Financial services companies in the Middle East are finally warming up to the new-age, digital marketing strategies.
It’s not surprising considering the fact that most of the next generation of advisors and affluent are digital-first individuals. They have grown up with digital devices and spend more time online than any other generation before them.
So, it’s only natural that in order to cater to these digital-native HNIs and UHNIs, financial services firms must adopt omnichannel digital strategies that will put them right where the audience is – online.
The pressing need for digital marketing
Although not new to digital marketing platforms, financial institutions are known to have a discreet online presence. And we are not just talking about social media or video content creation, even the websites for financial institutions serve little more than giving an introduction to the company.
Firms that were the first to adopt a digital presence wanted to do so to gain a competitive advantage but today, it’s no longer a luxury – it has become essential to business growth.
With the right digital marketing strategy, they can drive the business forward and experience a clear and direct impact on the development of the industry.
That’s not all, a successful digital marketing strategy can also assist in financial inclusion in the region. With an omnichannel presence, financial institutions can deliver services to people who can’t leave their homes or find it difficult to travel frequently.
There’s a huge opportunity for established financial institutions and fintech companies in the UAE to penetrate the market through digital outreach. And the good news is that regulators are willing to create the necessary legal frameworks for sustainability and innovation in the industry.
There’s no time like now for financial institutions to migrate to digital platforms.
UAE is a thriving market and it’s the right time to innovate
The UAE market has shown resilience and capacity for innovation and growth, especially in the last couple of years. The country was able to adapt quickly to the recent economic challenges posed by the pandemic, climate change, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
With a huge capital at its disposal, the country can empower the people to educate themselves on financial well-being and create a user-friendly environment for economic prosperity.
However, marketing strategies for financial services demand a unique approach as people’s livelihoods and their future plans are at stake. There are a lot of risks involved in transactions which is why the digital interactions between, say, an investor and an advisor cannot completely happen over a chat application.
That’s why there’s a clear need to establish the right objectives for digital marketing before building the right strategy.
Some of the most important objectives for financial institutions are:
Consistent messaging across all digital channels and being direct, honest, and clear in communication can help these firms establish trust with their customers.
With the right user journeys, reliability can be conveyed to the customers at every touchpoint during a transaction.
As digital transactions involve a lot of data sharing, some of which is extremely personal to the customers, it’s crucial for financial companies to ensure the safety and security of user data.
Unlike other industries, emotional manipulation, sensationalism, or exaggeration cannot work for financial institutions. Any misleading information shared by a financial institution with its customers can potentially harm or hinder the customers’ financial status.
Why do financial institutions in the UAE need a unique approach?
The UAE is home to highly influential and affluent families, businesspeople, and organizations. The income disparity in the country is unlike any other country – you would easily find people of different income levels across the country.
Financial institutions would need to classify and balance the target audience by tailoring the messaging and tactics for different categories. They need to build the right personas and offer the products or services that are most relevant to them.
Moreover, the literacy rates in the country are low despite advancements in technology and education. This creates an information vacuum that needs to be filled before people can be offered financial products and services. This can be achieved with a planned-out content strategy that’s targeted at educating the customer, rather than selling to them.
With the growing trends in video content, webinars and explainer videos would be an appropriate choice for educating the audience. Simultaneously, blogs, whitepapers, and social media can be used to share bits of information to engage the audience on a constant basis. The more information is accessible to the masses, the more the probability of people being accepting of the financial messaging shared by the firms.
Lastly, digital transformation is booming in the country, especially in the financial sector. With digital banks and fintech startups reaching out to traditional financial service providers, there’s already a desire to go digital faster.
Key traits of the UAE market
The UAE market is huge and highly diverse which makes it a favorite among marketers. The potential to maximize brand reach and awareness is incomparable. Despite having grown exponentially in the last couple of decades, the country is still growing, emerging more and more potent each year, by international standards.
Here are a few key points to consider:
Banking was among the highest ad spending sector in the UAE last year. As financial institutions realize the potential of digital platforms, they are more than willing to invest good money into the platforms and run ads with the objective to generate leads and increase brand awareness.
The UAE has seen rapid adoption of technology in the last few years, and if the reports are to be believed, the smartphone penetration in the region will reach 80% by the end of 2025. This means as the adoption speeds up, marketers have the opportunity to reach the right target audience in time to align them with their digital presence.
