- With the end of the year just round the corner, we bring you our latest trends report that talks about marketing trends in the
- Vishal Subharwal Head, Marketing, Digital Business & E-commerce,
HDFC Life, Sandeep Walunj, CMO, Nippon Life India Asset Management Ltd, Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Capital, Jasneet Bachal– Chief Marketing Officer, YES Bank, Abhishek Gupta, CMO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer and Head - Products, Ageas Federal Life Insurance and Nikhil Bharadwaj, Head, Corporate Communications, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance share their thoughts.
In the last 2 years, there has been a massive shift in the way consumers interact with the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) players. With the change in consumer behavior, there has also been a shift in the way these organizations are communicating with their consumers. There is a lot more empathy, the last year has about putting the spotlight on courage, resilience and hope. Going ahead too, players in the BFSI sector will need to catch the pulse of the consumers, and reach out to them at the touch-points they are most comfortable at. The need of the hour also is to listen to consumers, figure out their pain-points and try and solve them. Seamless customer experience will play an intrinsic role in keeping brands top-of-mind. The future will be all about convenience and simplicity.
To understand a few larger trends we can expect to see in the BFSI sector in the year ahead, we reached out to some key players, and here is what they had to say:
Vishal Subharwal Head-Marketing, Digital Business & E-commerce HDFC Life
I believe a ‘user first, omni-channel’ approach to be a trend that marketers need to cater to 2022. Let me elaborate my thoughts.
To be successful, business organizations have to move in sync with larger trends seen in wider society. These changes are often reflected in various elements such as popular culture, technology adoption curves, environmental awareness. The role of marketing is to identify such changes ahead of the curve & align resources accordingly.
Consumers no longer look at old-school structural boundaries but are more focused on the seamlessness of experience offered to them across touch-points, be it a physical branch or an online platform. This is a trend commonly reflected across industries, as on a standalone basis neither model serves the customer needs well. When was the last time you saw an online payments intermediary get a physical banking license, an online medicine intermediary purchase a physical diagnostic chain, an online insurance broker opening physical branches, retail stores with online integrations. There are many such examples.
In the context of rapidly evolving business models, marketing capabilities hence need to be aligned towards building superior omni-channel capabilities for customer acquisition & lifecycle management.
Sandeep Walunj, Chief Marketing Officer, Nippon Life India Asset Management Ltd
There are three very interesting trends that I feel will dominate 2022 in post-Covid Indian BFSI:
1. Social Discussion Forums where advanced users and experts handhold first-time users/ information seeker
Seeds were sown during COVID when people dropped their inhibitions against digital financial transactions/ online investing. Information seeking/ handholding was the logical next (first) step and that’s what’s going to be mainstream.
Going further, neutral enabling platforms will equip potential customers with information and tools to make right choices. These could also be offered/ run by an industry body or Government/ quasi-government bodies (example: MF Central mooted by SEBI)
2. Agents/ Brokers connecting with customers through Video Bots
The evolution mentioned in point 1 above will further lead to distributors of financial products connecting with potential customers through video bots on social media wherein questions can be asked, individual proposals can be sent, appointments sought and transactions concluded through bots.
3. Social Commerce 2.0 with Meta+Insta leading the way
Shopping while consuming social media seemed like an alien concept in early 20s but it is clearly how the consumers prefer it/ want it and desire it. We all saw the string response Meta generated and I am sure brands would be hatching their plans to leverage this trend.
Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Capital
Uncertainty will remain a way of life, in the foreseeable future. But as they say, tough times are the true test of character, and in these times, it holds equally true for a brand.
While there will be a temptation to lay low and see how the uncertainty pans out, such times will help sift the men from the boys. He who sows during this time, will reap the most. Now. And hereafter.
Towards this end a ‘spray and pray’ approach will not help. Brands will have to keep a finger on the customer’s pulse; be it their felt, or even unfelt (as yet) needs. Brands that can anticipate the customer’s need will have to offer relevance, simplicity, and comfort in these ever-changing times. Speed to market will become a barometer of success.
