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Creative Content Marketing for Financial Services: 3 Examples

Posted by Alicia Ingram in Blog, Marketing

Marketing StrategyAs if the financial services industry hasn’t been beat up enough over the past few years, it’s also gotten something of a bad rap for its lackluster content marketing.

Let’s face it, while investment banks, asset managers, and other financial service providers are ahead of the curve in some ways, when it comes to content marketing, that’s rarely the case. Not only is the industry dealing with such heady topics as derivatives clearing and credit default swaps, it’s also hemmed in by an overwhelming array of complex and continuously evolving regulations.

As a result of these and other factors, financial service providers often fail to build and execute dynamic content marketing programs. Instead, they frequently rely on tried-and-true, but far less creative, tactics. Cue the deluge of exceedingly dry white papers and webinars, and the direct mail magazines that often just wind up in the trash.

To be clear, the problem isn’t a lack of effort, and it’s certainly not a lack of high-quality content. Instead, it’s the way the industry seemingly operates under the misconception that its heavy regulatory burdens both preclude and exempt it from taking a creative approach to content. Remember, those regulations are predominantly focused on what’s being said, not the style and delivery of the message.

Another problem is a palpable anxiety about the unknown that clearly stifles innovation and discourages a clear point of view. This is, in large part, why so much financial content rides the fence, and why so many companies are only just beginning to dip their toes into social media, a realm fraught with uncertainties: What if no one responds to our tweets? Or worse, what if they do?

Fortunately, some companies are forging ahead and beginning to take a more innovative approach to content.

Credit Suisse

Take Credit Suisse, for example. The bank’s digital magazine, The Financialist, offers insights into breaking news, as well as in-depth reporting on the issues, trends, and ideas it sees driving the markets and the economy. The site provides a combination of original feature stories, informative visuals, and carefully curated third-party content. It works because it’s a legitimate financial news site rather than a bank’s thinly veiled attempt to make its website look like one.

Credit Suisse

 

Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial’s Brighter Life serves as a place to share ideas about money, health, and family. Its financial content includes a variety of timely articles and videos with tips and tools for personal finance and retirement planning, among other topics. Sun Life has created a true community that’s targeted at families and, by wisely integrating a variety of other topics that families care about, makes the site a destination for a much broader audience.

Brighter Life

 

Putnam Investments

Bob Reynold’s blog, The Retirement Savings Challenge, is impressive because he is unafraid to tackle an array of complex issues. The CEO of Putnam Investments doesn’t simply articulate the challenges facing a graying population of baby boomers, he actually takes on retirement policy as it comes down from Capitol Hill. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Reynolds offers up a definitive, and at times controversial, point of view.

Putnam Investments

So the answer is yes, the financial services industry can and eventually will measure up in content marketing if it thinks outside of the regulatory box and reinvents the ways it delivers its messages to resonate in the 21st century. Bring on the infographics and viral videos, the social media campaigns and blogs. It may just be a matter of taking a few risks, which in an industry as skittish and scrutinized as financial services, is no small feat.

This article, written by Kevin Cain, originally appeared in Chief Content Officer Magazine.

21 May 2018 no comments / READ MORE

How Marketing Revolutionized the Car Insurance Business

Posted by Kevin D. Johnson in Blog, Marketing

Progressive Insurance

How did we get to the point where car insurance pricing is related to your credit score?  The answer: Now that’s Progressive!

While reading Marketing Mavens, a book that analyzes innovative companies, I came across the Progressive case. Since it began selling auto insurance in 1937, Progressive has served the riskiest group of drivers and has enjoyed a respectable market share in its industry.  However, 22 years ago a major regulatory challenge forced it to reinvent itself.

In 1989, Progressive’s core business was threatened by government regulation in California, a huge market for the company.  The regulation called for a 20 percent reduction in insurance rates, making it virtually impossible for Progressive to survive with drastically smaller profit margins.  As a result, Dave Pratt, the company’s general manager for direct marketing, devised a strategy that would forever change the insurance industry.

In short, Pratt discovered a strong correlation between credit scores and driving records.  Author of Marketing Mavens, Noel Capon, describes the evolution of Progressive’s strategic epiphany: “When Progressive analyzed its customers closely, it found that although they were all relatively high risk, they were by no means all the same size, shape, and cost to serve.  In particular, Progressive discovered that although all high-risk drivers tended to get into accidents, high-risk customers with good credit ratings had fewer accidents than high-risk customers with poor credit ratings.”

