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Digital Platforms that BFSI Companies would need to explore and embrace in 2013

Preamble: This white paper aims at throwing light on some
Digital Trends and Platforms that would gain prominence in 2013 and how CMO’s
of BFSI Companies would need to not just keep a close watch on, but also
explore and embrace if they want their brand to shine bright in 2013 in the
digital space. At this time of the year a lot of people are busy making New
Year resolutions that they will forget in the first week of January or even
earlier, however what a CMO of a BFSI company cannot afford to forget is the

Preamble: This white paper aims at throwing light on some
Digital Trends and Platforms that would gain prominence in 2013 and how CMO’s
of BFSI Companies would need to not just keep a close watch on, but also
explore and embrace if they want their brand to shine bright in 2013 in the
digital space. At this time of the year a lot of people are busy making New
Year resolutions that they will forget in the first week of January or even
earlier, however what a CMO of a BFSI company cannot afford to forget is the
trends that would dominate Digital Marketing in the BFSI Space in 2013. 

Below stated are 8 top digital trends that would be
beneficial for BFSI Companies to explore and embrace. 

To make things simple I am going to give an example of how
each trend can be used. The industry I have selected for illustrating the power
of each of the below trends is the Life Insurance Industry; the examples
however can beautifully cross-pollinate across the entire BFSI Sector. 

Trend 1 – Companies would officially seek User Generated
Content
 

2011 – 2012 was about UGC, but 2013 will be about companies
officially seeking UGC. Companies would want users to write their experiences
with the brand, make videos of user experience and upload, write product
reviews, etc. Companies would begin selling to customers basis what other have
said and not what they want to say. 

Brands would realize that people believe and relate to what
other users have to say. This, however, would not follow a pure testimonial
route but have a broader angle such as customer spending a day in their office,
customer visit to their factory / workshop, showcasing a TVC made by a
customer, etc. 

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective – A
Life Insurance industry could make a parent upload a video on their YouTube
Channel or even TV of how the child plan they bought has helped them fund their
child’s education. A man who has bought a retirement plan could write an
article of how he now feels that his future is secured financially and how he
worries less about things now and the company could get this article published
in the relevant magazines. 

Trend 2 – Mobile would finally arrive 

We have all heard, read and even experienced the power of
the Mobile since years but somehow the same is yet to be explored in a big way
by the BFSI Companies. BFSI companies are using mobile to send SMS Updates on
banking transaction, SIP Reminders, Premium notices, etc.

How about the company thinking beyond and exploring
platforms such as Affle, WAP Sites, m-coupon and becoming a part of a big
platform such as Vodafone Live. Mobile payment platforms are seeing a huge growth and this
only makes it even more important to be there before someone else does, and Yes
go beyond the SMS updates.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective – A
Life Insurance company could tie up with Vodafone and be present on the
Vodafone Live store. There are millions of virtual foot falls everyday and
using parameters such as ARPU; Average Revenue per user, Handset ownership, location,
etc – A really good campaign can be run to engage and sell an offering such as
a term plan.

Trend 3 – Location targeting is the new you

In the good old times having the maximum branches was a good
barometer of knowing how big a Bank was and the footfalls determined success.
The interesting part is have BFSI Brands thought of those customers who just
walk past their branch / location without noticing

Location based targeting can be used to send marketing
messages / promotional offers, etc to those in close proximity of your branch
or walking outside your branch. This can be done using location based targeting
tools; available dime a dozen, blue-casting outside your branch, etc.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective – A
Life Insurance company can send a message to all those who pass their branch
using a blue-casting devise and offer a free 15 min talk on Retirement
Planning, this would get the foot-falls and then business could follow.

Trend 4 – One site (size) fits all

A lot of brands in the BFSI Space are happy that they have a
mobile site but what they need to realize is that they have built a new site
for the mobile devices. They thus have two sites now to manage, maintain, check
and pay for.

