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Financial planning & night feeds

Insight • By REGAN ANDERTON • 23 August 2016

Consider this: 84% of British mums say they have final authority over financial decisions for their family.

With such a high percentage, you’d assume that brands have mastered their approach to marketing to new mums, right? Well, not entirely. Brands, particularly those in the financial services sector, have yet to crack the case.

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Social media runs riot, digital is omnipresent, and an endless stream of tweets, status updates and text messages are influencing our buying decisions like never before. In the midst of this turbulent landscape, new mums juggle jobs, pregnancy, raising kids and managing their increasingly busy personal lives. Add financial decisions to the mix and you begin to understand why time is a very precious commodity.

We understand these struggles. In fact, myself and other members of our team have wrestled with them ourselves. Together, let’s unravel a few ways that financial service brands can target new mums, and ultimately add value to their busy lives.

Social influence

Financial services brands need to wake up and realise that new mums are talking, sharing and planning their purchases across a number of social platforms. How does this work? Well, let’s say you’ve got a WhatsApp group full of new or expectant mothers – brands could look to leverage these channels by talking directly to potential customers. Advice, discounts and offers targeted at the right moment could save new parents valuable time and energy.

It’s important to know when to approach new mums with support. Reaching out to a mother one week after childbirth is not the right time to be having a conversation about re-mortgaging (sleep and nappies take priority here!). It might, however, make more sense to start that conversation around the child’s first or second birthday. Why? Well, plans to expand space usually creep into consciousness after a couple of years. Insight combined with understanding is what drives great customer engagement.

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Late nights and midnight feasts

Triggers change as people move through life stages. I remember waking up at 3am on a Sunday night, only to find myself talking about child savings accounts on an NCT WhatsApp group. If I could have set it up then and there from my phone, I would have! I knew that once the first flickering rays of sunshine crept into my room, I’d be on baby entertainment duty for the rest of the day.

Time is easily swallowed up when you’re a new parent, so brands need to think harder and smarter about how to reach these individuals at all hours of the day – even at 3am when you’re having a midnight feast! This is where humanising digital customer service could work in a brand’s favour.

Re-thinking retail environments

Financial services companies can at times appear cold and aloof.

Metro Bank, however, has made a great first step in making its retail branches more family friendly. Staff offer lollies at service desks, stores contain machines that children can pour their savings into, and dog biscuits and water are on offer to those who want to come in with their furry friends.

That’s all great, but is it enough?

I want my financial services brands to provide a more flexible, multi-channel approach to banking in order to truly support me and my new mums network. If customers could begin completing forms online, wouldn’t it be fantastic to simply walk into any branch with an allocated time slot to sign what’s needed? Talk about eliminating hassle.

Re-thinking the retail environment (in conjunction with other channels) will help financial services brands enhance their image and appeal more to the sensibilities of expectant and new parents and young children.

An Aviva case study

It’s always more relevant when you’ve got a case study to back up your argument. Our work with Aviva, for instance, can help shed a spotlight on the importance of understanding your audience and the life stage it’s at.

Aviva life insurance had a one-size-fits-all proposition. As its customers moved through life, their insurance needs and triggers changed with them. The problem? This wasn’t recognised by Aviva. A young family with nursery-age children, for example, has needs that are quite different to parents with teenage kids. The latter are considering university fees, houses for their children and even looking ahead to retirement savings. Younger families, by contrast, have yet to seriously consider those later life-stage necessities.

As a result, we created a life-stage driven programme that recognised each household by age and composition. The key lies in a 360-degree understanding of the emotional and rational considerations of any target group. We increased performance by 17%.

It just goes to show that the same principles are proven to work. The sooner financial services brands catch on, the sooner they’ll be able to deliver targeted messaging that truly speaks to the wants and needs of the decision-makers: new mums.