Consequently, Progressive implemented a new business model, charging lower premiums for drivers with high credit ratings and higher premiums for drivers with low credit ratings. By doing this, they were able to attract customers that filed less claims and therefore were cheaper to serve.  Such a pricing hierarchy allowed Progressive to experience tremendous growth rapidly without reducing profit margins.

So, in brief, that’s the story of how we ended up with credit scores determining car insurance premiums, not to mention the iconic, pricey ad campaign featuring the ever ebullient Flo.

07 Feb 2018 no comments / READ MORE

Five Steps to Getting the Maximum Return on Your Marketing Dollars

Posted by Alicia Ingram in Blog, Marketing

Marketing AdviceSmart marketing based on in depth research can generate leads, build brand awareness, and grow your business. But marketing that’s based on luck or raw instincts will only waste money, opportunities, or both.

You can’t afford to squander limited marketing resources on campaigns that are hit or miss. Instead, you need to plan, and track marketing efforts so you can learn what works and then jettison what doesn’t. That way, you concentrate efforts on tactics that generate real results.

Here are five steps to getting the maximum return on your marketing dollars.

1. Identify Targets

First, evaluate your market to define the target customers you will benefit from reaching. Remember that target markets are not your core market. Targets shift depending on strategy and goals while the core customer typically remains stable.

For example, let’s say you sell kerosene camping stoves. Your core market is people who like to go camping. But your target might be the Boy Scout troop leaders in the Northwest.

Further, instead of one-size-fits-all marketing to every user of your product, consider targeting heavy, light and occasional users. That way, you can customize messages more likely to hit nerves and drive response.

2. Research Customers

There’s little mileage in launching marketing efforts until you know the characteristics of your target customers. Find out what they think about your product, why they buy it, and how and when they use it. You especially want to know how customers want to hear from you — via direct mail, e-mail, phone, or online Web sites — as well as how often. Don’t overlook research into how you can meet their needs better.

You can gain such insights in several ways. When talking to customers, ask them questions. You can also create simple surveys, questionnaires, and customer satisfaction queries with return mail postcards or online forms. Offer a gift or benefit for their participation, like a coupon for discounted services or a gift that participants can claim. You can also do phone research. You may be surprised by the results.

Collect the responses and keep track of interested customers using preformatted reports that are available in the Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager, which is included in Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition. As surveys are returned and orders come in, you can correlate the responses by exporting these reports to Microsoft Office Excel for further analysis.

To create a mailing list for the survey (and future marketing), export the contact information from Business Contact Manager. Or simply use the Mail Merge Wizard in either Microsoft Office Publisher or Microsoft Office Word to seamlessly incorporate contacts from Business Contact Manager or Excel directly into your publication or document.

3. Quantify Success

Make sure you define the results you want and set expectations that are appropriate for the marketing you choose. To help set goals, you can get advice from industry groups, small business divisions at local colleges, or fee-based marketing agencies.

You might set the mark at certain sales revenue or a specified number of generated leads per month. Your goal could be a total number of acquired customers within a year or one new investor by the end of your fiscal. Success could mean a shift in consumer perceptions or deeper customer satisfaction. Whichever, you need to articulate the desired set of outcomes beforehand or you won’t know whether or not the marketing worked.

4. Calculate Your ROI

Take the time to compare the cost of proposed marketing against the profit you expect from it — not sales, mind you, but actual profit.

Monitor the range of customer response throughout the sales process so you clearly understand what brought customers through your door or to your Web site. Once you acquired the lead, how much did it cost in time and money to nail the sale? Can you make that process more cost effective? Did customers return to buy additional products or services, or did they move on? What would help to make them more loyal?

By setting up a table or grid that captures information about the campaign — whether in Microsoft Word, Excel or Publisher — you can create a tool that lets you evaluate results. You want to know:

-The per piece cost of your marketing material and distribution.

-A score for the buying action respondents take, such as high, medium or low.

-Some tracking code to categorize customer response via phone, direct mail, e-mail, Web-based, or in person.

Now you can figure out how much it costs to get a customer’s attention. You can also put a price tag on what it takes to drive a response and close the deal.

5. Track Results and Adjust Efforts

By capturing data, updating results, and tracking your progress, you create increasingly integrated sales reports, financial analysis, and customer databases. That will tell you what’s working — and what isn’t. With that knowledge, you can customize the key marketing templates you use in Publisher 2003.

