What Money20/20 can teach you about a mobile strategy

By Danny Bradbury, on | Banking

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Money20/20 brings together financial technology experts who seek to promote cutting-edge tech solutions in areas ranging from payments to loans. One characteristic of the financial technology space is the use of partnerships in mobile strategy and building brand awareness with customers. What have companies been learning from Money20/20, and how can they apply this knowledge to their own sectors?

Andrew Zimakas, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at LoyaltyOne, will discuss how raising brand awareness involves basing your mobile strategy around the customer experience.

“Putting the customer at the center of their thinking and operational model will be critical,” he said in an interview with BrandChannel. It’s no coincidence that one of the sessions at this year’s conference, “Deep Insights From Adobe on Consumer Expectations and the State of Digital Banking,” focuses on how the financial industry must transform to avoid being marginalized by digital disruption.

A mobile strategy is a perfect gateway to improve the customer experience and bolster a company’s brand. Mobile payments are increasingly gaining traction, according to research from Deloitte, which pointed to a strong rise in NFC-enabled smartphones that can take advantage of the technology.

Financial technology startups offer an increasing range of services through mobile platforms and established financial services firms are interested in partnering with them to offer newer, more convenient services to their customers, such as quick credit scoring. Over on BetaKit, analysts at Citi talk about banking’s mobile strategy evolving with the “shift to mobile distribution being the main channel of interaction between customers and the bank.”

Many such deals are emerging, such as CIBC’s partnership with mobile payments processing firm Payfirma to let CIBC business banking clients take payments from mobile devices.

These mobile strategy partnerships can extend beyond the banking community into areas such as retail, where innovation in digital loyalty cards can create more brand traction for established firms. The use of mobile apps to pay for goods and services and to track loyalty apps is a useful way to engage the customer and improve convenience.

Companies can expand customer engagement from a purely mobile strategy to a more omnichannel experience, giving customers the ability to buy or browse in-store. PwC conceived of a world in which customers can switch from a tablet to a phone and retain information across multiple sessions and be able to access it in-store due to technologies such as QR code scanners. Expect to hear more about how mobile is helping retail evolve in sessions such as “Next Gen Retail & Commerce” and “Retailer Perspectives” at Money20/20.

Integrating mobile experiences through industry partnerships can also provide companies with a wealth of customer data from mobile and other interactions. Zimakas described the shift in emphasis to loyalty program-based data analytics as a key source of consumer insight.

Solid technical talent lies at the heart of this journey, which is why developers are becoming first-class citizens in the race to engage and inspire customers. The financial world is seeing a rise of digital labs, where financial services firms partner with startup incubators to fast-track mobile solutions. Hackathons, in which like-minded developers collaborate to solve common problems and potentially win funding or prizes, are an increasingly important part of this landscape. Visa will offer $125,000 in hackathon prizes for innovative teams interested in technologies ranging from the IoT to virtual and augmented reality at Money20/20.

Companies wanting to increase brand awareness can learn a lesson from the community gathering in Las Vegas: think laterally about ways to delight and excite customers, and then partner with companies that can open up new services that complement your own. With an increasing proportion of customers turning to mobile platforms for engagement, the opportunities are rich to capture market share — and just as importantly, customer mindshare.