2013 would see HTML5 becoming the Hero. This platform allows
a client to build a single site in HTML5 which is compatible across all desktop
screens, laptop screens, mobile screens and tablet screens. Also while Flash
does not work on all Apple devices, HTML5 works perfectly. Get Wise and re-do
your site all over again in HTML5 and have a single site rather than a
different one for laptop, mobile and tablet. Save Cost, Save Effort!

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective –
If a Life Insurance company has an HTML5 enabled site then the user gets a
seamless experience across all his / her access devices. The company would not
face a situation where a user users the flash calculator on his laptop but
cannot from his iPad.

Trend 5 – Online Reputation Management

As brands get social just like people did in the last 2 to 3
years they have to ready to listen to people. Gone are the days of a one way
conversation, the time has now come to have a direct dialogue face-to-face,
well quite literally in the virtual world.

There are millions of people, tons of blogs, thousands of
critics, etc who are writing about your brand. They could write something which
is positive, neutral or negative. BFSI Brands need to keep their ears open
online and listen to every smallest mention. Not just listen but say thank you
to those who write positive and help turn negative comments into praise by
reaching out to the users and solving his / her problem. ORM also allows you to
know new avenues to participate in discussion and forums and play the lead role.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective – A
Life Insurance company doing ORM and listening to customers would be able to
garner vital information such as; what do customers think of their latest
product, is their customer service up to the mark, are there any fake profiles
out there trying to sabotage the brand, etc. They might also discover an
education led community with 2 lakh users and could indulge in a meaningful
dialogue with the entire community and add value by talking about their child
insurance plans.

Trend 6 – Stop Aping start Apping

The Mobile revolution and now the tablet revolution is by no
means a small feat. BFSI Companies need to roll out Apps to stay ahead of the
curve. However do not ape what your site offers in an App, think of something
meaningful and think of a concept that fits with your brand and the brand DNA.

Remember there are millions of Free Apps offering exactly
what you are planning to build so ask yourself – Why would a customer download
this App, what is in it for him. Don’t ask what is in it for you. Do not overdo
the branding quotient.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective – A
Life Insurance company could make an exercise app and brand it. After all
fitness is all about a long life and long life would mean more expenses and
thus fits in well with the concept of a Healthy Retired Life, this is a better
app than making an app that calculates the premium to be paid for a retirement
plan.

Trend 7 – Social Commerce

E-Commerce would continue but social commerce is what you
need to watch out for. Try and find ways and means of fitting in your online
product range into the scheme of things you do on your social media pages.

It is easier to sell using social commerce because for every
one user who likes your product and has bought it, you can use him / her to
help you reach to those 400 people on his / her Facebook profile.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective –
The FB company page can have a special tab called Protection / Security. This
page could have videos, blog content, etc to engage a user with the concept of
security. The page could also subtly be a push to buy an online term plan.

Trends 8 – Concepts sell in Social Media not products

Do not confuse social media to be the boring press ad or the
ignored outdoor hoarding screaming for attention. People wish to engage on a
social media platform and this engagement comes not with your product but your
product category and your brand. Sell the concept of a comfortable retirement
and how it can be enjoyed not a retirement plan on your social platform.

Illustration from a Life Insurance companies perspective –
Create a platform for people to connect and know how they can enjoy their
Retirement, get existed retired people to upload videos of what they do in all
the spare time and then subtly brand it with your retirement plan.

About the Author: Paurush Sonkar is a Digital Evangelist for
the BFSI space with over 9 years of experience across all facets of Digital
Marketing. His digital knowledge and domain understanding of the entire BFSI
Sector (Life & General Insurance, Mutual Funds & Broking) is
impeccable. He is empanelled with AFAQ’s Campus an initiative by AFAQ’s as a
trainer on Digital Marketing and regularly teaches and preaches Digital
Marketing at B-Schools. He regularly writes white papers on varied aspects of
Digital Marketing keeping the BFSI Sector in mind. He is a strong believer in
the fact that BFSI Sector can scale new heights if they embrace Digital
Marketing. He can be reached at paurush.sonkar@gmail.com.

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