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Identifying challenges and opportunities in your financial services digital strategy

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 28 Jul, 2021
Advanced Advanced topic

Tap into your customers' evolving relationships with technology and the financial services industry and seize new opportunities to strengthen your financial services digital strategy

Globally, the financial sector is facing significant challenges as new online services are created and improved. As consumers' demands and expectations continue to increase, marketers and managers must adapt their financial services digital strategy to stay ahead of the competition.

In this blog, we explore the latest innovations in the finance sector and how they apply to both business- and consumer-facing markets, ranging from established financial services brands and new fintech startups to IFA intermediary markets. And, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Opportunity, Strategy, and Action for financial services

Our simple OSA model helps marketers, managers, and business owners identify challenges and opportunities in their current situation, inform their strategy, and take action. As we discuss the latest developments, it can be useful to refer back to these 3 stages of strategic planning for marketing leaders.

Financial services digital opportunities:

  • Digital capability and skills review across RACE
  • Digital contribution review using analytics
  • Set SMART objectives, define KPIs, and create dashboards

Financial services digitals strategy:

  • Review digital TOWS > Key issues summary
  • Define vision for digital brand value
  • Prioritized strategy road-map
  • Governance including People, Process, Technology, Insight

Financial services digital actions:

  • Deploy martech and collect insight
  • Review 90 day action plans and dashboards
  • Optimize using best practices and structured testing

As you can see in the diagram below, a winning strategy is informed by identifying opportunities - such as digital capability and skills review alongside objective setting.

These building blocks empower marketing leaders to set the foundations of a winning marketing strategy. Plus, our step by step RACE Framework and integrated marketing tools supports channel specialists and digital managers to plan, manage, and optimize their marketing activities.

Opportunity Strategy Action

Opportunity: Set the vision for your financial services business

The first stage in supercharging your financial services marketing activities is all about identifying opportunities.

A quick exercise matching the external competitive environment with your internal marketing capabilities and skills will help you identify training gaps, such as our online capability grader and competitor benchmarking.

Moreover, a quick audit of your digital processes and systems will inform the practicalities of what is and isn't possible right now, what is a quick fix, and where you need to develop in the future. We've got digital maturity resources to help you with that too!

Setting objectives and goals for your financial services marketing

Our vision pyramid below demonstrates how individual detail metrics scale up to contribute towards your vision. When identifying opportunities within your financial services digital strategy, make sure to keep the bigger picture in mind. That way, you can track the progress of your strategies and actions towards your company's digital vision.

financial services digitals strategy and vision

As we will see, identifying opportunities, and challenges, for your business is all about using internal and external data and analysis to forecast and prioritize your growth. That's why we recommend using SMART objectives, KPIs, and dashboards to keep on track to fulfil the potential of the opportunities identified.

Is your Financial Services business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now
Learning Paths for marketing teams

This video from Think with Google explains why clarity on marketing objectives is critical in today's age of automation. Ultimately you need to ensure that you are measuring the detail metrics, KPIs and CSFs that are directly contributing to achieving your objectives. Everything else is just vanity metrics.


Identifying your financial services digital strategy opportunities is all about keeping your 'eyes on the prize'. But to do that, you need a crystal clear, dedicated digital strategy.

Strategy: Define your financial services digital strategy

Our 2021 digital marketing maturity benchmarking report found that nearly half of respondents are undertaking digital marketing activities but have no defined digital marketing strategy.

However, from our research and training we know that the best way for marketers to achieve their digital marketing vision is through streamlined, data-driven, integrated marketing.

Clearly, these respondents are missing out on the opportunities of an omnichannel approach - efficient, integrated online and offline channels, digital experiences, and an effective customer journey.

Therefore, in this new competitive landscape, finance marketing and comms strategists must rapidly adapt their digital approach to outpace their competitors and win more customers.

Financial services digital strategy report


Apply the RACE Framework to plan, manage, and optimize your financial services digital strategy

Our RACE Framework summarizes the range of omnichannel communications activities that you'll need to orchestrate in a typical business-to-business industry sector.

We recommend reviewing the gap between the digital marketing opportunities you could deploy and optimize against those you actually use.

RACE framework lifecycle

Successful omnichannel marketing requires a lot of 'moving parts' to work together seamlessly. This may sound challenging, but getting your marketing strategy right will save you time (and money) in the long run. We've got resources dedicated to helping financial services marketing leaders plan, manage, and optimize their digital marketing activities. Find out more.

Is your Financial Services business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now
Learning Paths for marketing teams

Action: Marketing technology

It is probably unsurprising to see marketing technology underpinning digital opportunities, strategies, and actions. Capability and deployment of technology are hot topics for companies planning for business growth, across a number of sectors, but never more so than for the financial services sector right now.

Following their 2020 survey, FS MarTech reported 80% of marketers indicated that data analytics is critical for overall marketing success. 65% of marketers cite inadequate marketing technology among their top three challenges. Stating:

The dynamics of engagement set into motion in 2020 will remain relevant in the years ahead. Yet for many marketing teams, technology capabilities are not on par with evolving industry demands. Marketers must become increasingly fluent in the technologies that drive marketing analytics and digital delivery.

That's where our popular marketing technology growth wheel comes in. We have categorized all the different types of marketing technology you may want to deploy within your marketing strategy into 4 areas - reach, act, convert, and engage.

Financial services digital strategy


Opportunity, strategy, action is a simple 3 step process that will guide and support your financial services digital strategy, to get you the results you need through digital marketing. The plan can be scaled up or down, so it's applicable to individuals, startups, and multinational corporations.

You can revisit OSA to inform ongoing changes and adaptations you need to make to your marketing strategy as the market continues to develop. We've got marketing tools, templates, and training to support you to make data-driven decisions. Get started today.

Is your Financial Services business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now
Learning Paths for marketing teams

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

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