Customer Engagement

The State of Customer Engagement for Financial Services Brands in 2022

Mary Kearl By Mary Kearl Mar 17, 2022

Customer engagement is critical to the success of traditional banks and financial services brands as well as FinServ startups and digital natives. But getting customer engagement right in this challenging, fast-moving business environment means understanding what it takes to deliver top customer engagement outcomes within the financial services industry.

To dig into this key topic, we commissioned a market research study of 1,500 marketing executives at the VP level or higher from across 14 global markets, all of them representing B2C companies with $10 million or more in annual revenue. We also analyzed data from over 5.4 billion global users from the Braze customer engagement platform, which powers experiences between consumers and 1,000+ brands across 50+ countries, and conducted in-depth 1:1 interviews with top brands to learn more about their customer engagement efforts. The findings from this research are available in our 2022 Global Customer Engagement Review (CER), including key learnings about the state of customer engagement across both a range of regions of the world and of top industries.

Here's what you need to know about the state of customer engagement for financial services brands in 2022, according to this year’s CER.

How Financial Services Brands Rank on the Braze Customer Engagement Index

Last year, we introduced The Braze Customer Engagement Index as a shared framework that brands across industries and regions can use to measure customer engagement success and maturity and compare their performance to businesses all over the world. As part of our 2022 global customer engagement analysis, we looked into where financial service providers fall on this scale.

  • Activate (beginner): Organizations just getting started with their customer engagement efforts

  • Accelerate (intermediate): Organizations that have progressed their customer engagement strategies through effective internal collaboration, marketing experimentation, and utilizing data-driven strategies

  • Ace (advanced): Organizations that outpace the competition by taking advantage of streaming data to enable their customer lifecycle engagement campaigns, among other steps

Based on our findings, the majority of FinServ brands (53%) fall within the intermediate Accelerate cohort, while nearly a third (29%) are just getting started. With less than 20% achieving the highest levels of customer engagement performance, the majority of companies in this vertical have an opportunity to uplevel their marketing programs and see stronger customer relationships and business results in the future.

What Sets Top-Performing Financial Services Brands Apart

To understand what Ace FinServ brands are getting right, we analyzed their performance to uncover the following top factors they have in common that help them achieve success in the industry.

#1: Teamwork

For one thing, Ace FinServ brands are more notably likely to measure the customer engagement performance of their activities, making it possible for them to assess the success of their programs and make changes going forward. In addition, these brands are more likely to experiment with their campaigns and customer journeys to drive improved outcomes, and to train their employees on customer engagement technologies and approaches. These differentiators give these brands more opportunities to understand what’s possible when it comes to their customer engagement program and to take steps to improve them over time, potentially leading to stronger performance.

#2: Technology

While there are many tools and tactics that brands can use to understand, reach, and engage their customers via digital experiences, our analysis found three specific ones that Ace financial services brands were significantly more likely to use than their non-Ace counterparts:

  • Real-time personalization: By embracing the power of streaming data to support in-the-moment customization of messaging experiences for consumers, these brands are reducing the risk that users get out of date campaigns and giving themselves a better opportunity to drive real value with their messages.

  • Automated campaign optimization technologies: By taking advantage of marketing automation, these brands are giving themselves the ability to auto-optimize the impact of the messages they send, increasing performance in smart, scalable ways.

  • In-app messaging as a customer engagement channel: This often underappreciated channel is a powerhouse when it comes to reaching engaged, active customers and providing persuasive in-product experiences, allowing these brands to more effectively nudge their users to take key actions.

#3: Results

Our research found that the strategies and tools embraced by Ace FinServ brands are having a notable positive impact on engagement and retention. In fact, we found that these companies are significantly more likely to achieve key outcomes, including increased engagement (as measured by sessions per user) and retention (as measured by average user lifetime). Holding onto customers for more than a third longer is a major win for these brands and represents a big competitive advantage, compared to brands who haven’t reached this stage of customer engagement maturity.

Top Customer Engagement Opportunities for Financial Services Brands

Based on our research, we identified two important areas of focus for improvement for organizations within this industry.

#1: Achieving data agility

This is a greater challenge for traditional banks and financial services organizations that may have a wide variety of divisions and a number of different digital websites, apps, and platforms for each of these services. Today’s consumers expect cohesive, data-driven experiences across all the touchpoints that they engage with, and that sort of outcome requires brands to invest in a technology stack that’s built on streaming data and capable of sharing and syncing information across different technologies.

#2: Optimizing the customer experience using data

This one is an opportunity for so-called challenger brands; that is, digital-first companies that have intuitive and easy-to-use experiences but lack the longevity and loyalty of larger, more traditional institutions. Here the task is to help potential customers see the value of doing business together by leveraging the data at their disposal to provide impactful, relevant experiences. Challenger brands in the FinServ space have the chance to use experimentation and personalization to boost their messaging relevance and boost performance, giving them a leg up in this challenging environment.

Dive Deeper Into the State of Customer Engagement for Financial Services Brands

Hungry for more information on customer engagement and the FinServ space? The full 2022 Global Customer Engagement Review is packed with insights about what's driving success across key industries and regions and includes powerful brand case studies that offer exclusive learnings on the exact steps teams are taking to deliver crucial outcomes.

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip

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