Financial Services: why the industry needs to rethink its loyalty strategy

FSloyaltyExpI

The digital age hasn't been kind to the financial services industry. On the one hand, online banking and self-serve product applications have facilitated enormous growth and resource streamlining. On the other hand, there's no such thing as loyalty anymore. A quick scan for 'credit cards' on Google gives a top search result for a price comparison site. And the second result? Another price comparison site. That's before Wikipedia's even defined what a credit card is.

And that's a big problem: when customers have become ferocious deal-hunters, and when the very best interest rates and fees are only a click away, it becomes almost impossible to compete without stripping back your product to its bare bones and scrapping it out to offer the lowest prices. And, when you're racing to the bottom, it's pretty hard to keep your customers with you - the moment you're not the cheapest in town, you might as well quit town altogether.

In recent months and years, FS companies have tried to offer value-adds as an incentive to lure - and retain - customers. It's the "I might not be as pretty as the girl who just moved in next door, but I know how to


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Analysis: Paddy Power are favourites to revolutionise social

Paddy Power In-Play

"Every man", said Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy on a recent call with city analysts, "over the age of 18 on Facebook in the UK is connected to at least one Paddy Power fan."

Them's fighting words and, being a) a man, b) in the UK and c) waaaay older than 18 (weep), I thought I'd give it a go. Guess what? I'm connected to three Paddy Power fans. Turns out that hot air wasn't nearly hot enough.

The important thing, though, is that Paddy Power aren't simply sitting back on their laurels and enjoying their place at social's top table. It's not enough for them to have over a million people listening to them on Facebook, they've got people talking about them, too. In fact, if you compare them with other brands who have similar a number of Fans, they generate six times as much conversation as Costa Coffee, 48 times as much as Pringles and 83 times as much as Blackberry. And Blackberry are in the conversation business.

All this is because, 18 months ago, Paddy Power totally reassessed their growth strategy. As underdogs, they were in no position to compete on level terms with the likes of


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Is Social Commerce about to transform the betting industry?

Is Social Commerce about to transform the betting industry?

I spend a lot of my time working with clients, figuring out the best way to apply Social Commerce to their calendar, to their brand and to their industry. Sometimes, everything just adds up and it's a super-easy fit: retail, travel, pharma, FMCGs. Sometimes, it's not so simple (I'm recalling an interesting discussion with a sewerage wholesaler here - it might have been viable, but the project just smelled a bit 'off').

But one of the things I've always figured would be a real no-brainer is betting. What does Social Commerce excel at? Replicating the thrill of offline shopping online, adding value as people come together, ceding control to the customer in exchange for more and better business. And what does betting excel at? It's thrilling, it's about getting the most value for your stake and it's about getting one over on the house and increasing your chances of a win. Ladies and gentlemen - we have a perfect match.

So it was very cool to read this morning about Paddy Power's forthcoming real-money sports betting app, which has just started beta-ing its way through Facebook's test-tubes. The concept is simple and clever, adding: "social engagement to online betting, enabling


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Are your Facebook adverts getting it totally wrong?

Are your Facebook adverts getting it totally wrong?

Sky would like to sell me broadband. I know that because I clicked on this ad on my Facebook timeline and arrived at a Sky Broadband landing page.

Sky broadband - poor advert

Here’s the thing, though. Were it not for the fact that I wanted to discuss it, I would never have clicked on that ad… even if I did need broadband. Why? Well, there’s two reasons:

1) Why the unbranded anonymity? Sky are a highly reputable provider, but disguising who’s doing the advertising makes me think I’m being sold broadband by Acme Internet Inc.

2) There’s no such thing as free. I know that. You know that. And Sky know that. And yet marketeers keep insisting on using this ‘free’ message – a message that’s so tiresomely familiar, it can only ever devalue the product they’re trying to sell.

Wouldn’t it have been music more intriguing if Sky had run something like this?

Sky broadband - much better advert

This is basic human psychology. If someone is giving something away, you can’t help but question its value. But, if someone asks you to earn the same reward – and the harder you work, the better that reward gets? Well, that sounds infinitely


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