If you’re a marketer working in the financial services sector, you probably know how difficult it is to stand out of the crowd. Our customers looking for financial marketing assistance come to us with a wide variety of ideas – some better than others – that they want to experiment with in order to attract new customers or retain existing ones.
As you read this guide, consider how you can adapt one or more of the ideas to your own business. For some of the ideas, it may be necessary to discard the original idea altogether and replace it with a better one of your own devising.
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with some basic guidelines and practical suggestions that are, in my opinion, the best available. By following the recommendations here, you will be able to get more of the attention – and money – that you deserve.
This guide explores three aspects of marketing that are important to a financial services business:
The importance of establishing and communicating a clear and compelling vision of your company
The importance of developing your marketing communications over the longer term
The importance of gathering data to inform marketing decisions
THE IMPORTANCE OF ESTABLISHING A CLEAR AND COMPELLING VISION FOR YOU FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY
Shareholders are looking for accurate information about what’s happening in the business and how the management team is dealing with it. They are probably looking to your marketing team to provide them with this information.
In the modern economy, ‘customers’ (and, so for that matter, ‘creditors’) are investing their time and money (often considerable amounts) in a particular company in order to achieve some end result. The success or failure of that company fundamentally determines what will happen to the people who put their money in. Any chance that a customer has to invest in the company is got only by trusting the management team to put their money where their mouths are.
The modern economy is also a highly competitive environment fuelled by the invention of new products and services. What your customers are looking for is reassurance about whether they are using the best that the market has to offer. They want your company to confirm that it has indeed mastered all the insights into what it is that makes products or services work or not work. Or they want to know that they are running a company that has achieved a level of expertise that will equip them to manage any product or service situation that may come their way.
In the financial services industry particularly, a key consumer group is the ‘wealth manager’. These are people who manage people’s money for them. An important consideration in the decision-making process is the question of how ‘professional’ or ‘sophisticated’ those wealth managers are and, more importantly, whether their level of skill enables them to do what they are expected to do effectively.
Financial services companies will therefore pay quite a lot of attention to the vision that they have for their business and the decisions they make as a central part of their marketing strategy. If your customers’ money is at stake, they won’t put up with a ‘lead in’ or a ‘slogan’ that strikes them as being a bit off.
What does the future hold?
One of the difficulties facing the financial services marketer is that the nature of company business is changing dramatically around us. The fundamental role that the company-specific product plays in the decision-making process is being challenged as much of the information that is available is available in a ‘broader’ way.
Effective financial services marketing techniques?
If the end result is that a higher proportion of the business ends up in the ‘over the counter’ market, those businesses that have been innovative and have brought good products to market will be rewarded, as will people who have had what amounts to a ‘mentor’ role in doing the ‘cultivating’ of the market, as it were.
But, even if this doesn’t happen, it is the perception of the financial services industry that customers are seeing it happen that is likely to get them the opportunity to invest their money in your company.
In many cases (particularly in these days of product commoditization) it will be the financial performance that people see as the key marker of success, rather than the company-specific product itself.
While the product, service or specialist service that the company-specific selling of a particular product will be the business’ most visible expression of its brand, it is its marketing communications team’s messages and claims that will provide the point of difference.
Every time one of these well-meant and well-developed marketing communications messages is volunteered, it becomes a piece of ‘trade information’ for others to use.
The financial services industry is also changing rapidly. The changes affecting the regulatory framework and the ‘rules of the game’ in this highly competitive market place are probably now as profound and significant as those that have been experienced in other parts of the business world.
If you are part of the wealthy few in the sector, you need to ensure that you are getting the recognition and top-dollar that properly reflects all that you are committed to delivering for the sector.
To achieve this, you must align your business with a clear and compelling vision that the market sees as being a useful and admirable guide to future direction. In this way, you take a step towards ensuring that you best enable your organization to compete against those businesses who are doing the same job, but a much better job. You also take a big step in taking advantage of the chances that the changing business environment offers.
WHAT PERSECUTIVE MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS?
