One thing we’ve noticed but isn’t spoken about much, is the fact product providers have found the changes to the financial advice landscape as difficult to navigate as advisers. And in the same way we have seen some advisers flourish and some diminish in this ‘new normal’, we’ve witnessed the same things happening to the broader financial services providers. Licensee fragmentation, adviser scepticism and the commoditisation of ‘unique selling propositions’ has created a situation where reaching the right adviser, at the right time, in the right context, with the right message – has become an algorithmic nightmare.
At the same time we’ve seen the role of marketing teams explode with new responsibilities to match all the new moving parts. With XY placed at the centre of adviser conversation in the market, we’ve watched all these trends play out, and created our product suite to help solve these problems.
Long gone are the days where marketing presentations were designed to baffle by the unnecessary addition of irrelevant detail. Depth and complexity are great when you’re testing a new hypothesis in private, but this shouldn’t be done while executing a campaign.
Recently a new insurance company client spoke to us about the problems they were facing. In the end, like most financial services companies these problems boiled down to a) lack of brand awareness, and b) lack of relevant leads.
At XY we understand our role is to be more than just experts in creating relevant content, we also need to be scientific marksmen. Our job is to make sure that ideal advisers are contacted at the right time in their career, at the right time in their business cycle, and most importantly in a moment where they are open to receiving work related messaging. As a society we have grown accustomed to appropriate targeting, and financial services are just now starting to play catch up. The game has shifted. These days the goal is not simply to ‘being seen’. It is now about ‘being valuable’.
Here’s three common problems we see:
Access to data over the recent years has been exponential and unprecedented. However, the level of training and experience required to wield this data has grown just as rapidly. It’s one thing to be able to report on the number of clicks on a broad-based media campaign, but another thing entirely to focus in on a relevant audience with purpose.
Everyone now has access to data. Data is a commodity. But it’s the most successful marketing teams who know how to use it. We get to speak to many different marketing teams and agencies, and the while there is a growing level of competence across the board, the level of capabilities is still quite highly varied.
Non-Client Centric Research
How do you gather and consume research? Is it like the 1950’s Mad Men days of surveys and focus groups – or has it changed to reflect the methodologies of the most successful companies in the world. Have you moved to a client centric approach? There was a time when the search for finding solutions to client problems required a level of complexity, time and rigour to the approach. But do you think Google conducts tick box surveys? Of course not. They set hypotheses, test behaviour, record results, and create conclusions using good data management. Reporting on immaterial detail as a substitute for understanding the landscape better is the strategic equivalent of Don Draper sipping a whisky with a cigar in hand.
Know Your Audience
Are you speaking to advisers or DIY investors? What speaks to a wealthy retail investor doesn’t resonate the same way with an adviser, yet a lot of content delivery is communicated as if it does. Receiving a thousand clicks on a piece of content is great but understanding if that traction was a retail investor or a financial adviser is a much more relevant piece of information.
And if you are talking to financial advisers, what type of adviser is most likely to need your product? An independently licensed principal adviser with twenty years of experience will be looking for solutions vastly different to an aligned employee with two years of experience. Being able to understand what your audience wants, creating the solution, getting it in front of them at an opportune time, distributing then retargeting across multiple channels, and ultimately understanding the results – is how the game is now played.