Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Financial Services Flunk Social Media

By Marc Dresner, IIR

 If Jeffrey Hayzlett were to grade the financial and payment services industries on social media savvy, they wouldn’t receive a passing mark.

The author, international business and marketing authority and former Kodak CMO whose Prepaid Expo 2012 presentation generated considerable buzz, says that financial and payment services—more so than other industries—appear to be willfully ignorant of the changes taking place around them and the potential impact social media will have on how business is done in the near future.

Jeffrey Hayzlett

“A huge portion of the next generation of customers will have never stepped foot inside a bank, a post office or even in stores in certain retail categories,” said Hayzlett.
“They’re going to establish relationships online with entities with which they will never interact in a terrestrial environment. It’s already happening. Look at Amazon, eBay, iTunes…,” he said.

These changes bear profound implications for how companies engage customers, and Hayzlett says they present an attractive but largely unexploited opportunity for financial and payment services providers to build relationships and create highly personalized, meaningful experiences that are very much aligned with business objectives.
“Trust is at the core of this industry,” said Hayzlett. “We trust financial services providers to protect and nurture the things that matter most: our savings, investments, businesses, homes, retirements, etc.
“Finance is incredibly personal and so is social media,” he added. “Through social media, financial and payment services providers can insinuate themselves in people’s daily lives in unprecedented ways.”

Hayzlett’s Take: Social (Media) Life

LinkedIn: “A business card or sign on Main St. displaying who you are and what you do.”
Twitter: “A megaphone with which to shout from your front porch at passersby who stop a minute and then move on.”
Facebook: “Your living room. A brand can bring two million fans into its living room and the engagement is genuine.”
Pinterest: “It’s the digital equivalent of that wall in your teenager’s bedroom with all of the posters, magazine clippings and pictures tacked to it.”

“Social media is about hearts and minds, not ears and eyeballs,” Hayzlett said. “We’re talking about accessing a highly engaged community in a very relevant way.”
From Hayzlett’s perspective, that the financial services industry is not a pioneering force in social media is completely irrational and may ultimately have a deleterious effect on business.
“Your customers have always talked about you,” he added. “The Internet has simply provided scale, so now they have a megaphone.  Whether you choose to participate or not, those conversations are happening.”
Hayzlett notes a slew of emerging, more nimble players like Square are moving aggressively into the space traditionally dominated by massive, monolithic companies. “For the big guys, it’s quickly boiling down to a game of buy or beat. Either way, they need to embrace social media, not fight it.

“Most financial services providers would prefer that the world never change,” he said. “These companies need to start playing in the world in which we actually live—not the world in which they would like us to live—or they risk irrelevance,” he said.

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 Paybefore Awards Europe: Open Call for Nominations

All industry members are invited to submit nominations for the 2013 Paybefore Awards Europe, recognising excellence in prepaid and emerging payments in the U.K. and Europe.

Paybefore Awards, the industry's oldest and most prestigious juried awards in the world of prepaid, are sponsored by Paybefore, the global source for prepaid and emerging payments news, information and analysis.

This year, Paybefore will recognise excellence in eight categories including:

1. Best Gift Card or Voucher Programme
2. Best Incentive, Reward, Rebate or Loyalty Card Programme
3. Top Prepaid Retailer
4. Best Consumer Value in Prepaid/Emerging Payments
5. Best Corporate- or Government-Funded Programme
6. Most Innovative Prepaid/Emerging Payments Programme
7. Outstanding Mobile Wallet or Mobile Application
8. Breakout Prepaid/Emerging Payments Company of the Year

Three winners will be honoured in each of the above categories and one winner in each category will be selected Best in Category.

The 2013 Paybefore Awards Europe presentation ceremony will take place at Prepaid Expo Europe at the Park Plaza Victoria, London, on 18 April 2013. 

The deadline for 2013 Paybefore Awards Europe nominations is Friday, 18 January 2013.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gaming Theory: A Prepaid Social Media Game-Changer

