What? David Fierro, Marketing VP at Banamex Citi Group, insists in the below interview that financial marketing is positioned for growth, taking advantage of existing data.
Why is it important? Through information from credit and debit card usage, banks have extremely accurate information about their customers. Now is the time to start taking advantage of this to develop more specialized marketing strategies.
Our consumers are evolving the way they use technology. Whatever platform they are using, they want service to be quicker, and more accessible in their everyday lives. They believe everything should be easy, compatible, and immediate. This is how they live.
But the problem is that they are moving much faster than us, the banks. For safety and regulatory (local and international) reasons, we have to keep all our security and privacy barriers up. We are dealing with highly sensitive information, and we have to protect it, but at the same time, we must be able to reach out to existing and potential clients with some sort of communication through social media.
So first we have to decide how we are going to participate in the era of technology. Of course, we need to get transactions done because that is our core business, but we also participate in a very light conversation through social media without putting any of our clients’ information at risk. We almost have three million followers.
Our brand is present in the mind of any second and third generation Hispanic living in the US.
What classic marketing strategies are still working for you?
The bank is in a fortunate situation. We have a very broad network of branches that allows us to have direct contact with our customers. This way, everyone has a direct experience with the brand.
By opening a branch office in every important location in the country, it becomes easy for the customers to find us, and this becomes part of our experience with the client. At the same time, the moment you enter a bank, you are surrounded by the brand with posters, information on the TV screen and bank advisors talking to you in a specific way, following a script. This is all part of a communication strategy. It is quite basic, but there is no better place to sell something to our clients than in the bank itself. In the case of some products, 95 per cent of sales are made in the bank.
Are sales over the phone still successful?
I find it impressive, but they actually still work very well, and I would say there are two reasons for this. Harassment policies have changed for the banks, so they have stopped calling their customers all the time. We have also stopped calling all our customers. What we do now is analyze the data from our web page so we can call specific clients to offer them products they are actually interested in.
Do you have any specific strategy for the Latino market in the United States?
I cannot speak for what Citi is doing there. But I can say that our brand is present in the mind of any second and third generation Hispanic living in the US. And for those relatives who stay here, we hope they are also keeping their bank account with us and receiving money transfers from their relatives abroad, too.
Being part of Citi Group allows us to grow from their prestige. This means that someone who has a Citi account there will probably open one in Banamex in Mexico, because we are associated with each other, so they will trust us. This is also why working in synergy is so important.
What trends should we keep an eye on in financial marketing?
In this era in which we have the ability to generate and analyze so much data, there is a huge opportunity for the financial industry. Through marketing we will be able to become more specialized in the messages that we send our clients. It won’t be quick, but I believe there is no other industry that has as much information as we do. We know exactly what people are buying and where they are buying it, thanks to the use of cards. The media is also more specialized. This allows us to target our clients with more accurate messages using a more accurate platform.
There are companies already doing this. This is how small banks are born.
So the next step is for us to align our strategy with this trend and use all the information we have in a better way.
What marketing efforts have you made in Mexico?
We already opened our first digital branch shop in Torre Mayor, in Mexico City. This is the first of its kind in the whole country. It is our way of showing where we are going with Banamex.
We will not replace the branch shops we already have, because we can not stop providing our services to those customers who don’t have access to a digital platform in their everyday lives. But we have to start showing people what direction we are heading in, and how we can evolve our interaction with the clients.
This is also important for Citi Bank. They are planning their own future through us. There are some new ideas that are better to try out in an emerging market, because the effort put in a new initiative will show its results much quicker in a potential market than in a developed one. Afterwards, if it is successful, they can replicate it in the United States. We are a great place to explore, as part of the Latino market. Our growth potential is so big that it is better to try and fail here and learn something new from it, than to do it over there (in the US). If you are successful here, you can reach the sky.