Canadians have lots of choices in selecting financial services, and most have relationships with several financial institutions. We were approached by a medium-sized financial company1 that had strong client relationships but a steadily declining customer base. They gave us two challenges – to develop a marketing strategy that retains and attracts customers, and to understand the existing customer base thoroughly to give the institution insights to develop and tweak the services they offer.
People are funny about financial issues – they don’t like to talk about money. We were able to have productive and informative conversations with each segment of customers, and to determine the key reasons they are loyal to the company. Our analysis of similar institutions, and research into the fundamental benefits of financial institution loyalty, gave us a clear picture of the competitive landscape. We also detected a fairly unique market niche that the company could build on.
Standing out in a crowded industry is difficult. We generated some initiatives that worked. We held customer-only events with industry leaders, we developed personalized service recommendations, we designed processes for customers to get comfortable with financial discussions. The company changed how they spoke to customers, and how they explained their services. Their new marketing strategy was more targeted, and more customer focused. They held unique events with financial experts, gave away excellent books on financial self-management, and set up question centres in their offices. Customers began referring friends and family members for specific services.
The company accepted that their no-marketing-budget methods of the past weren’t working. They had seen marketing as a big budget, big market activity that they couldn’t afford and didn’t need. Now, personalized marketing and carefully selected placements were working, and their customer savvy was leveraged for everything from product/service development to marketing messaging. Their customer base grew, and more of their customers stayed loyal, some of them increasing their “share of wallet” with the company.
Our background in financial services was helpful to us here – having worked with many small and medium sized financial institutions, investment companies and asset managers across Canada, we have seen the evolution in the entire landscape. A by-product of this work for us was that our knowledge in this industry was enhanced – a win-win!
Please note the Institution’s name is not revealed as our firm policy is to sign non-disclosure agreements and guarantee confidentiality with all of our clients.