times more likely to aggregate outside accounts than consumers who enrolled in 2009. FinanceWorks consumers log-in 54 percent more frequently than online bankers without FinanceWorks.

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About Heather Youngo:  Heather is a business analyst with Digital Insight and leads the initiative on generating and maintaining the accuracy of financial institution profitability data.  Heather holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing from the University of Georgia.

The data used for this article was analyzed by the following Digital Insight team members: Jason Weinick, manager of analytics, Ann Gladstone, business analyst, Fatai Bamidele, senior business analyst, Brenda Shimmons, manager of analytics and Denis Kimondo, senior marketing analyst.

The Bank and Credit Union Marketing Opportunity: Small and Home Office

This article originally appeared on CUGrow.com.

I enjoyed participating in the Digital Insight, Barlow Research and Banking.com Twitter Town Hall chat. The discussion revolved around findings from Barlow Research in the small and home office market. Below are some key tweets from the session along with insights from my perspective. I believe there is a big opportunity for credit unions to tap into the small and home office (SOHO) market segment. What if credit unions who currently engage the consumer market were to offer solutions for the SOHO market that not only provided financial services but also a community market place?

The SOHO business members could provide relevant offers to the consumer members as the credit union acts as a commerce conduit, providing financial services to both market segments. The success of this would be dependent on other factors, but imagine the possibilities of a credit union building a united community bringing together buyers and sellers. Another thought would be to target the Gen-Y SOHO segment and offer some kind of business incubator service. Imagine if your credit union were to hold bi-yearly SOHO contest allowing members to vote for the best business idea. How many leads could your credit union generate for loans and new accounts both from the consumer market as well as the SOHO market?

Like any new opportunity, let’s begin by first exploring the small and home office market segment itself. Market segmentation (watch the video) can be a way for your credit union to find new blue oceans in a digital economy.

What is the Small and Home Office (SOHO) Segment?

The small and home office segment could be defined as a business with less than $100,000 in annual sales revenue. According to the study, this segment is overlooked and ignored by almost every major bank.

 

 

 

Is there a way for credit unions to make money in this segment?

As credit unions focus on serving the underserved in the community segment, could they do the same for the SOHO segment? Is this even a viable market segment to focus on as a way to generate revenue through loans and accounts?

Will digital play an important role in the SOHO space? 

What if a credit union is focusing on Gen-Y growth right now?

If a credit union is currently targeting Gen-Y growth, the SOHO segment may complement these efforts nicely. Remember that bi-yearly SOHO contest mentioned above? Think about the number of leads, both from the consumer and SOHO markets, this could generate for a credit union.

What are other important things a credit union should consider?

As I have continued to repeat, operating in a digital economy will require credit unions to re-imagine their current business models and tear down internal silos. In addition to providing financial services, credit unions could build credibility with the SOHO market by providing relevant on-demand educational content and a digital community (similar to the OPEN Forum) along with complementary services.

What if credit unions who currently engage the consumer market were to offer a solution for the SOHO market that not only provided financial services but also a community market place?

The SOHO business members could provide relevant offers to the consumer members as the credit union acts as a commerce conduit providing financial services to both market segments. The success of this would be dependent on other factors but imagine the possibilities of a credit union building a united community bringing together buyers and sellers.

What happens if a credit union does not explore new market segments like SOHO?

As we are seeing on the consumer side of banking, non-traditional players will continue to disrupt the marketspace. The SOHO market could be an area to focus on for strategic change. If not, someone else may do just that. It’s only a matter of time.

Barlow Small Office and Home Office Study: Mobile and Payments

There is a significant business market that is being ignored by almost every major bank. Many know this market as the small office/home office (SOHO), non-employer or personal business segment — generally thought to be businesses with less than $100,000 in annual sales revenue.

Today, November 14th, at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT, we will host a #SOHOStudy Twitter Town Hall with colleagues from  Barlow Research and Digital Insight. In advance of this event we wanted to share some insights from Barlow’s research on mobile and payments.

Let us know what you think about the data and we look forward to seeing you on 11/14 at 1:00 pm ET. If you have not yet registered yet, you can here.

Please view the infographics below and download a PDF with additional data here.

Barlow SOHO Study Mobile Infographic

Barlow SOHO Study Payments Infographic

How Are You Helping Students Manage Debt?

Paying for the college experience is a huge undertaking for both parents and students chipping in on the costs. On average, college students today can graduate with about $25,000 in debt. How are you helping the families of students manage their finances on their educational path? How can you help guide them to make better decisions and provide them with the services to ease the process of paying loans and planning for college costs?