While anticipating the customer’s future needs, I believe that a brand must not place all its bets only on the digital world. The customer will want and will exercise a choice. High touch and high tech. As he wants it, when he wants it.
At the end of the day, the customer remains the king and the brand that not merely listens, but makes its customers feel heard for all their said and unsaid needs, in the times like these, will live to narrate the tale.”
Jasneet Bachal – Chief Marketing Officer, YES Bank
While Banks have been consistently trying to engage the ‘new to banking’ generation - Gen Z and late millennials, building a stronger connection with them will be a key trend for banks in the coming year. As digital natives, this audience has naturally come to expect digital-first experiences that are seamless across apps and platforms. Therefore, their expectation from banking is significantly different – a near-instant fulfilment which the banks will need to accommodate through products and services, in order to address this shift in behaviour.
To offer a differentiated banking suite that meets these expectations, banks will need to create simplistic and personalized solutions that can come alive by re-imagining customer journeys for this segment. Using purpose-driven marketing that appeals to their emotional motivators – their beliefs, drivers and cultural environment – banks can cater to the experiences they are looking for. In sync with this, evolving the design language and communication, with a focus on simplicity and relatability, will help establish a lasting connect.
Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance
Customer experience, data protection and social consciousness will be the three dominant trends for the BFSI sector in 2022.
The last two years of the pandemic have recast customer expectations from brand experiences across various platforms. In line with these changes, brands will work on building consistency in CX, irrespective of the purchase or service channel. They will also make efforts on easing access to insurance by continuing to invest in multi-channel capabilities.
While the pandemic has bolstered the digital opportunity, it has also raised concerns over data protection. As data becomes increasingly important for businesses, there is an improving awareness among customers regarding data privacy. With giants like Google and Apple making first move towards data protection, there is a looming threat to the efficacy of marketing campaigns. Brands will proactively craft inclusive data protection strategies so that customers can stay in control of their data.
Lastly, brands will increasingly align with a social purpose that best reflects their brand values. Of all the social initiatives, Environment, Sustainability and Corporate Governance will be higher on priority list.
Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer and Head - Products, Ageas Federal Life Insurance
The pandemic has made people realise that uncertainty in life is a reality and not just a sales pitch. Given that, the realisation of the need for insurance has increased, especially for term and health insurance. We have seen demand rising, not just in the metros and Tier 1 cities but even in the smaller towns and rural areas. With reduced spending on lifestyle expenses, people have greater disposable income in hand which they are keen on investing in financial instruments such as life insurance.
Parents too, are increasingly keen on investing in child plans. Findings from our recent #FutureFearless survey have shown that the pandemic has influenced Indian parents to rethink their financial health and priorities for their children. Saving for their children’s education, future and milestones has emerged as the top priority for parents, along with saving for medical emergencies.
In 2022, as an industry, we need to further capitalise on this demand. Using various platforms, especially the cost-effective digital medium, we need to further educate people and create awareness on the role of insurance in financially securing themselves and their families against life’s uncertainties, while allowing them to pursue their dreams.
Nikhil Bharadwaj, Head – Corporate Communications, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
The pandemic has taught us that communication is of utmost importance not just for your customers, but also for other stakeholders including employees. Going forward, simplicity and authenticity, will be the most important part of all communication! While inclination towards digitization is increasing, print is not going away, in fact I see it making a strong come back. Digital media is surely the future and I see another year where this belief is reinforced further. In fact, we’re already listening to talks of OTT platforms of news channels, which might be something totally new with custom content. On the internal communications side, as always it remains as a tool which helps organizations provide right information to their employees. However, I feel that it will also play a role of culture builder wherein it will no longer be restricted to communications or HR team, but various other functions getting involved in it. With complex business models, we’ll see custom built communications for specific SBUs.