People, in general, are more tech-savvy in the region as compared to their neighbor counterparts. In particular, there’s a growing number of young investors and affluent individuals who are digital-native in essence and are far more equipped with digital solutions than their predecessors. Moreover, this new generation is more accepting of digital currencies and other non-traditional financial services which opens doors for marketers.
People from around the world migrate to the UAE to make more money in a short span of time. A people-friendly policy in the country has enabled individuals to accumulate large sums of money and are more willing to invest. Wealth management marketers need to identify and target these ex-pat groups and create messaging around their specific needs.
The UAE has multiple jurisdictions with their own set of regulations and compliance which makes it seem difficult or complex to market financial services in the region. However, the good news is that regulators like Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) offer very clear guidelines for all financial products to guide marketers.
Top 4 Digital Marketing Strategies for Financial Services
Based on the goals and objectives of digital marketing, financial institutions can adopt any of the available marketing strategies. The most effective strategy would seamlessly be integrated with the firm’s sales strategy and adhere to the guidelines and constraints set forth by the regulators and content publishers alike.
The four most important strategies for financial institutions are:
1. Market penetration strategy
When your goal is to increase market share by promoting products and services or seek opportunities to increase the size of average accounts or reduce customer churn, this marketing strategy would fit you perfectly.
2. Market development strategy
With this strategy, there’s always an inflow of new leads and nurturing of prospects, eventually leading them to conversion. Although it sounds a little direct, it is anything but. It takes consistent effort in reaching out to the target audience that you have not yet reached.
3. Product development strategy
When it comes to product development strategy, the objective is to optimize and improve the customer experience with a product. This is usually done by a close collaboration between marketing teams, brand marketers, and performance marketers who create a closed feedback loop with the customer, inviting quick feedback and updating in fast succession, enhancing the customer experience to create value for the users. Product marketers also contribute to designing new financial products by understanding the gaps and needs of the users.
This strategy involves a thorough understanding and careful execution of market research, testing, and planning.
4. Diversification strategy
There are two types of diversification strategies – offensive and defensive. It could be defensive when there’s an ongoing risk or crisis and the narrative needs to be diverted from it. This helps dissolve the risk while there are no more opportunities for growth. An offensive strategy, on the other hand, is when marketers identify and win over new expansion opportunities to increase profitability and assist in growth.
A marketing strategy does not end with its implementation, it’s only getting started. For a strategy to be successful, it needs to be consistently monitored. It’s critical to keep making adjustments to pivot the strategy closer to the objective.
What strategy should you adopt?
In a country as diverse as the UAE where millions of people from different financial and educational backgrounds reside and work together, speaking to the masses is losing your voice and losing a chance to convert prospects into leads.
Start by building rapport with the existing customers and generating social equity. Humanize your brand and communicate your messages as an actual human would. People appreciate companies who are genuine in their approach and humane in their communication. With a careful understanding of the culture and values of a group, create communication that’s sensitive to their values and resonates with them at a deeper level.
Most successful campaigns have an in-depth personal understanding as their guiding force. Moreover, a clear understanding of who you are talking to will help you conceptualize and create ideas and messages that are more meaningful and likely to work.
With that in mind, financial institutions need to adopt all 4 strategies in a collective and collaborative format. A combination of all 4 strategies will give you an opportunity to tap at different touch points of customer interaction, hammering the audience with your key messages and improving brand recall.
As their counterparts, financial institutions must constantly innovate and evolve themselves with their customers. For that to happen, the marketing strategy must be integrated with a social listening or market analysis strategy that provides the necessary insights into the lives of your customers.
Marketing practices that financial institutions must adapt to make their strategy effective:
- Blog Posts
- Search Engine Optimization
- Performance Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Online Customer Communication
- Video Content
- Digital Signage
- OOH Advertising
- Digital Reward Programs
- Strategic Partnerships
- Community Initiatives
- Outbound Marketing Activities
An effective marketing strategy, enhanced with consistent and comprehensive content creation can work wonders for a financial institution, especially at a time when digitization is just opening its doors. Companies who will be quick to adopt social media and other online marketing avenues will find success faster and will have the biggest possibility of engaging their audience first.
Interested in learning more about how financial institutions can attract and approach a digital-native audience? Get our latest whitepaper “Top 5 Touchpoints For Engaging Digital-Native Advisors”. Download it here: https://www.thegotoguy.co/wealth-management.html
About The Go-To Guy!
The Go-To Guy! is a creative branding and marketing agency that builds memorable brand identities, activates online presence, and enhances brand engagement to help companies grow online, offline, and across multiple platforms.