12 Takeaways from the World's Leading Financial Marketers

12 Takeaways from the World's Leading Financial Marketers

Earlier this month, JConnelly was honored as one of “Financial’s Top Agencies” for 2018, as presented by the Gramercy Institute.

While we take awards pretty seriously around here, the best part of the day wasn't basking in recognition or hauling our hardware back to the home office (though that was pretty great too). It was getting to hear from some of the world's leading financial marketers on the trends and influences that will impact financial institutions in the year to come.

Here are 12 lessons from Gramercy Institute members and honorees on where the industry is headed and how marketers can stay at the cutting edge:

1. Trust is back.

But not quite at pre-financial crisis levels. An improving economy can help explain the U.S. public's faith in financial institutions but a commitment to transparency, solving client problems and protecting data are paramount to keeping this fragile asset in play in the year ahead.

2. Technology continues to disrupt.

But not in the ways many financial institutions expect. Rather than trying to reframe their brands as disruptive startups, legacy financial institutions would be wise to look at the ways technology puts consumers in control of purchasing decisions. Brands that use technology to power human interaction will be well positioned for growth and success in the year ahead.

3. Brands can't control the flow of information.

Consumers are constantly pulling news and information through search and social channels. But brands that try to push their information to end users will get immediately labeled as "too salesy." Creating the content for consumers to find and select is content marketing's future.

4. Content is going strong.

There are few sure-fire strategies in this world, but quality content marketing comes pretty darn close. For growing and engaging an audience, improving SEO, and converting casual interest into motivated purchasing, content is still king.

5. But there's increasing pressure for content to drive lead generation.

Because content marketing is so measurable, many decision makers are pushing content marketing further into the sales cycle, relying on content alone to turn browsers into buyers. There is danger, however, if content marketers focus solely on conversion and pull resources from attracting and engaging a broader audience.

6. Marketing is moving out of traditional channels and into more broad-based, emerging outlets.

While traditional tactics like event marketing can help convert leads to clients, marketers recognize the need to keep prospects, leads and clients engaged at every stage of the customer journey.

7. We're moving beyond measurement.

Martech providers have focused on measurement in order to attract more clients of their own. But the disciplines that have been harder to measure, including SEO and public relations, are becoming more critical for brands trying to differentiate their offering. Measurement and ROI can't be the only factors marketers consider when putting together their marketing mix.

8. Targeting has to apply to the whole consumer.

Unsophisticated digital programs will peg a potential client in one category (parent) and lose sight of all the variables that make people, well, human (like, that they're retired, or renting, or moving out of state). Delivering marketing messages that speak to more than one characteristic will be critical to successful conversion programs as consumers become more discerning.

Related: Three Great Ways to Share Your Brand Story

9. Repurpose, don't recreate.

Many brands have a treasure trove of content and collateral that could start engaging audiences today. But it's often overlooked in favor of creating new, more and different content. While it takes more strategic work, repurposing this library can help brands do the seemingly impossible: do more with less.

10. The basics are back and more important than ever.

Differentiation, specialization and clear messaging are still critical for marketing success. Messages are moving away from "how it works" and back to benefits, which is all consumers have ever wanted.

11. Brands are built from the inside out.

If your internal communications are lacking, now is the time to correct that. If your brand culture doesn't support knowledge and information sharing, it's not likely you'll be able to effectively communicate with the outside world.

12. Engagement is the only thing that matters.

As evidenced by the fact that it has been mentioned no fewer than 5 times already in this blog post.

And one bonus lesson:

(Because the Top 12 Financial Agencies were actually 13 - that's how good this group is!)

Complacency is the enemy. The only thing that is for certain is that the months ahead will only mean new opportunities for financial brands. Let's go get 'em!

Michelle Pittman
Public Relations
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With a diverse background that spans virtually all aspects of the communications industry, Michelle helps conceptualize and implement integrated campaigns for JConnelly’s cl ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, Feb 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Don’t Get Pinged by the Social Security Earnings Limit

I’d like to introduce you to Peggy. Born in 1956, Peggy will be 62 in 2018. She has worked in retail her whole life, the past twenty-five years spent in management. Peggy divorced from her husband 14 years ago, is still single and has no children. — Dana Anspach

2. We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

This week the markets shrugged off last week’s fears and went back to the slow and steady melt up, despite economic news that looked likely to once again rock the boat. — Lenore Elle Hawkins

3. Q1 2018 Factor Views

Themes established in 2017 across a wide range of markets and factors continued to resonate through the fourth quarter. Economic growth was strong and supportive of equity markets across the globe, a range of volatility measures reached all-time lows, and business and consumer sentiment remained elevated. — Yazann Romahi and Garrett Norman

4. A Beneficial Basket of Commodities

Advisors and investors that feel they are hearing more and more about commodities and the corresponding exchange traded products in recent months are right. That is a natural result of dollar weakness and yes, the greenback is floundering again in 2018. — Tom Lydon

5. 3 Trends Shaping the Future of Asset Management

As the industry works to cope with new regulation, wades through an outpouring of new products, learns to satisfy investors’ shifting priorities and manages the active-passive debate, the viability of business units will be questioned, and at times radical measures will be taken. Peter Hopkins

6. 5 Ways Advisors Leave Money on the Table, and What to Do About It

My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it. — Bill Bachrach

7. The Market Has Gone Wild! Is It Time to Change Your Investment Strategy?

Whether the market is flying high or taunting your emotions with new lows and some bumpy volatility, here are four things every investor should keep in mind ... — Lauren Klein

8. How to Deepen Client Relations and Capture New Business Using Engaging Content

Why financial advisors NEED to understand much more clearly the power of good digital market. With tools like AdvisorStream, it’s easier than ever to get the content you need to drive leads and referrals today! — Kirk Lowe and Matt Halloran

9. Three Ways The Most Successful Gain Big Attention

How do some firms and ideas go from nowhere to everywhere in a few short months? All of a sudden a restaurant becomes popular, a gas station gains a cult following, or a Broadway show becomes too popular to get a ticket for years. — Maribeth Kuzmeski

10. Who Are the Hottest FinTech Firms and Influencers Around the World?

"Worldwide, $27.4 billion poured into fintech startups in 2017, Accenture reports, up 18% from 2016. With so much in play, it’s not surprising that 22 companies are new on this, the third edition of our list."  — Chris Skinner

11. The New Stock Market Normal Is Not What You Think!

Many sensational headlines have been written the past few weeks about market declines, but two things have increased for sure: the viewership and the ad revenues of financial media organizations — Preston McSwain​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio