The Rise of Experiential Marketing in Financial Services

The Rise of Experiential Marketing in Financial Services

As content marketers working in the financial services industry, we need to stay on top of the many marketing changes happening in our industry, and in others.

One of the big changes taking place outside financial services is the rise of experiential marketing. Let’s explore experiential marketing: what it is, what one company has done very well as well as taking a look at what a financial services firm could do.

What is experiential marketing?

Sometimes it’s called engagement marketing or participation marketing, and there’s a good reason for that. Experiential marketing is a very hands-on approach to marketing. It takes place right in front of the consumer – on a street corner, at an event or anywhere consumers might be. But it’s not the same as giving away samples in front of a train station. Experiential marketing is interactive and provides a real experience between the consumer and the brand.

To get a better idea of what this means, let’s look at an example from the retail industry.

The Molson Canadian global beer fridge

There’s a good chance you’ve seen these commercials. A crowd of Canadians gather in a public space, drawn in by the sight of a Molson Canadian beer fridge. They’re looking confused and wondering what this beer fridge is doing in this particular space. After all, it’s a spot they’ve likely walked by many times before – and there’s never been a beer fridge there before.

As members of the crowd chat with each other, they slowly realize that the fridge is waiting for people to say “I am Canadian” in different languages. Working as a group, the crowd finds many people who speak different languages, and each steps forward to say “I am Canadian” in their own way. After the 10th language is spoken, the beer fridge open, and it’s free beer for everyone! (Adults only, of course.)

Not surprisingly, the crowd cheers and looks genuinely excited. Although we weren’t there personally, we’d be willing to bet that nobody in that crowd will ever forget that experience. And that, right there, is the definition of experiential marketing.

And for the rest of us witnessing the magic through commercials only? We didn’t have the same hands-on experience, but this is still a memorable campaign. We didn’t get free beer, but we certainly get the message about living in a wonderfully multi-cultural society.

The lesson for financial services

As a financial services marketer, the information you provide to customers is important. But for it to have a real impact, it also has to be memorable. Set aside the brochures and product information sheets for a moment and think about how you can create a real experience for your customers – an experience they’re not likely to forget any time soon.

One idea could be to go to an event where you know investors will be and set up a gaming station. Invite investors to play a game where they can choose different financial paths and see how their choices affect their future. For example, a player who hasn’t started saving for retirement can choose an amount to start saving now or to put off saving for 10 years so they can focus on eliminating their debt. They could choose to spend their tax refund on a vacation or on an extra mortgage payment. They could choose, for example, to prioritize retirement savings over saving for a child’s education.

With each path chosen, the player should be able to see the impact of their choices and what might happen if they made a different choice. The reward for playing could be something that ties into the game, like a complimentary session with a financial planner.

Keep in mind that many people like to keep their financial lives private. You may want to skip the crowd aspect of the Molson Canadian beer fridge campaign and create an experience that engages customers one-on-one.

Andrew Broadhead
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Andrew Broadhead is Communications Manager at Ext. Marketing Inc., where he creates content that helps financial services firms engage their customers and prospects. Andrew’ ... Click for full bio

Top Picks in Asset Allocation

Top Picks in Asset Allocation

Written b: John Bilton, Head of Global Multi-Asset Strategy, Multi-Asset Solutions

As global growth broadens out and the reflation theme gains traction, the outlook brightens for risky assets

Four times a year, our Multi-Asset Solutions team holds a two-day-long Strategy Summit where senior portfolio managers and strategists discuss the economic and market outlook. After a rigorous examination of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative measures and some spirited debate, the team establishes key themes and determines its current views on asset allocation. Those views will be reflected across multi-asset portfolios managed by the team.

From our most recent summit, held in early March, here are key themes and their macro and asset class implications:

Key themes and their implications

Asset allocation views

For the first time in seven years, we see growing evidence that we may get a more familiar end to this business cycle. After feeling our way through a brave new world of negative rates and “lower for longer,” we’re dusting off the late-cycle playbook and familiarizing ourselves once again with the old normal. That is not to say that we see an imminent lurch toward the tail end of the cycle and the inevitable events that follow. Crucially, with growth broadening out and policy tightening only glacially, we see a gradual transition to late cycle and a steady rise in yields that, recent price action suggests, should not scare the horses in the equity markets.

If it all sounds a bit too Goldilocks, it’s worth reflecting that, in the end, this is what policymakers are paid to deliver. While there are persistent event risks in Europe and the policies of the Trump administration remain rather fluid, the underlying pace of economic growth is reassuring and the trajectory of U.S. rate hikes is relatively accommodative by any reasonable measure. So even if stock markets, which have performed robustly so far this year, are perhaps due a pause, our conviction is firming that risk asset markets can continue to deliver throughout 2017.

Economic data so far this year have surprised to the upside in both their level and their breadth. Forward-looking indicators suggest that this period of trend-like global growth can persist through 2017, and risks are more skewed to the upside. The U.S. economy’s mid-cycle phase will likely morph toward late cycle during the year, but there are few signs yet of the late-cycle exuberance that tends to precede a recession. This is keeping the Federal Reserve (Fed) rather restrained, and with three rate hikes on the cards for this year and three more in 2018, it remains plausible that this cycle could set records for its length.

Investment implications

Our asset allocation reflects a growing confidence that economic momentum will broaden out further over the year. We increase conviction in our equity overweight (OW), and while equities may be due a period of consolidation, we see stock markets performing well over 2017. We remain OW U.S. and emerging market equity, and increase our OW to Japanese stocks, which have attractive earnings momentum; we also upgrade Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity to OW given the better data from China. European equity, while cheap, is exposed to risks around the French election, so for now we keep our neutral stance. UK stocks are our sole underweight (UW), as we expect support from the weak pound to be increasingly dominated by the economic challenges of Brexit. On balance, diversification broadly across regions is our favored way to reflect an equity OW in today’s more upbeat global environment.

With Fed hikes on the horizon, we are hardening our UW stance on duration, but, to be clear, we think that fears of a sharp rise in yields are wide of the mark. Instead, a grind higher in global yields, roughly in line with forwards, reasonably reflects the gradually shifting policy environment. In these circumstances, we expect credit to outperform duration, and although high valuations across credit markets are prompting a greater tone of caution, we maintain our OW to credit.

For the U.S. dollar, the offsetting forces of rising U.S. rates and better global growth probably leave the greenback range-bound. Event risks in Europe could see the dollar rise modestly in the short term, but repeating the sharp and broad-based rally of 2014-15 looks unlikely. A more stable dollar and trend-like global growth create a benign backdrop for emerging markets and commodities alike, leading us to close our EM debt UW and maintain a neutral on the commodity complex.

Our portfolio reflects a world of better growth that is progressing toward later cycle. The biggest threats to this would be a sharp rise in the dollar or a political crisis in Europe, while a further increase in corporate confidence or bigger-than-expected fiscal stimulus are upside risks. As we move toward a more “normal” late-cycle phase than we dared hope for a year back, fears over excessive policy tightening snuffing out the cycle will grow. But after several years of coaxing the economy back to health, the Fed, in its current form, will be nothing if not measured..

Learn how to effectively allocate your client’s portfolio here.


This document is a general communication being provided for informational purposes only.  It is educational in nature and not designed to be a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, plan feature or other purpose. Any examples used are generic, hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. Prior to making any investment or financial decisions, an investor should seek individualized advice from a personal financial, legal, tax and other professional advisors that take into account all of the particular facts and circumstances of an investor’s own situation. 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the marketing name for the asset  management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co and its affiliates worldwide. Copyright 2017 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
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