Welcome to the brave new world of Financial Marketing 3.0. It’s a world in which the products and services we represent are increasingly being challenged by the financial apps users download and the social communities they choose to join. This shift is transforming what we market from a thing or a place into an action or experience—from a noun into a verb.
“It’s not about going to the bank; it’s about banking.”1
Brett King writes extensively about this accelerating transformation in his 2013 book, “Bank 3.0.”2 While his focus is on the trends impacting banking, we believe his observations on technology-driven disintermediation can be seen as coming attractions for the rest of the financial services industry. The reason: Many of the trends and pain points from the consumer side of banking apply—from the general level of distrust and lack of transparency to the perception of high fees and a tendency to cling to outmoded processes that do not reflect the 24/7 instant-access-to-answers world we live in.
Josh Reich, the CEO and co-founder of Simple, a virtual bank, recently told Forbes that the impetus for founding his company was, “We wanted to build this modern lifestyle brand that relies on new technology to help customers feel more at ease with what is going on with their money.”3
Putting people at ease with what is going on with their money goes to the very core of the 3.0 environment.
The Simple Approach
The proliferation of person-to-person lending sites, along with sites like Motif.com or Betterment and Wealthfront in the investment and advisory areas, indicates that disintermediation is plentiful and growing throughout the financial services industry.
Like the virtual banks, these new entrants address the transparency investors crave. They offer lower fees and provide ongoing access to the information—and the support—needed to make more informed decisions about personal finances, retirement planning and investments. In short, by putting people at ease with what is going on with their money, they’ve thrown open the door to reestablishing trust…but in a new format, a more accessible and sociable format.
Where does all of this leave marketers of traditional financial services?
Marketing 3.0 is about more than tweeting, blogging and posting. It is about finding opportunities that will actually lead to prospects engaging with your brand and paying fees to access hard-won expertise and valued products that fit in with their lifestyles.
Being a 3.0 marketer means realizing that:
- It’s about sharing information, helping to educate and earning the opportunity to be trusted.
- It’s about identifying the message your target will respond to—messages that help them make smarter decisions about their money.
- It’s about telling your story wide and deep, across many different platforms, simultaneously.
But mainly, it’s about finding ways to demonstrate that your firm is dedicated to putting your clients at ease with what is going on with their money.
Financial Marketing 3.0, after all, isn’t so much an evolution of how we work but a revolution in how we connect with clients.
In coming months, we will focus on the forms of change underway to better understand them and their impact on what we do. Throughout this series, our goal will be to help you upgrade your own approach to this new, 3.0 marketplace and identify new ways of approaching, connecting with and serving your ultimate market, whether they are financial professionals or individuals.
For more information on how Blue Flame Thinking can help you capitalize on the new realities of the financial services industry, contact Steve Schmieder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-327-5120.
Join us soon for part two of our series: “Is the Millennial Mindset Spreading?”
 Brett King, Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go, but Something You Do, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
 Samantha Sharf, “Simple CEO on How a Bank Can Be a Brand You Love,” forbes.com, posted Sept. 4, 2014, retrieved Sept. 11, 2014.