There is no risk in planning for digital growth

Financial services is one of the most risk-averse verticals on the planet. While other vertical markets work to exploit risk, financial services executives look to limit it.

And herein lies the paradox.

The same super smart financial executives who work to limit risk on a daily basis are actually engaging in tremendous amounts of risk when it comes to digital growth. Many are proud of the progress they have made to date as they check of tactical items, like:

  • Building a new responsive website
  • Adopting email marketing automation
  • Producing content marketing and blogs
  • Distributing digital ads
  • Managing social media

It has become a predictable pattern for us to find that even with all of this digital activity, very few financial institutions can quantify the results of their digital marketing and sales efforts because they lack a digital growth plan.

In fact, we continue to find 70% – 80% of the more than 100 banks and credit unions who have taken our Quick Digital Marketing Assessment do not have a digital growth strategy. Time and time again financial executives share their feelings of frustrations when it comes to digital growth.

Look, I get it.

Taking time to plan can be tedious and can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s more fun to see the new website design or digital ad. However, it is in implementation where you take on all the risk.

As we move into the fall planning season and start looking towards 2017, consider taking a couple of months to establish a digital growth blueprint as a way to mitigate future risk. And to help you get started on the right path, your blueprint should focus on answering the following nine questions:

  1. Purpose, Goals, and Budget: How do you define your vision for digital growth and the budget you need to achieve your goals?
  1. Consumer Segments: How do you personify key consumer segments you will target for growth?
  1. Product Positioning: How do you position your financial products beyond a list of commoditized features?
  1. Staffing and Processes: How do you determine the staff, training, and processes required for growth?
  1. Consumer Journeys: How do you define digital journeys to guide consumers from awareness to conversion?
  1. Technology Platforms: How do you select the technology platforms you need for digital growth?
  1. StorySelling: How do you establish a process to produce digital content that emotionally connects with consumers?
  1. Distribution Channels: How do you distribute digital content to communicate with consumers throughout their buying journey?
  1. Key Performance Metrics: How do you quantify success with KPMs tied back to your goals for growth?

If you are like the majority of financial institutions, you probably don’t have answers to every question above. That’s why the average financial institution’s digital growth score is 24/100 (click here to find out yours).

But don’t worry because if establishing a digital growth plan was easy, everyone would be doing it. This is why so many financial institutions skip the plan, jump straight into implementation, and then feel frustrated and overwhelmed when they struggle to show digital marketing success.

This fall, make it your priority to document a digital growth blueprint if you don’t have one right now. And if you lack the insight needed to establish your own, a Digital Marketing Bootcamp might be a risk-free way to help you jumpstart your 2017 planning.

Remember, implementation without a plan can cost you valuable time, money, and unnecessary frustration.

You can take comfort knowing there’s no risk to plan for digital growth first. In fact, just by taking the time to invest and establish a digital growth blueprint, you’ll gain the clarity, confidence, and competitive advantage you need to leap ahead of your competition and grow in 2017.

James Robert Lay

James Robert Lay

JAMES ROBERT LAY is one of the world’s leading digital marketing authors, speakers, and advisors for financial brands. As the founder and CEO of the Digital Growth Institute, he ... Web: Details