The Top Five Trends in Financial Service Marketing

The top five observations on media—what’s happening today, how to think about media, and the trends I'm seeing.

1. First, fund companies and advisors should be getting much more out of social media.Why? Whether you’re marketing directly to investors or to intermediaries, peer recommendations are your most effective advertising. Depending on the survey, 90%-95% of consumers trust peer recommendations. It’s lower for business consumers—in the low 60%s—but that’s still comparatively very high.You accomplish that on social media by providing content—insights, thoughts, activities—that your audience will share with others, hopefully with positive comments of their own. The mere act of sharing is an implicit recommendation. It’s compliant. And it’s worth its character length in gold. 2. Second, if there’s a silver bullet in marketing, it’s video.According to Syndacast, 90% of marketing professionals globally use videos, and over 50% of them say video has the best ROI of any medium. Why? By showcasing real people, video engenders trust like no other medium.Video can be executed indifferently or really well. What are the hallmarks of great video? Some tips from Cisco: Keep it short. The top 50 YouTube videos at any given time are usually under three minutes. Include text overlays. Many of us view videos with the sound off. Embed links using annotations, so you can lead viewers to the next step. 3. Third, email is the medium that refuses to die.Here are some amazing ROI data from the Direct Marketing Association: Social media, direct mail, paid search, and online display ads: all under 30% ROI. Email marketing: 122% ROI.Who’s doing it well? A lot of firms, but check out WisdomTree. They’ll customize what you get by your interests, their emails are well-designed, the content is relevant, and they’re constantly improving their program. 4. So far so good. How do you measure media’s effectiveness?Which brings me to my fourth observation—ROI and marketing analytics. This is almost an established religion. And there is terrific promise in marketing accountability, because with accountability comes credibility. Marketers want more credibility, and CEOs want credible marketing.Three words of caution. First, it’s not easy. It’s not a matter of installing a CRM and marketing automation software. Any experienced ROI consultant will tell you that the human aspect is at least 50% of the job—developing confidence in the data, building more trust between sales and marketing, influencing the organization through internal champions—all the emotional and political work that’s crucial to any cultural change—which this is.Second, not everything worthwhile can be measured—yet, anyway. We’re still not able to measure of brand value in a way that’s acceptable to FASB. Even if you capture and interpret analytics perfectly—a big if—analytics can’t tell you everything.Third, don’t let an enthusiasm for metrics become an obsession over short-term results. We’re already hearing about organizations losing their strategic, long-term focus to a more myopic view of marketing. They’re not seeing the forest for the trees. 5. My fifth and last observation. Whatever media you choose, make sure your message is something your audience wants to hear.How? By being what Jeff Bezos calls obsessive customer focus. “Customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”

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