text bubble made out of other text bubbles

In late September, we attended the Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing Forum, a gathering of thought-leaders and experts in the world of financial marketing discussing the current state of the industry, and where financial marketing is headed in the future. While much of the discussion was focused on the state of social media and compliance, a more intriguing aspect of the forum focused on “meeting the mindset” of investors today, and a renewed emphasis on “psychographic marketing.”

Historically, B2C marketers have relied on psychographics to understand what interests their prospective buyers. An article on the topic from B2BMarketingZone.com explains, “From a marketing perspective, demographics define what buyers commonly need whereas psychographics define what specific groups of buyers want… B2B marketers are missing out on connecting with the real context of their prospects and customers.”

E*Trade provided a great example of how effective this approach can be. They offer new customers 5 free trades as well as trading tips to help get them started. This allows them to try out the service, while also providing the company with a greater understanding of the interests and concerns of their potential client. Such insights empower marketers to develop increasingly effective and engaging marketing programs, but more than that, it aids in developing segmentation techniques.

A focus on “meeting the mindset” is clearly a powerful approach to building a meaningful connection with clients and prospects, but it requires research. Psychographic marketing allows companies to accurately define market segments by following their activities. In other words, this involves classifying new market segments based on peoples’ attitudes and behavior. Social media can provide a low cost and highly effective platform for understanding your audiences in this manner. It can be used a tool to gain deeper insights into client’s sentiments about a product or service, because it allows marketers to integrate into their social groups. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter allow for the grouping of individuals with similar interests.

For example, if a company is planning to launch a mobile banking application, they can produce content, such as a whitepaper or blog post, that explores the frustrations and problems people often face when using mobile applications. They can then disseminate this content to various key audiences through engaging posts in social media channels (for example, LinkedIn groups and Twitter hashtags), aimed at sparking discussion. Monitoring the conversations that develop around the content will provide marketers with key insights into what these target audiences want from such an application. The people who respond to this campaign are self-identifying as members of a certain psychographic segment. This research can then provide informative data that can help marketers build the application itself as well as the communications around its launch.

Whatever the product or services, it is critical to ask, does your value proposition and solution support the views, aspirations, opinions and interests of the audiences you are trying to reach? If not, then its time to do your research and find out what your clients want and how you can better provide it.