You may or may not have a theory about your company’s future; in other words, it’s important for you to recognize that sharing your ideas early on could be quite the windfall for you and your company.
Like it or not, the financial industry moves very quickly. Your marketing talents will get noticed when you offer a new and fresh approach to the marketplace. Customers will notice a keen eye on your messages. And – most importantly – investors will notice that the next time you get on the air – you come bearing the best of ideas about how you intend to use your company’s financial resources to make an improvement in the world’s financial state of affairs.
Keeping an open mind during your marketing efforts will mean that tempting opportunities come your way, such as new business channels.
Having a clear idea of your vision and the benefits of your company as the one to make things happen will allow you to recognize that clever marketing is already underway in your sector, as it is in most others. Even in the financial services industry, as one of the only businesses that is driven by the monetary and psychological rewards of increasing asset values, it is important that you work with the marketplace.
Your marketing will have an altogether more persuasive that, if you believe that the future belongs to your old industry. You will have to adopt a much more strategic , persuasive approach.
You need to think in terms of how your future lies in the hands of your customers and your employees.
Future Of financial services companies?
You need to think in terms of how your future lies in the hands of your customers and your employees. How they think and act about current events in the organization is just as important a consideration. The marketer’s role is to develop a ‘broad perspective’.
Your management team is its’ responsibility.
Your marketing needs to be as close to the ‘line of business’ as is possible.
You can and you should be yourself in your approach to asking for and granting business.
For you: “One size fits all” is a frustrating fact. “Alignment” with existing procedures and work processes results in limited scope for your company’s marketing and development efforts.
The aim of marketing is to engage customers and get them involved in your organization. Once you do this, you create brand references which bear down on future decisions.
Complacency or over-confidence can be the kiss of death. The marketer who does not actively involve themselves with the market is as pointless as they are sadly. As their customers become ‘experts’, it is completely fatal.
No one is going to pay for your product if they are not sold on the ‘brand value’ that came with you.
You need to get to know your clients as individuals if you are going to be able to bring forth ideas that support them and the banks.
Not only can these ideas help your customers to better understand their own financial situations, but they can also give your customers a greater insight into what you are all about.
You need to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.
They will become your customers in the truest sense of the word.
You can’t create a product that is based on the idea that your customers are simply behaving as anybody else might.
When you think about it, they are very different from each other. If you portray your beliefs as the sincerely held beliefs of your customers, you put yourself in a better position.
The only way you can get there is by focusing on the personalities of the particular type of customer (or clients) you are addressing.
Tactics used for effective financial services marketing?
A good financial services marketing campaign begins with a solid positioning statement and creative marketing materials that build upon it. This marketing team is responsible for helping the organization find a new edge.
The financial services marketing team should:
Image is particularly important in financial services, particularly when it’s an innovative type of image, such as your company uses.
- Know about the competition and who are your main competitors, both current and future.
- Know what your company is about, why the marketplace is looking for your company, and why you are the best choice.
- Convince your supervisors that this will be a worthwhile expenditure; that the marketing budget will significantly enhance the productivity of the organization.
- Understand the effect of new regulations and how the efforts of your marketing team will help.
- Understand that it takes a lot more than money to get a great ‘product’.
- Create a message that will resonate with its customers, and yet, be able to get them to ‘buy in’ to their future.
- Use media in a variety of spoken and unspoken ways to get your message out.
- Create a “mission statement” based on the principles and purposes of the company that all employees will know and can all use to talk to other employees, customers, etc.
- Help its team to increase their technical and professional skills.
- Help the marketing team to create a positive ‘ego’ for all employees that will help to enhance the quality of both communication and service within the organization.
- Know the facts about the marketplace, and know who needs to be sold to.
One to a Handful:
- Know your company’s current market size and the opportunity for expansion.
- Know the financial condition of the organization.
- Understand who truly does the hard work, and who does it for fun.
- Know what marketing stimulus should be provided for this type of work culture.
- Know more about the company’s customers and the tools they use; how they would use each and every company’s capability to resolve their needs.