Value: Do You Add or Extract?


The financial services sector, and specifically banks, has been attracting attention for being among the business categories that are set up to extract value instead of adding it.

A few months ago, I had to go in and speak with an adviser at my own bank, sign papers and provide proof that I am who I say I am, even though that was set up in the system and they had invited me in, so that I could access a better interest rate.

Imagine making your clients come to your office and sit through a presentation of all the things they could buy from you just to have an incremental tweak in their deliverable.

Fiona McAnena provides an even stronger example:

Imagine that you’re at the checkout at Tesco. As your can of baked beans
goes through the scanner, the helpful assistant says: “Did you know we
have these for 10p less?”

“Great – charge me less, then,” you say.

“It doesn’t work like that,” says the assistant. “You have to say you
want it cheaper, and you have to pick up the right can. I’ve let you
know you can get them cheaper – it’s up to you to go back up to aisle 74
and get the cheaper one.”

The con of giving up countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals
and anniversary dinners willingly to work on the creative campaigns for the commercials that promote a sort of "savings watch" is on par with the product itself — more text, emails, and calls from the bank trying to get you to drive to the branch, and sit with an adviser so you can become a customer again.


Another application of formulas:

It appears that the more regulated the sector, the greater the pressure
on marketers to operate according to sector rules – formal and informal –
and not to rethink or repackage their offerings to match consumer
understanding or preferences.

Over-regulated? Feel like your hands are tied? How about starting with gaining a better understanding of what your customers are trying to do?

User understanding is a good start. Some financial institutions like BlackRock have been taking stock of their social media assets, employees.

We see this with many businesses that have grown over the years and added onto their web sites over time without rethinking or redesigning the customer journey.

Site navigation becomes too complex to serve what it should be designed to do — get people to their destinations quickly, content is all over the map, and ofter there is too much of it, and so on.

A list for financial services marketers to consider (from the article):

  • be the voice of the customer
  • listen to feedback — (elicit the) good and bad
  • develop bold visions — how is your customer's life better with you?

True marketing adds value:

True marketing means reframing your propositions to be relevant to your
target audience, in language they understand, and to appeal to what they
already believe and value.

How does your organizations make decisions? If customers are not at the center, why not? Make a powerful statement, lead by action, help the business connect the dots.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.