[Banking Strategies 2021] Acquisition and Product Adoption in the Contactless World


Touseef Alvi

Head of Marketing & Growth

NorthLoop (nolo bank)

Kamalesh Jayaraman

Director of Product

Capital One

Bill Gerber

Head of Global Enterprise Practice


Matias Honorato

Sr. Growth Manager


Key Takeaways

Meet customers wherever they are

Businesses need to evolve and meet customers where they are, and today a majority of customers are on the mobile platform. Plan your digital transformation journey with mobile at the forefront.

Leverage technology to delight consumers

Use the technology available today to learn about your customer and then create personalized services and messages. This involves using technology like analytics and AI.

Align with consumer needs

Ensure your product is relevant to your business proposition and to the customer's needs.

Technology has changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Brands are able to expand their audience to literally encompass the globe while also serving their customers faster and more efficiently.

Technology has also driven contactless transactions. Most interactions today between a business and its customer happen digitally, with zero contact. This shift towards contactless interactions between a brand and its customer requires a shift in customer acquisition and product adoption strategies.

Businesses need to plan this shift faster than was anticipated because a change that was being driven by technology has suddenly been propelled by the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Even traditional businesses like brick-and-mortar banks suddenly find the need for a digital bridge between them and their customers. More importantly, businesses are looking for better ways to retain customers and acquire new ones as they head towards digital transformation.

Tauseef Alvi, Head of Marketing & Growth at North Loop, Kamalesh Jayaraman, Director of Product at Capital One, Bill Gerber, Head of Global Enterprise Practice at Adjust, and Matias Honorato, Senior Growth Manager at Tally joined our VP of North America region, Ehren Maedge to discuss how their financial institutions are driving customer acquisition, retention, and product adoption both in the context of Covid-19 and also as they progress in their digital journey.

Why Mobile First is Important (Now More Than Ever)

Bill Gerber presented an interesting fact during the discussion. His clients in the Fintech space were experiencing close to a 59% increase in mobile application sessions and an average session duration of 8 minutes (also increased) since the pandemic.

The fact that the modern consumer spends more time on mobile devices than any other was already quite evident. But this just goes to show that consumers are not only on mobile devices for entertainment but also to run day-to-day errands like banking and shopping, now more so since the pandemic.

Businesses need to shift their marketing and service strategies to bring mobile to the forefront. Their methods for data collection, the type of data being collected, the user journey, the engagement funnel, everything needs to be redefined to mobile-first.

It’s obvious that this is the need of the hour because, although Covid-19 might have forced businesses and users to shift to mobile, it is quickly becoming the new norm and will stay well past the pandemic.

Here are some important points from the discussion, giving you insights into how businesses, specifically in the finance space, are maximizing acquisition and product adoption by thinking mobile-first.

Rethinking Digital Transformation & Its Implementation

Every business has some form of a digital presence, and most are continually moving towards digital transformation. It’s important to take a step back and analyze if your movement towards digitization is in the right direction and is conducive to customer acquisition and retention. Here are some points to consider:

1. Rolling out a digital product, even a limited version (MVP), should meet customer expectations. You only get one shot at a first impression. Consumers have a lot of options available to them today. If your application is not up to the mark, they will just bounce to another one, but they will remember the negative experience they had on yours. If you’re rolling out an MVP or beta testing your product, make sure it still meets customer expectations.

You want to start with something small, but at the same time, you do not want to ship bad experiences. Build a full, holistic experience even if it is with limited features. – Kamalesh Jayaraman

2. More features do not equal more users. New features should drive company growth by way of acquisition. If you think loading your application with features is going to drive new users to your app, you’re wrong. Users are not coming in for the extra features; they are coming in only for the features that solve their problem. If your users don’t need it, don’t implement it.

3. When defining features, analyze your customers’ needs and build to satisfy them. Expanding our earlier point, when you grow your digital product and add features, make sure they fit your target audience’s needs. Use analytics and customer feedback to find out what they need, and then move forward.

