According to Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023, financial services marketers in Asia Pacific (APAC) find improving marketing’s ROI or effectiveness more difficult than their peers in other regions and industries. To dive deeper, I talked to B2C marketing leaders in the financial services industry across the region and learned more about their priorities, challenges, and best practices in achieving financial services marketing success. I’m excited to share the key findings of my recently published report, The State Of Financial Services B2C Marketing In Asia Pacific.

Poor Tech Integration And Inability To Act On Data Are Common Challenges

As financial services firms in the region continue to transform digitally, technology and data remain among their greatest marketing challenges. It’s not that they lack sufficient technology solutions or customer data — their tech solutions are often redundant or poorly integrated, however, and they lack the ability to act on customer data. We find that financial services marketers in the region are generally:

  • On course when it comes to owning martech and actively investing in martech solutions. Three-quarters of financial services marketers in APAC plan to increase their investment in technology in 2023. Nearly half claim that their marketing organization has a dedicated tech team to support martech; this decreases reliance on IT. Forrester sees financial services marketers expanding from tools that support brand experiences (e.g., content, campaign) to customer understanding (e.g., data, analytics).
  • Facing poor integration and redundancy. As a martech stack becomes more complex, it gets harder to integrate and streamline solutions. As both digital and tech ecosystems are more complicated in Asia Pacific, with a variety of global, regional, and local players, it’s no surprise to see a much higher percentage of financial services marketers in APAC considering poor tech integration and redundancy as challenges compared to the regional and global industry averages.
  • Yet to use the customer data that they already have in an effective fashion. Insights and recommendations that are too complicated to implement, inconsistent data source quality, too many unconnected data sources, and increasing restrictions on the use of third-party data are all among the top challenges that hinder APAC financial services marketers’ ability to act on data.

Three Defining Characteristics Of Success In Financial Services Marketing

Most B2C marketers at financial services firms in APAC say that their marketing organization uses a centralized or hub-and-spoke model, but the way that firms distribute marketing responsibility and decision-making remains complex. At many firms, each business unit has separate marketing budgets and teams, and that’s a challenge. Forrester believes that all successful financial services marketing:

  • Delivers collaboratively and consistently. To deliver consistent brand experiences, financial services marketers need to manage not only complex organizational structures and decision-making processes but also various channels and touchpoints, campaigns, and service partners.
  • Integrates deeply into business and product strategy. To do their job well, marketing teams work closely with business teams that cover products such as mortgages, deposits, and credit cards to build the deep understanding of product propositions and functionality that they need to craft the right marketing strategy. A best practice is to bring in the marketing team at an early stage of product creation rather than right before product launch.
  • Has a customer-centric mindset. Business focus can be a double-edged sword. When marketing is too deeply integrated in products, it risks being product-centric and can have difficulty thinking from a customer perspective. Rather than having competing marketing for the two product categories, marketers should take a step back, understand specific customer moments, and then nudge their customers toward more “prudent” and “smart” use of these products.

Besides leveraging data and technology, leading financial services firms differentiate with creativity and emotion. To compare your financial services marketing efforts and learn from the best practices in enhancing financial services marketing ROI and effectiveness, Forrester clients can read the full report or request a guidance session.