An infographic from Consolidated Credit breaks down how paying for collegiate education has changed over the years and the realities that face today’s graduates.

How are you helping relieve your college students’ debt? Let us know by tweeting at @Bankingdotcom, emailing us or responding in the comments below.

 

Generational Student Debt by Consolidated Credit

Banking.com, Barlow Research and Digital Insight to Host Twitter Town Hall on November 14th

Banking.com and Barlow Research SOHO Twitter Town Hall

In conjunction with Barlow Research and Digital Insight, we will host a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday, November 14th to discuss Barlow Research’s recent study of the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) market. The Twitter Town Hall will discuss the survey results and how they tie into current banking trends, including  financial management, payment and credit card behaviors, mobile and digital banking habits.

Barlow Research recently completed a comprehensive, multi-sponsored study that gathered the information needed to segment the SOHO market, examine their financial management, payment and credit card behaviors, measure the value of the SOHO customer, analyze product usage and explore business Internet banking and mobile device habits. Banking.com will be hosting a Twitter Town Hall to discuss the study results, how banks are currently serving consumers and answer any questions about the study.

The Twitter Town Hall is open for all our readers to join and participate in the conversation. To join us and/or learn more about the event, see below

Steps to Join:

  • Twitter Town Hall: Go to www.tweetchat.com. Log in using your Twitter ID.
  • Enter the hashtag to join the conversation: #SOHOStudy
  • You can also follow the hashtag (#SOHOStudy) using Twitter applications such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck 

Details:

  • Date: Thursday, November 14th
  • Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST
  • Hosted by: Banking.com Staff (@bankingdotcom), Joel Mueller, Research Analyst, Barlow Research (@BankingResearch), John Barlow, President, Barlow Research (@JohnRBarlow) and Digital Insight (@Digital_Insight)
  • RSVP/Add to your Calendar: You can register for the event via Eventbrite and add a reminder to your calendar. See Eventbrite link here

Additionally, if you are interested in submitting a question prior to the Twitter Town Hall, please DM us on Twitter.

We hope to “Tweet” with you on November 14th!

For more on the study, visit our earlier posts on the topic.

 

The Haves and the Should-Haves

Small business and younger, tech-savvy consumers—these are two market segments that couldn’t be more different. Yet for our purposes, at least, they could be seen as representing two sides of the same coin. For both, there are big obstacles and even bigger opportunities. The key to success on both fronts is to get smarter about what we’re doing.

First, consider the sheer size of the small business market. In a word, it’s big. In fact, with $6 trillion in revenue each year, it’s the second largest economy in the world. That is one huge pie, with profitability enough to go around for everybody. That said, it’s only a ‘market’ in the loosest sense of the term—with some 28 million companies around, it’s too diffuse to identify specific patterns. Besides, it’s a target that’s constantly moving. Thanks to the constant emergence of new online and mobile capabilities, routine best practices and fundamental human behaviors alike keep shifting.

But here are some numbers that should stick with us. Only 14% of small business owners currently use their financial institution’s cash management/business banking solutions. Sad as that sounds, our customers spend 5.4 billion hours each year doing taxes (it takes less time to produce every car, truck and van in the country). And finally, let it be noted that a stunning 66% of small business owners still use personal bank accounts for business.

So that’s what they’re not doing. To get a snapshot of what they could be doing, consider the generational shift. A Digital Insight study of 27 financial institutions found that 84% of mobile bankers fall into what we call the ‘Gen Y’ and ‘Gen X’ categories (to make some of us feel a little older, remember that Gen Y alone will account for close to half of the nation’s personal income within the next 10 years.) This is one ripe demographic.

And how does this translate into tech-savvy behavior that benefits them and us? Online banking customers have 13% more accounts than their offline counterparts. In fact, online banking customers conduct 59% more debit card purchases and have a 7% higher annual retention than offline customers. Going one level deeper, consider the difference in log-ins: for online banking users, the number is 9.73; for online and mobile users, it’s 18.87; and for online, mobile and tablet users, it’s 29.05.

We may be sick of hearing it, but mobile is a particularly big deal. These consumers conduct 40% more monthly debit card purchases than online non-mobile consumers. Even more significantly, mobile consumers access their financial information 65% more frequently than online non-mobile users.

Underlying all these changes is an even more fundamental shift, and it’s from consuming credit to managing cash. Basically, business customers of every kind want simplified workflows with greater access to financial information and tools, ranging from payments capabilities to asset management. Do traditional cash management solutions do the job? Or are they too complex to meet emerging business needs?

