The Financial Services industry is facing an era of unprecedented disruption and, as our research shows, most firms are ill-equipped to meet the challenge.
The bottom line: Marketing has changed more in the last two years than it has in the previous 50.
To make matters worse, technology is moving at such a pace that many businesses are struggling to keep pace with what works and what does not.
Welcome to the age of ‘digital distress’.
Traditional advertising models can no longer be relied upon. Just think about this for a moment; without the over 60s to support them, every single UK newspaper would shut its doors and turn off the printing press for good.
Business looking to increase inbound enquiries are all turning to digital, with ad-spend across these channels hitting a record £21.4 billion in the UK last year.
Yet, understandably, the traditional and heavily regulated Financial Services sector has been more cautious than most when it comes to entering this complex world.
There are many potentially serious issues to consider. For example, social media acts as both a sales tool and customer service channel simultaneously, so how do you manage it without inadvertently doing more harm than good?
New hubs and platforms are emerging all the time; how do you know which ones will provide you with the best ROI and which ones will be a drain on your marketing budget?
And meanwhile, the constant threat of disruptive new technology looms large in the background.
It’s no wonder that even seasoned marketing executives are struggling. The pace of change in technology, data and the way consumers communicate with each other is accelerating at a mind-boggling rate.
Fortune favours the adaptive
So where is an SME to start?
It goes without saying that having a ‘mobile first’ digital strategy is critical. Smartphones are by far the most widely used devices when it comes to online search, and today over 80% of all sales will begin with some form of online research or enquiry.
Beyond that it is about examining and understanding your sector to a point where you know precisely who you should be targeting, what messaging ‘triggers’ work best and where they are most likely to be found ‘hanging out’ online.
Being able to monitor and respond to this changing digital landscape in a timely manner takes skill, expertise, effort and consistency.
In just a few years we’ve gone from Google to the explosion of social media and are now seeing a huge shift in users spending more and more time on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.
We’re also seeing vast amounts of effort expended on content marketing platforms like Outbrain and Taboola.
For many the scale and scope of information is just too much to digest; for those capable and willing however, the opportunities to reach new and lucrative audiences has never been better.
A quick word on the ‘millennial’ arrival
Until now this much-maligned demographic has been more concerned with weekends in Ibiza and new smartphone technology than financial services. Yet as they approach their 30s it’s time for the FS sector to start thinking about how they are reaching out to this idiosyncratic group.
Understanding how millennials think
The key to this is having good quality content ready and waiting to be discovered at the early research phase. You can almost guarantee that most millennials will undertake this online.
In fact, 69% say that the quality, timing and relevance of this content will have a strong influence on brand perception. And 65% of them will look for the most relevant content regardless of brand.
The obvious good news there is that you do not have to be a recognised national brand to draw these consumers in. Simply having a great content strategy can do the trick.
The bad news is that having no form of online sales support or customer interaction will pretty much guarantee that they will go elsewhere.
So ask yourself; what kind of content is being found online when potential customers search for your services? How is your website set up to deal with in-bound enquiries?
It is mind-boggling, and only likely to get worse. However, there’s no doubt that the added investment of time and effort in this space has the potential to bring huge rewards.
There is expertise required, not least in understanding the nuances of each platform and the methods of ensuring that your cross-channel marketing is driven by a fully integrated approach.
Data analysis is also vital in understanding which channel to hero and which ones to avoid. Above all consistency and skilful execution are vital.
If you would like to find out more about content marketing and how it can be used to drive your business performance, contact us today and we will be more than happy to review what you have been doing so far and look for new ways to improve performance.
Call us today on 020 8360 8244 or email email@example.com