I’ve been thinking a lot about the word ‘help’ these days. We recently delivered a strategy presentation to one of our financial services clients and the word probably came up hundreds of times. Literally.
Financial services is a complicated business. No matter what part of the space your business plays in, help is literally the only thing your customers depend on you for. Your products are just the mechanism by which you deliver help. It’s that simple.
Retail banking? You’re helping your customers store, access, and manage their money.
Credit cards? You’re helping your customers borrow to get the things they want or need.
Mortgage? You’re helping your customers with their most basic need for housing.
Insurance? You’re helping your customers protect the things they care about.
And the thing is, financial services brands too often get in their own way trying to convey that – relying on features and promotions to tell the entire story, but not how the features help the customer. And since there’s rarely a ‘try before you buy’ scenario in financial services, you have to show your customer how you can help – not what they’ll get out of the product. You must tell them how you can help.
The feature-set, the acquisition bonus, the ongoing rewards – those are all the icing. You’re selling the cake. To be clear though, if I were choosing between a carrot cake with or without icing, I’m getting the one with the icing. But the icing is only one part of the story. If I had a third choice of only getting icing, I’m still getting the cake with the icing (and now I want cake!)
Of course, the truth is, ‘help’ transcends financial services.
e-Bikes? You’re helping your customers get out and do something they love.
Guitar strings? You’re helping your customers get more out of their instruments.
Creative services agency? You’re helping your clients create ripples in the marketplace.
Data, digital innovation, AI, and personalization are a super important part of that story too. When deployed properly, they are part of a fantastic toolkit that can help you drill down and show your customer on a deeply personal way how you can help them specifically. But at the end of the day, they are just tools. If you’re not properly conveying how you can help your customers, your marketing is probably not working as hard as it should.
Need help figuring all that out? I’ll close this as I always do: Shiny can help. Let’s meet up for a coffee (and carrot cake) to chat about it.
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