January 2014 Trends & Highlights – Going Mobile with iPad Apps and a Special Thanks to Our Teachers

by on Feb 06, 2014

January 2014 Trends & HighlightsTRENDING

  • New Tablet Apps – Citizens Bank released a new iPad app, becoming the 15thout of 18 banks in Corporate Insight’s Bank Monitor coverage group to provide a tablet-optimized app. In addition, Wells Fargo became the fifth Mobile Monitor firm to offer an Android tablet app. In total, January saw the launch of three new tablet apps – equivalent to the sum of new tablet apps over the preceding two months.
  • Public and Private Site Revamp Activity Slows After a Busy December–In total, Corporate Insight tracked only two site revamps from ADP and Citizens Bank in January, falling short of December’s total of five.
  • Firms Continue to Introduce New Promotional and Informational Microsites–MFS and John Hancock each launched a new microsite, keeping this month in line with a consistent monthly trend of two to four new microsites per month across our entire Monitor Services coverage.

New iPad App Brings Transactions to Retirement Plan Participants

VALIC released a new iPad app that allows customers to directly make transactions, change contributions and rebalance assets. iPad apps are rare within our Retirement Plan Monitor coverage (VALIC’s is only the third in a coverage group of 17 firms), and even the retirement apps that are currently available, including VALIC’s own iPhone app, are usually not this focused on transactions.

New VALIC iPad App
New VALIC iPad App
Website Revamps Focus on Navigation and Clean Aesthetics

Two firms rolled out completely new and improved website designs. In the banking sphere, Citizens Bank launched a substantially revised website that features better navigation, a new color scheme and a generally more modern look. In the retirement space, ADP’s 401(k) participant site was greatly improved to feature much better navigation and a clearer presentation of account balances, contributions and total return. ADP’s new site is significantly more user-friendly, both in terms of user experience and also webpage layout and design.

New ADP Participant Homepage
New ADP Participant Homepage
Microsites Take Aim at Prospects
John Hancock launched a new John Hancock Insurance microsite that provides life insurance prospects with information about the various John Hancock products available to them. It continues the trend of creating easily digestible (and easily shareable) promotional or educational content separate from a firm’s main website. Other recent examples include Fidelity’s Money Firsts site and Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing.
MFS released a new Become the Family Wealth Advisor microsite that builds on the same trend, but is targeted at financial advisors and helps them establish better prospecting and selling strategies for their advisory business. The site features a diverse lineup of videos, commentaries and infographics that explore the topic and promote various MFS products and services to interested advisors. MFS’ microsite is reminiscent of AllianceBernstein’s Alternatives Are the New Reality microsite, an earlier example from our Advisor Monitor coverage, which helps advisors determine how alternative funds can serve their clients’ needs, which in turn helps boost advisor sales.


MFS Family Wealth Microsite
MFS Family Wealth Microsite
Farmers Insurance Offers Thanks and Discounts to Our Nation’s Teachers
Actors J.K. Simmons and Jack Black helped Farmers Insurance introduce the firm’s unique Thank a Million Teachers social campaign, which invites consumers to express their gratitude to America’s teachers while also promoting special discounts offered to teachers in some states. The site allows users to look up teachers by town as well as by name, and in the first month and a half of the campaign, the site has collected over 106, 000 notes of gratitude to specific teachers. The campaign’s website also allows teachers to submit proposals for $2,500 grants, which can be used to purchase school supplies or pursue further professional certification. Proposals will be accepted through October 2014.


Testimonials in Thanks of Teachers
Testimonials in Thanks of Teachers
Social campaigns of this type are relatively common in our P&C Monitor coverage – there has been a new campaign in each of the last three months. For example, Farmers’ new campaign is fairly similar to Nationwide’s Meet My Baby contest (launched in November), which also called on individuals to submit personal stories and testimonials and also offered cash awards to standout participants.
2013 Monitor Awards Winners Announced
January saw the release of Corporate Insight’s 2013 Monitor Awards reports which recognize financial services firms for excellence in the online and offline experience they offer prospects, clients and advisors. The awards are presented to firms across the financial services industry encompassing annuities, asset management, banking, brokerage, credit cards, insurance and retirement. 
For more information about the Monitor Awards and to see if your firm is among the 2013 Gold Monitor Award winners, please check out our Monitor Awards page or our official press release. Full reports are only available to Monitor subscribers. To learn more about our Monitor Services, contact Grace Lei.