5 Top Financial Technology Trends

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz in the financial services space over the quick and radical changes in the sector brought about by its shift to a new, digital model that will fundamentally transform everything.

In this piece, we take a look at the trends shaping the financial services industry to bring you up to speed on events.

  1. Digital Transformation

Our world is becoming very tech-inclined with a growing reliance on technology and online resources. This, coupled with increased competition from fintech and regtech firms whose business model revolves around a variety of new technologies has forced traditional financial institutions to invest in digital technologies to remake processes and become more efficient.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain

AI and Blockchain continue to expand the frontiers of technology, enabling companies to solve even harder problems and disrupt the financial services landscape with huge competitive advantages. AI, for one, is taking the financial services industry by storm.

Several financial services firms now rely on artificial intelligence to cut cost, save time, and add value. For instance, wealth management institutions now use robo-advisors to analyze and understand client investment, spending, and general behavior regarding money management so they can customize the advice offered to customers.

Similarly, the blockchain, the technology which runs cryptocurrencies, continues to power innovation in the financial services sector. It offers an opportunity to speed up and simplify cross-border payments, ensure greater trade accuracy, improve online identify management, and ensure transparency in financial operations.

Through smart contracts, transactions and agreements are executed automatically once the conditions coded in them are satisfied. This help eliminates the need for an intermediary and leads to a reduction in cost.

  1. Digital-Only Banks Influence in the Financial World Continues to Grow

Digital-only banks and fintech companies are threatening to replace traditional banks as the focal point of the banking experience. As technological advancements continue to expand and consumers become more comfortable using the internet, their expectations for instant and straightforward digital interactions will continue to increase.

By their very nature, digital-only banks possess the tools necessary to offer consumers what they expect and prefer. Not operating from any physical location means they attract low transaction cost, which allows them to distribute resources better to provide customer experiences that are uniquely differentiated.

For instance, DBS Bank, a Marina Bay-based digital-only bank offers up to 7% interest rates on savings accounts, unlimited access to ATMs, zero balance requirements, etc., all of which can be difficult for legacy organizations to provide.

  1. Big Data Continues to Drive Modern Business Operations

Organizations continue to find new ways to leverage big data. This data now enables companies to create real competitive advantages by providing large amounts of information to assist with their research, marketing, etc. It is predicted that the Internet of Things will make big data even bigger by providing plenty of storage space as well as by offering the big data itself.

  1. Banks and Financial Institutions Embrace Cloud-Based Offering

Cloud innovation has been a thing in the financial services industry for a while now. However, it wasn’t until recently that banks started to embrace it. The innovation was generally not well received by traditional banks due to security issues. Brick and Mortar institutions feared that entrusting data to cloud will make it more susceptible to hacks.

Today, however, the technology is becoming more widely accepted, as banks now use cloud computing for non-critical functions like email, human resource, customer relationship management (CRM), customer analytics, as well as for development and testing.

Businessman hand working with a cloud computing diagram on the new computer interface as concept

 

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Digital Branding: How it Can Help Your Business

Advantages of Digital Branding

One of the fastest ways entrepreneurs can grow their business is to utilize online and digital mediums. Search engine, blog or content, social media, video, audio, etc., are some of the tools that can help you promote your business effectively and give you the visibility you need to improve your bottom line.

What Really is Digital Branding?

Digital branding is a modern marketing strategy that is adopted by businesses to woo customers online. It includes the use of online marketing techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media channels, paid digital advertising, etc.

Digital branding is the bedrock of modern marketing. It gives organizations a broader reach regarding being read and seen by the mass public in different parts of the world, enabling businesses to build a digitally visible presence.

