Storytelling is the most powerful way for financial marketing to engage people and occupy a little real estate in their brains. Stories are up to 22 times more memorable than simply presenting facts or figures alone.
If you want to connect with prospects, storytelling is the way to go. Here are 7 reasons why.
1. Stories are more memorable
How many times have you heard a great statistic and then struggled to remember it as you tried to relate it to someone at a later date? Now think of how easy it is to retell a story you heard. Numbers ...
The sandwich generation is a group of Boomer and Gen X adults providing support to both an aging parent and a child. According to a Pew Research Study, that encompasses about one-in-seven middle-aged adults. And it’s growing, fueled by longer life expectancies among the sandwich generation’s parents and employment rates among young adults that are at their lowest since the government started recording this data back in 1948.
An interesting note is that affluent Boomer and Gen X adults have a higher likelihood to be part of this group.
The sandwich generation’s issues provide a great opportunity ...
It's no secret that retirement readiness is an issue in this country. Studies and reports continue to highlight the lack of preparedness among the population. This creates quite a challenge for financial marketing. We tend to focus on how to help people save more. But we need to address the other side of the equation - helping people understand that they may need to spend less. That's tough. You don't want to be the one to tell them, "Hey, you know that idea of retirement that you've been carrying around in your head for 40+ years? Yeah ...
(Although we usually talk about content and financial marketing, this post takes a little side trip to look at the role of content marketing in the International Space Apps Challenge.)
Our firm sponsored the Kansas City location of NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge. It was fascinating to be part of a group of people who come together to build a complete app over a weekend that addresses one of the NASA challenges.
Creating an interactive digital tool is one of the most powerful forms of content marketing. And the experience reinforced some content marketing lessons for me. But before ...
It’s never easy having to tell clients the thing they should hear but don’t necessarily want to hear.
Take for example the state of retirement readiness in our country. According to a survey from Charles Schwab & Co., 80% of affluent Americans feel confident about their retirement readiness. Yet, the study also revealed that the group may be underestimating what they will need in retirement.
It’s never easy to break that kind of news to them. There tends to be an attitude among Boomers that goes something like this, “I’ve worked hard for decades, now it’s ...
We are all affected by today’s glut of information. It has made it challenging to find insight that is relevant, valuable, and trusted.
Advisors are looking for timely content from a reliable source that they can offer to clients and prospects. It creates a mutually beneficial arrangement for fund companies – you allow those in financial planning to leverage your brand, and you benefit from the trust that the advisor has established with the client or prospect.
Here are three trending areas that offer opportunities for you to create that arrangement with your advisor partners.
1. Financial planning vs. life ...
The world of financial services is full of complexity and confusion. It causes fear and uncertainty for our clients and prospects. And that feeds inertia.
Inertia inhibits the ability to confidently make smart financial decisions. Fighting inertia means deploying compelling interactions. Engaging visualization. And powerfully simple insight. These are the elements of an exceptional user experience. Putting these together can result in an effort that has the potential to shake our prospects loose from the grip of inertia. Here are 5 sites that each craft a user experience that is worth studying.
Although not the most breathtaking a first ...
Seasonal events can provide great opportunities for financial marketing to share some insight and expertise. The tax filing deadline is a good example. Clients and prospects are looking for help at tax time. Just go to Google Trends and type in a tax-related term. You can see the activity spike this time of year.
Here are 5 ideas for developing some useful insight that financial marketing can share with clients and prospects around tax time.
1. Develop a checklist
Consider offering a list of items to gather before clients begin the tax preparation process. Also, talk to your front line ...
Financial marketing has a history of being product/service focused. Today, it has become imperative to shift that focus to the prospect and the experience you are delivering to them.
As we’ve talked about before, prospects now have more control than ever over how they experience your message. As a result, user experience has become critical for creating engagements that lead to conversion. According to a survey from Econsultancy, 74% of businesses believe user experience is key for improving sales.
To understand the issue, consider a study from Compuware that reported that 85% of consumers favor mobile apps over ...
I’ve run across a few posts recently that serve as a reminder of the importance for financial marketing to understand the unique needs of female clientele. I’ve posted in the past about the opportunity that the data points to. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the recent insight.
Following the money
We all know that business owners are a high-value group for financial marketing. A recent post on the Wall Street Journal site revealed a compelling statistic, “The number of women-owned firms increased by 54% between 1997 and 2012—that's a rate 1½ times the ...
Has financial marketing fallen out of love with social?
