What financial professionals need to know to achieve the biggest impact from their marketing spend.
The vaccine roll-out now underway offers hope that we will soon return to some sense of normal. Just don’t count on the vaccine to save you from another Zoom meeting once the pandemic is behind us. The way we communicate with clients and partners might never be the same.
Developing creative ways to tell stories with digital tools is a great way for financial service providers to engage clients and create tighter partnerships, but many firms are just beginning to understand their full potential. Companies that use these tools most effectively will be clear winners.
Here are four areas of focus that will set you up for success.
1. Go all in – and get creative – with your thought leadership
As our clients reduce spending on travel and entertainment, they are investing in their digital channels. One of the big opportunities? Thought leadership. The return on investment is more than worth the effort.
The research bears this out. A study by Edelman and LinkedIn found that almost half of decision-makers say thought leadership is influencing their purchasing decisions. Overall:
- 48% of decision-makers spend an hour or more per week engaged with thought leadership
- 89% say thought leadership has enhanced their perceptions of an organization
- 15% of decision-makers rate the quality of the thought leadership they see as excellent
- 29% say they gain valuable insights more than half the time
EXT Takeaway: The most effective approach integrates the central themes from your thought leadership pieces into client emails and microsites, as well as conferences and client meetings. If you are already engaged in thought leadership, take the opportunity to analyze your approach to make sure your strategy will help you achieve your objectives.
2. Prioritize marketing efficiency
How you distribute your thought leadership can be just as important as the content itself. Your plan should outline how you are going to get your thought leadership in front of the right people. This is a critical step, especially now that we are all working in a world of fragmented engagement and tighter time pressures.
While these challenges are making marketing more complex, your customer relationship management tool (“CRM”), if you have one, could provide a valuable solution. With the proper setup, you can get a deeper understanding of your clients to learn how best to engage them. Yet, this is an area where many companies still struggle.
Many Salesforce users believe data quality is low. In fact:
- 43% are not satisfied or are neutral with their Salesforce data quality
- 58% believe up to 80% of data is not useful/reliable
- 38% report duplicate/outdated/incorrect data
Weak data quality can stem from a variety of issues. Firms tend to attribute it to a data-entry issue, but many major deficiencies can be traced back to poorly executed integrations. To make sure you get key insights into client profiles (i.e., you have high-quality data), ensure your integration is done right. CRM is a mindset and it needs to be integrated the right way. *
EXT Takeaway: The shifting structure of financial services firms and the sales and marketing teams within them is happening fast. While change can feel chaotic at times, financial services firms will benefit from strategic investments in their CRM.
3. Story-tell your way out of the crisis
Everyone loves a good story, but far too often, companies forget the importance of a strong narrative to help clients and prospects understand why a product, solution or platform should matter to them.
Starting with key messages and building a compelling narrative will go a long way to helping you tell a memorable story. Having a strong message is key to grabbing people’s attention. Doing so will help you emerge stronger and deepen your client loyalty.
EXT Takeaway: Take extra time at the front end to get your key messaging right. A compelling and consistent story will help to amplify your message across all channels.
4. Diversity and inclusion matter more than ever
The financial services industry has always been at the forefront of important cultural changes, and diversity and inclusivity have certainly become top priorities for companies within our sector. There is an increasing amount of evidence pointing to gender and racial diversity as being important components of a company’s brand and reputation. A recent Edelman-study reinforces why this matters so much:
- 92% believe business must lead on positive societal change
- 69% say diversity on boards will build trust in companies (an increase of 14% over last year)
- 89% of institutional investors say shareholder activism will increase when the economy rebounds
EXT Takeaway: Diversity and inclusion need to be approached with sensitivity and authenticity. They will strengthen your brand, increase engagement, and even enhance your performance.