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.

Video: Women’s World Banking Helping the Underbanked

As we have discussed frequently on Banking.com, women will become a driving force in the economy over the next decade.  But how do you engage those that aren’t participating in mainstream banking?

Women’s World Banking, an organization that provides microfinancing services to women in 27 developing countries, gives women access to top financial products and services to help their families.  Women’s World Banking is currently working with 39 financial institutions to provide financial assistance through savings and insurance products, pensions and other services to develop solutions that address “the ways women interact with the financial system throughout their lifecycle.”

See below for a video with Women’s World Banking CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian as she talks about the organization to Bloomberg.

How are you helping those in your community with their finances? What are you offering to help the underbanked consumers in your region? Let us know by posting in the comments section below or tweeting @Bankingdotcom.

The Battle of Sexes: How it’s affecting financial literacy

Men and women stereotypically have a difference of opinion about many issues. Finances, as a recent MyBankTracker blog post highlights, is one of them. According to a PNC Financial Services Group survey, 49 percent of women, as opposed to 39 percent of men, say that the recession caused them to plan finances more carefully.

Not only does this chasm between opinions draw attention to the problems couples may be having financially, but also to the financial literacy of their children. As parents try to educate their own children, the impact of the recession and the differing views of parents can lead to misinformation and confusion. However, the PNC survey showed that 55 percent of men and 57 percent of women felt that the recession will change the way their children manage their finances, indicating a growing concern that the next generations “may have a tougher time making it financially.”

R. Bruce Bickel, senior vice president of PNC Wealth Management, notes that this can be solved by talking to children early and often about managing money. Bickel advises,

“Helping children create budgets and discussing the principles of earning, giving, saving and spending instills discipline early in life and they are more likely to carry these values forward,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much money a family has, this approach is indispensible and helps assure future success with finances.”

How are you educating your customers to prepare for the future? Are you implementing any programs for youth? Let us know in the comments below.

Women: Today’s Chief Household Financial Officers

Across the U.S., 95 percent of women are involved in a multitude of financial decisions in their households, from paying the bills and booking family vacations to filing taxes (according to a 2010 Prudential Financial study). Of these women, 25 percent act as the sole decision-makers when it comes to household finances, marking a growing opportunity for financial institutions to reach female customers.

These “Chief Household Officers” are tech-savvy and utilize the Internet for a wide range of activities, including using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends to managing the family finances online. In its third annual online management survey, Intuit Financial Services found that 61 percent of womenuse online banking to pay bills and transfer funds, and nearly one-third use it for budgeting purposes.

The survey underscores how women are at the forefront when adopting online solutions:

  • They rely on online banking tools offered from their financial institutions – more than one-half would leave their current bank or credit union for one that offers these tools.
  • They’re busy! More than one-quarter of women visit their bank or credit union branch only once a month and show a preference for managing accounts online.
  • Seventy percent find the most useful feature is the ability to see their complete financial picture, including all accounts, bills, 401K, brokerage, and more – all in one place.
  • Women want to track finances on-the-go. Nearly one-fourth of women already use or plan to use mobile banking in the next year.

 

Despite the adoption of online banking, Prudential’s Financial study found that 50 percent of women “need some help” making informed financial decisions. This leaves an opportunity for financial institutions to educate female customers and help them gain the knowledge they need to feel confident in making financial choices for their families.

Does your institution offer classes for women? Let us know how you’re reaching your female customers and members in the comments section below.