On Monday, when the Golden State Warriors ended the NBA season with a final win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the marketing world was abuzz with another milestone: The series averaged 20.4 million viewers on ABC, making it the most-watched NBA Finals in 19 years. For the companies that purchased TV spots (at a cost upwards of nearly half a million dollars per 30-second commercial, as of 2015), including official NBA sponsor State Farm, this would be considered a win.
But, as we all know, watching an ad on TV is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the actual consumer experience. In financial services, much of how a consumer engages with the brand actually happens at the local level. Ultimately, business – the purchase of an insurance product, or the start of a wealth management relationship – happens with the agent or advisor down the street.
And consumers are no longer just learning about a brand through ads; they’re researching online, asking their trusted networks (often through digital channels), and expecting to connect when, where and how they want.
At our recent Hearsay Summit, where more than 110 industry leaders gathered to share their challenges and successes, a key theme was the new customer experience and how firms are re-imagining their businesses to stay relevant in this new buyer’s journey. All agreed that the corporate brand experience – national TV ads, the corporate website, corporate social media accounts, etcetera – must be seamless with the local experience – the local advisor’s website, the local advisor’s social media accounts, 1-to-1 email content, and so on.
In his keynote, Matt Dunn, head of digital strategy at Morgan Stanley, asserted that the winning strategy for wealth managers to retain clients and grow AUM is “combining the best of digital and the best of human capital.” He shared how his organization is developing an artificial intelligence-powered “digital toolkit” for its 16,000 financial advisors, empowering them to connect authentically with clients across multiple digital channels – at scale. He stressed the use of predictive analytics, harnessing data to create digital communication touchpoints that enable advisors to engage with their entire book of business.
On the insurance side, New York Life’s Justina Cho, head of digital marketing and platforms, discussed how – faced with the reality that its agents are steeped in legacy systems and processes – New York Life is making huge investments in the Agent of the Future. The company, which has enabled its agents to grow their presence on social media for the past four years, is now developing a 360-degree agent platform that connects their presence and activities on social with web and email, fully integrated with CRM.
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