Bolder Thinking Blog

2019 Financial Services Marketing Trends: How’d We Do?

October 25th, 2019 | Lily Harder

One year ago, we unveiled our 2019 Financial Services Marketing trends based on industry observations, competitive marketing insights and consumer data. As we prepare for the launch of our 2020 Financial Services Trends, let’s take a look at the 2019 trends, and see where we got it right—or not.

  1. The ‘Platformification’ of Financial Services

This trend recognized that innovators in the financial services industry are moving toward a seamless, one-stop-shop approach to service and engagement through the use of digital platforms that bring products and services together in a unified experience.

How’d we do? We were spot on.

This trend prediction has not only been accurate in 2019, but it has evolved into one of convenience, consolidation and convergence that illustrates the appeal of all-in-one business models. Loyalty is up for grabs and traditional financial services providers are feeling the pinch of that more than ever. With the rise of neobanks and challenger brands cluttering the financial landscape, traditional FSIs are looking for ways to create a holistic banking experience that is more valuable than the sum of its parts.

The ‘Platformification of Financial Services’ trend predicted that consumer expectations for convenient and frictionless digital access would continue to grow and that financial brands would meet that demand with innovative product and service offerings. Technology is not the only disruptor. A customer-centric mindset in every transaction and touchpoint is changing the landscape and creating a simultaneous digital yet human approach. The ‘Platformification’ of Financial Services will continue to be a key contributor to brand loyalty in the coming years and it will challenge banks that are slow to adapt.

  1. Mind, Body, and Wallet

This trend is about financial marketers finding new and creative ways to tap into everyday emotions, connecting the dots between consumers’ mind, body, and wallet.

How’d we do?  We were spot on.

The Mind, Body, and Wallet trend has evolved the most in the area of personal financial management (PFM). As predicted, consumers today are constantly striving to improve their overall health and sense of well-being. At the same time, financial services providers are taking advantage of the deep-rooted connections between financial health, mental health and physical health. As mobile technology and AI continue to improve, financial brands have found new and creative ways to tap into everyday emotions, connecting the dots between consumers’ mind, body, and wallet.

While Traditional FSIs are focused on deepening customer relationships and growing product reach, digital-first PFM brands are carving out their own paths to success with brand identities that tap into consumer emotions and differentiate themselves from the status quo. They are connecting consumers actions, from where they shop to how often they log in to the app with financial nudges and micro-transactions.

Over the next few years we can expect to see innovative financial solutions that take into account our everyday emotions around money, as well as our everyday behaviors. We will see the concept of gamification continue to mature as a way to connect the dots between consumer actions and how that can translate into more savings and improved spending habits.

  1. The New Reality of Rising Rates

This trend assumed that we would continue to see interest rates increase and that, as a result, the consumer mindset around debt would shift and financial services marketers would adjust their strategies to incorporate new value propositions, updated messaging, and adjusted targeting efforts.

How’d we do?  We were half right.

While we were certainly in a rising rate environment during the last half of 2018, that particular trend did not continue into 2019. Instead, there have been multiple rate reductions throughout the year, and there is talk of another rate drop in the next few weeks.

However, what we got right was the expectation that consumer attitudes around debt and credit-based financial products would shift, which it continues to do, and that the marketing landscape would see a rise in savings account marketing and a focus on APYs that are still at levels above the national average. The savings rates wars continue to carry on, but now marketers are also challenged with communicating rate decreases to savings account customers.

The rate reductions may have softened the excitement around high-yield savings accounts, but it is fueling a new level of excitement in the personal loan and secured loan space.

  1. B2B Above and Beyond

In this trend, we predicted that financial services providers would step up their product and service offerings for small and micro-businesses, representing a shifting mindset toward innovation in the B2B relationship.

How’d we do? We were spot on.

The needs of small businesses are becoming more complicated and the rise in consumer expectations is spilling over into increased expectations of small business owners. Additionally, the rise of the Gig Economy is creating another segment of financial customers that behave as both consumers and small business owners and require their own set of financial products and services to solve some very real pain points in the Gig Economy experience.

We are seeing more brands offering unique solutions such as PNC’s newest app, Indi, “a smart banking for independent workers with a single FDIC-insured account.” Retail banks are also finding creative ways to rethink the bank branch as a place of engagement for small business customers, even dedicating some real estate for customers looking for unique co-working space.

What’s next?

As we look ahead, we’re already excited and talking about key trends that will drive the industry next year. Stay tuned for the release of the 2020 Financial Services Marketing Trends, coming soon!

Keep an eye out for our 2020 Financial Services Trends launching next month!

Lily Harder

Lily Harder

Lily Harder is Vice President of Research at Comperemedia. She specializes in financial services, researching industry trends and competitive intelligence insights.