Your Math Teacher Was Wrong and What It Means For Digital Banking


Math class and digital banking - image via WikicommonsIn math class, teachers always used to say, “You’ve got to memorize this formula because you won’t always have a calculator in your pocket!” The lesson behind this adage isn’t totally lost today (it’s still important to be able to do things by hand when learning), but the premise is now false: We have calculators everywhere we go.*

3 in 5 people own a smartphone and 90% of Americans own a cell phone period. These numbers are only growing.

I don’t need to tell you that the way we access information and how we relate to the world has changed dramatically. When was the last time you memorized a phone number, let alone the quadratic equation? Info organization has become more important than info memorization. Search engines have become ubiquitous technology because they organize information so well.

Being able to search for, and locate, what you need to know, out of every website, every bit and byte of data on the internet, is a skill-set endemic to Gen Y and burgeoning upwards to older generations.

This means big things for digital banking.

Banks and credit unions are increasingly dealing with people who are more connected and who are looking for answers online. Our access to info and our ability to parse that info is unprecedented in the entirety of human civilization.

So how can banks and credit unions adapt to a world with a calculator in every pocket and the Internet in every home? They need to get organized when it comes to information.

content marketing and digital banking

People are looking for answers to their financial questions. For every customer trying to plan for their child’s college fund, there’s one trying to plan for retirement.

If a financial institution can organize simple, easy-to-read answers on every financial topic under the sun, it has a huge opportunity for sales. If you get answers to your customers right when they need them, they are 5 times more likely to buy your products compared to direct marketing. Teach people to fish and they’ll want to buy their bait from you.

If you can provide organized, easy-to-understand, relevant info to your customers, on all sorts of financial topics, they’ll want to buy from you. Help people find the financial answers they’re urgently looking for.

As people have started to do more banking online, they’re in touch with their bank/CU more frequently. However, most of these interactions are just transactional. Easy-to-understand content on important financial topics can be the digital bridge that connects customers to salespeople.

People are looking for answers online. They’re trying to find a source they can trust that has the answers they need. Why shouldn’t that be their financial institution? As more customers move to online banking, banks/CUs have the opportunity to establish their brands as resources for information.

Nowadays, people expect to be able to pull answers out of their pocket — banks and credit unions should help make that happen.

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*Your math teacher was probably right about everything else though!