As we’ve seen in this series, the Efma-Accenture Distribution and Marketing Innovation Awards celebrate the latest, most disruptive innovations in the banking industry. As a major networking event and product showcase, the awards are also a great chance to take stock of the trends that are shaping the industry.

In my last post, I looked at how digital titans like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are changing the game for banks. This week I want to examine another trend that came to the surface through the awards: “phygital” distribution transformation.

“Phygital” is a portmanteau of “physical” and “digital.” Phygital distribution refers to the blend of online services and brick-and-mortar branch offices that customers increasingly expect from their banks.

Achieving the right mix of physical and digital distribution channels is a challenge—especially as the industry seeks to drive its average cost-to-income ratio towards 40 percent.

Getting there will require new thinking, which was much in evidence at the Distribution and Marketing Innovation Awards last year. Greek bank NBG used an app to eliminate lineup at their branches on busy days. Poland’s Alior Bank deployed an advanced Artificial Intelligence to automate customer service over the phone and free staff up for more exciting work. Attendees at the event identified “frictionless” channels and a seamless digital experience as a key component of their strategies.

Yet these ideas, however exciting and innovative, are almost one year old. Much can happen in a year in banking. That is why I look forward to the 2017 Efma-Accenture Distribution and Marketing Awards. The new ideas and initiatives the industry is working on to solve our latest challenges will be evaluated and celebrated.

To learn about this year’s awards, head here. And be sure to come back, when I’ll look at another industry trend linked to the awards.

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