I have been hearing recently from clients and reading posts that suggest that the enthusiasm for social media is waning with financial marketing.
It’s an interesting turn from just a couple years ago and the irrational exuberance surrounding social media. In those heady times, financial marketing engaged in a digital land grab, establishing outposts across the social media landscape. Then came the realization that it wasn’t enough to have a presence, you had to engage. And from that came posts like, “Hey it’s Thursday! What do you have ...
These days, the lack of retirement preparedness is downright scary. It is changing the way that financial marketing will need to approach clients and prospects about the years ahead. Some recent stats give context to the need to make this a priority. And from those stats emerge three steps financial marketing can take to address the need. But before we get to the three steps, let’s take a look at what got us here.
There will be more folks in retirement
According to a recent post at AdvisorOne.com, 6% of the population was between the ages of 65 ...
A financial organization’s digital tools will become increasingly important in retaining and acquiring new clients. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed to a survey from Accenture that revealed that younger investors (between 20 and 46) consider financial services firms to be of lower quality if they do not have online tools.
These days, most financial services organizations have some sort of digital offering. Even if it is built and maintained by a third party provider. But just having the tools doesn’t mean that financial marketers will escape the quality perception cited in the Accenture study ...
With all the focus on the retirement challenges our clients and prospects face, it’s tempting for financial marketing to relegate the issue of college savings to the back burner. While I can’t deny the importance of the retirement issue, it’s essential to remember that college savings is commonly the second most important issue for the majority of folks.
For clients and prospects, it’s not unusual to put off thinking about college savings – especially before kids come along or even when they’re young. This is a great opportunity for financial marketing to deliver a little perspective ...
There have been a few articles recently about how baby boom small business owners think and act about their money and retirement planning. As a small business owner, the articles intrigued me. More importantly, as someone who works in financial marketing, the data and insights pointed to a real opportunity.
According to an article on wealthmanagement.com, 70% of the 12 million baby boom business owners will be hitting retirement age over the next couple decades. It’s estimated that these owners have a significant amount of their wealth tied up in their businesses – a number that runs in the ...
We narrowly averted falling off the fiscal cliff. Whether you agree with it or not, we now have the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. And some clarity, right?
Being immersed in financial marketing, I sometimes forget that clarity to us doesn’t necessarily translate to clarity for our clients and prospects. Most are still confused about what it all means to them.
The good news is that anything that creates client and prospect confusion creates a content marketing opportunity. The fiscal cliff is especially worth looking at because it has garnered a lot of media coverage, creating a high ...
A recent study from Fidelity Investments reveals the communication gap that exists between parents and their adult children when it comes to discussing financial issues. According to the study, 60% of adult children and 68% of parents would feel more comfortable discussing financial issues with a financial professional rather than each other.
In a past post, we discussed the opportunity for financial marketing to employ a multi-generation financial health strategy. The Fidelity report confirms that a significant opportunity exists in helping the generations find common ground to discuss financial issues.
A high-value referral
Financial marketing should sit up and take ...
In financial marketing, we're often faced with promoting products and services that, many times, lack a meaningful differentiation strategy. This can lead to positioning that lacks proof of value and messaging that creates little impact in the marketplace.
Although nothing can take the place of differentiating through a product’s unique attributes, there are a few things financial marketing can do when faced with a "me too" offering.
First to market message
You may have a product or package that is similar to a competitor's offering, but you find that no one in the marketplace has promoted the ...
When it comes to converting engaged prospects, we tend to look at competitors as the biggest challenge for those of us marketing financial planning, insurance, and banking. In truth, procrastination may be our biggest enemy.
Procrastination delays decisions. So much so that sometimes engaged prospects become not-so-engaged prospects. So what do we do when engaged prospects get stuck? Let's start by looking at what causes procrastination and then examine some ideas for getting them unstuck.
It's hard to move an account, open a new account, or change advisors or agents. You have to have all ...
Financial marketers identify “creating quality content” as one of the biggest challenges they face with content marketing. With that in mind, here are three considerations for setting your strategy over the next 12 months.
Look back to look forward
What happened over the past 12 months? Dive into the sales data. Look at the web analytics. Can you identify the challenges that your clients and prospects were trying to address? Is there any seasonality to how they behaved? Consider doing a quick survey of your clients as well. Sometimes simply asking them is the quickest path to insight for your ...
Picturing what retirement looks like is tough for most of us. There are many reasons. Not the least of which is the way financial services companies engage us when it comes to retirement planning. Usually we’re asked, “What kind of retirement do you envision?” That one question can seem overwhelming.
