At the Intersect (Series) – Spotlight on Financial Services

In our May post, we wrote that a disproportionate amount of innovation (and competition) is happening at the intersection of traditional industries such as healthcare, financial services, retail, and technology – a trend often referred to as “convergence.” In this post, we focus on convergence in the financial services sector and its implications for communicators.

Over the past five years, we’ve seen an eclectic mix of new players in the financial services sector. While some are start-ups, others are well-established companies in adjacent industries. We’ve seen traditional technology companies move into insurance and wealth management, telecommunications companies enter the payments business and retail brands become non-bank deposit takers. In fact, history has shown that any company with exceptionally strong customer data, brand loyalty, distribution, analytics, and/or logistics has the potential to either partner with or disrupt well-established industry players.

Convergence has impacted all areas of financial services, including fintech, insurance tech and regtech. While consumer-facing innovators get the lion-share of publicity – payments companies, robo-advisors, peer-to-peer lenders, online insurance originators and brokersanalytics-driven software and platform businesses are also upending the way financial products are underwritten, priced, distributed, tracked, and serviced.

Whether consumer-facing or B2B, today’s innovators share one thing in common: a laser focus on their end-audience(s). That’s because technology-enabled disruption is all about creating more value for the end-customer – through speed, convenience, ease-of-use, lower costs, transparency, automation, and/or access to new services.

For communicators, this means that the ability to reach end-audiences (which has always been important) is now more critical than ever. We need to dig deep to understand each audience’s needs, expectations, values, and preferences – and to identify which individuals, groups, and/or media channels are most influential.

While industry, regulatory, and product knowledge remain essential, it’s the end-customers – be they retail, institutional, or advisors/consultants – that sit at the intersect between traditional industry boundaries. And, it’s their loyalty that all players (established and new) are competing to earn.

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Photo Credit: Peter Nguyen, Unsplash