The Future of Financial Services and Fintech


As a B2B marketing agency, it’s our job to look around at the current trends shaping the media landscape and find ways to integrate them into our client strategies. Even when brands think they have nothing to do with these trends (hello, AI and TikTok), it’s our job to extract valuable insights and leverage them to achieve our clients’ goals (and yes, there’s a strong chance your brand will benefit from AI and TikTok, but more on that later).

The financial services industry is just one area where innovation has lagged behind others. Dominated by a culture of tradition and frozen by the time-consuming and costly prospect of migrating large volumes of sensitive data, many traditional financial institutions have been slow to adopt digital transformation. 

Digital transformation is a necessary shift away from outdated technologies and manual processes. It equips organizations with the tools, systems, and strategies required to advance and stay relevant. Without digital transformation, the future of financial services stands at an impasse, creating a disconnect between brands and their customers. 

Fintechs have emerged as solutions designed to meet customers where they are: online. 

Think about it—when was the last time you wrote or cashed a physical check to pay employees or vendors? Thanks to electronic fund transfers, something that was common just a decade ago now happens within seconds. Even credit and debit cards, which long held onto their reign as cashless alternatives, are being cast aside in favor of digital wallets or contactless payment methods. 

But adoption of new technology is happening quickly, and even fintechs need to keep up with the rapid pace of digital transformation to maintain momentum, remain competitive, and enhance customer experiences.

In financial services and fintech, staying ahead requires more than just keeping pace—it demands proactive adaptation and innovation. Drawing from our extensive collaboration with diverse industry players, we’ve found five pivotal areas that can guide organizations toward resilience and success in futureproofing their financial services in 2024 and beyond.

Rethinking Branding in the Digital Age

Remote work, online shopping, virtual learning—the tendency to limit business to geographic locations is waning. This shift has reached the financial sector, where accountants, banking services, and wealth and financial managers have established an online presence. 

Spearheaded by fintech disruptors seizing market share through digital prowess and targeted branding, relying on geographic location alone both reduces access to clients and services and limits the customer experience. 

Traditional institutions can make adjustments to this new era by marrying physical presence with digital experiences. We’ll explain how to achieve this balance below:

Geographic advantage alone is insufficient in the digital era

Historically, regional banks prided themselves on building face-to-face relationships with local customers. Now, 48% of bank customers use their mobile devices to manage accounts compared to only 9% who visit a branch in person. This aligns with 20% of customers who cite convenience as their top priority in choosing a fintech provider. Financial institutions must consider ways to accommodate digital expectations and attract new customers from different locations.

Traditional institutions must blend physical presence with digital engagement

An online presence doesn’t have to mean the end of the user experience. Instead, use digital branding to enhance engagement online or in person. Digital improvements include advanced marketing strategies that build trust and brand awareness and a user-friendly mobile banking app and website that makes banking more accessible. Be sure to use data to target products and services to specific customer segments that can be adjusted at any time. For physical stores, lean on digital signage and interactive displays to cater to your local customers.

Find ways to enhance digital presence, offer innovative products, and foster brand loyalty

The financial services landscape is evolving, and wealth advisors face increasing competition from disruptive fintech startups leveraging cutting-edge technology. For instance, insytz has disrupted the investment space by creating an uncomplicated, comprehensive view of the global financial markets. The insytz platform features color-coded market trends, innovative algorithms, and dynamic dashboards, furnishing users with a macro and micro view of global market movements. By leveraging expert-level insights and market visualization to inform investors, insytz validates member strategies and gives them the data—and confidence—to make faster, more precise decisions. As a result, wealth advisors must step up to meet insytz and other disruptors at their level. It has never been more imperative to find creative solutions to problems in financial services backed by data, research, and results.

AI and Beyond: Embracing Customer-Centric Innovation

As AI permeates the financial landscape, traditional banks and financial institutions may wonder how to incorporate this technology to improve business operations and customer experiences. This may look like streamlining administrative processes, introducing complex financial planning tools, personalizing wealth management, and identifying customer behaviors to recommend better products.

Going a step further, think like your customers to discover what they want from their financial service providers. Future readiness involves envisioning customer AI adoption and preemptive action. Show customers how your organization leverages AI to reduce wait times, provide more accurate information, personalize services, and create meaningful content marketing based on their current needs. 

AI revolutionizes financial services, and it’s prompting customer-centric innovation. When customers see the myriad ways your financial institution is proactively using AI, it demonstrates that you’re focused on improving your offerings and committed to innovation. At the same time, these efforts serve to bolster your credibility and enhance customer engagement.

