Bolder Thinking Blog

Holistic Health: Finance companies offer new ways to stay fit

November 4th, 2019 | Comperemedia News

Health and fitness marketing appeals to consumers’ desire to apply wellness thinking to various facets of their lives. In the health and fitness industry, ‘health’ and ‘fitness’ are literal. In other industries, they can be metaphorical. Although rooted in fitness, health and wellness metaphors are ubiquitous and apply not only to consumers’ minds and bodies but also to the rest of their lives. 

In our holistic health research, we look at how this is happening in insurance, financial services, and telecom. These industries are using health-based themes in marketing, allowing consumers to track their progress, give personalized plans, and encourage them to be proactive.

In this part two of a three-part series, we take a look at the financial services industry. Finance companies have come around to the idea of speaking to financial wellness as well as health. One example affecting the entire industry is the availability of free FICO scores, which these companies use as a way to educate consumers, help them make informed choices, and develop brand loyalty. 

Tracking

Spend-tracking has become one of the most popular features offered by finance companies. By using merchant category codes, finance companies can easily group purchases into organized categories. The Apple Card, one of the hottest financial products of 2019, breaks spending down into color-coded categories, for instance.

As mentioned above, FICO scoring is another big topic in finance marketing. Discover still uses free FICO scoring in marketing, devoting around 2% of its digital ad budget to the feature. Although that pales in comparison to money spent on traditional products, like Discover’s credit cards, it’s still noteworthy that the company is putting money behind a product feature as opposed to the product itself.

Personalization

Finance companies are giving users customized feedback. For example, Customers have welcomed Bank of America‘s updated insights with open arms. The bank heavily invested in its digital assistant, Erica, both in marketing promotions and new features. In November 2018, the bank added the ability for Erica to create personalized feedback about customers’ financial health. The company sends regular email updates about Erica’s new functions, which go out to millions of the bank’s customers.

Credit Karma‘s television ads highlighted how users could get tips on improving their credit scores. The company’s app has also given users approval odds for credit cards, based on the user’s credit score.

Proactivity 

Companies are looking for opportunities to reward good behavior. In acquisition emails for its Platinum card, Capital One promotes that users who make their first five payments on time will receive a higher score. Discover promotes its cashback offer to students who get good grades within its emails. 

Fitness Bank promotes actual fitness as a means to better banking rewards. A member can link their account to a step-tracking app on their smartwatch or smartphone. Each member’s average number of monthly steps determines their savings account interest rate. For example, 10,000 steps net a 2.5% savings rate. The company’s name and fitness-focused rewards are key to its branding strategy.

What we think

Keeping consumers engaged in their personal finances is a matter of habit. No matter what kind of tracking programs, recommendations, or rewards financial service institutions (FSIs) offer, if they don’t fit easily into consumers’ existing lifestyles, they’ll end up feeling burdensome. In other words, consumers will quickly ditch the inconvenient.

FSIs that attach financial wellness tools to platforms consumers are already using are on the right track. This natural link between habits and product will drive adoption rates—and more importantly, loyalty.

Stay tuned for part three later this month!

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