Don’t test once and stop. Keep refining your tactics and messages. Build up to larger, more expensive and more proven marketing with low-cost, low-effort experiments. Some examples:

-Create special coupons. Use different codes for various messages or offers. That way, you’ll know what attracts business or response.

-Buy a group of toll free 800 numbers and use different numbers for varying promotions. Costs for 800 numbers are minimal these days.

-Get in touch with repeat customers. Find out what makes them come back.

-Send a postcard mailing to customers who haven’t bought anything for a while. Offer an incentive to buy and ask about the reason they haven’t been around.

-Print your e-mail and Web site address on every direct mail offer you send out and see if that pulls.

Besides the fine-tuning of research and analysis there’s a very simple rule about whether or not your marketing is effective. If you’re spending more on marketing than the business it generates, stop doing it and create a new campaign.

About the Author: Joanna L. Krotz writes about small-business marketing and management issues. She is the co-author of the “Microsoft Small Business Kit” and runs Muse2Muse Productions, a New York City-based custom publisher.

 

18 Sep 2016 no comments / READ MORE

Atlanta’s Top 50 Advertising and Marketing Firms

Posted by Victoria Glebocki in Advertising, Blog, Marketing

Atlanta Skyline

In this comprehensive ranking and assessment, we investigate how well top marketing firms in Atlanta flomax market themselves to potential clients through their web content and social media presence.

We use the 2013-2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle Book of Lists, which contains a list of the Top Advertising and Marketing Firms in Atlanta, to identify top firms to include in our ranking and assessment.  The rankings, however, were based on size (determined by number of employees), and revenue collected through traditional advertising, digital advertising, direct marketing and/or promotions. The list includes global giants such as BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather, as well as smaller, Atlanta-based firms like Brand Fever Inc. and Mindpower Inc.

Objective:

To determine how effectively top advertising and marketing firms in Atlanta market themselves to potential clients through their web content and social media presence

Criteria:

-Website: Ease of navigation, display of work and capabilities, aesthetics
-Portfolio: Notable clients, testimonies, quality of work
-Social Media: Frequency and quality of content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and blog posts
-YouTube/Vimeo Channels: Quality, content, frequency
-Competitive Advantage: Elements that distinguish the firm

Companies Included (Partial List):

Johnson Media Inc., Moxie, BBDO Atlanta, PureRED Integrated Marketing, 22squared Inc., JWT Atlanta, Grizzard, Communications Group Inc., Ogilvy & Mather Atlanta, Epsilon

Top 50 Advertising & Marketing Firms in Atlanta - Ranking by Johnson Media Inc.

*The partial screenshot above is taken from the ranking and assessment in which we’ve conducted a comparative analysis on each company’s specialties, services, webpages, and social media presence.

Download or view the rest of this list of Atlanta’s Top 50 Advertising and Marketing Firms.

 

02 Sep 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Atlanta’s Top 20 Public Relations Firms

Posted by Victoria Glebocki in Blog, Marketing

Atlanta Skyline

In this comprehensive ranking and assessment, we investigate how well top public relations firms in Atlanta market themselves to potential clients through their web content and social bactrim us media presence.

We use the 2013-2014 Atlanta Business Chronicle Book of Lists, which contains a list of the Top Public Relations Firms in Atlanta, to identify top firms to include in our ranking and assessment.  The rankings, however, were based on size (determined by number of employees), and revenue collected through traditional advertising, digital advertising, direct marketing and/or promotions. The list includes global giants such Ogilvy & Mather, as well as smaller, Atlanta-based firms like Green Olive Media, LLC.

Objective:

To determine how effectively top public relations firms in Atlanta market themselves to potential clients through their web content and social media presence

Criteria:

-Website: Ease of navigation, display of work and capabilities, aesthetics
-Portfolio: Notable clients, testimonies, quality of work
-Graphic Design and Video Production: Quality of work
-Social Media: Frequency and quality of content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and blog posts
-Competitive Advantage: Elements that distinguish the firm

Companies Included (Partial List):

Johnson Media Inc., Jackson Spalding Inc., Dodge Communications Inc., William Mills Agency, Carabiner Communications Inc., Calysto Communications Inc., Kellen Communications Inc., Ogilvy Public Relations, Cookerly Public Relations Inc., Trevelino/Keller Inc.

*The partial screenshot above is taken from the ranking and assessment in which we’ve conducted a comparative analysis on each company’s specialties, services, webpages, and social media presence.

