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Digital secrets for financial services success

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Local banks and insurers are battling to attain new customers, but should they move more services online they can improve efficiency and gain better visibility, writes BIANCA QUINN DIAVASTOS, MD of 25AM.

South African banks and insurers have long struggled with the high costs of customer acquisition and fierce competition to attain new customers. The move online offers them ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their acquisition efforts and gain better visibility into the performance of their marketing spend.

The key here is how financial services companies can use data and analytics tools to streamline their customer journeys and make better informed decisions about their customer acquisition strategies. Today, they have information at their fingertips that can help them to find the best mix of media and engagement tools (lead generation and product offers) to create targeted online and offline customer journeys that reach new customers.

Here are some ways that financial services companies can drive better return on investment (ROI) from their online customer acquisition efforts:

Optimise for mobile

When thinking about ad placements, search engine optimisation and customer conversion, financial services companies would do well to remember that a high proportion of financial transactions and searches for financial products happen on mobile devices. We have found in South Africa that our financial service clients’ customers and prospects do most of their research for home loans and short-term insurance on mobile devices.

Embrace programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising offers more than just advertising reach – it is also a wonderful tool for lead generation and customer acquisition.

Financial services companies can use programmatic advertising to reach the right person, at the right time and at the right price. Programmatic ad buys make it easier to segment audiences, deliver personalised messaging to them, and then measure the results.

This means that a financial services brand can see which placements and messages helped to generate leads and convert customers as well as how much these customer acquisitions cost them versus the value they generated. We can take this even further by measuring the value of a lead or customer – for example, the potential value of the interest it could generate from a home loan applicant over the period of the mortgage.

Use re-marketing to turbo-charge your efforts

Remarketing is one of the best tools a bank or insurer has at its disposal to improve customer conversions in a cost-effective manner. Remarketing is all about presenting a follow-up digital ad or email message or offer to a customer who has already expressed interest in the brand’s products and services.

For example, a customer that has already browsed mortgages on a bank’s website is probably looking to buy a house and is thus more likely to convert. The re-marketing message needs to be carefully thought-out and reach the person at the right time to ensure conversion. Some questions to consider:

•        What kind of message did they react to the first time? How should this shape the response or follow-up message?

•        What does history tell us about the journey? For example, have they moved beyond researching a car insurer towards getting quotes?

Make it easy for customers to get in touch

Once the brand has the customer’s attention, it shouldn’t squander the opportunity by making it difficult for the customer to find out more or get in touch. For example, don’t ask a customer to fill in a long form to express interest in a loan – keep it to three or four of the most important questions. Make it easy to look up more information on your website or contact an agent through an instant message or click-to-call link. Again, remember the customer might be engaging with you from a mobile phone and will expect convenience, ease of use and simplicity.

Provide valuable content

Customers shopping for banking or insurance products want information and answers at their fingertips so they can make informed comparisons. It’s important to invest in good content that will answer customers’ questions when they discover a financial services need and start investigating their options.

Content should be personalised based on what the bank or insurer knows about where the customer is in his or her journey as well as any behavioural or demographic data it has managed to collect. Interactive tools like calculators  are also a great way to interact with customers.

Understanding the journey

Building a successful customer acquisition strategy is all about using data and analytics to fully understand the customer journey. This must go far beyond simple metrics like impressions and click-throughs. Financial brands should look at how their audiences react to their messages and offers; How are they engaging? What are they sharing? What are they engaging with the most? What are the touchpoints in their journey?

Furthermore, cost per acquisition is emerging as one of the most important metrics in the digital marketing world and one that financial brands need to embrace in order to measure the real value behind their digital marketing investments. Brands that wish to effectively leverage digital marketing tools to acquire new customers need to engage with digital agency partners who ultimately demonstrate real accountability by measuring their success through harder metrics such as customer acquisition rather than hiding behind the click.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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