Ever since the advent of the world wide web, the banking industry has faced formidable competition from providers of financial services that have learned to capitalize on the emerging trends and preferences among consumers. It is clear that the banking industry has lagged behind financial services providers such as PayPal, Simple, Green Dot, Xoom, Venmo, and others; however, this is starting to change.

Bankers are realizing that companies providing financial products and services such as title loans, bill payments, payday advances, and money transfers have taken a significant portion of market share by being nimble, agile and visible to their customers. Banking executives also realize that competitors such as E*Trade did not start off as banks; these are entities that enter the financial services as alternative to banks and later end up offering formal banking services.

One of the reasons providers of financial services have taken market share away from banks is that they have used digital marketing very wisely. The banking industry has realized that innovation and clever online marketing can go a long way in attracting customers; to this effect, here are some trends developing in 2017 in relation to the banking and financial services industries:

Mobile Apps

To capture the attention of the Millennial Generation, modern business enterprises need to establish a solid presence in the mobile space, which means that the customer experience must be adjusted to smartphones and tablets. This can be accomplished through mobile apps, responsive web design or a combination of both.

Banks that wish to conquer the mobile space should think about transforming their services into a digital wallet. Members of the Millennial Generation are very attuned to the idea of being able to check their balances, pay bills, transfer money, and make purchases with their smartphones; this is how financial services providers such as PayPal, Venmo and Google Pay have found success.

In the past, banks have debated whether they should enter the mobile space via apps or mobile-friendly websites. Ideally, they should offer both but focus more intently on their mobile apps since they can be a great platform for digital marketing via smartphone notifications.

Real-Time Services and Personalization

The image of banks as big, stuffy and conservative institutions does not fit well within the dynamic world of financial services in the 21st century. Banks need to borrow a page from the marketing books used by Simple, Venmo and PayPal; this means that they have to project a friendlier image through social media channels.

Offering customer service on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter has been very successful for many financial services providers; once customers know that they can get customer service through social networks, they will likely be very receptive to company updates appearing on their social media news feed. This is a great marketing opportunity that banks cannot ignore.

Audience Segmentation

With the help of Big Data and internet analytics, financial services providers can really get to know their customers for the purpose of making their digital marketing efforts more effective.

The goal of segmenting audiences is to create groups that have similar interests so that adequate messages can be crafted. For example, bank customers who are homeowners are more likely to be interested in home equity lines of credit and opportunities for refinancing their existing mortgages.