Now for the good news. Nearly 80% of consumers name their bank or credit union as their most trusted online destination to manage finances. According to the Tower Group, business owners’ use of online financial services has risen 17% in just the past year. Online services are among the top three reasons businesses choose their financial institution in the first place (but we warned: Barlow Research tells us that nearly half of business online banking customers would switch banks for better online banking functionality).

So here’s the future of financial management. To get smarter about profitability, credit unions must get to manage every facet of customers’ financial lives. There’s a ton of research telling us this—of the 88% of consumers who now pay bills and transfer funds online, 62% would like a single place to manage their complete financial picture, regardless of where the information originates, and an unbelievable 94% of TurboTax for Online Banking users who used direct deposit for their refund sent it directly to their host financial institution.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the changes taking place in our customer base. If the move to online banking was a big change, then the adoption of mobile tools and services is a seismic shift. Yet the wealth of data we have at our fingertips also offers a clear view into the multitude of opportunities that comes with that transformation. Consumers who actively use technology-enabled services, particularly those offered through mobile channels, undeniably represent higher account ownership, balances, retention, and debit card purchases. They will find, join and be loyal to financial services providers that offer customizable tools and services to meet a wide range of evolving needs. The onus is on us to get smarter about how to meet those needs.

Where Does Your State Stand? The Financial States of America

Ever wondered how your local community is affected by changing financial climates? This interactive infographic from MoneyChoice.org breaks down how people are faring across the United States. Take a look and let us know what you think!


Source: Financial States of America

Q&A with Barlow Research about the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) Market

We got the opportunity to speak with John Barlow, President, Middle Market Banking Program Director, at Barlow Research about the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) market. Barlow Research recently completed a comprehensive, multi-sponsored study that gathered the information needed to segment the SOHO market, examine their financial management, payment and credit card behaviors, measure the value of the SOHO customer, analyze product usage and explore business Internet banking and mobile device habits. For more on the study, visit our earlier post and infographic.

Q: Why is the SOHO market the fastest growing business segment in the U.S. and how can banks take advantage of this opportunity?
A:
From 2002 to 2010, the SOHO market had a 25 percent growth rate and now includes over 20 million entities nation-wide. Residual effects of the recession, such as increased unemployment and involuntary part-time employment, have aided in the growth of this market by increasing the number of people who started their own businesses because they had their hours cut, had been laid off or had to find supplemental employment. Another fundamental facilitator in the growth of the SOHO market is the rising costs of having employees and the decreasing cost of technology. With the technological advancements in the past 10 years (increased Internet functionality and mobile capabilities), starting and sustaining a SOHO business has become much more feasible, allowing many Americans to run small firms to supplement their income or generate earnings from a passion or hobby. Lastly, with the baby boomer generation nearing retirement age, retirees may be looking to do something they are passionate about while simultaneously supplementing their retirement savings. Nearly a quarter of the SOHO population is 65 years or older.

Banks already have an advantage in the SOHO market: approximately seven in 10 business customers are SOHOs that are already in the bank. Taking advantage of this market comes down to learning how to provide adequate service to this market to maximize its potential.

Q: What financial/banking advice would you give someone looking to start a SOHO?
A:
Many SOHOs would benefit from help with the “business part” of being a business, which often includes putting together the paper work to become a legal entity, figuring out tax requirements, tracking expenses and bookkeeping. Individuals interested in starting a SOHO firm should document their vision. Write down what their intentions are as a business (or not-for-profit), define their goals and determine how they intend to meet their goals. Because this market is so diverse, each SOHO will have different expectations and different measures of success. With a baseline business plan mapped out, it will be easier to talk to people about their firm and discuss their intentions with financial institutions.

Q: What are the top products and services they need from a bank?
A:
Providing ways to make business operations simple and easy is key in the SOHO market. This may include offering or educating SOHOs on products such as online banking, mobile banking, mobile remote deposit capture, etc. Also, providing SOHOs with products to help perform tasks such as managing cash flow, keeping records, organizing receipts to track expenses and collecting receivables is important. Since the SOHO market is comprised of predominantly non-employer businesses and over a third of SOHO owners have another job, time is of the essence. The owners of these small firms have to wear many hats. One of these hats is that of accountant and bookkeeper – a role that requires time and a certain level of skill and expertise. Providing a simplistic solution to this pain point will be welcomed. It is important to know that often it isn’t always about providing a specific product as much as providing the right product at the right time. When a buying opportunity presents itself, there needs to be a product that is simple and intuitive for this market to purchase.

