It’s Black Friday everywhere but not where the money is?

Welcome to Black Friday! It’s the great new sale window to drive mass customer acquisition, sales and revenues for almost every industry that engages consumers everywhere.

Well, perhaps not everywhere.

When the financial services industry is constantly striving to become a more integral and ever more closely associated to our everyday lives, the sale windows are something of a no go.

Okay, so we recognise the elements of compliance and TCF are always at play, so let’s put aside any perception of naivety around this and assume that the compliance department isn’t fully clutching the sales and marketing teams’ valuables too firmly in their hands.

What deals do the financial services industry offer consumers on Black Friday?

 

Deals for the Insured?

Well, let’s take a look at the insurance industry first.

Well at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that this has been well and truly avoided. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that Black Friday and its contemporaries are making small inroads.

Visit some of the well-known aggregators, such as Confused.com or some of the Affiliate networks and you’ll start seeing it – offers like “Get up to £27.50 of your purchase back when you shop with ABCaggregator.com Car Insurance this Black Friday” are a starter.

However, just like every other sector the art of a great deal or a sale attracts the fraudsters just like Louis Vuitton bag! ‘Ghost brokers’ often creating themselves in the guise of legitimate insurance brokers selling forged or invalid motor insurance policies to unsuspecting drivers, who are lured by very cheap, too-good-to-be-true premiums.

They often use online ads and social media such as Facebook and Instagram to coax their victims. If the insurance industry wants to truly capitalise upon this as yet another tool in the armoury of customer acquisition, it needs to be supported by big brand names.

 

Investment & Credit Sales Are Now On!

Woah there… I very much doubt it! Within the conservative world of IFAs, investment and asset managers, does the thought of not only supporting something as ‘cheap’ as a ‘Sale’ as a means of attracting new business get them turning their noses up at it?

Okay, so we know that those who cannot deal directly with the end investor or client, aren’t allowed to play but those who run for the hills.

That said, with the new breed of platforms, online environments and advice models, it is conceivable that advice fee or platform fee structures could be up for a promotional model for customer acquisition in the near future. Just imagine this, “25% off your first 6 months platform fees when you sign on Black Friday”, or “save on your advice fees this Black Friday and put the difference back into your pension pot”. It’s certainly an interesting concept. Given the LifeTime Value (LTV) of advice, bank or wealth management clients, it’s certainly something that may well have been pondered by the more open-minded business.

As a new business acquisition model, it’s clearly not going to suit the very conservative high-end market place, but it might just appeal to the lower to mid-end.

What you can imagine and even see in some cases is a different approach like “With the money you save thanks to Black Friday discounts, consider opening up a retirement account or investment portfolio”. You can also imagine Credit cards and loan companies tapping into this phenomenon too, also some of the sub-prime lenders in particular.

I wonder what the FCA would say about that. Either way, it’s more a question of depth of trust and credibility surrounding the positioning of a sale with products around our financial lives.

 

Price & Value Perceptions:

The challenge however, goes simply beyond the obvious opportunity to acquire customers and delves deeper into the impact of any brand doing a ‘sale’. As all the marketing manuals and teachings go, even from one Prof Kotler clearly depict the impact upon brand of the perception of value.

If a financial services provider dives into the world of the ‘Sale’ does this further promote the perception that financial services companies and products cannot be trusted. Moreover that the prices we receive from them are not to be trusted, as well as commissions and fees?

So on this day of recent retail religion, I wonder when we’ll see those within the financial services industry tap into their version of Black Friday and break with convention. Perhaps that day will come when the sector has got closer to the consumer, trust and reputations have been built and financial services has become just yet another transactional, yet vitally elemental consideration in our lives, like simply payment tapping for that lovely new purchase.