In India, the financial services industry has undergone a huge transformation since the period of 1990s. Before this period, banks catered to different types of customer needs.
There was no competition between the players as there was no overlap in the services provided. Banks at that time were the provider of current accounts, loans, and funds for the business.
Aspects of investments and insurance were handled by specialized brokers. Some of the emerging societies offered services like savings facilities and mortgages. There was no demat of shares.
Even though the financial services industry has seen a great transformation, the ‘marketing techniques have remained the same.
The techniques used are still conservative, passive, and lacking innovation in most cases. The current trends in the market are somewhat different now.
The buzzword now is “brand management” and “customer value.” However, financial services professionals are still employing old and arcane methods of attracting and retaining customers and sales professionals.
This scenario prevails in the majority of the institutional and consumer market, traditional banking space, as well as online brokerages.
There have been some financial service organizations that have tried to learn and copy the more marketing savvy techniques from the consumer marketing space.
There is still much that can beg learned by the financial services industry.
However, financial products differ from consumer products. They differ significantly as products when looked through the lens of product marketing. They also differ from services.
The marketing of financial products is a very complex activity.
For example, when a marketer of FMCG goods targets the customers and does the positioning of the products, he can readily assume that all his products positioned in the market are the same in terms of packaging, feature, weight, attributes, etc.
However, a marketer of a financial product cannot operate with this implicit assumption.
For example, the experience of customers with a certain banking service provider will differ significantly from each other. This is because it depends greatly on the manager, who is catering to them.