The post-crisis environment hasn’t been easy for financial service marketers. With staff and budget cuts, and a flat market, it has been hard for them to be difference makers. As a result, lots of financial services marketers have found themselves on the defensive, having to justify their existence and constantly being told to do more with less.
But a sea change is underway in the industry. Despite recent market volatility, a more positive outlook is taking root. A recent survey by Deloitte, for example, shows the positive sentiment is up in capital markets, insurance, banking and other industry sectors. With firms feeling better about their business prospects, they’re looking to their marketing teams to help them drive growth.
Going on offense presents challenges, however, because clients’ behaviors and preferences have changed dramatically over the past several years. They are more informed and self-directed than ever before. Clients and prospects also have much greater control over which companies they’ll engage with, and how, when and where they do so.
For financial services marketers, this all means that their old, push-style programs and traditional channels won’t work as well as they used to. To drive growth, they need to turn their focus and budget dollars toward modern marketing – strategies and tactics that are designed to pull clients to them.
The Modern Marketing Approach
Marketing used to be a simpler exercise: communicate the value of a product or service in order to sell it to customers. Modern marketing is more than that. It involves using market insights and varied channels to engage customers and prospects in two-way conversations that help guide them through their buying journeys.
To initiate and manage these conversations, modern marketers use a combination of customer and prospect data, predictive models, informed targeting, tailored content for various buyer personas, and multi-channel communications, all powered by marketing automation systems. The goal is to provide relevant and compelling content that creates personalized experiences for clients and prospects during each phase of the sales cycle.
Must-Have’s for Making the Modern Marketing Transition
To make a successful transition to a modern marketing strategy, financial services marketing teams need to retire most of their traditional marketing programs and fully embrace the pull or ‘inbound’ mindset. Technology is also a critical component in every phase of modern marketing programs. Here are four required capabilities that marketing teams must have in place before they pivot their programs to this newer paradigm.
- Data Resources & Capabilities – Reinvent marketing processes based on data, analytics, and customer insights. Leverage all of the firm’s data resources to create and refine buyer personas, incorporating information on their roles and responsibilities, pain points, behaviors, and preferences. Use the personas to steer the marketing plan, campaign development, and the creation of messaging and offers.
- Organizational & Process Alignment – To ensure thorough and effective handling of client conversations across the firms, align marketing processes with other involved groups, including the distribution team, the Client Reporting group and the Legal and Compliance departments.
- Marketing Automation Platform – These solutions enable teams to market more effectively across multiple, online channels including email, social media, blogs, websites, etc. They cover campaign development, execution and analysis, as serve as a repository of marketing data on how targeted contacts become leads and then customers.
- Measurement and Flexibility to Adjust – Unlike large push-style programs, the modern marketing approach involves more rapid and nimble iteration. Firms need the ability to monitor customer interactions across multiple channels in near real-time, capture the insights from those touch points, and quickly work them into programs with new messaging, different offers, etc.
When fundamental changes occur with their customers and prospects marketing teams need to adapt their plans, processes and programs to reflect those changes. In the wealth management space, such changes are well underway. Clients already prefer mobile- and social-based ways of doing business, and that trend will only continue.
Modern marketing is the only viable and sensible model for engaging with and winning these clients. The sooner wealth management firms and their marketing teams embrace this mindset and the technologies that enable it, the better off they and their advisors will be.