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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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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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