Jeannette Ornelas
Jeannette Ornelas is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst for Mintel. Jeannette is responsible for producing syndicated and custom reports and providing marketing insights across a range of industry sectors and channels.

In today’s digital age, marketers live in a bit of dichotomy; it’s never been easier to reach customers, yet it’s never been harder to get them to care. Buzzwords such as authenticity, personalization, attribution, omnichannel, and AI, keep marketers up at night.

Last week, I joined 17,000 digital marketers, creative leaders, data analysts, technologists and many more at Adobe Summit 2019 in Las Vegas. One of the key trends that emerged from the show was customer experience through digital transformation. Here, I’m sharing three takeaways and detailing how industries are catering to consumers through digital:

Retention is the new growth

Innovative marketers are moving away from using paid media advertising primarily as an acquisition strategy and leveraging it as a retention strategy.

Mintel Comperemedia strategic partner Pathmatics led a session on the “Rise of the D2C Brands” and spoke about the shift in media spending they’re seeing in the direct-to-consumer space as brands prioritize digital channels, particularly social media.

Best Buy is a prime example of a retailer that has transformed its business to compete in the age of Amazon. According to Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, they don’t see themselves as a brick-and-mortar retailer. Rather they want to enrich lives with technology as opposed to being seen as a business that sells products or makes transactions.

The customer journey is not linear

The path to financial wellness is not linear and neither is the customer journey. Success for financial service providers means having real conversations about the financial challenges consumers face and how they’re positioned to help consumers address these challenges. SunTrust and Black Rock were two shining examples.

Susan Sommersille Johnson, CMO of SunTrust, spoke about Sun Trust’s commitment to financial confidence and the success of their #onUP initiative, a movement to encourage people to gain control over their finances. It launched in February 2016, with over four million people now participating.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, discussed Microsoft’s partnership with investment management corporation BlackRock to reimagine retirement planning. Bringing together BlackRock’s investment capabilities and Microsoft’s technology strength, the two companies are exploring next generation solutions to help more people make better decisions as they work toward their financial goals in retirement.

Relevance is the name of the game

We’re in a state of digital disruption, with tech giants shaking up entire industries. To remain relevant, brands must have a foundation in place that allows them to readily adapt and innovate. Financial Services is no exception and brands are embracing positioning statements that reflect a new age:

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is building a relationship-oriented bank for the modern world.
  • Mastercard sees itself as a technology company in the payments industry.
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) doesn’t sell products, they sell experiences.

What we think

Digital transformation doesn’t come without a foundational change; the most disruptive brands established operating models that support a relentless focus on the customer. While tech giants and fintechs are disrupting the hold traditional banks have had on the financial services industry, the greatest threat is an inability to appeal to a new generation of consumers.

Over one-third of Gen Zs and Millennials pay more attention to ads they see on social media than elsewhere online, according to Mintel research on digital advertising. Brands that leverage social media to reach, educate, and empower consumers are better positioned to win young people’s trust and confidence and gain loyal life-long customers.

For digital marketers, taking a social-first approach maximizes reach by building experiences and creating content that provides value and elicits action from consumers. Simply investing in a channel does not guarantee engagement. Authenticity comes with an understanding of who the target audience is and how you’re positioned to meet their specific needs. Brands must be intentional and targeted to achieve meaningful one-to-one interactions at every phase of the customer journey.