The concept of market share blinds many executives from understanding their brand’s position in the market. Market share is the estimated percentage share that a bank has in a market. For example, a country has a remittance industry with an average of two million transactions a month. If a company does two hundred thousand transactions, it has a 10 per cent market share. The same applies to a shoe market. If the market consumes one million pairs of shoes a month and one company sells ten thousand pairs a month, it has 1per cent market share. But that a company has ten per cent or one per cent of market share does not mean that it has the same ten per cent and one per cent of the market value. If a company prices its products below the average market price, it can have a value share below its market share. It can even lose money having a high market share, as the price it charges does not cover costs. Here is where executives can go blind. When focusing on only gaining market share, a company can offer aggressive low prices for too long – or very expensive marketing campaigns, either on discounts, freebies, and advertising- that it becomes very difficult to reach payback and profitability.
Many new challenger digital banks and fintechs are practicing very aggressive market share building strategies, with the aim of (in the future), selling their business based on the market share gained in a relatively short period. However, investors, regulators, and customers must ask how sustainable such strategies are. If they continue to lose money to gain market share, they must have a date when this strategy stops and a clear understanding of how they will make money in the future to compensate for the sunk investment capital that funded the growth.
There are many ways to build a brand, from the very simple such as sampling efforts, to massive multimedia spending programmes.
We discussed above important aspects of how to build and strengthen a brand, but now we will consider how a bank should communicate its brand. Banks use marketing to build a brand, communicate it, to promote its solutions, and the products and services it offers.
According to Philip Kotler, a well-known marketing guru, marketing is the link between the material society demands and the economic models devised to answer it. (Philip Kotler, Administracao de Marketing, Atlas, 1993).
As defined above, marketing is the answer to customer demands, not the invention of new products or innovation by itself. It is the innovative solutions, products and services that answer the customer’s problems, issues, anxieties, needs, and dreams.
Banks must always start from the customer, as Steve Jobs always reinforced: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”
Whatever the bank offers, and how it wants to be perceived, must be a direct consequence of it understanding its customers, as this is the source used to build the solution that answers their demands. Once the bank communicates that, people will understand and seek their brand.
When the bank understands this, they see that marketing is not only advertising, but the building of a solution to answer customer demands that involves all the areas of the company. This all starts by understanding the brand’s target market.
The Business Models and Customer Management Modules discussed how to understand the target market, the customer, and how to use such knowledge to manage the customer base, generating loyalty and profitability. In this Module we will discuss how to use marketing and its tools to link customers to the company and create value for both.