I would like in this article to address three important consumer trends which are impacting all companies selling investment products and services:

Consumer trend 1: Experience vs ownership

Consumer trend 2: Mobile & ubiquity

Consumer trend 3: Non-linear customer journeys

Experience vs ownership

The new consumer generations are bringing a new trend in consumer needs, with a need to buy experiences vs owning something. A study from 2014 from Eventbrite and Harris  group showed that the younger generations do not feel the need to own things but prefer to spend their money on experiences. The platforms like Instagram, the constant connection with mobile phones, the messaging apps have created a need to be constantly connected with peers, but also to share visual experiences. These new platforms and the consequent behaviours like FOMO (fear of missing out) have created a need to constantly share content about experiences, that one is doing great things, showing beautiful pictures of what is happening in people’s life to get the reward of social media posts engagements and new “followers and friends”. This need of constant sharing and showing how great life is has fueled growth in travel, events, restaurants and bars, and all kind of visual experiences which can be shared. This creates an issue for investment products and services as the investment goes less into that area.

Mobile & ubiquity

I recall the times before 2007, when there was no real smartphones (apart the few clunky likes of Ericsson and Nokia). Life was easy for marketeers, there was the traditional offline marketing the BTL and ATL (below the line and above the line) tactics, and their was desktop and laptop computers. Facebook was just starting to get a bit of traction. The reachability via digital was quite simple, the number of platforms to put in your media plan limited and so the screen sizes to cover. The advertising world was partially driven by the GRP (gross rating point) and audiences were defined by representative panels.

With the arrival of smartphones and cheap bandwidth costs consumers have taken the habit to be “always on”. Also the multiplication of apps for all kind of purposes makes people to expect to be addressed by brands with the right message in the right context at the right moment.

Non linear customer journeys

Consumers used to have a quite standard, not too complex customer journey from awareness to buy. looking at today’s journey, scattered on multiple touch points, with a transparent market for the consumers on price, services, guarantees, discounts, reputation, the consumer has the hand over the supplier and the path to purchase has become much longer and much more complex to handle. As a service or product provider you are faced with multiple platforms and device to create content for and to get engaged with, creating complexity in delivering a consistent brand experience.

How to address the consumers trends?

A product and service itself, without a differentiated and seamless experience will not create the “wow” effect by the customer and not make him buy and recommend your product or service.   To deliver an experience, before, during and after the purchase you will need to go beyond the standards and deliver a personalised and contextual aware information or value add service at key stages of the journey. Young generations grew up with mobile, always on and personalised information, greate imagery and videos they will not go for anything less than that.

The brand (product & service) experience must be consistent on all platforms and devices, but also deliver the right information at the right time in the right context in the right format. Only then, again you will be able to surprise your customer and make a difference. Mobile has to be your first and last thought when you build your customer journeys.

With non linear customer journeys, comes the complexity to measure the efficiency of your digital tactics and to calculate your ROMI (return on marketing investment). You will need to cover more channels, on multiple platforms, while at the same time make sure you deliver the right content in the right format depending on which stage of the buying journey your prospect is.

Now what? how to address the challenges?

There will be a lot to say on marketing tactics, content, social media platforms, advertising, ton of voices, brand positioning and many more topics. We will leave these on the side for today.

To deliver on a promise, you will need a set of marketing technologies. You will need to collect data, a lot of data. You will need to be able to use it, interpret it and learn from the tools and the data to become more performant.  Here is a picture of what we think should be the complete picture of a marketing technology stack if you want to win in the marketplace:

We will address in further blog posts the different tools and solutions listed and what they will bring you to win in the marketplace. If you have further questions please contact us.