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Opti-Channel and the Future of Banking: Interview with Susan Wolfe of Mintel

August 25, 2016|0 min read
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We interviewed Susan Wolfe, VP of Compare Media at Mintel about how banks and credit unions can optimize each channel to best serve the end user.

What do you think is the biggest thing that financial institutions should be doing when it comes to marketing, that they're typically not doing? 

We need to keep in mind that it's not all about digital. All of the channels are important in terms of identifying where your customer is going to be and when they want to hear the message. And we've certainly seen some large brands, though they're investing heavily in digital, they haven't forgotten about the traditional. And one of the things that we hear from marketers that just because a new channel comes into play doesn't mean that they get a bigger budget. So marketers today need to keep in mind how they're going to use those channels more effectively than ever. 

Interesting. So what's an example of somebody that you know of who has done this well? 

Certainly the large brands have done it well because they have the marketing power behind them. They've got the dollars and they have the research and they can maybe afford to experiment and fail more than a smaller bank. But someone who is really interesting right now is SoFi, Social Finance. We've heard a lot about this type of marketing from some of the speakers here today, where they have a smaller marketing budget and so they really have to be creative and think outside the box. And one of the things that they're doing a great job of is really delighting their customers and using their customers to spread that message. And they're doing a lot of that on social media. 

Yeah, I have seen some of their tweets and they do seem effective. So what do you think about bank and fintech partnerships? Some banks are a little wary of fintech. Others are less so. What's your opinion on that? 

I think we're in a place where they have to partner, but it is trick for them because in a lot of respects they're competitors. So it becomes an issue of how do we partner in a way that is beneficial for both sides, and isn't cannibalizing what they're each doing. 

What do you think are the biggest obstacles getting in the way of this. I mean people throw around the term omni-channel, and that's kind of what you're referring to. It's not just digital, it's all of the channels, right? What are the obstacles that get in the way from executing on that strategy? 

Well I really like the term that we've heard here, this idea of opti-channel. So it's not being everywhere at once with the same exact message. It's optimizing those channels to determine where and when you have to be. But that involves some technology that's needed to be able to follow your consumer across those devices. 

But it's kind of about prioritizing based on where they are right? So we might put emphasis on a mobile app for perhaps a younger person, who knows. But that's the kind of thing you're talking about where you're optimizing all of the channels depending on where they are? 

Where they are, and also where they've come from. So I think we've all had the experience where we're on a mobile site and we're getting the same ad pop up every time we tap to go some place else. I've seen this already, I don't need to see it again. So as great as the technology is, I think everyone could utilize it a little bit better and recognize we're already seeing this, or we've shown this to this person. But also recognizing when they move from the mobile device to their computer, not doing it again. 

Interesting. So tell us a little about Mintel. 

Sure, so we're a market intelligence agency. And we work with financial institutions as well as a lot of other types of firms including CPG. We do primary research for consumers. We track direct marketing across all channels. And we also do trends and custom research for our clients. 

Great. What's an example of somebody who has been a client who has done something that you would like to share? 

In terms of marketing? That's a tough question. Since I referenced a smaller bank earlier I'll talk about one of the bigger banks now. So Chase is doing a really great job in the digital world. And they have really moved to the digital space. But more importantly the mobile space first. So they redesigned their site, but looked at the mobile site before they redesigned the online site. And they're really bringing all of their resources and assets under one umbrella and they've been doing a great job of it. 

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