The pace of change in financial services
As is true of most professional services, finance is an industry in which old habits die hard.
Even changes that are unanimously favoured can take a frustratingly long time to manifest. Take the very recent example of digital transformation.
In the BDO Middle Market Digital Transformation Survey 2019, 97% of financial services firms claimed to be making some sort of inroads towards digital transformation, while 68% claimed to have developed their digital transformation strategy.
But in that very same year, Jurgen Weiss, the Practice Vice President at Gartner, stated:
“Almost half of global financial services organizations are still in a very early or even immature stage of their digital transformation journey”
Then, when lockdowns began to happen, many financial services organizations found themselves in an urgent scramble to build out the digital capabilities needed by their staff, clients and customers.
Is it time for financial services marketing to transform too?
Similarly to the state of digital transformation pre-lockdown, marketing principles and practices in the financial services sector—more specifically those of content marketing—are lagging behind when compared to other industries.
There are valid reasons for this low maturity, but many of these are rooted in misconceptions. Namely around what the value and purpose of marketing actually is.
Financial services content: not just a “nice to have”
An age-old stumbling block for in-house marketers in financial services firms is that their function is seen as a center of cost, not profit.
So when purse strings get tighter, CFOs look to cut “discretionary spending”, and marketing is usually one of the first areas to take a hit.
But amid a climate where margins are waning, face-to-face sales are seeing dwindling impact, and digital-first fintech solutions are becoming an increasing competitive threat, any strategy that can yield cost-effective ROI should be a top priority.
Marketing is so much more than a “nice to have”. In fact, if done right, it can be one of your most potent drivers of revenue.
Don’t believe us? Here are a few figures on how content marketers are securing new business…
Content = the new engine for growth in financial services
- Organizations with a content strategy achieve 27.1% higher win rates and 18.1% higher quota attainment rates than those without (CSO Insights)
- 42.78% of people say offering free content about a topic they’re interested in is the best way to attract their business (Fractl)
- 62% of B2B buyers can finalize a vendor list using digital content alone (Forrester)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads (DemandMetric).
Content marketing: out with the old, in with the new
So now you know more about why content should be a priority, the next question is how do you go about it.
This brings us back to the point of outdated principles and practices.
Most businesses can’t realize marketing’s potential as a profit-driver because they are investing valuable time and energy into methods that don’t work.
If you want to make marketing content that effectively drives new business, here are 2 quick tips to get you started.
Create content that faces outward, not inward
Talking about yourself is not the way to win new business. And yet, an incredibly high number of financial services organizations still position their content this way.
If your company website says more about who you are and how you came to be than what you can do for your customers, it’s inward-facing.
If your content speaks more about how your big business wins than insights into your industry, it’s inward-facing.
For your content to generate leads and drive sales, it needs to speak to prospective customers and engage them. So, make your content about them instead of you.
Become the answer to your customer’s question
In today’s digital landscape, most customers make buying decisions because they have a problem or question and are looking for a resolution.
Sales pitches and advertising used to be the main way we could find the product or service we needed.
Now if we want something, we search for it ourselves. And we expect to get the answer we want without having to offer something in return.
There are prospective customers out there who can benefit from the services you can provide, and the insights you have to offer. They have a question—ensure that what you do is the answer.
Repeatedly offering upfront value to prospects through your content is a great way to earn their respect and trust, and build yourself a reputation as a thought leader in your space.
The more you build these things, the more likely people are to come to you when making a buying decision in your area of expertise.