BOSTON — The significant amount of time that consumers spend using mobile applications demands that financial institutions develop new marketing techniques, according to research company Aite Group.

The company's research shows that 18- to 24-year-old consumers interact with their mobile apps more than 37 hours per month. And, overall, smart-phone users engage with mobile apps for more than 30 hours a month.

Aite Group advocates that credit unions and banks conduct "activity-based marketing," marketing conducted within the context of the consumer's own real-time banking activities.

"Most marketing is conducted outside of the context of the product or service the consumer is shopping for," said Ron Shevlin, senior analyst in retail banking and author of the new report, "Activity-Based Marketing: The Future of Mobile Marketing in Banking."

"For example, you watch TV and you see a commercial for a bank or credit union, but you are not banking at the time, he said.

Shevlin contends that financial institutions must develop mobile activity-based apps that not only provide shopping or information services to assist consumers as they shop but also allow the bank or CU to cross-sell products that match the consumer's activity.

He sees this happening first with auto and home shopping and then potentially expanding to more everyday shopping needs.

Many CUs are already expanding their car-shopping services to provide members with greater assistance and keep the loan at the CU.

"The real challenge for the financial institution is how do you get involved in the consumer's decision-making process as early as possible," Shevlin said. "For example, use technology to structure and create a single process for shopping for a car, car insurance and car loan."

Shevlin pointed out that nearly 160 million people in the United States or about two-thirds of all mobile-phone subscribers own a smart phone.

"Financial institutions need to take account of their mobile strategies far more or they will limit their marketing effectiveness," he said.

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