Financial marketing falls short

26 July 2011

NEW YORK: Many banking brands operating in the US and UK are failing to produce marketing that engages and convinces consumers, a report has found.

Pitney Bowes Business Insight, the research group, partnered with the ESCP Europe Business School to survey 1,000 people in both countries.

The results revealed a 57% majority of interviewees trusted their bank.

However, only 49% of the sample displayed an equivalent degree of confidence in the marketing communications from the financial services providers with which they held an account.

The study also estimated the marketing activity of brands in this sector determined up to 23% of consumers' trust levels.

"Of the categories for improving customer trust, respondents recommended that improved customer communications would have the greatest impact," said the report.

"Specifically, consumers cited that better quality, clarity, transparency, and advanced information specific to their accounts would be most helpful in communications from their bank."

Elsewhere, a modest 32% of participants agreed their bank was doing a "good job" when it came to pursuing policies and practices favouring the best interests of the customer.

Similarly, just 41% of those polled believed they would receive a "caring" response upon sharing details of personal financial problems with bank staff.

More positively, 53% proved "satisfied" with the broader standing of their bank, as demonstrated by word-of-mouth, advocacy and its perceived overall reputation.

Trust ratings reached a peak of 64% when discussing self-service technologies such as ATMs, ecommerce platforms and online accounts, an area which is witnessing rapid innovation.

"The customer experience must consistently be the top priority," David Newberry, chief marketing officer, Pitney Bowes Business Insight, said.

"This study reveals the importance of building relationships with customers and how trust in an organisation's communications and frontline employees play a significant role."

"The financial services industry can improve their relationships with customers by ensuring that every customer touch point is accurate and relevant to the needs of each individual."

Data sourced from Pitney Bowes Business Insight; additional content by Warc staff