How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible

| July 18, 2019

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Across the globe, access to financial markets diverges dramatically from one country to another. While in the US about 52% of people are investing in the stock market, in emerging countries like India and Mexico, the figure drops significantly with only 2% of Indians investing in stock markets and 2.6% of Mexicans being retail investors. Thankfully, blockchain technology and open source protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum have birthed the new concept of decentralized finance (DeFi), a trend promising to bring financial services to those who have so far been excluded.

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THE DIGITAL TIPPING POINT IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Article | May 27, 2021

There is a huge transformation underway in the financial services industry. Over the past year – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – clients have been forced to take on more of an active role in monitoring and planning for financial uncertainty. But the big change is that these clients have become much more emotionally invested in their organisations’ financial wellbeing. In a time where everything is digital first, it’s no surprise that many clients want to be able to search for answers themselves, escalate issues quickly and receive the support they need to better navigate the uncertain economic landscape, at speed. Of course, as clients demand a smoother and more fulfilling experience, we’re seeing a shift in how financial services companies manage their business model for success in the long term. Whilst, stereotypically, the financial services industry has been considered ‘old school’, and in many cases still lags behind other industries in the digital transformation race, the pandemic is proof in point that relying on legacy systems is just not an option for the sector anymore. Thriving during turbulent times The good news is that many organisations in the sector are already rising to the challenge, adjusting their products and services to meet the needs of customers who might have been struggling through the pandemic themselves. Siemens Financial, a division of Europe’s largest manufacturing company, for example, moved quickly to scale their service to meet surges in customer needs. The financial arm provides B2B financing solutions to a large client base covering both small businesses and large corporations. When the pandemic struck, while the company was quickly inundated with requests for support, they had the right mindset and tools already in place to keep things running smoothly. At the onset of the pandemic, the organisation witnessed a 30 percent increase in customer support ticket volumes. Like with all other businesses operating in the service industry, the team were challenged with managing a huge influx in client requests, whilst maintaining their core offering of delivering a personal service to every client. Based on a data-driven decision, the team moved its entire operation online, within 48 hours. In doing so, they were able to respond to new tickets during the peak of the pandemic within just six to seven hours, plus decrease resolution time from 24 hours to little more than eight. What’s more, they quickly moved the entire team to a remote working set up. Frictionless digital services are paramount to remaining resilient in the face of COVID-19. Of course, for all organisations, this means saying goodbye to those spreadsheets used to track customer data and instead, embracing custom built support solutions providing real-time insights to support businesses in making decisions, at speed. Investing now, for a successful future However, for organisations who have more traditionally operated off of old or outdated legacy systems, it can be hard for them to visualise what a more digital way of operating could look like in practice. As you think about the road to recovery, it might therefore be worth considering where to invest first for the best return. For example, according to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2021, 67 per cent of customers are willing to spend more at a company providing them with a good experience. Whilst it may feel like the thriving organisations are the ones investing lots of money into CX technology, it’s clear that investment - or lack thereof - is being felt by customers too. We’ve reached the digital tipping point - where holding at the status quo will actually put companies further and further behind. It’s about equipping your employees with the right technology, at the right time. We saw that Siemens Financial could keep track of customer conversations remotely, with minimal disruption. This is because the flexible platform they used to keep track of the customer experience provided their service agents with a 360 view of all clients’ prior interactions with the team. For example, whether they’ve used WhatsApp, the phone, or email to communicate with the brand, for customer experience agents using an omnichannel platform, the conversation looks the same.

