How to produce financial services marketing that stands out.Posted on August 19th, 2019 by Triptych
“Guaranteed Protection. Growth Potential. Low Maintenance.” — Lincoln Financial Group.
Phoenix Marketing International voted this as the worst advertisement among 30 print ads from financial services firms in trade publications. The judges used metrics like brand recognition, impact, and relevancy to rate the ads. Rated lowest overall, Lincoln's ad landed in the last place, and it's not hard to see why.
Poorly designed ads shouldn’t surprise anyone in the finance industry. The struggle to make creative and compliant marketing materials is commonplace in many regulated industries. Marketing demands that experts give equal weight to consumer emotions and perceptions while still complying with local, state, and federal regulations.
In financial services marketing, appeals to logic through leveraging data are equally as important as appeals to emotions through speaking to security and safety concerns. How do you create materials that strike the right balance? Let's look at the roles trust, alignment, and technology play in creating a marketing campaign that balances the logical appeal of data and the emotional appeal of security and safety.
Trust in financial institutions is declining
People need to trust their financial advisors before they’ll use their service. Without trust, it’s unlikely they’ll forge a meaningful relationship that leads to a sale.
Every financial provider knows they have to be trustworthy. Nonetheless, the trust consumers have in financial services has flatlined in recent years. The informed public in the United States registered a 20-point drop in how they regard financial services.
Why don’t people trust financial services? It comes down to a lack of empathy for their customers. Organizations can’t build trust if they don’t understand their customers. To build trust, they need to overcome the difficulty of marketing financial products.
Getting past the challenges of financial marketing
Financial products are not easy to market. First of all, they're hard to illustrate. Companies that try to explain technical details often use jargon customers don’t understand. To counteract this, others oversimplify their messaging. They cut out too many details, including those that make their product unique.
The goal of financial services marketing is making the benefits of your solutions clear to the average user. For example, instead of “Roth IRA,” say “your retirement.” Start with an emotional pull, and then get to the details later in the buyer’s journey.
In addition, find alignment on what makes your product different and why customers choose you over your competitors. Such reasons could include lower fees, higher security, or ease of use. Talk to your customers and find out what they want. When you let your customers guide your marketing, you create messaging that resonates with your audience.
Aligning an offer to the opportunity
When your sales reps complain about poor leads and marketing complains that content goes unused, you have an alignment problem. Mismatches between your departments could explain up to 10 percent of lost revenue. Does that sound high? Companies that improve their sales-marketing alignment can increase revenue 32 percent faster. Ignoring an alignment problem is a costly mistake. So, how can you start improving the relationship between your sales and marketing teams?
Get sales and marketing to agree on your customers' needs. Start by identifying your ideal customer and how they buy. You can do this through customer interviews, market research, and analyzing past sales. Understanding their mindset is the first step to creating a marketing strategy that both your sales and marketing teams can rally around. When your teams agree on your customers, it’s possible to align their tactics.
Once you’re on the road to alignment, you still need to watch out for other issues. Another serious challenge for financial marketers is balancing creativity with compliance.
The struggle to stay compliant
There’s a lot of complicated rules around what financial services can do and say. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has rules on almost every touchpoint with the public. Its rules even reach into advertising and social media. To avoid unnecessary risk, run your content through legal first.
To facilitate and streamline this process, you should develop smart workflows and automated processes. Otherwise, you could be stuck waiting days or weeks to hear back on email. Complying with legal regulations doesn’t need to be elaborate or difficult if you have solid systems in place.
Keeping up with technology
Every month it seems like there is a new channel, audience, or invention that your marketing strategy needs to account for. Fintech isn’t making the situation any easier for traditional financial institutions. By 2030, 80 percent of traditional firms are expected to go out of business due to an inability to keep pace with new technology.
Thanks to technology pioneers like Amazon and Apple, customers expect more from their service providers. This could create panic among traditional firms. But, don’t just try to keep up with the competition. Innovate to solve your customers’ actual pain points. The key to innovating valuable solutions is really listening to your audience.
Turn your struggles into learning opportunities
“It is during the bad times that the skilled manager lays firm foundations for future growth.” - Konsuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic.
The next time you read a financial services advertisement or feature, put yourself in the shoes of its creator. Ask yourself, "What was their struggle?"
Then, think about the content. Did it resonate with you? Was it targeted at a pain you feel in your life? Was it different from other solutions in the market? If you answered yes to these questions, you’ve stumbled on an example of great financial marketing.
Hundreds of factors go into creating successful marketing for financial services. Don’t be discouraged if you miss the mark sometimes. Marketing is part process and part experimentation. You can only succeed if you dare to be different and truly listen to what your audience wants.