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FINANCE

Marketing in a new financial frontier 

The future of finance is rapidly emerging, and it’s most certainly a digital one as providers continue to accelerate digital adoption and the need to satisfy new customer expectations. With this it becomes vital for firms to implement the appropriate marketing techniques to align to this emerging new world. Here, Paul Houston, co-owner and director at Catalyst digital marketing agency, discusses the future of financial marketing.

Quite possibly, the financial services sector remains on the cusp of the biggest upheaval since its inception as it prepares to embrace the next major phase of digital transformation.

Largely, this is being driven by a new type of digital first-customer. One that is well versed in using online channels, knows how to source the best deals, which websites they prefer and are comfortable making more purchases online. One that’s accustomed to personalised, on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and expect seamless, omnichannel experiences as the norm. It was therefore only inevitable that the sector would bow down to the demand of digitalisation. 

But it isn’t just about the customer online experience either. Technology-based practices such as virtual meetings and online transactions, borne out of necessity during the pandemic, have been quick to reveal themselves as much more effective and productive than many entrenched ways of operating. This is seen as face-to-face meetings are being largely replaced with new digitalised points of contact, and as more financial institutions leverage tools like mobile and digital banking, virtual advisors and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

More so, amid a challenging economic and rising cost pressures, it’s likely than many are accelerating the depth and speed of digital modernisation is order to drive efficiencies and cull costs. 

Of course, alongside this it becomes even more important that financial firms have a robust digital marketing strategy in place – one that creates a good online experience and ensures brand differentiation online too. This will become even more pertinent as face-to-face brand-building opportunities are reduced. 

But with so many other considerations for busy firms trying to weather what remains an increasingly uncertain economic climate, where to begin?

First impressions count

Did you know it takes about 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website which will ultimately determine whether they stay or leave?1

The reality is that the Internet doesn’t give out second chances and your website is the digital equivalent of a helpful shop assistant, greeting customers and enticing them inside to view their favourite products. Or, at least, it should be. 

As the first step in any digital marketing strategy, it is therefore imperative to pay due diligence to your website. Visual appeal can have a huge impact so it’s important to consider if it looks professional and really represents your brand. More than ever, time-poor customers aren’t likely to stick around for a poor performing website either so ease of navigation, fast-loading rates and usability is a must.

Further considerations include content. Is it benefit led? Does your content have helpful content to help nurture such as blogs and guides? Does it have proof points, for example case studies? Then finally it’s about lead generation which can include everything from calls to action, data capture opportunities and contact forms. 

Get it right and the good news is that creating an immersive, dynamic online experience which is intuitive to your customers’ needs and keeps them coming back can be inexpensive and easy to do.

Multi Media in the Mix

But, of course, it doesn’t end with a great website or Instagram profile. Today very few sales come from one touch point – on average it takes eight. Enter the growing case for a multi-media approach to digital marketing

This involves creating and implementing specific content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. It should consider how potential customers visit your website, explore your blog, or read your emails. It should also scope out how they search for answers in Google, engage with your business on social media, watch your TV adverts or scan your product reviews online

Through a combination of tactics including SEO, PPC, content, email, PR, social and account based marketing, the end aim is to get in front of your audience at every stage, creating a seamless and consistent experience that serves to inform, educate, and most importantly—convert.

Getting Personal 

What’s also hugely beneficial about this approach is the ability to use the associated data to inform better decision making in all areas of marketing, sales and even product development.

Take, for example, customer profiling. Through the rich intel provided by social media and analytics, it is now possible to strategically segment your new and existing customers into certain segments based on factors like age, gender and size – as well as more in-depth characteristics – shopping habits, average spend, biggest motivators to return. 

With these segments in place, insurers can target specific, tailored messages to certain groups based on established knowledge and even add in personalisation, such as their first name. With minimised real-life contact, this data can prove invaluable in learning more about the customer to enhance existing solutions and even identify cross-selling opportunities – say, where the same demographic of customer is likely to purchase say, a loan or a credit card, in close proximity.

Real ROI 

More than ever, amid the current economic turmoil, the reality is even the best or most creative campaign will fail to deliver if it doesn’t demonstrate measurable financial return. 

One of the things that makes digital data-driven, evidence based marketing so powerful to any firm is that it is incredibly easy to measure the commercial impact of any every pound of marketing spend – whether its lead generation or measured business growth.

Better still, it’s easy to analyse and adjust as part of the process to maximise commercial impact. If, for example, a certain ad isn’t delivering results, you can simply pause it or try a new creative. Equally, if certain key words aren’t pulling through, further research and analysis can inform better substitutes aligned to changing customer behaviour and trends.  

New innovations on the horizon

Digitalisation is always evolving and there are developments on the horizon which will further open new digital marketing possibilities for insurance firms. 

New breakthroughs in generative AI such as ChatGPT will make content writing quicker and more efficient, enabling marketers to use robotics to form basic first drafts of blogs, emails and other articles – freeing up time for more creative and strategic focuses.

Big data will, undoubtedly, continue to get bigger too, providing firms access to even more refined profiles of customers, new and existing, for an even deeper level of hyper-personalisation. Alongside this, continued developments in machine learning and analytics will make it easier and faster to sieve through that data too.

A new financial frontier

The reality is that what worked yesterday may no longer cut it. As today’s digital-first customer demands much more from their financial provider than ever before and a gloomy economy renders the competition even more fierce, a robust data-driven digital marketing strategy offers a cost-effective, meaningful and measurable way to create standout, cut through and, ultimately, convert amid what an evolving new financial frontier. 

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