An Abrupt Change into the New Normal of Digital Engagement
In just a matter of a few months, the world of financial services has experienced a level of disruption that has changed everything that had been the norm for years. There has not only been a major change in the way wealth firms conduct business, but in the manner in which employees do their work and how consumers manage their finances.
This includes the way financial institutions use data, technology and human resources to impact marketing, innovation and the digital delivery of products and services. Everybody we talk to is reconsidering Digital and their Digital Strategies. Financial advice organizations the world over are forced to reconsider “Digital Engagement” in a new light overall and how they would traditionally engage and nurture prospects and clients and consider augmented “Digital Marketing” tactics.
While there are many ways to define the term Digital Engagement, at its core, each definition shares two commonalities: digital and customer engagement. These two points are all about interactions between your customer and you (your brand).
If I focus on the Customer Engagement aspect, the main reason you should care about Digital Engagement as an instrument of customer engagement is because more often than not, engaged customers are your best customers. When they’re satisfied and happy, they can turn into loyal advocates of your brand. Given the effects of the COVID epidemic, traditional forms of 1 on 1 engagement “handshakes” to close the deal, may need to be reconsidered.
If I focus on the Digital aspect it involves two major considerations: 1) How do we mimic a practice not done digitally today, but should be done that way tomorrow OR 2) What does digital enable that changes the equation on traditional engagement? e.g. RoboAdvisor’s.
One of the key things about Digital Marketing is that it is and needs to be considered as a primary enabler of not only prospecting and lead generation but also as a primary enabler of staying in touch with your existing customer base and engaging with that customer in a conversational and personalized manner. This engagement with both prospects and existing customers then forms a foundation of Trust and in particular Digital Trust between these parties, the marketplace and then the extended referral network.
How do we mimic a practice not done digitally today, but should be done that way tomorrow?
So, What Is Digital Marketing?
Any “online” marketing effort.
Includes using marketing techniques like:
• Search engines
• Social media, and
Types of digital marketing:
• Content marketing
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Social media marketing
• Email marketing
• Digital Events
• Pay-per-click advertising (e.g. Google AdWords)
Why is It so Important → Digital Allows you to Amplify Your Brand
What’s the opportunity that’s different with Digital…The Network Effect…The ability to extend your corporate and personal brand in an exponential way! The ability to both reach a broader marketplace, but also more specific and targeted at the same time.
Think also about the benefits of the network effect if you are an employer of many financial advisors. The extension of your employees from your brand to their extended network. Their reach across their more targeted network in their jurisdiction in their industry alignment against the many distribution channels available creates a powerful business case for doing more in this area.
Employee channels expands the total reach of your organization enormously. In fact, employee reach may be many times larger than that of the official channels.
Where are you now on the Digital Marketing scale?
Now that we’ve covered some baseline definitions, where are you at on the Digital Marketing Scale? One of the key considerations for you is to gauge your starting point in a digital marketing context. We’ve put together this simple scale as a high-level measure for that consideration.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
You’ve been selling the same way for decades and don’t need “Millennial” digital concepts to drive your practice.
BEGINNER – Email Marketer
Has embraced email as an efficient communications tool, using it for both 1-1 and bulk distribution.
ADVANCED – Content Marketer
Has not only adopted email marketing practices but also full content marketing tactics, including blogging, newsletters, white papers, webinars, video and social.
STRATEGIC – Digital Marketer
Not only are you incorporating activities like Google AdWords and display advertising to your tactics, you are effectively using your CRM to tie all of your efforts together for effective, targeted, data-based activities.
You consider digital a critical part of your marketing mix and tie it into each and every traditional tactic including trade shows, customer service and customer retention.
My stake in the ground here is that Given the New Normal, all of you need to think about moving up on this scale
We will dig deeper into Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors in our next piece in this series and show you how to move up the Digital Engagement Curve.