SYDNEY: Marketers working on finance and banking brands have been shown to be out of step with the public perception of gender in finance, amid a wider lack of trust and representation from the sector’s marketing, a new study finds.

Yell Creative, a Sydney-based financial services specialist agency, worked with Ipsos to survey 1,500 customers and over 250 senior marketers involved in the Australian finance space. The research revealed the areas in which financial services brands need to do more to reflect their consumers, Mumbrella reported.

Key findings:

  • Trust:
    78% of consumers said they trusted both genders equally as financial services professionals; 12% said they trusted males more, and 10% said they trusted females. In contrast, just 58% of marketers said both genders were equally trusted; 25% said males and 21% said females were the most trusted.
  • Capability:
    In terms of capability, 82% of the public believed men and women were equally capable of delivering outcomes; 10% said males and 8% said females. Marketers, however, thought there was a greater divide, with 59% saying both genders were equally capable, and over a third (37%) saying men were perceived as more capable; just 3% said women.

  • Representation in marketing:
    28% of the public said that financial services marketing does not represent them at all. Just 10.5% felt represented to a large extent. Most, 59.6%, felt represented to some extent.

  • Understanding needs:
    Just 2% of customers believe that financial services brands completely understand their needs. In contrast, 18% of marketers say they are “completely custome-centric”.
Consumers, it appears, do not see the same gender divide that marketers do. This suggests that Australian marketers have space to adapt their thinking and aim to reflect a more mixed and more equal environment. Already, marketing respondents reflected that shift: two thirds of the marketers surveyed reported that their organisation’s top marketer was a woman.

Nigel Roberts, CEO of Yell, said “This year’s results showed an acceleration in the gradual erosion of consumer trust that’s still not being recognised by the industry as a whole”. He noted that the continued scandals in Australian banking and revelations from the Royal Commission.

“The question is whether there will be a significant commercial impact as new entrants emerge that don’t carry the stigma of some of the established players”, he added.

“The challenge or all of financial services and especially the banking sector is to halt the slide in trust, or face real consequences,” he said.

“This can be achieved, but will involve much greater empathy and delivering solutions that truly meet customer needs, rather than meeting sales targets. The shift away from pushing product requires more than just having a view on the vast quantities of data being collected, it needs a human-centred approach as well.”

Sourced from Mumbrella, The Guardian; additional content by WARC staff