5 in gold

We recently attended the Journal of Financial Advertising and Marketing Forum on the Future of Financial Media, held at the NYSE. Compared to last year’s forum, there was a noticeable shift in the mindset of the financial marketers present — from a focus on rebuilding trust and authenticity with key audiences, to a renewed focus on results-oriented marketing activities. Marketing dollars must be well spent in an unsure financial climate such as this, so pursuing the right platforms is key to reaching the right people with the right messaging. Below, we’ve compiled some key takeaways from the conference, including top priorities for financial marketers as they relate to financial media.

1. Financial Marketers are Scientists, Not Artists

Over the next 2 years owned media output will rule the roost, considered by 66% of financial marketers to be the most important form of media, earned media coming in at 57% and paid media being the least important at 24%. As owned and earned content stand at the forefront of desirable content, and paid media falls to the wayside, marketers are looking to the breadth of available distribution channels to target the right audiences, even under increased regulation initiatives. Therefore, financial marketers are focusing on better, more measureable results and less waste, rather than relying on “gut instinct” and traditional marketing tactics.

2. No Shortage of Data, Only Shortage of Insight

Measurement and Optimization as it relates to financial media is all about establishing a better connection between marketing and business objectives. Now that companies are shifting a greater portion of their budgets towards digital channels, developing creative briefs that incorporate clear marketing goals is key to making sense of the plethora of data, and putting it to good use. Early on in the creative process, financial marketers want to know what the best channels are for reaching target groups, and how to fully leverage the data available to optimize results.

3. Consistency is Critical

We’ve said many times before, but it never hurts to mention one more time; ensuring that brand messages are put forth consistently at every touch point is the key to engaging your most important audiences. David Blackburn, SVP Marketing for US Trust claims the company will not be ‘trailblazers’ in the social media field because that’s not what their clients are looking for, however it’s a valuable resource for maintaining conversations with customers, telling the brand story, and sharing content. In this respect, using technology to manage touchpoints can help marketers to not only disseminate consistent messaging as it relates to the brand, but also to select media that target audiences are using.  With more channels than there are customers, it seems that making the media consumption experience well sequenced can turn a prospect into a promoter. This means putting marketing efforts at the epicenter of an organization to ensure cohesive messaging. The beauty of measurable media? Real data, real numbers, in real time, showing real value.

4. Mobile Marketing: Wherever, Whenever

The Head of Brand, Advertising & Integrated Marketing for Oppenheimer Funds describes his team as “conductors of an orchestra.” They determine the “smell, taste, look, and feel” of the company to the outside world, making for the ultimate form of integrated marketing. With this thought in mind, creating a cohesive experience across all channels is where the opportunity for effective targeting occurs. Mobile marketing means that prospects are reachable to consume content wherever and whenever, but different segments consume content at different times, and the content they choose to consume varies. While this is nothing new, the remaining question is how can marketers capitalize on this opportunity to reach customers without bombarding them? If mobile media is the baseline, then marketing more effectively is the solution. Understanding points in time and location, and the intersection between global and social, can allow financial marketers to bring the right content, to the right audience, at the right time, on the right device. That seems like a mouthful, but at the end of the day content is king. Reaching audiences when they’re most susceptible to consuming content can make all the difference in an increasingly mobile world.

5. A Focus on Customization

The question is no longer what audiences do you want to reach, but more than that, its how can marketers customize content and information for prospects in a way that will resonate, and make a mark. There must be a marriage of data, technology, and standard marketing principles in combination with messaging frequency in order to target the right audiences, at the right time. Customization doesn’t just apply to the digital and mobile realm. Barclays is currently in the process of building a $4.9 billion sports arena in Brooklyn, as a way of putting the London based company’s brand forth to American customers in a visible and lasting way. Kimberlee Mertz, SVP, Director of Advertising and Brand at Barclays claimed that it took their team “months and months” to decide on brand placement and messaging as it is displayed in the arena to ensure the brand resonated with the public in the most effective way.