How Digital Branding Can Help Your Business

Digital branding is a savvy business strategy which when used correctly, can improve your business and help you to stay a step ahead of the competition. Here’s how:

  • Digital branding gives you an avenue to build customer loyalty and take advantage of opportunities: Digital branding provides organizations with a powerful technique to better connect with their target audiences, follow market trends, as well as respond to market needs. Engaging your target audiences enables you to build customer loyalty and drive client demand.
  • Reach more people: The advent of the internet means that you can use multiple online platforms such as social media sites, advertisements, chat sites, etc., to expand your audience reach.
  • Personalization: By permitting you to connect with consumers via multiple channels, digital branding gives you an opportunity to listen to client needs, emotions, wants, and personalities. Having all these information enables you to adapt the customer experience to customers’ specific needs. This improves the customer experience and makes your customers feel special, building customer loyalty as a result.
  • Higher conversion rates: Convenience is one of the best ways to make consumers love your organization. Search engine optimization can help give you better positioning in search engines. The higher up the rank you are, the greater your visibility, and the higher your conversion rates, as ranking top enables you to achieve higher click-throughs. Higher conversion rates ultimately result in increased revenues. Other acts that can help boost your conversion rates include creating a blog, allowing product reviews, or opening a forum.
  • Cost-effective: The cost of digital branding is considerably cheaper than traditional marketing techniques.

Business Exposure

All businesses need exposure; digital branding exposes you to the right kind – a global audience. This means a significant opportunity to become popular, sell your product or service, and create opportunities for your business to perform.

 

 

 

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Who is Salesforce.com and What is CRM

 

3 Things you haven’t heard from Salesforce.com

If you are in the CRM business, you’ve probably heard tons of clients and non-clients complaining about their CRM – those that are not user friendly, those that are just too complicated, and those that are, for lack of a better word, altogether unhelpful. Businesses are always looking out for a Customer Relationship Management system.

For sure, there are genuine complaints among them, but the truth is that CRMs today have matured so far beyond what you could access a few years ago. Most CRMs in the market now offer excellent service, whether you choose the high end ones like SAP, Oracle or Salesforce.com and its Salesforce ANT migration tool, or the middle range Sage CRM, MS Dynamics CRM and GoldMine, or even lower end types like Highrise, Nimble, Insight.ly or Zoho.

There are hundreds more out there, and most have a robust framework that is easy to use and well designed. Some are on-premise while others are in-cloud, with features for marketing, sales, email, opportunity management and calendaring. You can integrate with other systems, access social media directly, merge with and access from phones and other portable devices and a lot more.

The problem isn’t with the CRM system; it’s with the management of the CRM system. If you’ve been facing CRM challenges, it’s time to stop complaining and take action. Here are three things to get you going:

  1. Concentrate on the reports

The most important aspect of any CRM is that it’s a database, no matter where it’s placed. And databases generate reports, without which any CRM system has no value. You must make sure your system is set to generate the key reports you need to track your sales and marketing endeavors; any other aspect in the CRM is a plus.

These reports should be configured to be delivered to your inbox on a fixed schedule – daily, weekly monthly etc., since they are what managers will use to manage their teams. Your teams should feed in necessary data on schedule to make sure that the reports are generated on schedule. If you’re not doing this, you know half the reason your CRM is giving you hell.

  1. Get a CRM administrator

Every company needs one of these. Someone who owns the system and knows it from end to end. Someone who is responsible for all data help in the system and who knows the answer to every past, present and future question about it. And this is the best part – it’s doesn’t need to be and actually shouldn’t be an IT guy either.

CRMs today are pretty easy to learn, so all you need is a smart employee in administration who can be trained in the nooks and crannies of CRM, and then authorized to manage the system and all staff remotely involved in it. A strong administrator is an investment no organization can do without if the CRM will succeed in its role.

  1. Embrace your CRM or go

As a manager, you’ve got to get your team on the love-the-CRM-or-go bandwagon. Most employees are resistant to change, but it you’re firm as a manager, eventually they will understand that they have no choice but to work with it. If you let employees get away with sabotaging the CRM by doing things ‘like they’ve always been done’ you’re setting the organization up for failure.

Pay attention to what every employee is doing, and make sure it’s being done correctly, no matter what CRM it is. Ensure your staff have been adequately trained and prepared, and then require them to apply themselves to make the system succeed, in every part of the organization.

What is CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers

Author Bio

Sujain Thomas is a competent CRM expert and Salesforce products distributor. For more information on Salesforce ANT migration tool and to get assistance using other Salesforce products, visit her website.

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The Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Out For

From the ever-evolving world of mobile to the rapid development in artificial intelligence; digital marketing is in a constant state of flux. It is a real challenge for digital marketers to keep up with the latest trends and stay in the loop, with cutting-edge technologies and strategies. Here are 5 digital marketing trends that will reshape the industry this year.

