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Future of Financial Services - The Trends That Will Shape 2021 (and Beyond)

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Life under coronavirus has altered so many aspects of consumer behaviour over the last year and this looks set to continue into 2021. The key trends impacting the Financial Services industry, in particular, are something I shared and discussed with Datorama’s Jonathan Beeston and Direct Line’s Mark Evans on a recent webinar.

During the webinar, we presented details on five key trends, which included some key insights, takeaways for brands and an example of how this is already being implemented in the real world.

To give a brief overview of the trends:

  1. Latchkey Loyalty: Consumers are calling for more freedom to choose the brands they want to commit to, meaning flexibility and control are becoming key drivers of long-term loyalty (something seen in our recent ‘How to Win Trust and Loyalty’ report too)
  2. Presence-free Living: The need to be physically present to work, shop or play has been challenged by digital communication and accelerated by the pandemic – to the extent that people may never again offer their presence as freely as they once did (something seen in our most recent Customer Engagement research)
  3. Professionalised Budgeting: Consumers are embracing the opportunity to micro-manage their finances (even daily), supported by a host of services making is a less daunting and easier process
  4. Human Encounters: Despite the growth in digital communications, consumers want a human touch – whether online or off – putting brands under pressure to provide this at scale in an omni-channel world spanning sites, stores, smart speakers and a myriad of other new technologies (this includes the growth in consumers calling for compassion revealed in research conducted during the pandemic research)
  5. The Death of Risk: At a time when potential dangers are more visible than ever, consumers are hyper-vigilant, and brands must help to mitigate these risks where they can – even while leaving room for consumers’ pursuit of feelings of adventure and fun too

Whether the changes we’ve seen in the last year will ultimately stick, we’ll have to wait and see. One thing that will continue to be key for financial services brands is the ability to understand customers, being able to deliver data-driven customer experiences and being willing to adapt as the world around us continues to change. This is something Jonathan and Mark then went on to discuss in more detail too:

Mark Evans, Managing Director, Marketing & Digital at Direct Line Group said: “This session was a great reminder that this is the time for marketing to shine. In a rapidly changing world that is further disturbed by Covid, it has never been more important to bring the outside in and the future forward. The key challenge is to discern what changes are temporary and what are permanent. What is indisputable is that more consumers are now prepared to do more complex things digitally more of the time. Digital sophistication has rocketed and will be enduring, which forces all brands and companies to accelerate their digital transformation.”

Jonathan Beeston, Product Marketing Director at Salesforce Datorama continues: “These trends show how the last year has accelerated consumers to become ‘all digital’ customers. As digital customers move across online channels, apps and experiences, the journey blurs the lines between marketing, commerce and service. Marketers are right in the middle of this digital transformation. Agility is key to capitalise on new consumer behaviours and digital budget shifts. To be effective, marketers need to unify data from all their activities to deliver personalised customer experiences and to optimise every investment for budget efficiency and growth. Marketers equipped with the right tools for data analytics and measurement will be able to find success.”

Whether, ultimately, the trends that come to fruition over the next 12 months (and beyond) are the five I discuss here, nobody knows. The one certainty is that the world will continue to change, while in some ways it will stay remarkably unchanged. The trick is to be able to know where these shifts are happening and being able to meet your customers there.

To find out more about the trends and how brands like Direct Line are responding to these trends, you can find the full recording of the webinar on the Datorama website here:

Datorama: The Future of Financial Services – The Trends That Will Shape 2021 (and Beyond)

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