Q: What are some traits a SOHO should look for when seeking a banking partner?
A:
A SOHO may want to seek a banking partner that provides information quickly, uses language SOHOs understand, provides simple and concise solutions and operates transparently. When a SOHO owner walks in the door they need to be able to say, “This place is for me.” SOHOs want to know that their bank understands them. This may be difficult for financial institutions because each SOHO is unique and their individual needs in a banking partner will vary greatly. However, there are simple ways financial institutions can relay that they value a SOHO’s business. This includes being responsive, treating them as a valued customer and being easy to do business with.

Q: How can banks ensure loyalty when working with SOHOs?
A:
To effectively serve the SOHO market, financial institutions need to understand the entire customer relationship, not just the SOHO business relationship. Seventy percent of SOHOs have a personal relationship at the same bank as their SOHO firm. Furthermore, it is common for SOHOs to own other businesses or re-appear at the same bank as a different business if their initial SOHO firm closes. Even though a singular SOHO relationship may appear minuscule, the consumer relationship and/or other business relationships associated with each SOHO must be considered when evaluating the contribution a SOHO makes to the bank.

With the SOHO segment being as large as it is, small shifts in bank switching activity may be significant, so maintaining a loyal SOHO customer base is important. The average SOHO business relationship with their primary financial institution is 11 years on average. Given the tenure of this relationship and personal connection to their primary bank, it is not surprising that being treated as a valued customer is very important to this segment. However, only 50 percent of SOHOs believe their primary bank knows and understands their firm. Efforts to understand your SOHO customers and recognize their firm may help demonstrate that your financial institution values their business.

Q: How can banks increase their profitability by servicing SOHOs?
A:
The SOHO market has been overlooked by the banking industry because many believe there is no value proposition. However, SOHOs appear to look for value first and consider cost second. For this reason, focusing on the SOHO segment can be a profitable endeavor for a financial institution. The needs of a typical SOHO business are simple, but the products they need are in different organizational silos throughout the bank. Herein lies the fundamental problem when it comes to servicing the SOHO market; most banks are simply not organized in a way that caters to the needs of these small firms. Without a fixed place for these small firms and a strategy for recognizing and servicing them, SOHOs are easily lost and the opportunity for the bank ceases to exist.

Individually, SOHO firms do not have high net potential revenues per relationship in terms of fee and balance income. However with the size of the SOHO segment being as large as it is, the net potential revenue of the entire segment is more valuable than the middle market ($10MM-<$500MM in sales). Many SOHOs are planning to remain at their primary bank. Therefore, mining the SOHOs that are already affiliated with your financial institution before focusing on attracting additional SOHO customers and offering simplistic, low-cost business solutions is going to be the more effective strategy. Pairing a segmentation strategy with a deeper understanding of the financial behaviors of the SOHO market is the only way to target profitable relationships and develop a strategy for servicing these small firms.

Q: How can banks tailor their services to provide options for a diverse range of businesses?
A:
Although it is important to know and understand your SOHO customers and be an expert in the SOHO market, it is far more important to be an expert in the banking business. Offer simplistic solutions that support fundamental business operations and minimize pain points. There is not a one-size-fits-all product for this group. Many financial institutions often feel like they already service the SOHO segment because they “offer a free checking product.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The SOHO space is as diverse as it comes and it not only takes collaboration among silos within the bank but a commitment to the SOHO market at an organizational level. Most banks may already offer the products needed to service the SOHO market, but don’t know the pain points within each SOHO segment to provide solutions.

Q: How can banks best market their SOHO expertise?
A:
The line between consumer banking and SOHO banking is often blurred; so marketing business banking offerings to your consumer banking customer base will provide education to the right population of current and future SOHOs. Many banks have a misconception that their SOHO customer base is content with the current consumer products they use. This isn’t entirely true – SOHOs may simply be unaware of the various business products and services that are offered by their primary bank. This could be because most business products are not targeted specifically to this market.

Getting in front of this segment will require advertisements in their common market places and through networking/communication channels frequented by SOHOs such as blogs and social media. Having a SOHO location on a bank’s public-facing Web site and branch signage also creates an inviting business space for SOHOs.

About John Barlow: John Barlow, President, Middle Market Banking Program Director
John Barlow_Barlow Research John Barlow was a founder of Barlow Research Associates, Inc. in 1980 and is responsible for overall business strategy and research methodology.  In his position he works with clients to understand their strategic needs and develops research methods for multi-client and proprietary research assignments. John graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972, and is a graduate of the ABA School of Commercial Lending and past President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Bank Marketing Association. Prior to Barlow Research he worked for Norwest Bank where he was a commercial lender and manager of marketing activities for the commercial, international and trust divisions of a regional bank. John and his wife Kathy, also a principal in the company, live on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis. He is an avid E-scow sailor.