Earlier this week, I was honored by the Gramercy Institute as a Rising Star in Financial Marketing, alongside 19 other fantastic industry pros. The opportunity was not only humbling but also allowed me to reflect on what 2019 communication trends excite and challenge us here at Vested. Below, I share our perspective on how financial marketing and communications can learn and capitalise on each.
The Tortoise and The Hare
It’s hardly news that we’re surrounded by news 24/7. But there’s a divergence happening as both fast(er) news and slow(er) news trends emerge. More specifically, fast news is the almost-instant delivery of quick headlines and five Ws. But being the first to a story isn’t always what consumers need, as some topics need more time, depth and detail to reveal the full picture. And this is often the case when it comes to financial services.
Let’s look at the Daily Telegraph’s Brexit WhatsApp group. Instant(ish) updates on what’s happening, delivered straight into your WhatsApp inbox alongside messages from mates, mummy friends and partners. It’s digestible but expansive with a personal and more casual tone. Contrastingly, we also have Tortoise – one of Kickstarter’s most successful investments of 2018 is due in early 2019. Tortoise is proud to be slow and take an in-depth approach to news. It’s also opting for partnerships with brands rather than advertising.
The way we as consumers consume products and information is ever-evolving and has resulted in a rapidly-changing content landscape. Plus, as social media platforms alter their priorities and subsequently their algorithms, the science behind curated newsfeed slowly begins to crumble. We no longer have total control over what content we’re served and when–but we haven’t totally surrendered our lives to Instagram (not yet at least). We still have control over when we click, and when we buy. So, it begs the question: how do we in financial marketing, cut through the immense amount of content on the internet and create “thumb-stopping” moments?
As people that use social media regularly, it can be hard to separate our own preferences and behaviors and look impartially at how the masses interact with content. But the removal of self from the marketing equation makes way for trend-spotting among target demographics.
Measuring What Matters
Measurement is always a key part of the conversation with our clients, and advances in technology have allowed us to look differently at engagement and success. But this proliferation of data can be a slippery slope. Because of its vastness, it is easy to become enamored with meeting particular metrics by particular dates that may not speak directly to strategic long-term goals.
It’s important to start off 2019 marketing efforts with a conversation around what your priorities are and how success is measured before getting bogged down in social followers or website views. Moreover, data needs to be contextualised as success can’t be measured in a vacuum. For example, instead of just looking at how many people visited your site in the last month, it’s equally if not more important to look at how long they visited the site for and what pages they clicked through to.
Whether you’re a B2B, B2C or B2B2C communicator, audiences are at the heart of what we do and the decisions we make every day. We’re all increasingly under pressure to demonstrate that we know, understand and can reach the *right* consumers. And whilst audiences are often segmented or categorised, let’s not forget they’re made up of individuals.
The CFO you want to reach, the potential recruit you want to attract and the intermediary who sells on behalf of your business, are also consumers with personal interests, passions and consumption habits. Understanding these specifics and serving up content outside of the traditional “box” they’re used to being put in helps create the thumb-stopping moments we mentioned earlier. It also creates an opportunity for adding a personal touch, setting your content apart from the masses in financial marketing and other industries.
The Health of Wealth
We’re all actively managing our health more than our wealth. But how can financial marketers tip the balance and encourage better self-financial management the way SoulCycle is marketed as therapy for your body and mind?
Nudge theory and behavioural economics has been much discussed in both the financial services and health and fitness areas. And within fitness, it shows that incentives make people move, like insurance policies that offer reimbursements for gym memberships once you log a certain number of hours. So, how do we use this line of thinking to help consumers prioritise financial wellness and incentivise them to stick with it?
It’s about real-life, every-day decision making–the immediate changing of habits like opting for homemade coffee over Starbucks, or ensuring an extra chunk of money from your paycheck is moved to savings. It’s not to say we should ignore big-picture, more complex personal finance subjects like investing or saving for retirement; but capturing the practical application of finance that leads to immediate results is top of mind when we look at 2019 industry communication.
With these trends in mind, the question for communicators is how to make the most of these opportunities in 2019; how to use them to engage with audiences in different ways, capture their interest, encourage loyalty and create brand differentiation.
Have any big ideas for 2019? Share them with us on Twitter (@vested) and Linkedin; and don’t miss an earlier blog post by UK CEO Elspeth Rothwell on what financial marketing trends she’s keeping an eye out for next year.