Strict regulations, restrictive technology, and rigid organizational structure are just a few challenges that financial services marketers face. These obstacles have generated more than a few marketing-related myths that are widespread throughout the industry. Identifying and understanding these misconceptions is key to developing strategies that will help you achieve your marketing objectives—such as supporting dozens, or even hundreds, of branches or brokers in the field in order to grow your financial services brand and drive customer preference at a local level.
Let’s take a look at four of the most prevalent myths in financial services marketing and the steps you can take to overcome them.
MYTH #1: Financial services firms are highly-regulated, limiting their ability to be creative.
The need to adhere to regulations is an inescapable part of marketing financial services firms. Achieving regulatory compliance is even more complex when a brand has dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations and teams in the field, all independently executing their own marketing campaigns. It’s imperative to have processes in place that ensure field users can conduct their marketing efforts while maintaining compliance. Of equal importance is unburdening these field teams from the need to come up with new marketing initiatives on their own so they can focus on selling to and interacting with customers.
With this in mind, where’s the room for creativity? Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to come up with creative marketing campaigns that are also compliant. Through distributed marketing, corporate marketing teams—with creative skill sets that are often more sophisticated than their teams in the field—can develop new and interesting campaign concepts that are also on-brand and compliant. From there, campaign materials can be templated and then easily customized and distributed by field teams at a local level.
There are many examples of financial services marketing campaigns that are both creative and compliant, but one of our favorites is Western Union’s American Dreams Sweepstakes campaign. Over the course of a full year, Western Union worked to identify what people thought of as the “modern American dream” via social media. From the data gathered, they were able to offer prizes relevant to the target audience such as freedom from debt, college tuition, and housing down payments. The exercise wasn’t about product offerings; it was about the common values of the target audience and creative social media efforts scaled across channels to deliver relevant rewards.
MYTH #2: Enterprise-level financial services firms can’t provide a personal touch.
With 9 out of 10 financial service marketers saying their customers expect a personalized experience across digital properties (Evergage), it’s easy to see how vital it is to provide a personal touch in order to acquire and retain customers. The question is, what’s the best way to implement high-level corporate strategies—and uphold brand guidelines—in ways that can be tailored and personalized by field teams at a local level?
Implementing a Distributed Marketing Platform makes it much easier for local teams to simultaneously maintain corporate standards and present personalized marketing messages. Campaigns that entail everything from emails, direct mail, and social posts to online ads and landing pages can be templated by corporate while allowing for localized content—like language, specific location details, individual recipients’ name, and other information—to be customized easily by field teams.
Aside from customizing campaigns to local audiences, there are plenty of examples that demonstrate how financial service firms can go the extra mile with personalization, proving just how possible it really is. In the UK, Atom Bank’s “Design Your Own Logo” campaign is an extreme—but interesting—example of how it’s possible for financial services providers to achieve more personalization in their marketing:
“...[Atom Bank’s] CMO Lisa Wood told Marketing Week that personalisation has been a dominant theme throughout the entire process.
‘We want to be highly personal and demonstrate this at every point of our proposition that it’s about the customer, not us. We’re a customer obsessed organisation. It’s a way of showing that we believe every one of our customers is unique. No one should have exactly the same experience of Atom. Visually, it will also look very different from other bank experiences,’ she said.
Wood said that a personalised colour-theme and logo is only “one aspect” of the brand offering a tailored experience. In December, the bank announced that customers will be able to use face and voice biometrics to log on to the app. It is built using gaming platform Unity, which will involve 3D animation and sound to engage customers.” (Marketing Week)
MYTH #3: It’s difficult to effectively manage traditional and digital media all at once.
Until recently, different types of media had to be managed in entirely different platforms; in fact, many financial services firms still do this either by using “best-of-breed” solutions for each channel or by incorporating a multi-channel platform that does a percentage of what is needed (but none of it necessarily well). Marketing tech stacks have become unwieldy as a result of this fractured approach. In fact, according to MarTech Today, over half of enterprises are using 21 or more digital marketing solutions.
This situation often creates problems around integration, management, and training—resulting in more headaches, less efficiency, and a less cohesive brand. They key is to find a platform that enables multi-channel management and reduces the need for a disparate, clunky tech stack. A robust Distributed Marketing Platform can provide just the solution—resulting in smoother processes and maximum productivity.
MYTH #4: Effective marketing needs to be expensive.
Financial services brands often have limited marketing budgets, which makes finding ways to get that extra mile out of their investments crucial. Despite having access to more comprehensive digital tools than ever, financial services marketers aren’t keeping pace with current industry trends. Considering the decreasing costs of analytics tools and digital communication overall, there are fundamental reasons to take advantage of the shift to digital. According to The Financial Brand, when bank and credit union executives were asked how much they allocate to various communication channels, they found that:
“...a whopping 36.3% of marketing budgets still go to mass media (TV, print, radio, etc.). Worse yet, over 30% of the organizations allocate over 50% of their budgets to offline channels. The good news is that online channel use is increasing in banking, with an average of 27% of budgets going to web, social and other online channels.”
To make better use of their marketing dollars, financial services marketers need to catch up with other industries and get serious about measurement and analytics reporting—both of which are core features of all digital channels. These insights will help them refine strategies and create more effective campaigns over time, vastly improving ROI.
That said, none of this means doing away with traditional marketing strategies altogether; instead, it involves finding ways to measure the effectiveness of different avenues and using that data to do more with the budget you already have.
In short, financial services marketing doesn’t have to be expensive—it just needs to be smarter.
Dispel Myths and Start Conducting Smarter Financial Services Marketing
Distributed marketing isn’t just another industry buzzword—it’s an approach that helps multi-location businesses conduct and measure better marketing. It enables local teams to leverage corporate creativity and compliance while providing customers with the personalized experience they demand. Integration with other technologies such as CRMs offers a single view of customer and closed-loop analytics—providing insights into what’s working and what’s not so that future campaigns can be optimized accordingly. This ultimately results in smarter marketing strategies and more effectively-allocated budgets.
Pageflex’s Distributed Marketing Platform is a robust solution that simplifies multi-location marketing in even the most highly-regulated industries. Interested in learning more? Read our whitepaper, “How Financial Services Firms Distribute, Manage and Reuse Content” to discover how financial services brands are using distributed marketing to overcome their marketing challenges, including uncertain ROI, poorly-educated customers, high levels of regulation, and more.