Financial product providers are spending more on digitally scalable content than ever before. The question is – why? Executives and board members are traditionally fans of banner ads and billboards. Seeing your logo up in lights is what comes to mind when someone says ‘brand awareness’, so why has the market been shifting towards content for the last half a decade?
While there is no silver bullet, here are the trends as we see them.
Benefits to traditional media:
- Across 5,500 members, the average age on XY right now is 43 years old. While not particularly a ‘young’ audience, there is certainly a dominance of tech-savvy advisers. Traditional marketing is still entirely relevant for advisers who may not be using technology as much.
- Designing banner ads and committing to long term media deals is easy and automatic. We see this repeatedly. Marketing teams for financial services have a large number of messages to get across each year. Being able to set up a URL, design a banner ad, and push out an email is a predictable process, taking complexity out of the decision making process.
Downsides to traditional media:
- ROI is notoriously difficult to calculate. As it’s impossible to track the journey of an adviser through to your CTA, teams have no way of calculating the cost/benefit ratio.
- People expect a similar experience to the one they most recently encountered. Often that experience is Facebook or Google to an accelerating degree. People want to engage with content, dive further in if there is interest.
- Targeting is non-existent. When you push out a logo on a newsletter or a digital banner ad, you are accessing all demographics. As such it’s impossible to test different ideas with different segments of the market.
Content media on the other hand provides value to advisers. While content media should be one of many strategies in a marketers arsenal, here are the benefits and downsides:
Benefits to content media:
- Align your brand with value rather than spam. This is an easy concept to gather, but is often overlooked. Advisers are notoriously difficult to gain attention from. To get around this issue, product providers often bombard advisers. In turn, advisers begin considering these brands as spam.
- No such thing as ‘share of voice’. People can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Putting your banner ad alongside a list of logos serves as a good revenue line for traditional media, but not marketing teams trying to get their message across.
- For those who deliver high levels of content correctly, competition is very low, and the benefits are very high.
Downside to content media:
- Lower amounts of exposure. If a banner ad is in a daily email for a month, and the email is viewed 5,000 a day, the exposure result will be 150,000. Content media over the course of 12 months will only aim to achieve 1% of those numbers.
- Advisers really only pay attention when content is specifically for them. Calling an adviser’s client a ‘consumer’ is one of the mistakes we see often. Content needs to be written and positioned from an adviser’s point of view for an adviser to pay attention.
- The ability to execute on this requires specialist skills, and most companies do not have those skills internally. Being great at copy does not adequately solve the issue either. However work can be outsourced or repurposed to take the difficulty and complexity out of the equation.