Are marketing technologies in the finance industry a hit or miss?

Marketing technologies (Martech) have been around for the past few years but their presence have become even more prominent in today’s digital age. The marketing industry itself has evolved and penetrated multiple industries including the financial sector. But are banks and financial institutions across the world able to make use of Martech in their marketing techniques and innovate their user-experiences (UX) and interactivity (UI) of their products?


What is Martech?

The marketing industry today requires technology that will facilitate the interaction with customers on various digital platforms. With the proliferation of technology, marketers have had to adapt to remain relevant and focus on the digital presence of brands to retain consumers. In order to keep up with changing consumer behaviours and evolving online channels, marketers have deployed Martech to manage everything from email, social, advertising and even applications.

Today, marketers are bringing technologies together in a ‘Martech stack’ to create an integrated series of tools that allows financial institutions and banks to build customer relationships across multiple channels simultaneously. A Martech stack is a collective of different technologies from a number of different teams that is brought together to attract and retain customers in the most efficient way possible.

Martech has created a platform for companies to engage in a one-to-one, personalised relationship with their customers which has helped to improve the customer experience, resulting in high brand loyalty. This has led to greater investments within marketing automation, customer-relationship management (CRM) technologies, business intelligence and e-commerce to meet the needs of their customers online, in particular for the banking sector. The industry on a whole has since become increasingly competitive in the way they innovate their products and marketing strategies.


What are the top Martech trends that are shaping the financial sector?

Below are a few global trends in Martech that financial firms should take note of to stay competitive in the industry:

  1. Building and leveraging on Martech stacks

Banking departments today face unprecedented pressure to build and leverage on Martech stacks. In large companies like DBS, their consumer brand marketing team branches off into different areas such as data acquisition and management, content creation, SEO and social media. As such, industry marketers in the financial sector are becoming stack managers by shadowing IT experts and spending more time on technology implementation apart from focusing on the messaging, creative development or customer research – all in a move to improve the customer journey with the brand.

  1. More Martech startups moving to Singapore

Singapore has always been an attractive hub for startups due to its fertile ground for technological innovation and ample funding from social enterprises and the state. Anna Gong, CEO and founder of Singapore-based Perx Technologies is an example of a Martech startup that moved her company headquarters back to Singapore from Silicon Valley. Perx Technologies enable businesses with a next-generation customer engagement and loyalty SaaS (software as a service) integrated solution. This does not only help with automating and unifying complex marketing and customer data management processes, but also help with achieving new revenue streams that they were not able to achieve with their existing solutions or marketing agencies.

Having more Martech start-ups in Singapore will give rise to more partnership opportunities for banks to tap into their expertise. For instance, banks will have the chance to partner with SaaS start-ups to implement a next-generation customer engagement and loyalty integrated solution. Today, we can see that artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled customer engagement and loyalty platform provider are powering big brands such as HSBC, Prudential, UOB, and Digi.


  1. Crafting unique customer experiences with tailored touchpoints

Martech will continue to enhance and personalise experiences to suit the individualised needs of consumers. As more banks continue to focus on redefining customer journeys, user experiences and interactivity (UX/UI) will need to be optimised to ensure customer satisfaction. 

In January, DBS launched Sparks Studio at their headquarters to serve as a "production studio by day, communal hub by night” as an interactive touchpoint for communities to gather and network. In addition to the importance of a strong digital presence, there is a need for physical human interaction for customers to visualise their customer journey. This is termed the 'phygital' (physical plus digital) experience and stresses the need for consistency and credibility of data, in areas such as messaging and the customer's experience. This initiative ties in nicely with the modern customer's growing demand for transparency, which is one of the values that DBS commits themselves to in all operations of their service. DBS reported in content.co’s article that 66% of consumers choose brands who share their values.

  1. Big data and AI

Similar to other industries like retail or even technology companies such as Apple and Google, AI will soon become an indispensable tool in marketing and UX/UI. This is specifically relevant when the UX needs to be ‘humanised’ on digital platforms. AI can map out user behaviours with predictive analytics in real-time to enhance the UX while removing low-value and repetitive tasks.

Though AI technologies like machine learning, chatbots, robots, voice recognition and other systems are gaining momentum – the growth seems to be gradual. However, AI is expected to enhance content findability and reachability of data due to its ability to analyse all queries made on customers search engines. AI can also collect more user analytics, identify trends and generate richer findings to tailor their services to consumers’ behaviour.


What are the drawbacks of Martech?

As with any technology, Martech is likely to bring along a few teething issues when it comes to optimisation at its early stages. But how can we manage its limitations? We note below some of these challenges:

  1. Optimisation and tech roadblocks

While Martech has improved a lot in the recent years, various mobile applications for instance still require regular updating. These updates are often required before a specific task can be performed or before an application can be used any further. As such, this can impede the UX and ultimately brand loyalty.

  1. Privacy concerns

The pervasiveness of data collection along with advanced analytic capabilities could potentially result in consumer privacy violations and data breaches. While Martech has been regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rollout last year, various Martech technologies still require the support implementation of strong security controls. Maintaining a security baseline may therefore be more challenging as Martech proliferates.

  1. Understanding customers’ needs

Understanding customers’ needs is not limited to quantitative or qualitative research. A brand or company has to engage with their customers frequently whilst listening to their needs and concerns actively. Marketers would therefore need to walk that fine line between embracing the opportunities that come along with Martech and digital innovation as well as retaining the humanised interaction with consumers. 


What is your take on Martech and how do you think it’ll evolve within the financial sector?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’d like to find out more about the latest industry trends and how Martech has impacted certain organisations within the banking and financial sector, please get in touch with us at [email protected] or follow us on Linkedin for more updates. 

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