The iPad and its implications for financial services marketers

The iPad and its implications for financial services marketers

I was fortunate enough last weekend to be one of the lucky 300,000 to pick up my pre-reserved iPad from my local Apple Store here in Tulsa. Now that I’ve had it a few days and been able to get to grips with it I’ve started thinking about how it could be used from a financial services perspective. Here then are some initial thoughts on how it could potentially be used to great effect by financial services marketers and importantly, what, if any implications its adoption could present were it to really take off….

First of all, I should make clear that although I was a late developer (so to speak) I’m a confirmed Macaholic. As I sit here enjoying the warm spring sunshine, behind me in the house there are:

  • 3 MacBook Pro
  • 1 MacBook Air
  • 3 iPhones (two are mine, one for the UK one for the US)
  • and of course a 64gb Wi-Fi iPad

I only mention this so the sceptics amongst you can take what I’m about to say with a huge pinch of salt – the iPad is FAR more than I was possibly hoping for. To explain I’d read that the iPad seemed to principally be about the consumption of media as opposed to its production. I, like many of you have faced those long journeys in economy with no movies due to a faulty in-flight entertainment system or simply a poor, (and therefore cheap to the airline), choice of movies on offer. Even when I’ve tried to make arrangements for myself at best I can only get 3 – 4 hours of charge out of my MacBook Pro – not ideal on a 10 hour transatlantic flight.

Of course there are those other occasions such as road trips that entertainment on hand would be a fantastic asset, keeping the children and admittedly myself, occupied with either a game, movie or of course a book (courtesy of iBook the new bookstore app). The built in photo viewer is also a great for family visits or reunions. The idea of carrying your entire family history around with you is incredibly appealing. I therefore was looking forward to getting my hands on a device that was easier to lug around than a laptop, would not represent a devastating loss to my business were it lost or broken and that would switch on in seconds if I needed access to something quickly.

I’ve also now realised how much MORE than this it truly is and promises to be. I’ve downloaded apps like Zinio that allows you to subscribe to digital editions of magazines such as The Economist, Esquire, Bazaar and Cosmo. While this app has been around for a while on other devices such as the iPhone, the iPad’s full size screen is good enough to give FMCG marketers wet dreams. Not only can you check out the latest Burberry on a superbĀ  A4 sized screen you can actually link the advert to a video of Bill Clooney carrying Kate Moss’ bag onto her private jet – suitably aspirational I think.

A more down to earth application for financial services marketers might be linking the latest fund update to a fund manager interview or presentation outlining ‘the case for investing’ or explaining its performance track record. On this basis, consider the power available to a financial adviser doing a client review. Not only will the information be presented superbly on screen, as soon as he is finished he can tell the client that the report is already waiting for them in their inbox – sent thanks to the iPad. In fact, I’m sure that there are already developers at work in verticals where the presentation of information is key – real estate and luxury automotive to name just a few. The point is, the iPad is going to allow designers / marketers to showcase their products and services in the best possible light.

Now, what’s the downside? Although the iPad is all about the consumption of media it does have its limitations. The iPad doesn’t support flash for starters so all those online campaigns and fund manager interviews diligently produced by investment managers will need to be re-purposed to play on the iPad. Some may consider this a step too far and not bother. My view is that marketers ignore it at their peril. Although iPad usage might be small to start with it is a device designed to consume and more importantly share media. Why commit marketing bucks to online campaigns when you can get advisers to evangelize to the masses about your well executed app or online creative. In a world where more and more financial advisers are turning to blogs, Twitter and even Facebook for leads or information can you afford to overlook such a device? Consider this small fact as well – if some of the publishing worlds’ biggest names such as CNN, Reuters, Time and the New York Times are prepared to produce iPad friendly sites (i.e. they carry flash alternative content), why shouldn’t you?

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