 

1) Marketing through live video using Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat

Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat are allowing businesses to connect with their target audience in real-time. Live video has become an essential component of social strategy as it helps to humanize a brand.

Periscope is a live-streaming app owned by Twitter and it allows broadcasts to be auto-published on Twitter accounts, as well. Followers can engage in real-time communication and the broadcasts can be viewed for 24 hours on mobile devices, as well as, desktops.

Snapchat is a semi-live streaming app, which removes the pressure of watching a video right here, right now. But, once the video is viewed, it disappears. Also, this app has a feature called ‘story’ allowing a user to create a collection of video to be viewed for 24 hours. It even allows viewers to save the video and upload it to other channels.

Instagram, on the other hand, combines the best elements of Periscope and Snapchat. On Instagram Live, followers can watch a video while it is being broadcasted and remove access, once the broadcast is completed.

2) Personalized Marketing via Big Data Analytics

Big Data Analytics is playing a major role in moulding digital marketing campaign and enhancing sales effectiveness. A full service digital marketing company can help you collect data, such as customer information, demographics, interests, behaviors and other relevant business information. The data collected will help you identify shopping & demographic trends and income levels while helping to customize your marketing strategy for meeting specific customer expectations. Big Data will help you in identifying the propensity to convert different behavioral patterns and characteristics of the consumers.

3) Marketing via Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality may be a craze among gamers, but it also has huge potentials in marketing. This technology has fundamentally altered the way businesses interact, with their target audience and market their products. While augmented reality (AR) uses 3D model to augment the real, physical world; virtual reality (VR) creates an environment,which is completely different from the one that you are in standing in.

In 2016, OnePlus utilized the VR marketing strategy to launch its flagship phone, OnePlus 3. OnePlus teamed up with AntVR, the VR specialists, to create 30,000 Loop VR headsets that were gone just as soon as they hit the markets. The chinese smartphone manufacturer showcased the launch of it’s flagship phone with the help of VR.

This marketing strategy went down well with the consumers and the comfortable VR headsets created all the buzz necessary around OnePlus.

4) Marketing using Wearables

The use of marketing via wearables is one of the emerging digital marketing trends, due to its wide demographic appeal and the ability to be integrated, with smartphones. It allows marketers to tap into the market by interacting and sharing relevant information to consumers through a personal channel. The market for wearable technology is estimated at a whopping 31.27 billion USD by 2020. With its presence on social media, wearables are a huge push to the healthcare and the marketing industry.

 

5) Marketing using Artificial Intelligence Bots

Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital marketing bots may not be able to replace humans, but can be utilized to supplement human knowledge and experience. Marketers, via AI, can unlock deeper insights into consumer base and communicate with prospective customers more effectively. It can help eliminate impersonal and monotonous aspects of a marketer’s job.

Bots can replace humans in places, such as online customer interaction and answering queries. From virtual shopping assistants to personalized content suggestions, AI is making great strides into the digital marketing industry. For instance, Facebook is making the use of artificial intelligence bots for helping users book a flight, providing answers to health-related questions, providing latest financial news, and so on.

The above-mentioned are the top 5 digital marketing trends in 2017 that you need to incorporate, right now, in your digital marketing campaign.

 

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Crypto Accounts: Managing Your Digital Currency

If you’re yet to look seriously at the rising trend of cryptocurrency, then it can be difficult to comprehend the vast amount of technical terminology that surrounds the revolutionary new currency. With the vast number of benefits that users of cryptocurrency are making use of already, it can be all too easy to make a conscious effort to ignore the notion of digital currency and assume that it is nothing more than a passing fad. However, as large businesses and traditional banks race to keep up with the unregulated arena of digital currency, now is the time to look seriously at the best ways that you too can take advantage of the global possibilities of cryptocurrency. Learning the best ways to manage your digital finances is key to getting the most from the digital revolution.