The truth is, most are just trying to figure out how to navigate the challenges today. From keeping up with work to getting to the kids’ events to paying bills, maintaining a home, and more. With all that going on, it’s tough to step back and consider what ...
We ran across a couple reports this week that really brought back into focus the opportunity with the mass affluent segment. “Affluence in America: A Financial View of the Mass Affluent” from The Nielsen Company speaks directly to the opportunity. “Introducing Boomers: Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation” from The Nielsen Company and BoomAgers looks specifically at Boomers – but since there is a high concentration of mass affluent prospects in the segment, it’s worth paying attention to the findings.
Our infographic illustrates the key quantifiable points. It’s also worth noting some of the characteristics that reveal the mindset of ...
The opportunity for financial marketing with women and retirement
There is a coming shift when women will dominate the financial decisions in our country. One study predicts that two-thirds of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of women by 2030. That shift has already begun. According to a study by Prudential Financial, there is a growing trend of women becoming the sole breadwinners as well as having a larger responsibility for their families’ financial futures. That includes retirement savings. In fact, 53% of women rank as the top earners in their family. To get an idea of ...
We continue to hear the news about the lack of financial preparedness among Americans. Needless to say, financial independence simply won't be an option for many. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 30% of workers reported that they had less than $1,000 in savings and investments in a 2012 study. And, nearly 75% of retirees have not saved enough according to the Health and Retirement Study – and those retirees say they would save more for retirement income if they could do it all over again.
It’s easy to admonish the masses. After all, financial marketing is ...
Creating branded content can build thought leadership. It can deliver real and immediate value to clients and prospects. It can even help close a sale.
But what makes it branded content as opposed to some helpful information or tools you pass along? It’s the relation that valuable content has to your brand. It’s how it supports and amplifies who you are and what you have to offer.
With that in mind, we offer this four-point branded content gut check to help you evaluate your efforts.
1. Is it ownable?
Can your brand credibly offer this insight/information/tool ...
Recent reports continue to show the challenges that the mass affluent face in the coming years. For those in financial services marketing, the data points to a high value opportunity to help a large population that is generally underserved by our industry.
The key is getting beyond the scary scenario the data illustrates and helping the mass affluent understand what choices they have. By putting the focus on their choices, you can help them feel empowered and position yourself as the partner that will help them navigate the journey ahead. There are 3 pointers to becoming that partner.
1. Be ...
These days, people are looking for any guarantees that they can get. Call it the ripple effect of the Great Recession. One result of this is the increased interest in annuities. Before the recession, annuities could be generally viewed as a product for the conservative or just plain nervous. Many considered the cost too expensive (both in dollars and potential lost opportunity). Today, mainstream clients are inquiring about annuities.
What the interest in annuities tells us
There is an underlying issue here. People want confidence. In this case, the confidence provided by the guaranteed retirement income of annuities. And, they ...
The elevator pitch can be an invaluable tool for those of us in financial services marketing. It forces you to look at your business from your prospect’s point of view. Better yet, the elevator pitch helps you to focus on the real value you offer, then articulate it in a way that differentiates and elevates your proposition.
We ran across a couple tools to help you get started crafting the elevator pitch for your offering. Here’s a quick overview of each.
The Harvard Business School Pitch Builder
The Harvard Business School Pitch Builder is a nice interactive tool ...
I attended Content Marketing World recently and thought I would share some observations and insights from the conference that apply to financial services marketing.
The old is new again
Content marketing is a hot topic in the marketing world. But, the fact is, content marketing has been around for ages. In the past, it has included a number of second and third-tier tactics for financial services marketing, including:
- Educational newsletters
- Custom magazines
The expense and delayed ROI of these programs relegated them to support tactics, mostly used for retention or long-term prospecting.
Today, our digital world has changed the ...
Understanding how the content marketing movement will boost the potency of your efforts.
The marketing environment is changing. Easy access to information leads to the ability to quickly get to useful insight on any topic. Anytime. Anywhere.
For financial services marketing, adapting to this change will require a shift from the old method of ‘selling’ to the new paradigm of ‘helping’. The new paradigm allows marketers to efficiently tap into 3 powers. These are powers that would have required more expensive and time-intensive commitments under the old marketing methods. With the shift to content marketing, these powers become readily available ...
