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.

What We’re Reading: Mobile Deposit, Payments and Mobile

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

 

  • First Niagara Website Redesign Drives 30% Increase in Traffic

American Banker

Since the First Niagara’s website re-launch, traffic has gone up 30% and the time customers spend on the site has gone from 10-15 seconds to two minutes and thirty seconds. “They’re actively shopping and looking for information on the site,” Thomas Bontempo, senior vice president and digital marketing director says. “We’ve improved online account opening and are now getting 500 funded new accounts online a month. That’s still not where we need to be for a bank our size, but we’ve taken the right steps and it’s the right direction.” Customer satisfaction rose from 64% to 72% after the redesign, according to a survey the bank conducted.

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  • Brand expansion through branchless banking

ATM Marketplace

While transactions at financial institution branches across the U.S. are dropping by approximately 5 percent per year, PC and Internet use are on the rise. The trend toward nationwide and even global connectivity is providing a unique opportunity for FIs to reach new markets and drive services from declining bank branches directly into the homes and hands of customers. Conventional banking channels are reaching inherent limits while increased access to Internet and mobile are making banking from home far more attractive for consumers. A 2010 survey by the American Banking Association found that 36 percent of bank customers preferred to do their banking online.

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  • Best Practices for New Product Roll-Outs

BAI.org

Building out or improving remote delivery channels, such as online banking, mobile banking and electronic bill pay, with new products and systems represents one of the greatest opportunities a bank can face – and one of the greatest challenges, as well. Relying too heavily on vendor expertise has meant a missed opportunity for many institutions. While vendors have a lot of insight into best practices, they typically do not offer or bring that experience to their clients unless specifically asked. Leveraging internal resources and expertise, as opposed to simply implementing new software, will help banks bridge the gaps in a vendor’s statement of work (SOW) and successfully launch these important strategic products.

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  • The New Ecosystem for Mobile: Technology Alliances for M-Payments and M-Banking

Bank Systems & Technology

Banks and financial institutions are most effective when they can utilize technology and outsourcing services to give customers full accessibility to their accounts – but reduce their direct interaction with customers. To this end, we are seeing banking technology vendors continuously generate innovative ideas and solutions. During the past decades, we’ve witnessed the evolution of Checks and their Clearing Systems, Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Point of Sale (POS) devices, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems and the list continues. The evolution of mobile technology has allowed banks to embed mobile in their front-end solutions offering flexibility, ease of use, and accessibility to their banked customers and account holders. Through Mobile Banking (m-Banking) services; users can review their balance, transfer money between accounts, and perform some sort of utility payments along with many other services that enables interaction between the account owner and the bank’s back office systems.

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  • China, South Korea lead world mobile commerce

Inside Retail Asia

Mobile commerce is playing an increasingly significant role across Asia-Pacific according to a new report.  The study found that 55 per cent of internet users in China made a purchase via a mobile phone in the fourth quarter 2012, making China the country with the world’s highest mobile shopping penetration rate. For an idea of just how dominant the mobile purchase channel is in Asia, consider the case of North America. There, just 19 per cent of US internet users and 13 per cent of internet users in Canada made a mobile purchase in the fourth quarter. In other words, China’s mobile purchase penetration rate is nearly triple that of the US. eMarketer estimates that 270.9 million internet users in China will make an online purchase this year – counting purchases made through mobile devices. By 2016, eMarketer projects that number to rise to 423.4 million, and mobile will clearly play a significant role in that transition.

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  • Evolution to Revolution: Real-Time Payments Initiatives Unfold

Javelin Strategy & Research Blog

The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) was the latest multi-stakeholder group to approve a real-time payments initiative in support of evolving consumer and business needs for accelerated transacting. As noted in Javelin’s recently released report, Real-Time Payments 2013: Struggling Toward Revolutionary Change, many of the payments mechanisms in use today — as well as the networks that support them — were developed before the era of “always on” connectivity, before Internet commerce, and prior to the ubiquity of mobile devices. These new market components, however, are driving a global paradigm shift that is beginning to snowball.

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  • Mobile banking will break the 1 billion user mark in 4 years

Mobile Commerce News

By the year 2017, studies are showing that the use of these services will have skyrocketed. The latest mobile banking study data from Juniper Research has indicated that an increasing acceptance of this type of smartphone and tablet based service has caused users to bring the number of users up to nearly 200 million. It is expected that the growing use of tablets will play an important role of the industry’s adoption. In fact, while mobile banking over tablets represents 9 percent of the total number of customers at the moment, it is expected to represent 19 percent by the close of 2017, said the Juniper Research data. Consumers are taking on increasingly mobile lifestyles, which is allowing them to turn to this type of service more and more.

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  • Mitek: 12 Million Americans Have Deposited Checks Via Mobile

Mobile Marketing Watch

The rate of adoption observed in mobile banking is surprising even the most bullish of industry advocates. According to the latest data available, Americans have now deposited more than $40 billion into their accounts by simply snapping a photo of a check. All told, some 12 million mobile users have now made a mobile deposit, a number that is poised to expand further in the wake of new partnerships and opportunities that make mobile banking options more readily accessible. Mobile Commerce Daily reported Tuesday, for example, that 708 banks and credit unions have signed agreements with Mitek – makers of the leading mobile document capture software – to provide mobile deposit options to customers.

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  • The knives come out: Mastercard will charge PayPal and Google for their mobile wallets (updated)

The Verge

Visa’s CEO Charlie Scharf said that “it is totally appropriate” to charge companies like PayPal and Google a fee when their digital wallets get used. Both PayPal and Google offer something called a “staged wallet,” which means that those companies act as a kind of intermediary between you and your credit card. That theoretically helps make your wallet easier to use — since it can contain multiple cards — but Visa and Mastercard really hate this approach because it means they can’t collect as much data about your purchasing habits. Scharf’s statement comes on the heels of an already-announced Mastercard program called the “staged digital wallet operator annual network access fee,” which is a long way of saying that it wil begin charging companies like PayPal when they use a Mastercard plugged into a PayPal digital wallet.

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