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BLOCKCHAIN

How Blockchain Marketing Helps to Build Better Connections with Consumers

Article | May 27, 2021

Blockchain is a relatively new technology but is significantly changing the world around us. The term refers to a decentralized ledger technology used in cryptocurrency transactions. Almost everyone is now familiar with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology is utilized to record cryptocurrency transactions and to ensure the security of such transactions. Blockchain technology continues to impact several industries – banking and finance are one of the industries. The trend continues to cybersecurity, shipping, real estate, and also digital marketing. Blockchain began as a technology for cryptocurrencies, but now it is set to take over several other industries. Since blockchain is a decentralized technology, it assures marketers that their transactions are secure by improving cybersecurity. The technology is not centrally controlled, as nobody controls or owns blockchain. With this in mind, marketers are not only waiting anxiously to see how blockchain will optimize or impact their work, but also looking forward understanding how they can better leverage the technology to deal with business partners and reach millions of potential customers in the digital marketing industry. Here are nine ways in which blockchain marketing can help marketers to boost their strategies and thus transform the consumer experience. 1. Targeting and Engaging the Right Audience With regards to the digital marketing industry, an estimate of 70% of marketers fail to target consumers with behavioral data, as only about one in a thousand ads get clicked in an online displays ad campaign. Despite the majority of marketers having lots of consumer data and paying huge fees to middlemen involved in advertising, they are still unable to engage and target the right audience. Blockchain marketing is an effective means through which marketers can use to get the right audience to see their adverts and then engage them with such ads. The technology creates a decentralized search engine where marketers easily reach and get in front of their target audience. Through this technology, marketers can also compensate target consumers using tokens (digital wallets) for providing their personal data to the marketers. Every time someone clicks on adverts on a marketing company’s search engine, they get paid. This increases the hyper-targeting of adverts, and consumers only see those ads that they have shown interest in. In this way, marketers only target and engage the right audience. 2. Ad Fraud Prevention Ad fraud is becoming an increasing problem facing advertisers and marketers. Paying for fake clicks and impressions is a common trend nowadays, as about one in every five pay per clicks is found to be fraudulent. Ad fraud is emptying marketers’ money and distorting their analytical data, which eventually affects their strategic decisions towards their marketing and advertising efforts. With the application of blockchain technology, marketing platforms can display all click-throughs in real-time, and marketers rent out their advertising space and attract quality traffic. In this way, blockchain authenticates clicks and therefore prevents ad fraud. 3. Decentralizing E-Commerce Blockchain is decentralizing how consumers buy products and services online. Marketers can use the technology to create decentralized marketplaces where they can sell their products or services directly to consumers without the need of using expensive third-party platforms. Such decentralized marketplaces have built-in Bitcoin wallets that help to pay and earn in cryptocurrencies without the need to rely on third-parties or intermediaries like banks. 4. Influencer Marketing Consumers normally believe what other customers say about a product or service rather than what a brand is saying about itself. With being that case, the majority of marketers allocate budgets for influencer marketing (a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers) to promote brand awareness, drive engagements with their brands, and reach new target audiences. Blockchain makes it possible for marketers to take advantage of influencer marketing. By leveraging the technology’s immutability and transparency, blockchain marketing helps marketers to authenticate the identity of influencers and validate their followers and get a guarantee of their investment. With the help of smart contracts, payments can be held in escrow until the desired output has been achieved by influencers. 5. Eliminating the Middlemen Marketing involves finance and this means marketers doing transactions through banks. However, blockchain technology comes with digital wallets (cryptocurrencies) and this eliminates the need to conduct transactions through banks. The technology ensures that transactions run smoothly and minimizes the costs involved in making transactions through banks acting as middlemen. 6. Social Media Blockchain marketing is set to change the scenario of social media for individuals providing services to businesses and those using social media to reach consumers. Social networking sites built on blockchain are more secure with no central hosting server. One of the impacts of blockchain is that marketers can validate their own data without the need to rely on third-party tools for it. Blockchain ensures privacy, thus allowing users to transact in a private manner. Only the recipient and sender have knowledge about the contents of the transactions. Blockchain verifies users’ identities and therefore ensures their genuineness. It maintains transparency in social media ads that involve the process of buying, booking, and placing ads, thus eliminates the chances of fraud. Through blockchain marketing, it is possible for markets to get rid of the role of social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) as middlemen by compensating customers directly instead of such intermediary platforms. When consumers log in on social networking sites, their data is released to marketers and blockchain ensures search data privacy. Marketing firms, which are monitoring customer behavior, are able to obtain all information from one place, which is reliable because of blockchain’s high level of accuracy, and marketers pay consumers for their personal information. Social media has spambots and fake news. With blockchain marketing, marketers are able to verify the content distribution, trace the spread of data, and even block fake contents and their contributors. 7. Data Collection Good data is highly important for marketers. Despite having abundant marketing tools and making attempts to try out different marketing strategies, the majority of marketers are still unable to get quality and accurate customer data. It is only consumers themselves who can provide accurate data. But how can a marketer make customers share their data? Blockchain marketing has made it possible for marketers to encourage customers to share their data in return for some compensation, and this making is a win-win situation for both parties. By putting consumers at the center of the data economy, data obtained in this way is highly authentic and relevant. 8. Smart Contracts Blockchain enables smart contracts, thus helping marketers to offer services to clients across the world. Such contracts are “programmable agreements that execute automatically when conditions are met.” Every contractual milestone must be fulfilled, even for the next steps to come. This ensures that payments are made only after the contract terms are met. The main benefit of a smart contract is that it can process transactions without third parties. The transactions are irreversible and can be traced, and through smart contracts, marketers get a guarantee that they will be paid and contractors are guaranteed of security. Such contracts provide transparency, thus saving time for both parties. 9. Reward Systems and Loyalty Programs Customers always remember when they are made to feel special. Sales loyalty programs work so well when they make customers feel special. Marketers can use blockchain to create an unforgettable, unique experience for customers. Gift cards can be attached to the blockchain, thus creates a safe platform for issuing and maintaining gift cards and loyalty programs. If clients accumulate gift cards but are unable to use or redeem them, then they will have a bad experience with the brand. However, with the use of blockchain, gift cards can be converted into cryptocurrencies or digital wallets, and make it easier for clients to redeem or use them. Conclusion Blockchain technology is still in its infancy and is expected to evolve and grow significantly in the next few years. It is set to disrupt digital marketing, offering marketers a variety of benefits in terms of efficiency, transparency, security, and performance. Marketers who plan to adopt blockchain marketing will be able to provide an increased trust to consumers and a better user experience because of hard-to-crack security and permission-based access of blockchain. With blockchain technology, marketers can gain more accurate information from customers directly interested in their brand. This would not only increase their return on investment (ROI) but also enable them to target adverts to potential customers based on verified data. Marketers interested in global transactions always feel at ease knowing that implemented smart contracts will guarantee secure deals.

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2020 Trends in Lending

Article | May 27, 2021

Borrowers' changing expectations fuel new demands for lenders. Influenced by easy, intuitive digital experiences in other parts of their lives, today's borrowers have heightened expectations when applying for and managing loans. For the lending industry, 2020 will be defined by how well it meets those new demands.

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Which Fintech sectors will emerge fighting fit from the current Covid-19 crisis?

Article | May 27, 2021

Whilst the current pandemic induced crisis is yet to reach its peak, and is leaving a trail of personal and economic destruction, we should expect a new landscape to emerge, in many respects, when the dust settles. What does this mean for the Fintech sector in terms of opportunities and how does this impact the individual?

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One Life America

One Life is established on Christian values that manifest themselves in the way we conduct business. This unwavering set of core values supports the organization and ultimately propels us to professional success...

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