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Bringing Financial Services into the Digital Age

When talking with financial services marketers, we often hear that financial services marketing fails to leverage cutting-edge digital marketing and sales techniques. But let’s face it, compliance and regulatory issues incentivize financial services’ marketing to stick to more traditional tactics and channels. Unfortunately, this environment causes many financial service firms to leave a lot of opportunities on the table. As a result of our work in financial services marketing, we’d like to share five tips that can help bring your financial services marketing into the 21st century, and allow you to reap the rewards before your competitors do.

1 – Love On Compliance

Most marketing activity requires getting the approval of a compliance officer. In our work, we’ve learned that the key is to establish a good relationship with the compliance officers up front and to include them in the planning around what you’re looking to do. Set up a meeting to discuss your plans before they are written in stone, so compliance can be a part of the process instead of a stonewall to execution. Additionally, you should try to establish agreed-upon timing for turnarounds, so that when you approach a channel like social, you don’t need to wait two weeks to get a Facebook post approved.

2 – Get Specific

Another thing we’ve learned when it comes to financial service marketing is that product-specific information is critical to the customers’ online buying behavior. With over 70% of the buying decision done before they contact you, your marketing needs to contain the right (read: specific) information to influence your customer. Vague descriptions and missing stats will only confuse and deter your potential customers. Make sure that you have a good approach to presenting and discussing product specifics—or prepare for an uphill battle.

3 – Harness the Power (but manage the sharing) of Marketing Data

In sales-driven organizations, sharing data between marketing and sales cannot only diffuses the tension, but also can increase close rates and the effectiveness for both departments. Our experience shows us that marketing and sales typically share either too much or too little information and that leaves them both missing half of the puzzle to real growth and success.

For example, in one of our client engagements we helped the marketing department track data on every interaction and data point through the sales process leading up to an in-person meeting. When we gave unfiltered access to that information to the sales team via CRM, the amount of data confused and slowed them down. We moved to an approach of giving summaries instead, told as stories and delivered as a simple email, and the sales teams flourished.

Sharing the right amount of data between marketing and sales is key.

4 – Automate Lead Nurturing

Marketing teams bring in the leads and sales teams close the deal, but who or what is really moving them through the rest of the funnel? Implementing real-time marketing automation and nurture campaigns can lead to big improvements for your overall close rate. Imagine staying connected with a potential customer between buying cycles, or leading up to a retirement, with little effort. This can all be done through automated campaigns. You won’t need to increase staffing or activity overhead in order to increase your touch points and maintain your meaningful relationship with customers or prospects. Automated campaigns—especially those that are triggered by the prospects actual behavior—can help bolster your customer service ratings as well.

5 – Socialize Social Media

Don’t resign yourself to the scoffing and murmuring in the boardroom when you present social media as part of your overall marketing plan. Instead, take a moment to enlighten your stakeholders on the power of social media when it comes to boomers and seniors looking to engage with brands. In a recent Immersion Active financial services campaign, social media ads outperformed PPC ads 10-1. That’s hardly something to scoff at. Add video into your social engagement, and you are building a platform for connecting with mature customers in ways that have shown significant results.

Most Importantly:

With any of these tactics, trust is key. Baby boomers are often called the “TV generation” because they were the first generation to grow up with broadcast media and during the advent of Madison Avenue. As a result, most older adults feel like they have “been there and done that” when it comes to advertising: They are naturally more skeptical about information, and that includes the information they read online. As a financial services marketer, you probably already know that mature consumers are searching for a trust-worthy partner, not just a good deal (although price and return on investment is obviously a major consideration). Leverage social media, email, mobile, and your website to connect and build trust with these consumers over time. That’s really what the digital age is all about.

To see more about our financial marketing for seniors, visit our case study pages.

If you’d like to talk more about bringing your organization into the digital age, let’s have a conversation. Call me at 301-631-9277 or email me at