Digital threats

 As cases of online crimes play an increasing part in the newspaper headlines around the world, we are all a little more security conscious when it comes to our online data. This extends to how we use, store and trade our digital currencies. Due to the fact that it is a financial service, hackers and scammers are particularly interested in ways that they can gain access to your store of digital money. Newcomers to digital currency are especially vulnerable to hackers, with phishing attacks and social media hacks being two of the most common ways for criminals to gain access to your finances. As much as the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency is a major draw of the technology, it can also act as a negativism due to the lack of protection. While crypto trading is one of the safest ways to send and receive money from anywhere in the world, you need to be aware of the security as well, and maintain a high level of awareness in the same way that you protect your traditional banking details.

Making the best use of your wallet

 The majority of people that are making the most of cryptocurrency use digital wallets in order to keep their finances safe. There are a huge number of options available, but the key with all of them is to keep your passwords secure and to make certain that your forward-facing access points are protected. Often this is simply a case of having your active wallet up to date with a smaller amount of money in order to minimize any risk of a damaging loss. As personal hard drives, home computers and smartphones slowly take the place of traditional bank vaults, it is more important than ever that those using cryptocurrency are protecting themselves from criminals in every way that they can. Basic steps such as two-step verification and making use of a password management service can all minimize the risks and leave you to take advantage of the many benefits of a decentralized digital currency.   Learning about the differences between a hot wallet and cold wallet, as well as keeping up to date on the latest scams used by criminals, are the best ways to make your digital finances safer and more secure. This will allow you to manage your cryptocurrency in the safest way possible, allowing you to take full advantage of the benefits, with far less likelihood of becoming an easy target for thieves.

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4 Areas of Your Company That Are Worth Your Investment

 

 

 

 

To have a profitable and successful company you need to have your money invested in the right places. Whatever industry or sector you are trying to conquer, you have to put your money where your mouth is and show that you support all areas of your company to make it to the top.

Investing wisely in the right areas will not only help your company to grow, but it will also increase your business’ profit and help you stay ahead of your competition. However, you have to be willing to back what you believe in if you want it to work and perform. A financially healthy company is one that knows where to spend the money and why it’s important to ensure you deliver the best results for both yourself,  your employees and your customers.

Below are a number of areas within your business which you can invest in further to reap the rewards. Use these tips to understand what’s going to help you find success.

People

Your employees are the backbone of your company, and they know a good employer when they see one. They work hard each day to make sure your business is not only surviving but thriving. Invest in good people and see how quickly your company starts to take a turn for the better. Talented, smart and hardworking employees are what will take your business to another level. Be choosy about the hiring process and select candidates who have a strong character, the right skills and are onboard with your vision.

Technology

These days you’d be silly not to invest in using technology to propel your business and make it more efficient. For example, many brands are adopting Digital Banking solutions to give them more control over the financial process. It helps deepen user engagement and makes processing payments more secure. You won’t regret spending the money when daily work is completed more efficiently and quickly, and your customers are more satisfied.

Innovation

You can’t stay where you are forever. That’s why you have to invest in innovation and give people the opportunity to be creative and come up with groundbreaking solutions to some of the most complicated problems you’re facing. This is one of the only ways you’re going to beat out your competition and make a name for yourself in the marketplace. You don’t want to be chasing your rivals and wishing you were doing a better job.

Marketing

You’re not going to get very far if no one knows who you are or what you sell. You need a clear and concise marketing strategy, the right people to manage it and execute it, and strong partnerships that help you succeed. There’s not much of a future for your business without any marketing. Provide a solid budget for your team and let them show you how much of an impact it has on the success of your company. There are now many marketing channels available that require careful management and a strategic approach.

 

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Most Effective Tips for Making Your Content Go Viral

Focus on making your content compelling, interesting, moving, funny, best in its segment, and certainly something that is capable of resonating with several viewers and readers. Content goes viral thanks to the audience, who are responsible in evaluating the content’s worth. One of the key factors behind anything going viral is its ability to touch people some way or the other. So you can make your content go viral by sharing content that is truly uplifting, inspiring and one that makes everyone feel good about themselves and also, others. Content can flow or get shared often, if the content is awe-inspiring and evokes emotional response. You must always keep in mind that positive articles, uplifting messages, positive messages or articles that broaden your horizon have great chances of being enjoyed and going viral.

