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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 26, 2022 • Issue 22:12:02

GS Book Notes: Banking on digital growth

Our collective journey from paper-based transactions to digital, omnichannel commerce has been powered by technology solutions designed to remove friction, improve security and enhance the customer experience. Financial institutions have heeded the call to accelerate digital journeys but could grow faster with strategic focus, stated James Robert Lay, author of Banking on Digital Growth: The Strategic Marketing Manifesto to Transform Financial Brands.

At issue, from Lay’s perspective, is a tendency for banks to conflate the delivery side of services, such as mobile and online banking, with sales, marketing and growth-related activities. His book offers course corrections for this and other traditional viewpoints in an effort to help service providers compete and remain relevant in a digital-first world.

“This book defines digital growth as a systematic process, centered on the modern consumer journey, that unites marketing, sales, operations, and IT teams around the following goals: (a) increasing website traffic, (b) generating and nurturing leads and (c) converting those leads into loans and deposits,” he wrote.

Digital-first framework

Ideally speaking, a modular digital-first strategy enables participants to use one or several components, Lay stated, without having to adopt an entire set of guidelines. The foundational attributes of his 12-part Digital Growth Blueprint and strategic marketing manifesto can be used either independently or collectively, as follows:

  • Establish a foundation for growth: Positioning products, understanding consumer behavior, setting growth goals and learning from past examples are part of the initial building process.
  • Build a digital growth engine: Building websites that sell, maximizing marketing techniques, mapping digital customer journeys and avoiding common digital pitfalls help bring concepts to life.
  • Maximize digital growth potential: In the actualization stage, financial institutions need to prove the value of their marketing plans, promote content solely to guide people, produce content that helps first, and become an overall helpful and empathetic guide.

Most importantly, Lay emphasizes that these plans take time to execute and urges readers to follow the framework without becoming distracted or abandoning hope. Forget about perfection and follow the plan as best you can, he stated, because it takes time to break free from legacy marketing and sales systems built around bank branches.

Automation, AI

High on the list of advanced and emerging technologies cited in the book are automation and artificial intelligence, which Lay noted, tend to strike fear in people who are concerned that robots may someday replace their jobs. These fears are stoked by mainstream media, while the reality about automation and AI is far more nuanced, he added.

“Think about all the jobs yet to come because of this technology,” he wrote. “There’s so much we can’t even begin to fathom. Think about all you’ll be able to do. This is what it means to move from a legacy mindset into a growth mindset.”

Lay went on to suggest that financial services stakeholders should be excited by the massive opportunities automation and AI create. Mundane, manual tasks will be in our rearview mirrors, and we’ll have more time to learn and think in a digital-first world, he predicted. This world will need humans more than ever, he added, to guide people beyond financial stress to a bigger, better and brighter future. end of article

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