How to Create a Winning Financial Services Marketing Plan
Ongoing advances in technology are changing the face of the financial services industry. Social media, automation, personalization, and enablement tools are the order of the day. Financial services companies must evolve or face losing market share to those competitors who have embraced technology to build connections with the modern investor.
To make matters more complicated, marketing teams in the financial services industry must operate within the bounds of certain regulations regarding how they communicate their services. While regulatory concerns may have slowed digital adoption, the most progressive companies in the financial services industry have started to embrace digital tools as part of their marketing strategy.
To ensure you don’t get left behind, we have put together some winning tips on how to create a financial services marketing plan. We have taken note of the latest digital trends in the financial industry and put together a guide which explains how you can use these trends to your advantage.
1. Get Social
Social media is here to stay. In fact, as influential as social media has become, chances are it will only grow in influence. Financial services companies must make social channels like Facebook and Twitter key components of their marketing plan. Whether it is B2B or B2C, social media is a great way to connect with your audience.
Research shows that 59% of consumers are unaware of their financial services firm’s social media presence. Here is a major opportunity companies are missing out on. Kickstart your financial services marketing plan by reinforcing your social media presence.
Leading companies like American Express have really embraced social media with numerous accounts across all social platforms. With 856k followers on Twitter, American Express are way above average for financial services companies. Here followers can see regular updates on the latest AMEX rewards and company updates.
2. Big Data = Big Opportunities
Financial services companies have more data at their disposal than ever before. Leveraging this data can help you hone your marketing plan in ways previously thought to be impossible. Potential data sources include social media, CRM data, website analytics, and content usage analytics. The strategic value of this data is that it can help you personalize your marketing message to relevant segments and also help you predict behaviors.
We often hear about the importance of content in marketing. But if your company spends heavily on content development and does not collect any data on usage, you will not make the best use of your resources. Leading companies like Goldman Sachs now concentrate 90% of their marketing efforts on digital. Content creation, as you would imagine, is a major focus at the company and has proved a huge success. But, if companies of this size do not leverage content analytics, the marketing plan will suffer. Research has shown that up to 70% of the content marketing creates goes unused by sales. This inefficiency can derail your entire marketing plan. Leverage both internal and external data sources to sharpen your marketing plan and eliminate inefficiencies.
3. Video is the Way Forward
It has been 10 years since Youtube was founded and exploded into the public consciousness. Remarkably, the popularity and influence of online video is still growing. As if to illustrate that point, Youtube has become the second most popular search engine in the world behind Google. Indeed consumers are more 46% more likely to investigate a product having watched an online video about it. On average, people retain 95% of the information they consumed from a video after 72 hours compared to just 10% of the same information in text from. The implication for financial services companies developing their marketing plan is clear: incorporate video into your strategy.
Bank of America made excellent use of video in their “Tips, Facts and Cash Back” series”. They managed to combine a commercial with a how to guide offering viewers some highly valuable and easy to implement saving tips.
4. Tell the Right Story to Clients
Lincoln Financial Group CMO Richard Aneser touched on an interesting idea in an interview with CMO magazine Brands, Richard explained, “are built from the bottom up. With all the money spent on financial services marketing, it is worth remembering that advisers and consultants are the primary delivery vehicle for marketing’s message. These are the people you rely on to drive revenue at your company. It is absolutely imperative that you equip them with the materials they need to build connections with clients today who expect a more personalized experience than ever before.
Collecting and interpreting both internal and external data can help you create the materials needed to create a world-class and highly relevant client experience. Creating this content is a great start, but it is only half the battle. So many financial services companies still operate in a siloed manner. Great content regularly gets stored away in legacy systems making retrieval a nightmare. Advisors regularly find themselves asking “where did I leave that file?”
For your marketing plan to succeed you need to ensure all your latest materials are easily accessible for advisors who are under more pressure than ever before to deliver a highly personalized and relevant experience.
5. Content is Still King
Bill Gates was more than a little prescient in his 1996 essay “Content is King”. Since then content marketing has been conceived as a concept and leading financial services companies are becoming heavily reliant on content as part of their marketing plan. Research shows that 31% of people say they have signed up for a financial service based on useful content from the company. Content marketing comes with a warning though, 19% of people say they simply switch off when presented with content they perceive to be “too salesy”.
Once again, American Express are a company that have got their marketing plan spot on – specifically in terms of content. A great example is their OPENforum which was launched in 2007. They regularly produce high quality and helpful articles targeted at small business owners featuring expert advice on small business trends and pain points. None of the content is “salesy” in any way. There are a number of benefits here for American Express:
- CTAs and Sign Up forms allow them to generate leads.
- Current customers feel supported while networking events boost a sense of community.
The idea behind OPENforum was articulated by Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, SVP of Partnerships and Business Development at American Express: “We already have a large part of the pie so our biggest opportunity is with small business growth – if they grow, we grow.”