The imp, as he’s unkindly called in the popular TV series, once said, “It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor.”
Isn’t that just so true of marketing?
And as GoT season 7 consumes our evenings, we challenged our daytime selves to throw out “what is” and take a look at “what ought to be” to help set you up for the back half of this year and beyond.
In part 1 of our 2-part series, here’s the first four of eight trends we see impacting financial services marketers and communicators.
When integrated marketing was a new and shiny thing, it still had its foundation in old world campaign frameworks with one-way communication. We patted ourselves on the back if we earned some media coverage then tweeted about it. Wahoo! That was two whole channels! We just had a product to promote so who cared that we hadn’t considered what our clients wanted to hear about or that perhaps that they weren’t even on Twitter at the time we hit “Tweet”.
User generated content, social media and live streaming platforms mean integrated now involves two-way interactions. Coupled with the rise of multiple device usage, successful brands have oriented around continuous, always-on communication that allows your customers to decide the when, how, where and what of their engagement with you.
Our picks of financial services brands that “get” integrated:
- Mint (personal finance) – great use of online marketing and content
- American Express (credit card & travel services) – online community populated by guest authors sharing their business knowledge and wisdom
- Grow Super (new kid on the superannuation block) – clever use of irreverent influencer engagement and an interactive app delivering push notifications and savings visualisations
Australian media has changed. Fact. We have seen the demise of traditional media yet for us, this does not mean journalism is dead. The Sydney Morning Herald still leads the mastheads with nearly 4.3 million readers per week with 86% of readership occurring on its website and app. Likewise 81% of the Australian Financial Review’s readers access content digitally, according to Roy Morgan Research. However, “traditional” is embracing “new” with writers and publications move online, as we explained in our #Budget17 blog.
For now we are still seeing great results from PR and our case study “How we helped a client achieve over 300 media mentions on the Federal Budget” includes some tips on what’s working now.
While traditional media is not dead (yet), a defensive play brands are increasingly taking is to become their own publishers. For example, iconic digital disruptor Airbnb has announced that they will now start printing their own magazine. And if you think Red Bull is a soft drink company, the following chart shows the diversity of media properties Red Bull owns (yes, owns!):
It’s a smart move as brands need to find alternative ways to build and reach their audience.
We’ve long heard the catchcry “content is king”. And the “king” can be a cash cow as in the case of the world’s most successful blog, Huffington Post, which generates USD$14 million in revenue a month.
For financial services brands, content marketing is the most cost effective tactic, which is why more is being spent on content marketing rather than traditional advertising.
Where we are seeing the shift is in the quality versus quantity approach. Marketers now understand that quality content trumps quantity. Focusing on niche topics enables you to target key customers and provide them with useful insights.
And if you’re struggling to develop content that cuts through, here’s the process for developing quality content that we use:
- Develop and understand your ideal buyer persona – deep dive into what keeps them awake at night (fear) and identify what they want to achieve (aspiration)
- Clearly articulate what your brand wants to be famous for – and the answer “everything” isn’t going to cut it, think narrow and deep
- Research what your target audience is searching for both on~ and off-line – great tools for this include:
- answerthepublic.com paired with keyword search volumes
- Google Alerts
- Google Trends
- Your front-line people (FAQs and typical conversations they have with prospects and customers can be a gold-mine for content creators)
Instagram has killed the ‘influencer’. Companies relying on paying celebrities to endorse their brand have been stopped in their tracks. 2017 sees the rise of the micro-influencer, those we can trust. Musefind research showed that 92% of consumers trust true influencers over adverts and celebrities.
The number of followers does not equate to the level of trust that consumers have with the influencer. Rather, those that are trusted and interact with their followers have far greater power. Keep in mind that micro-influencers must be aligned with your brand values to reach your target audiences. Build relationships with them organically and they will become true advocates of your brand.
With the traditional avenues of PR slowly disappearing it is more important than ever to create a solid influencer strategy as part of your content distribution plan. As we discussed in our Content Distribution playbook, earned media, such as working with micro-influencers, has greater credibility, influence and reach than owned/ paid channels. This is because it has not been controlled by you as a brand, but by those who trust and believe in your brand.
At BlueChip we developed the BlueChip Influencers (BCI) tool through analysing a variety of factors, including the content influencers produce, social media activities, rankings in search and visibility within the industry. This enables us to provide clients with a holistic approach to the micro-influencers within financial services whilst also focusing on building relationships with those who matter most for their brand.
So there we have it – you no longer “know nothing John Snow”.
Stay tuned for our next piece in this two-part series on the top 8 trends that you should be incorporating to your communication strategy.