Beyond information: practical tips for businesses on how to harness the rise of the experience age in Financial Services

Written by Sam Page, Co-Founder and CEO of digital agency 7DOTS

Consumer behavior is undergoing a seismic shift, one that threatens to leave behind financial services brands clinging to outdated norms. We are at the dawn of the “experience age,” where captivating experiences trump mere information overload. 

 
 

This revolution demands a new playbook from financial services brands, traditionally known for a slower pace of adaptation. However, the early adopters have a golden opportunity to connect with today’s experience-driven consumers.

The demise of the Information Age

For the past seven decades, the Information Age has dominated, transforming economies from manufacturing to information technology. Information became the new gold standard, with advancements in IT revolutionising creation, storage, and sharing. This impacted the financial services industry significantly, driving a shift from in-person interactions to a digital landscape. Real-time access to money shrank the globe and accelerated financial activity.

 
 

Digital disruptors, capitalising on this shift, challenged the market with mobile-first products that facilitated faster transactions and information sharing. Yet, this convenience came with a price – information overload. Research from Statista (2022) reveals the average internet user spends nearly seven hours daily bombarded by information. Our collective hard drive has reached capacity. Amidst this digital cacophony, the question becomes: how can financial services brands stand out?

The Rise of the experience economy

A new era in consumer behaviour is emerging, which can be described as ‘the experience age’. Here, knowledge takes a backseat to experience. Consumers are increasingly craving authentic connections, personalisation, and a sense of purpose. This shift is driven by several factors:

 
 

Information overload fatigue

Several studies have shown a correlating link to strain, burnout and various health complaints from digital overload and burnout. Drowning in a sea of information, consumers are seeking out experiences that bring meaning and joy.  

A Shift to values-driven experiences

 
 

Material possessions are losing their grip. Consumers, prioritising personal growth and enriching experiences, are embarking on a self-discovery journey. This is evidenced by the surge in self-help materials, with over 40% of adults actively seeking inner fulfillment.

Furthermore, heightened environmental awareness fuels a desire for brands that align with their values. Consumers are acutely aware of their impact on the planet and seek experiences that enrich their lives without compromising the planet’s resources.

The power of social sharing

Social media platforms are fueling the experience economy with people curating and sharing experiences online, increasingly video first or utilising new technologies like AR. This creates a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing.

 
 

Shifting data ownership

Finally consumers are demanding greater control over their data, forcing companies to focus on creating valuable experiences to earn their trust. The emergence of web 3.0 and new tracking laws means they expect to keep hold of their own data, meaning companies need to work harder and provide better experiences in order to truly engage them. People are particularly sensitive about financial data – subject to particularly rigorous regulation.

Strategies for success in the experience age

 
 

So, how can financial services brands navigate this new landscape and thrive in the experience age? Here are some key strategies:

Craft captivating digital experiences

In today’s digital-first world, finance brands must prioritise creating captivating digital experiences over merely disseminating information. It’s crucial for brands to move beyond dry financial jargon and focus on creating intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Think gamification, personalised dashboards, and educational resources that empower users to make informed decisions. 

 
 

Starling Bank excels in customer experience by blending human-focused service with innovative technology. Their award-winning customer support is available 24/7, staffed by people, not chatbots. Additionally, their user-friendly mobile app prioritises gamification and clear financial data visualisation, making money management engaging and empowering for customers. The experience has been thought of first.

Human-centric finance: Empathy drives experience

The experience age hinges on prioritising the customer. This means adopting a human-centric design approach, where businesses focus on empathy and understanding true needs. Gone are the days of transactional finance; success lies in designing intuitive, accessible, and meaningful products that empower customers. Consistency is key to building trust and creating a seamless experience.

Traditionally, financial services brands have focused solely on transactions, overlooking the deeper aspirations of their customers. Money, after all, is a tool for achieving life goals. Financial institutions that prioritise user-friendly interfaces and personalised services resonate more deeply with customers, like MoneyFarm, a UK wealth management platform that excels with its “people-first technology” approach. 

 
 

By combining user-friendly technology with personalised advice, MoneyFarm empowers customers to achieve their financial dreams. This is the future of finance – prioritising people over transactions.

Align with purpose and values

Today’s consumers are drawn to brands that stand for something bigger. Integrate your values into your brand story and product offerings. Whether it’s financial inclusion, sustainability, or community engagement, highlighting how your brand makes a positive impact. 

 
 

This extends beyond your core audience and is also a crucial way of bringing employees on a journey with you, with purpose being increasingly valued by employees. 

Monzo positions itself as a challenger bank aiming to make banking “feel less like a chore and more like you’re in control.” It realises this through empowering customers through features like budgeting tools and easy account switching. This aligns with financial inclusion by making banking more accessible and user-friendly, particularly for those new to managing finances. This transparency builds trust with customers who might be disillusioned with traditional banks.

Tech-driven personalisation

The shift to an experience-driven market demands innovation. Brands must leverage technology to personalise offerings and continuously iterate based on customer insights.

A culture of experimentation fosters creativity, ensuring continuous improvement in a dynamic landscape. This applies especially to AI, which offers unparalleled potential for personalisation.

Financial services brands should embrace AI to empower customers with a seamless blend of digital and in-person interactions. AI’s superior information processing allows for financial tools that tailor investment advice, budgeting strategies, and loan options to individual needs and goals. Imagine AI-powered assistants crafting personalised financial plans – a true game-changer for the industry.

Building a framework for success

To thrive in the experience age, finance brands need a robust framework that prioritises customer-centricity, digital innovation, ethical considerations, and employee empowerment. By establishing clear goals and strategies within this framework, financial institutions can ensure they are delivering the personalised, meaningful experiences that today’s consumers demand.

The information age may have empowered us with knowledge, but the experience age is about creating memories and connections. Financial brands that embrace this shift and prioritise creating exceptional experiences will forge lasting relationships with their customers. Experience will be the currency of the future. It’s time to invest.

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