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Asian banks, insurers can gain from bolder use of social media, consultant says

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Asian banks, insurers can gain from bolder use of social media, consultant says

Banksand insurers in Asia, according to a digital service consultant, should bebolder in taking advantage of social media as a marketing tool, instead offearing it as a compliance risk.

Manyfinancial firms in Asia remain uncomfortable about engaging customers in socialmedia, as online activities leave everlasting trails that can be used againstthem. But at the same time, an electronic record of consumer behavior can be avaluable sales resource, something digital product marketersat banks andinsurers should highlight to shift attentionfrom concerns about lapses in customer data protection, Matt Dooley, managingdirector at Connected Thinking, a Hong Kong-based consultancy specializing in digital financial services, said at The Asian BankerSummit 2016 in Hanoi.

"Aloan product offered straight to a customer via email can be tracked to see ifit was opened, if an accompanying video was watched for one, or 17, seconds andwhat other embedded links were clicked," Dooleysaid. "This is an examplewhere innovative thinking on compliance aids banks or insurance companies,instead of acting as a barrier or excuse to keep current processes in place."

Employeesat banks and insurers should "immediately" rethink their roles, said Dooley, formerly head of digitalofferings for global commercial banking at HSBC HoldingsPlc.

"Creativityin banks is very low," he said.

Foralmost every function not only at banks but also at insurers, there is afinancial technology venture looking to disrupt processes that have not changedin decades, Dooley said.

"Ifthere is an area of business your bank or insurance firm is even mildlyinefficient at, there's already a fintech [firm] in Asia trying to do it forless and better," he said.

As faras Dooley is concerned, marketing is onesuch area.

"Thisis about customer engagement and going to where the customers are — on socialmedia," Dooley said.

Ultimately,it comes down to a new mindset.

"Banksand insurance companies already have data on many aspects of behavior, but theysee the job of protecting it as more important than using it to offersolutions," Dooleysaid.