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Financial services industry slipping behind in mobile: Javelin boss

March 23, 2010

James Van Dyke is founder/president of Javelin Strategy and Research

James Van Dyke is founder/president of Javelin Strategy and Research

The financial services industry is falling behind other sectors in its adoption of mobile marketing and commerce, per the president of Javelin Strategy & Research, one of the leading researchers covering banks.

Budgetary cutbacks are partly to blame, Javelin founder/president Jim Van Dyke told Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mickey Alam Khan. In this Q&A at the International CTIA Wireless 2010 Conference, Mr. Van Dyke explains what is holding back banks in their mobile marketing and commerce initiatives and where the opportunities exist.

What sense do you get this year about the financial services industry’s attitude to mobile marketing and commerce?
Around mobile marketing, the financial services industry has slipped behind and financial services companies have retrenched, whether they’re credit card companies or banks.

The institutions, many of them are installing [or] instituting mobile banking, but they haven’t used the channel for marketing purposes for their customers. They’re missing an opportunity.

Why have they retrenched?
The data shows it. We know. We’ve surveyed thousands of consumers.

Consumers are getting less messages from banks. It’s the case because banks have had budgets slashed and they also lack, in some cases, knowledge of consumer preferences and behaviors in the mobile channel.

What should they do to get back on course?
They need to do two things. One, they need to learn from the music industry in how they design alerts and focus on iPhone users, offering alerts with their two-way capability for all iPhone mobile banking users.

They also need to market to these customers. And by that I mean send people offers.

Of the financial services companies, who are doing a good job?

Wells Fargo is doing a decent job.

Citi, USAA, Chase, Capitol One, Wells Fargo – these are certainly leaders.

Wells Fargo markets to their customers because they’re a relationship-oriented bank, whereas Bank of America is more of an acquisition-oriented bank.

What are these banks doing that others aren’t?
USAA is all about technical features – they’re coming out with new features first, primarily around capturing an image of a paper document and sending it electronically.

But with most of the banks, the innovation has been around technology.

I think the opportunity is to focus on customer interaction and that’s the two way alerts, SMS, but review and respond – you send a message, but you allow a customer to respond – as well as to market new products and services.

What do you expect this year in terms of innovation?
I know we’ll see more funds transfer capabilities.

We need to see more bilingual services, especially Spanish language.

I think we’ll see others moving into alerts and lastly, we’ll see consumers able to control transactions from the mobile device, which will increase security and therefore customer trust.

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Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of Mobile Commerce Daily, Mobile Marketer and Luxury Daily. Reach him at

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