For those puzzling over where the next breakthrough social media application in prepaid will come from, Ben Jackson, senior analyst in Mercator's Prepaid Advisory Practice, says look to the gaming industry—not the casino kind; think Zynga.
Ben Jackson
“Why is Farmville such a runaway hit? No one saw it coming. The gaming industry really gets social media,” said Jackson. “Expect to see financial planning and payment products, tools and services that draw upon gaming theory.”
Jackson pointed out that with notable exceptions in the closed-loop sector like social gifting, much of the prepaid industry’s social media focus to date (like many other industries) has revolved around marketing and customer service applications, which, while valuable, fall short of truly capitalizing on the “social” aspect of social media in novel, game-changing ways suited to prepaid.
“Gaming is about competition and fun,” Jackson added. “It’s not such an odd fit with finance, especially given that gaming inspires people to set and work toward specific goals.”
Jackson noted that goal-based saving is particularly popular today, so why not embed gaming elements into prepaid products? People’s natural competitive streak may be harnessed for pleasure in pursuit of both short- and long-term financial objectives, whether competing against others or one’s self. The prepaid provider need only furnish an app or launch a community to get people started.
“What if you could compete against your best friend, a sibling or in-law to load a prepaid Christmas card?” Jackson said. “Maybe there’s a broader community, and the first 100 people to load their card—the amount could be set by the community—receive a bonus item or rebate of some sort.” This is often used in holiday promotions and contests now.
It need not be a material or monetary incentive, he added. “It could be a prestige prize: Premium status or access to a special online saver’s catalogue. You saved 10% more than your sister-in-law on the same sweater because you met your prepaid savings goal faster or you beat last year’s saving goal by so much.”
Jackson also noted that there’s an opportunity to incorporate gaming elements into longer-term objectives. Who among your Facebook friends is most on track to meet this year’s financial goals? How about college tuition, for instance?
“Every parent wants their child to have a college education, preferably without sending the new graduate into the world saddled with a mountain of student loan debt,” said Jackson. “But people have difficulty saving, especially for something so far off in the future.

“Gaming-like applications could be a great motivator here because no one wants to look or feel like a bad parent,” he continued. “If you’re tracking savings progress against other parents or working as a ‘team’ with family, friends or even a school-sponsored group, you might be inspired to pay more attention to that college fund.”
Jackson added that while a college savings account doesn’t qualify as a prepaid service today, it may tomorrow. “I think we’re going to see the line between traditional checking and savings accounts—anything people access with a debit card—and prepaid products blur over time,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding why people use prepaid products. Figure that out, and then find a social application for it. This is where gaming theory can play a major role,” said Jackson.


Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Save the Date: Maximize the Profitability of Your Prepaid Programme 17 & 18 April, Prepaid Expo Europe

As new verticals and consumer segments emerge, the kaleidoscopic options for prepaid players– from paper vouchers to mobile wallets – are seeing a flood of new entrants and innovation.

How will you continue to engage consumers among the swarm of new payment schemes?
Are you evolving your products and maximizing the profitability of your programme?

Prepaid Expo Europe, 17-18 April, 2013 is the largest gathering of retail, B2B, & open-loop executives focused on prepaid in the UK and continental Europe. You’ll network and exchange best practices with a robust group of peers, including:

350+ Like-Minded Attendees – Ensuring healthy business development and networking

25% Retailer Participation – The ONLY event built in partnership with the UKGCVA

20+ Hours of Content & Networking – Covering the biggest opportunities and challenges across the UK and Europe, including technological innovations, regulatory actions and new prepaid verticals and channels

6+ hours of UKGCVA-Led Content – Designed just for retailers’ unique marketing, digital, B2B and B2C opportunities

During two days of workshops and sessions, you’ll hear about the latest innovations in prepaid for both closed and open-loop players, as well as the regulatory challenges in the pipeline. Download agenda highlights here.

You must register by 14 December for the best possible rates, so don’t delay.*

Get Involved

Why not consider sponsoring a luncheon, cocktail party or refreshment break, or an Exhibit Booth?

For more information on sponsorship or exhibition opportunities, please contact Terri Sobol at +1 646-895-7473 or email

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prepaid Expo 2013: Register by Fri, Dec. 7th - Save up to $600

With escalating competition and lingering regulatory uncertainties, now is the time to position your prepaid program for explosive opportunities for growth. Attending Prepaid Expo is an annual event for the prepaid industry for a reason:

Each year, more than 1,700 attendees walk away with solidified relationships and contacts, as well as key insight into growing market share and bullet-proofing their company from unexpected competition.

Register for Prepaid Expo by Friday and Save up to $600
Your lowest possible price for Prepaid Expo is expiring this Friday, December 7th.

Don’t miss this opportunity to save up to $600 on your registration. As an Prepaid Expo 2013 attendee you’ll have access to:

• Three full days of content with 50+ future-focused sessions, workshops and task force roundtable discussions – all included in your ticket. Download the agenda here.

• More than 17 hours of non-conflicting networking to solidify your existing relationships and meet new contacts

• Six keynote speakers who navigated industry disruption – and won – including Celebrity Keynote Magic Johnson If you register by Friday, not only will you get the lowest possible price for Prepaid Expoyou’ll also be entered to win a personal “Meet-n-Greet” with Keynote Magic Johnson at the Expo.

 This is not an event you want to miss. 

Join your peers and navigate the competitive landscape at the largest event in prepaid.

 * Mention your Prepaid Expo Blog VIP code to SAVE 10% off the standard and onsite rate: XU2648BLOG10
Phone: 888.670.8200 or 941.951.7885

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