Download or view the rest of this list of Atlanta’s Top 20 Public Relations Firms.

01 Aug 2014 no comments / READ MORE

10 Trends for Financial Services Marketing

Posted by Alicia Ingram in Blog, Marketing, Trends

Mobile Banking

1.  Customer Engagement is not a passing fadCustomer engagement occurs every day on an offline basis in the branch banking environment.  The challenge for those branch-based institutions currently is replicating that level of engagement in the online world.  This will remain a key issue in 2013, especially as engagement must be thought of not only in terms of your engaging with your customers, but also with how your customers engage with each other about you.  For institutions without an extensive branch network, the challenge is to establish and then maintain an engaging relationship with and by your audience.

2.  Data Integration becomes mission critical. Financial institutions have always been faced with this challenge and were early adopters of MCIF (Marketing Customer Information File), CIF (Customer Information File), and other capabilities to bring data about their customers together.  However, the explosion of web analytics, social media and other digital channels has created new sources of data with different integration challenges, adding complexity to linking and managing both the online and offline content.  Bringing together this new, rich, unstructured content (and sorting it from the chaff) will be more crucial than ever before to get closer to understanding your customer.

3.  Marketing Analytics is red hot.This data fuels the growth in the importance of marketing analytics. But the new social conversations are generating a different data stream of unformatted data.  The number of people skilled in analyzing this data are difficult to find, and — in general — aren’t clamoring to breach the walls of the local financial institution.  Most institutions will need to rely on external partners for these insights, and will compete with most other companies for these resources. As Robert Wollan of Accenture says in the current issue of CRM Magazine, “Turning data into actionable insights is increasingly essential – and increasingly difficult.”

4.  Social Media Marketing will mature. While the rest of the world has jumped feet first on to the social media bandwagon, banks and other financial institutions have proceeded more cautiously.  In fact, some have gone so far as to say that social media is a waste of time for most banks and credit unions.   We think that banks and other financial institutions will remain cautious in 2013, but will begin to more strongly leverage social media as a marketing channel.

5.  Technology vendors are blurring the distinction between products and services. ASPs, Software as a service, “To the Cloud.”  Expect more technological confusion, not less, in 2013.

6.  Segmentation becomes schizophrenic.Cohorts, personas, or clusters — whatever segmentation methodologies you are currently using (you are, aren’t you?) should be reviewed in 2013 to ensure propecia that you’re capturing and leveraging the new data that is now available to you.  A recent study by eDigitalResearch and IMRG shows that 65% of people are happy to make bill payments online.  Can you identify these groups in your database and do you incorporate them in your customer and prospect segmentation?

7.  “Touchpoint Attribution” emerges as the new buzzword for 2013. The challenge of allocating sales to a particular communications channel is somewhat easier in the financial services space, because financial institutions simply don’t do as much multi-channel marketing as non-financial marketers do.  As multichannel communications usage grows in FIs, this will take on more importance, but as for 2013, we can’t help but ask “Are we there yet?”

8.  Mobile marketing explodes. Not so much mobile marketing, but we expect that mobile banking will gain a much stronger foothold in 2013.  The recent growth in capable smart phones and other platforms (iPhone, Android phones, iPad, etc.) will make banking-on-the-go a reality for more customers in 2013. The ability to download an app to a mobile platform rather than relying solely on the Web lends at least an illusion of additional security that will aid adoption of this capability.

9.  Privacy wars heat up. For financial institutions, it won’t so much be “heating up” as it will continue at a full boil.   “Do not track” legislation that is being considered will add complexity and slow the adoption of full social media efforts by banks and other institutions in 2013, with some sitting it out until the legislative picture clears.

10.  “Right Touching” makes sense. Due to security and privacy concerns, multichannel marketing capabilities have been slower to grow in most financial service firms. Phishing scams have made many distrustful of an email from their bank and, outside of the “online only” banks and other FIs has complicated the rollout of full multichannel capabilities by those institutions entrusted with our financial security. But financial institutions also have a head start in this regard — existing networks of ATMs and online banking help to self-identify users, so the right message can be presented when that channel of choice is used.

We’ll be keeping an eye on these trends for financial services marketing as 2013 rolls forward, and we’ll compare notes to see how our projections pan out as the year progresses. What do you think 2013 will bring?

This post is an excellent article on trends to watch in the future for financial services marketing.  It originally appeared at http://goo.gl/jnPFYD and was posted by Martha Bush on March 27, 2013.

10 May 2014 no comments / READ MORE