Maximizing Earned Media in a Freelance Era

Once you’ve digitally transformed your institution and adopted AI, you need to share this information with your target audience to attract and retain customers. 

But the current media landscape has experienced a dramatic shift in recent years. Industry-wide layoffs and budget cuts have contributed to an increase in freelance journalists, and with the media landscape undergoing seismic shifts, conventional PR tactics fall short. 

Through a case study with Chase Business, we’ll illustrate the power of experiential marketing and adaptive storytelling in driving brand resonance and customer loyalty.

Instead of pitching a press release to a long list of contacts, try experiential marketing and adaptive storytelling to drive resonance and customer loyalty. These experiences and connections will create interactive moments you can adopt for various use cases.

A few years ago, the Zen Media PR team brought this strategy to Chase for Business. Chase sought to position itself as a “wingman” for small business owners (SBOs) who wanted to grow their businesses and needed a fresh idea to reach them. Four wheels and 28 feet later, the Chase Bizmobile was born.

Embarking on the ultimate road trip, Zen and Chase drove around the country, stopping at co-working spaces, start-up weeks, and festivals around the country. SBOs who approached and engaged with the Bizmobile received advice on marketing tactics, access to capital, and expense management. The Bizmobile was successful, earning interest from local micro-influencers and coverage in national outlets like Entrepreneur and Forbes. 

The Chase Bizmobile worked because it was driven by a strategy that focused on what these SBOs valued most: time. By driving to SBOs instead of forcing them to come to Chase, Chase offered SBOs a way to save time and resources while also receiving tailored, expert knowledge to move their businesses forward. 

This experiential campaign exemplifies modern PR success and demonstrates how a long-term vision with a customer-centric approach yields substantial returns.

Gen Z: Capturing the Digital Native Market

A recent report found that four major traits shape Gen Z’s consumption habits: 

  1. They value seeing products in person
  2. They are credit-averse
  3. They frequently make in-app purchases through social media
  4. They rely on recommendations from friends and family more than those of online influencers

Additionally, Gen Z expects financial companies to provide seamless, mobile-first, socially conscious services.

As Gen Z continues to influence the ways organizations market their products and services, financial institutions must rethink how their offerings align with the values and preferences of this growing customer demographic. 

As digital natives, Gen Z is confident in their abilities to research and find financial institutions and services that meet their needs. This means financial institutions must consider nuanced ways to reach this audience through online content. Credit unions and banks can start by offering virtual financial planning sessions or expanding the range of services available to users online. Consider creating a rewards-based system that encourages customers to visit your digital platforms or to use certain products and services.

Take it one step further by offering tailored digital literacy courses to Gen Z customers that align with their values and preferences. A video-centric approach across different platforms will enhance brand perception and drive business growth. While TikTok may not seem like a fit for your brand, the app popularized short-form videos to quickly and succinctly deliver information. Today, 44% of consumers would prefer to watch a short video to learn about a brand’s offerings. 

But that doesn’t mean you should give up on longer videos. Try a blended content marketing strategy of short and long videos across different platforms before landing on the approach that works for your brand. Democratizing financial information by providing digestible educational content through videos, blogs, social media posts, and more will increase engagement and build brand loyalty. 

Navigating Dark Social

Dark social demands a paradigm shift in social strategy. This new phenomenon has turned traditional marketing on its head. Why? Because customers have shied away from public consumption and toward private conversations. Instead of liking, commenting, and reposting to show engagement, customers are copying links and pasting them into messenger apps, texts, and emails. When content is consumed publicly and shared privately, marketing experts lose out on key metrics. 

With so many touch points happening in closed channels, how can B2B marketers measure consumption on dark social? Leverage social media to create your own private messaging channels.

For example, an investment firm may create a Discord group for high-net-worth clients. The firm can break this group up into several channels to discuss market trends or investment opportunities in a private, moderated environment. 

This shift in social media marketing strategy fosters client engagement and fortifies relationships by increasing opportunities for client engagement. Once established, this strong community can refer prospective clients, retain existing clients, create the potential for increased assets under management, and help the firm gain a competitive edge.

Navigating dark social, understanding changing demographics, shifting PR strategies, emphasizing a customer-centric approach, and operating beyond physical location are just five ways financial institutions can grow their business operations now and in the future. 

As the financial services industry continues to adopt digital transformation and embrace emerging technologies, brands will discover the value in this pivotal period of growth. At the same time, customers will benefit from exciting and engaging opportunities that meet or exceed their expectations.

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