Financial firms miss £113bn opportunity due to gender bias: report

Financial services firms across the world are missing out on up to £113bn per year by ignoring the wants and needs of female customers, according to a new report published yesterday.

This disregard for tailoring communications for women is “symptomatic of a wider problem” in customer engagement in the sector, according to market research organisation Kantar.

Kantar’s report suggests that financial advertising and marketing strategies fail to communicate trustworthiness, dependability or understanding, particularly to women, 65% of whom report low confidence in their financial institutions, compared with 55% of men.

As a result, huge potential revenue may be lost, as women, who are generally more responsible borrowers than men, report feeling discouraged from using additional financial products, the survey states.

“Financial services companies haven’t always had to worry about reaching out to individual customers, in particular due to the low switching rate between different providers,” said Alon Tvina, Optimove managing director for EMEA.

Stronger client relationships

“But just because a customer hasn’t taken their business elsewhere does not mean banks are offering optimal value to them. To build stronger relationships with clients, banks and insurers will increasingly need to mould their services, and the way they communicate, creating a dialogue tailored to each individual.

“Kantar’s study shows that gender is a big consideration in this, and there are many other differentiating aspects which financial providers can use to understand different types of customer. Account size, spending power and age are major factors that can affect communications.

“All customers are not the same, and financial institutions cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to their relationships.”

Tvina points that with the The Open Banking initiative and the Second Payment Services directive coming in next year, it will make it “much clearer” for customers to see which financial service companies are available to them, and make switching providers simpler.

“The aim is to make the financial services market more competitive, resembling the retail industry much more closely,” Tvina added.

Targeted marketing

“Our research has shown that targeting marketing at more individualised groups of customers, based on their preferences, can raise customer spending in retail by 50%, and these findings may soon become very relevant to banking and insurance too.

“Soon traditional banks and insurers will have to make the most of the data available to them to tailor marketing to their customers, communicating with them in an emotionally-intelligent way to make them feel encouraged and valued as individuals.”

Optimove has offices in New York, London and Tel Aviv, the company has doubled staff and revenues over the past year, and recently secured a US$20M round in growth equity, it said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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