Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mobile Banking Usage from Synergistics

Synergistics - a top tier supplier of syndicated research to financial institutions that I have been turning to for over 25 years - pegged mobile banking subscriptions at about 16% or one in 7 households in mid-summer 2010.

This is based on 42% aware of such services, and 40% of those signing up.  Those who say mobile is their primary means of banking is only about 4%, which fits very well with other consumer research on this.

How many actually used the service last month is unknown, but probably remains in single digits.

What is amazing here is that 40% of respondents did not know whether their bank offered mobile banking services, an astoundingly large number that speaks to

A) Continuing consumer unfamiliarity and
B) Ineffective or absent bank communications.

The prior year, Synergistics pointed out that small business was moving faster on mobile devices in general, and that this was an obvious place for a bank to focus its early efforts.

At that time, 24% were already using smartphones, and among these, 2/3 were doing mobile banking (16% of all businesses).

More interestingly, they were engaged in a wide variety of activities.  While balance inquiry led the way (52%) - as it did with ATM and ARU adoption earlier - 42% made a balance transfer or a card payment.  Also a hopeful sign is that nearly half received an e-mail from their bank on a mobile device, and about 1/3 sent one.
Genie Driscoll of Synergistics spells it all out.  “One of the foremost trends in banking right now is mobile banking and payments, and, with a few notable exceptions, the consumer seems to be the focus of most marketing activity, as well as trade press coverage.  However, our survey shows some very impressive activity taking place in the small business market.  There has been significant adoption of mobile banking and payment activities by small businesses.  Providers, in focusing on consumer marketing of mobile services, would do well not to neglect these significant small business adopters.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mobile Banking Wave Reaches Critical Mass

My good friend Ron Stratman is the marketing director of the California Credit Union.  Being a Mizzou boy born and bred and all the way through, we frequently enjoy a Missouri style BBQ lunch at the Bear Pit, which is in Mission Hills near RPM's offices.

For the past 5 years, Ron has always asked over lunch, always - where are we with mobile banking?  The answer always has been, not there yet, usage is minimal, under 5% penetration, though it's an influential, desirable 5%.

Well buddy, looks like this is The Year.

Nielsen reported at CES 2011 that 31% of all U.S. mobile subscribers now have smartphones, and that may hit as high as 50% by year end.  And this smarphone market is Huge - already, according to Nielsen Mobile Media View study, there are over 83 million people accessing the web from a phone - more households than have HDTV, or digital cable.  IDC reports in their IDC Financial Insights’ United States Consumer Channel Preference Survey that mobile banking usage doubled in 2009 and skews - young, male and upscale.

Young, male, and upscale is exactly where smartphone growth is going.  Today, women talk more (28% more according to Nielsen) and text more - but as sports content begins to take its place alongside movie, TV and videos (and social networking), more and more men are going to pick up smartphones as soon as they discover they are sports information machines, capable of delivering everything from live broadcasts to Albert Pujol's lifetime stats by voice query.

And when sports content hits mobile and intelligent TVs and set top boxes, that 4% of Cord Cutters that have dumped cable TV for broadband only will explode in ways, it was clear at CES, that many traditional players are not ready for.

Today, Nielsen reports that E-Mail (39%) and Social Networking (11%) represent about half of all mobile internet time spent.  News and Current Events, only 7% - add sports, and They Will Come.

And Mobile Banking - which is still a very small niche - will, too.

So Ron, and all you bank marketers out there, it is time to leverage online banking efforts into mobile banking efforts and brace for The Smartphone Explosion as we head for broad, mainstream adoption of the smartphones that will empower mobile banking in 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Alphaboomers Defy Traditional Bank Marketing

Nielsen's State of the Media 2010 presentation in the Media Money Makers track at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas shook some worlds - maybe yours.

If your bank relies on segmentation models that focus more on lifecycle per se than on lifecycle's role in lifestyle, you may be about to make the biggest mistake you ever made.

What was formerly the "Preretired" lifecycle - ages 55-64 - is now strongly influenced if not dominated by Alphaboomers, Nielsen's coinage for 55-64 year olds that consume media - old, new and cutting edge alike - like teenagers.  In the past, once consumers reached the age of 50 to 55, they fell off entertainment radar completely, and their financial concerns turned to thoughts (and worries) about retirement.

Now, if you market to Alphaboomers as if they were Preretired - because you are considering lifecycle outside the broader context of lifestyle - you will be so far off base you will go backwards for every marketing dollar so misspent.

All these years, I thought I was the only one who failed to grow up.  How comforting it is to know that I have so much company as a 56 year old with a feature phone, a smartphone, a tablet, a work notebook and an entertainment one, a desktop PC, 3 internet/PC connected TVs, a DVR, a Blu Ray set-top box and a presence on Twitter and Facebook (and My Space for the music stuff).

Cultural factors, and health and wellness, have turned us into one megaspending cohort, 55-64 - much more concerned with enjoying the time of our lives when we still, for the most part, have not only the means but the health.  Increasingly, the health and wellness of people - of customers and prospects - will find its way into RPM's financial models and data like MarketBank.  The healthier the older household, the more financial services they will consume that hit the bottom line, not just liabilities (like hot money CDs) as in the past.

This Nielsen presentation was Killer!  Even Nielsen themselves will need to step up to the findings.  More to come on changing media habits and how we expect them to change retail banking and the ways we analyze customers and markets.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oracle Unveils Glimpse of the Future of CRM at CES 2011

The future of CRM is delivering business intelligence that can be used at the moment of truth where customers interact with service staff and systems - for a bank, that is branch, phone, web, mobile. 

This was the key takeaway from today's compelling Oracle presentations at the Oracle High Tech Summit at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. 

More on this in the days to come - it was among the richest conferences I've ever attended in terms of solid thinking about data management architectures for CRM and real-world business cultural implications of same in a very short period of time (6 hours).

Using the APOS Location Intelligence Solution for ESRI, RPM has developed just such an application.  For call centers and branch staff, it provides an at-a-glimpse map that suggests logical cross and up sales; mobile and on the PC, business rules do the same thing transparently.

Just one problem, we are ahead of the market, and ahead of our business partners, too.  Traditionally, business intelligence was for Analysts.  Now, we are driving it to the POS and moments of truth.  This challenges everyone to step up to the new model.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dynamics Card Selected A Best Innovation at CES 2011

The computer-on-a-card from Dynamics, Inc. is a REALLY smart smart card.  The smartest ever!  It is essentially a computer in a credit card form factor, with all those possibilities as a payment card.

Dynamics’ core technology, Card 2.0®, is a paper-thin, flexible computing platform in a payment card form factor. The device features Electronic Stripe™, the innovation -- a fully card-programmable magnetic stripe.

The Electronic Stripe™ can be read at any current POS terminal. It is designed to be as durable as a traditional payment card and last over four years on a single battery charge. That the technology does not require any change to the 60 million 1970s-era magnetic stripe readers is a huge plus - this was not a significant barrier to past generations of smart cards that required replacing the old mag stripe tech - it was an insurmountable barrier.

Payment systems evolve, and Dynamics knows that, and continues to expand upon and improve its technology - but will smart cards ever be inexpensive enough to deploy vs. mag stripes and their terminals deployed so ubiquitously in the U.S.?

Sure.  Citi for one has been experimenting pretty aggressively.

Just don't hold your breath.  This is decidedly not Australia, where electronic banking has evolved far faster than it has stateside.

More on this and other developments in electronic and mobile banking from the CES at the incredible Venetian in Las Vegas.