When we build products and define new features, we always try to align these to our customers’ needs. – Matias Honorato

4. Align your company’s financial goals with that of your users. If you focus on building a product that enables your customer to grow, you will, in turn, grow through the increased engagement and through organic referrals.

5. Product features must be relevant to the services being provided. It might get tempting to build a super app that has multidisciplinary capabilities. However,  depending on your industry, this strategy can prove to be unfavorable. Define your business scope and build a product with features that match it.

6. Analyze historical data when building a digital product so that it reflects internal processes and the business vision. Your customers must experience your business vision and ethic digitally as they would at a store. What makes your business unique? What draws customers to your particular brand? Apply these to your digital interactions as well.

When banks are moving from a traditional model to a digital one, they can use their history, find the emotion that they were based on for years, ask why did their customers trust them, and base their product around these values. – Tauseef Alvi

7. Redefine internal processes to reflect the digital product. On the other hand, you can redefine internal processes to reflect your digital product. The bottom line is that there must be consistency between the real and virtual world.

Even with the best technology, it is people who are building these experiences – like the product teams and the engineering teams, so it’s also about changing the internal perspective and narrative. – Kamalesh Jayaraman

8. Optimizing is not always the key; features sometimes need redefining. You can analyze interaction data to optimize your digital product. You must. For example, if consumers are dropping from a certain page on the app, maybe that page is not delivering what it should. Optimize it. It is, however, important to understand when optimization isn’t working, and an overhaul is needed instead.

9. Experimenting (like A/B testing) helps speed up the process of digital transformation. If you’re not sure about what exactly your users want, experiment with a few different options, analyze results, and implement the best one.

The speed at which you release new tests and ship new features greatly improves your chances of succeeding in the long run term. It’s important to start thinking about creating frameworks and processes that improve the chances of hitting your goals. – Matias Honorato

Marketing Strategies for Audience Acquisition and Retention

1. Create hyper-personalized experiences with AI technology. Use AI to map a customer’s journey and tailor marketing communication based on their interactions.

2. Use internal data to segment your audience and then personalize messages for each segment. You could segment based on geography, age, gender, etc., and then deliver relevant marketing communication to each segment.

3. Analyze your definition of product fit as time progresses. Redefine your audience based on this analysis and then redefine engagement strategies. As your business grows, your audience might change. Segments you created in the past may not be as relevant today as they were a few years ago. It’s important to consistently rediscover your product fit.

Your company may go through moments where the definition of product fit might change. The cohort of users acquired 6 months ago could be different from those you are acquiring today or will acquire a year from now. – Matias Honorato

4. Educate your user as you roll out features. Helping your customers understand your product is incredibly important to foster engagement and revisits. You can achieve this through in-app tutorials, pop-ups, videos, or even through one-on-one sessions.

5. Maintain transparency with your customer. Communicate with your customers every time there is a product change that affects them. Changes can be overwhelming if you spring it upon them.

6. Value is important in retaining users. If your product does not add value to a user, they are not coming back. Analyze their pain points and provide a solution through your digital product.

7. Use a customer’s positive experience to drive organic acquisition. Referrals are a great way to acquire new customers. They come with a positive impression of your brand, making it easy to convert them into a loyal customer. Every time an existing customer expresses a positive experience (by way of feedback, reviews, etc.), leverage it for organic acquisition.

8. Implement real-time data tracking and analysis. Real-time data helps you make faster decisions that can prevent a user from bouncing off your brand.

Real-time is extremely important. Having data accessible, having it able to enrich your BI platform, ensuring that data is accurate, is integral to understanding and improving user experience. – Bill Gerber

9. Analyze your funnels to find drop off points and optimize them. Improving existing features and processes must be as important as adding new ones. Analyze your marketing and sales funnels to identify drop-off points and optimize them.

10. Experiment. Sometimes the only way to identify the best marketing strategies for your brand is by experimenting and narrowing down the options. A/B testing, for example, is a great way to test different marketing aspects like the content, the image, the CTA, and more.

Being human is more important today than ever before. – Tauseef Alvi

The key to growth in the mobile-first world lies in the use of technology and a customer-centric approach. What’s your secret sauce to digital success?

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