Get Personal with Embrace, IBM and Opinium

October 27, 2015

By Consulting Group

On Friday 23rd October 2015, in collaboration with IBM and Opinium, communications agency Embrace hosted Get Personal, an event focused on the changing role of marketing in financial services. As a keynote speaker, Stuart Millson of Black Swan Partners presented on the issue of personalised communications versus personal recommendations in financial correspondence. Other presentations included the background to the user journey, the evolving digital landscape and how website personalisation can be implemented across websites.


How has the customer journey changed?

As demonstrated by Laura Creamer of IBM, technological advancements have changed the way users interact with brands; online traffic and sales have increased, as has social engagement. The once-linear user story has taken a plot twist and mobiles have become the primary source for internet usage with 50-80% of the transaction process completed before speaking to the buyer. However there is a customer divide; 81% of companies say they have a holistic view of their customers whereas only 37% of consumers say their favorite vendor understands them. In order to fully understand their customers, firms need to compile individual data from all silos (email, social media, website clicks, purchase history) and build better customer profiles to which they can then cater. Paul Wreford-Brown of Embrace emphasised this, stating that it was imperative to give each visitor the most relevant, targeted experience possible. Rules based personalisation, which automatically adjusts a sites content based on the behaviour of a user, is just one of a number of ways to customise content.

How important is social media?

In addition to personalised content, marketing specialist Simon Ryan emphasised the importance of social media due to its ingrained nature in society; 54% of adults check social media before they go to sleep and 38% as soon as the wake up. The social media audience is already active online and waiting for insightful and timely content. The more timely you are to offer an opinion, the more you can command influence.

Although the financial services industry was initially slow to make use of social media, in 2014 88% of advisers used social media as an individual or for business with half using it for sourcing industry and general news. Simon touched upon a number of social media success stories including Neil Woodford who accumulated 17,000 followers in one year and M&G Bond Vigilantes who produce consistently high quality blog content.

But what about compliance?

The fear of non-compliance is often used in financial services to explain why innovations which are commonplace in other industries are not used in the sector. Stuart Millson outlined the golden rule for financial service marketers wishing to personalise their content to current and potential clients without giving a personal recommendation – do not mention a specific fund or other single investment product. If adhering to that, personalised communication can be used on websites, in email, tweets or posts or adverts on LinkedIn or Facebook. In addition, firms can also integrate social functionality into their own websites or apps to facilitate recommendations between customers. The FCA doesn’t want to regulate conversations between friends in the pub, and the same goes for conversations between friends online.

GEt Personal Stuart

A big thanks to Embrace, IBM and Opinium for an excellent event full of insightful and thought-provoking content!