Content Marketing for Financial Services

‘[Content] is not going to be add-on or an afterthought. It’s got to be at the forefront of everything we do.’ 
—Kirti Srikant, Director of Brand Marketing, Oppenheimer Funds.

The financial sector faces significant challenges with growing regulatory complexity and increasingly cautious individuals, agencies and institutions. This hesitant environment means it is more important than ever to identify growth opportunities by reconnecting and engaging with clients and customers in a meaningful way.

Today’s mobile consumers are constantly connected, with high expectations of service levels, whatever mobile, digital or offline channel they use. These savvy shoppers are beyond gimmickry and facile promises. If you wish to earn their trust and to build a lasting relationship with them, any communication from you has to be predicated on a real attempt to understand them so that you can present them with relevant information, products or services that are of genuine value.

For the financial industry in particular, well-conceived, strikingly presented and finely targeted content can foster engagement, build and cement relationships and drive significant growth in a number of ways.

1. Women in conversation

Women represent a large consumer segment that is very underserved. When Citi Bank identified this gap in the market, they partnered with LinkedIn to form Connect: Women’s Professional Network to build conversations with women via a dynamic social media platform. This LinkedIn group moderated by a LinkedIn community manager is filled with user-generated discussions, news content and polls. The content is also disseminated via a special edition of LinkedIn’s newsletter for professional women.

In its first four months, the group attracted more than 43,000 group members — 30 to 50% of whom returned on a weekly basis generating 18,000 comments fuelled by thought-provoking content. Women have significant financial muscle these days, so it makes good sense for financial brands to show more female faces in their marketing campaigns. Getty Images say their top-selling shots have an effortless and natural feel, and celebrate the new female paradigm of strength, style and self-worth. It’s not just about images though. When engaging women in conversation, the content must be informative, honest and reliable. Such content, generously provided, promotes loyalty and active engagement; i.e. Guide + Give = Trust

2. Education tools

Financial services products can be dry and complex, but this creates the perfect opportunity to engage and build trust with customers who seek guidance when making decisions in such a specialised area. The companies that are able to balance credible and reliable information with entertainment will reap large rewards. This could mean partnering with publishers, creating brand journalism, generating ebooks, or interactive tools and calculators. With Cisco predicting mobile video will make up 69% of all mobile traffic by 2018, now is the time for brands create a strong mobile presence.

3. Robo advice
Coming soon to a website near you — a mechanism that will allow you to waive all the current financial safeguards, waive any need for a financial adviser, any need for a financial product to be suitable to your financial circumstances and any need for a statement of advice.

‘With one small step in technology, all the advisers, all the advice and all the accompanying legislation that is threatening to stifle the product-selling industry is going to be sidestepped. Imagine that. Click-and-buy financial products.’

The average consumer, who is not a financial expert and probably not in the finance industry, may be able to click and buy — but what exactly? How will he or she choose from the avalanche of new financial products that this step will probably trigger? The chances are that person will seek specialist advice from a trusted source — and that’s where you come in, as an expert advisor. Having built a relationship of trust with your client based on providing relevant, honest and trustworthy advice, you become the valued source whose guidance is actively sought by clients. These products can provide an opportunity to create brand awareness and build brand loyalty among consumers early on in their life journey.

4. Data analytics 

The more complex the information, the greater the need for it to be distilled, clarified and conveyed effectively. Data can be fascinating, representing as it does the shifting patterns and motivations of our lives. It can also be eye-glazingly dull to read if it is not presented in an appetizing, easily digested format that nevertheless remains accurate, and relevant. If you pull this off properly, you will find people will actively, even enthusiastically seek out your message. Data analytics and data mining will provide the treasures to be showcased in your infographics and data visualisation techniques, which should become central to your business operations.

Financial services companies have an abundance of data on almost every aspect of our lives to do with money — if there is data on it, you can make an infographic for it to intrigue, inform and engage your customers. Not only that, by analysing quality data inputs from microdata sets, you can establish a highly effective targeted macro or global strategy.

5. Authentic brands 

Financial brands must appear solid, dependable and trustworthy, but they also need to speak to people. In a post-GFC world, authenticity has gained currency, and people have a deep desire to be inspired by authentic others. Financial brands have suffered from their association with the financial crisis, and their abstract, complex products and services are hard to personalise with credibility. Getty Images have commented on how the industry’s recognition of the customer’s growing appetite for inspirational role models is reflected in the stylised images of small business owners. These images represent the small business owner as an authentic and inspiring figure, heroically in contrast to the tarnished, corporate end of town.

How to draw your client’s attention

Did you know that infographics are 30% more likely to be read than any text article? 

This has a staggering impact on the information uptake by the viewer, and a direct flow-on effect to the bottom line. At Ascender, we are passionate about developing compelling and relevant content marketing tools for our financial clients.

Infographics bring your data, research and insights to life. Our clients report that infographics have:

•    increased customer engagement and conversation

•    improved brand awareness and recall

•    explained and clarified complex content.

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