Understand What Flows

There are certain things that have a tendency to go viral. You should devote your writing skills and energy to the following to boost more sharing:

  • Articles those are capable of evoking a feeling of admiration or those that inspire you to go beyond petty self-interests.
  • Longer high quality articles are preferred over short ones. People devote more time on reading meticulously if the content deserves that kind of treatment. If the content is quite engaging and conveys a clear message that readers have been waiting desperately to know about, it is sure to go viral. Long content does not imply repetitive and long-winded.
  • Original and unusual content often go viral.
  • Cute things such as laughing babies, dogs doing tricks, crazy cats etc. are extremely popular and everybody loves them.
  • Instructional content
  • News, particularly breaking news
  • Warnings such as viruses online or phishing scam
  • Contests and Freebies

Exploit the Confirmation Bias

Recent studies have revealed that as many as 20% of subjects online prefer to share content which reflects or throws light upon certain aspects of their character. For example surveys, quizzes, trivia, polls and lists have proven to be tremendously attractive to the masses, and sites like Playbuzz have been quick to recognize their importance and post tailor-made content to generate and utilize the confirmation bias among viewers.

Craft Entertaining and Educational Content

Statistics reveal that around 69% of users generally tend to share content which educates or entertains their immediate social circles just to project the image of being a true friend. Some platforms facilitate users in developing interactive content on the topic of their choice, thus creating a library of interesting and entertaining content for their friends and extended networks.

Make It Information-Centric

At one point of time information would be protected with utmost care and disseminated very carefully among the masses, but in this hi-tech era, it is all about sharing and circulating more and more information. But that does not imply just any information, but top quality, informative, useful and detailed information which are needed by people to transform their lives or make their lives even better. Learn to write precise and information-packed content just like resume experts do.

Optimize Content for Facebook

Facebook is undeniably the largest social network in the world today. It is the most popular social media platform. It is therefore, necessary to optimize your content strategy for Facebook. You could simply include quizzes as menu options on your pages and also, this content format is integrated and compatible to Facebook newsfeed.

Visibility and Accessibility A Must

If your content is not easily accessible, and is hidden deep within directories and categories on your site, there is a very small chance for it to go viral, simply because no one would be able to find it. For example, choose a domain name which is short and easy to remember. For content being hosted on other websites, use websites with a lot of traffic, like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook etc.

Also ensure that your content contains the particular keywords which a user is likely to enter when he is looking for whatever it is that you are trying to provide. This is an SEO aspect as well, and increases the visibility of your content on search engines.If you do not keep this in mind, your page could be pushed back, as far as, the seventh or eighth page of search results, or even further, and most users would either have found what they were looking for, or given up much earlier than that. Also there are many top essay writers listed on sites like Top-writers-reviews.com and you can always take a help from them.

Publicize Your Content through Multiple Channels

Posting the content is only half the battle. Publicity is the main factor which determines the success of content, and hence, you must maximize the reach of your work by posting or sharing it through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, RSS feeds, Tumblr, email signatures, microblogging sites and forums.

Do not oversell your product. Trying too hard would drive people away. Most viewers appreciate casual hints or directions to content. Using links is also a good idea, as most retweets contain links, and psychological studies have also revealed that most people click on links out of curiosity. Linking is a crucial aspect of the process.

Use a link. The majority of retweets have links in them. When it comes to viral videos and web pages, the link is a crucial part of it. Send a link to people you know, and people who would be interested in your content as well.

Attractive Headlines are a Must

The headline to your article or content is possibly the most important thing there is, because an attractive headline would incite your viewer to keep reading the article, whereas a drab one would lead to most users closing the page. Analyses have revealed that verbs which promote knowledge or wisdom, like “know, find, learn, prove, or understand” receive positive responses from the audience. Superlative adjectives like “best, easiest, happiest, funniest” also attract more users. You must ensure that this aspect is covered, so that your target readers are adequately interested in reading your article.

Timing Counts

Timing is very important. Examine if the time is best for your content to go viral. If it is not, it would be best to wait patiently for the right time. Do not waste your effort if someone has already posted a similar content. It is best to post your content when your target audience is supposed to be online. The reason behind this is that the greater number of people actively view, read, or interact with your content when released, the greater is the likelihood of your content going viral.