Sung Yong Chun


Marketing financial services used to be easier. Today, the competition in financial services is fierce. Not only has the competition become more intense, financial services have also changed structurally. In an environment with various customer needs and severe competitions, the marketing in financial services industry is getting more difficult and more important than before. However, there are still not enough studies on financial services marketing in Korea whereas lots of research papers have been published frequently in some international journals. The purpose of this paper is (1)to review the literature on financial services marketing, (2)to investigate current marketing activities based on in-depth interview with financial marketing managers in Korea, and (3)to suggest some implications for future research on the financial services marketing. Financial products are not consumer products. In fact, they are not products at all in the way product marketing is usually described. Nor are they altogether like services. The financial industry operates in a unique way, and its marketing tasks are correspondingly complex. However, the literature review shows that there has been a lack of basic studies which dealt with inherent characteristics of financial services marketing compared to the research on marketing in other industries. Many studies in domestic marketing journals have so far focused only on the general customer behaviors and the special issues in some financial industries. However, for more effective financial services marketing, we have to answer following questions. Is there any difference between financial service marketing and consumer packaged goods marketing? What are the differences between the financial services marketing and other services marketing such as education and health services? Are there different ways of marketing among banks, securities firms, insurance firms, and credit card companies? In other words, we need more detailed research as well as basic studies about the financial services marketing. For example, we need concrete definitions of financial services marketing, bank marketing, securities firm marketing, and etc. It is also required to compare the characteristics of each marketing within the financial services industry. The products sold in each market have different characteristics such as duration and degree of risk-taking. It means that there are sub-categories in financial services marketing. We have to consider them in the future research on the financial services marketing. It is also necessary to study customer decision making process in the financial markets. There have been little research on how customers search and process information, compare alternatives, make final decision, and repeat their choices. Because financial services have some unique characteristics, we need different understandings in the customer behaviors compared to the behaviors in other service markets. And also considering the rapid growth in financial markets and upcoming severe competition between domestic and global financial companies, it is time to start more systematic and detailed research on financial services marketing in Korea. In the second part of this paper, I analyzed the results of in-depth interview with 20 marketing managers of financial services companies in Korea. As a result, I found that the role of marketing departments in Korean financial companies are mainly focused on the short-term activities such as sales support, promotion, and CRM data analysis although the size and history of marketing departments to some extent show a sign of maturity. Most companies established official marketing departments before 2001. Average number of employees in a marketing department is about 58. However, marketing managers in eight companies(40% of the sample) still think that the purpose of marketing is only to support and manage general sales activities. It shows that some companies have sales-oriented concept rather than marketing-oriented concept. I also found three key words which marketing managers think importantly in financial services markets. They are (1)Trust in customer relationship, (2)Brand differentiation, and (3)Rapid response to customer needs. 50% of the sample support that “Trust” is the most important key word in the financial services marketing. It is interesting that 80% of banks and securities companies think that “Trust” is the most important thing, whereas managers in credit card companies consider “Rapid response to customer needs” as the most important key word in their market. In addition, there are different problems recognition of marketing managers depending on the types of financial industries they belong to. For example, in the case of banks and insurance companies, marketing managers consider “a lack of communication with other departments” as the most serious problem. On the other hand, in the case of securities firms, “a lack of utilization of customer data” is the most serious problem. These results imply that there are different important factors for the customer satisfaction depending on the types of financial industries, and managers have to consider them when marketing financial products in more effective ways. For example, It will be necessary for marketing managers to study different important factors which affect customer satisfaction, repeat purchase, degree of risk-taking, and possibility of cross-selling according to the types of financial industries. I also suggested six hypothetical propositions for the future research.

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