The global financial sector is potentially on the edge of another precipice, deep in the midst of uncertainty and turmoil.
So it’s fair to ask, has the steady economic growth over the last two years made in all the G7 economies been a good thing?
Well, yes growth is good, with GDP in the top 30 countries increasing, you might think; “great all is well in the world of business.”
However, as we all know from our own experiences, what comes after a sustained period of growth is often turmoil. But why?
Let’s take a step back and look at what happened previously.
Cast your minds back to the start of the millennium. Mobile phones were getting smaller, Google was getting bigger, but who would have dreamed it possible you could buy your favorite record or movie, have it sent instantly to the device you used to purchase it on, using no actual money, while sitting in a bus terminal in Hong Kong?
Since then social media has exploded too. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to name but a few have been invented and reinvented a million times, weaving their way into daily life around the world! Now we all take interacting online for granted.
So, all good right, with technology driving growth and the explosion of everything digital?
Just hold that thought for a minute. It’s not all good news. With the recent “correction” downward in the financial markets, this gives us food for thought. What factors are building this feeling of uncertainty and potential turmoil?
Let’s look at some reasons, and we can start to think about how these factors affect your companies’ growth and stability:
The Explosion In Fintech
What does that mean? Well, as outlined earlier, ten years ago the way we purchased financial services was a million miles from how we do it today. So, you’ve got to ask yourselves as business leaders what will happen in the coming ten years?
But here’s some thought provokers; Will we ever again interact face to face when purchasing financial services? Will our lives be so transparent to who we buy from that the need for choice disappears? i.e., They choose for us! Who wants that? Well as businesses we are becoming more aware that millennials are happy to self-serve and don’t always need that face to face experience to make a purchase.
Ok, let’s look at a really good thing – mobile apps. Who doesn’t love an app that saves them time? That’s easy to use? That makes them feel safe and in control? Hey, let something else do the work for me. Soon our robot dogs can take our actual dogs for a walk. Oh dear, I’ve I drifted into Big Brother mode.
In all seriousness, mobile apps have been a major benefit to all of us, and present an excellent opportunity for the Fintech sector to personalize marketing to the consumers too, nurturing growth.
Rising Consumer Debt Ratio
Problem or opportunity? Well on an ethical front you might think what a question to pose, but being pragmatic it’s a real issue, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
As a leader or digital marketer of a Fintech company, you have a view on this right? A strategy? Do you plan and forecast three months ahead? Six months ahead? Do you consider other business trends? Read articles like this? Or do you hold tight, waiting to see any fluctuations in the markets, any movement in interest rates and how other leading economies rate of inflation is doing against its forecast?
Look, I strongly believe in living in the moment as an individual, but as a strategy for your business in financial services, is that an adequate approach? We all need to consider and plan for our future financial wellbeing.
Ah yes! This world phenomenon is affecting all leading economies. Its been brought about because of the way we as individuals buy stuff. We browse online, we consider and purchase (and sometimes return items and complain) using new technology. Although we all love the flexibility this new technology has brought us, we are now rightly concerned with our online security and identity being shared without our permission. Worse, it being stolen and shared on the dark web.
So, GDPR (as an extension of DPA) means we have allowed companies to utilize our information far too freely, and they must now gain specific permission from us to allow them to share our details with other third parties. From May 2018 this will have a massive impact on digital trading as many organizations have utilized easy digital marketing – the sharing of lists, reselling of data, remarketing of audiences – and without permission, it has to stop.
So to the big question, is your company geared up to the changes GDPR will force you to make? Have you modeled for the consequence of a downturn in conversions? Are you confident your existing channels will continue to deliver growth post-May 2018?
There are many factors why several major UK retail giants have gone into administration in recent times. Weaker sterling, lower consumer confidence, higher rent, and rates. But one of the primary reasons has been the owner’s lack of ability to maximize their brand and goodwill by bringing the consumer a digital platform worthy of their once highly regarded status.
While many high street retailers have embraced eCommerce to sit side-by-side with their other very successful channels, Toys R Us and Maplin (two very recent administration cases) had minimal digital presence. For whatever reason, they just didn’t have the right channels of marketing in place to keep their business model growing by diversifying and keeping up with The Jones’.
The March Of AI
Sorry folks as we close one “Big Brother” loophole, another one looms large on the horizon. I recently saw a video that Samsung posted of 2 robot dogs working together to open a door using its handle!
Scary stuff, especially if you’ve seen the recent Black Mirror episode with Maxine Peak being hounded by deadly electronic dogs. Technological advancement is great, and I’m a big believer but what do we really know about AI and how it could “take over” the need for humans to do tasks, or even worse “think” for us!
That said, it’s not all shock and fear (or Charlie Brookers’ view of the near future as seen on Netflix). AI advancements will mean massive opportunities for tech-savvy businesses to market their company’s in, let’s call it, more “modern” ways.
I strongly believe that technological (especially Fintech) advancement will continue at a rapid pace and that we’re probably saving up enough credit and ultimately debt for another financial Armageddon to hit.
The major difference between now and 2009 is that back then the subprime bubble bursting is different to now. Why? Well, there are a number of factors that mean the climate is very different from the late 90s/early 00s. GDP growth is steady, and tax receipts are healthy; Individuals and businesses have greater equity. The risks of the banking crash forced all world economies to put measures and checks in place.
Whatever happens in the G30 countries with their financial health, the need to market your company’s products and services to a savvy but more skeptical audience will be the difference between success and failure.
So, one final question. What differentiates your company from all the rest in your competitive marketplace, and can you adapt and diversify as and when you have to?
MARKETING TRENDS IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
Martin has had an extensive career in the digital space linked into very different business sectors from outsourcing with Capita, where he was an integral member of the transition team managing the Carphone Warehouse account to develop and improve customer contact rates and conversions. As an example, he took part in designing and launching a new web chat team.