Mass affluent Boomers could face a retirement income crisis. They grew up under the pension paradigm. A belief that you could work for a company for 40 years and then retire with guaranteed income for life. As that paradigm slowly died, the majority of mass affluent Boomers failed to make adjustments to their retirement income savings plans or their lifestyle behaviors. As a result, mass affluent Boomers face some significant challenges:
- For many, retirement income savings are underfunded
- They don’t have the pensions of their parents’ generation
- There are threats that the social security system may not be reliable ...
In a recent post, we looked at how to evaluate current financial services marketing efforts when it comes to Millennials. This time around, we’re going to look at alternative positioning that broadens the opportunity.
When it comes to marketing spend against the Millennials, one of the prevalent justifications we hear from financial marketers is that the segment represents the future for a financial institution. As a result, financial institutions have felt the need to make some sort of effort toward the Millennials for the promise of cultivating future high-value clients.
It’s difficult to create an ROI on that ...
The millennials. They’re sometimes called Generation Y. Sometimes called Echo Boomers. They were born approximately between 1982 and 2000. They have grown up with technology, making them the digital natives.
Financial services marketing seems fascinated with Millennials. My theory is that older marketers fear becoming irrelevant to a big segment (they are the offspring of the Boomers) that will someday represent a huge opportunity for the financial services marketing. Whatever it is, financial institutions have spent an inordinate amount of time and effort chasing the Millennials. From apps to gamification to social channel engagement. But is it with good ...
Financial services marketing still tends to build strategies on a male-oriented decision making process. That will change as an interesting article on AdvisorOne highlights. Financial services marketing will need to adjust to address the unique requirements of working with women. Here are a few interesting observations from the article as well as statistics from the studies the article quotes:
- At least two-thirds of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of women by 2030
- Female entrepreneurs are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of men
- Women-owned companies are projected to create more than half of the ...
There is a good article covering how banks can win at social media. It offers some good pointers. But like the majority of articles offering financial services social media advice, it does not go far enough.
Yes, we should have someone dedicated to a social media effort. Yes, we should provide timely updates, respond to customer/client posts, and focus on helping instead of selling. But honestly, this is simply the price to play today. To take financial services social media efforts to the next level, we need to provide great content. Content that helps people solve a problem or ...
What is keeping you from starting your financial services content marketing? Below are 5 ideas to jumpstart your effort.
1. Conduct an interview
Companies have subject matter experts within their walls. Sitting down and interviewing these experts can unlock useful insight that can help build your financial services content marketing effort. Read more about the conducting an interview with your experts >>
2. Create a survey
Your client base offers an untapped source of useful information. Surveying them can reveal some interesting collective thoughts. You can then share those findings with the survey participants, other clients, prospects and more. Read more ...
(NOTE: This is the fifth in a series of 5 posts focused on helping financial services marketers launch a content marketing effort.)
You are already practicing financial services content marketing. It happens every time you put together a presentation. Think about it. You offer your knowledge. You share useful insight. That’s content marketing.
Consider the presentations you have put together recently. You may have created one for an external audience. But even an internal presentation can become a rich source of information to share. Go back through these and ask yourself these questions:
- Can I generalize the presentation to ...
(NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of 5 posts focused on helping financial services marketers launch a content marketing effort.)
Every financial services organization has insight. It may be as formal as research that the company has generated. Or, it may be as informal as a useful tip or stat shared by one of your advisors. Bringing bite-size pieces of information to life is an easy way to create an engaging addition to your content marketing efforts.
Here is an example of some useful content marketing insight presented graphically.
There are a number of ways to illustrate your ...
(NOTE: This is the third in a series of 5 posts focused on launching a content marketing effort as part of a financial services marketing program.)
Like you, your partners have very specific expertise to share. Many times these experts have useful content that you can tap into for your financial services marketing efforts. This includes whitepapers, research reports, and more. These assets can become a key part of your content strategy.
Smart partners welcome the opportunity because they understand that it can deliver branded thought leadership to a highly-engaged audience. For you, it’s a way to advance your ...
(NOTE: This is the second in a series of 5 posts focused on helping financial services marketers launch a content marketing effort.)
One of your greatest sources for financial services content marketing is your client base. Their collective thoughts and actions can provide some unique and valuable insight. For example, imagine asking your clients to share their biggest financial concern. Then, breaking the answers down by generations (Boomers, Gen X & Gen Y). You might be surprised what you discover. More importantly, your financial services clients will appreciate seeing the results. It allows them to see where they land among their ...
(NOTE: This is the first in a series of 5 posts focused on helping financial services marketers launch a content marketing effort.)
For financial marketers, launching a content marketing effort can seem like a daunting task. Digital channels have made delivery easy. But the biggest question remains. Where will that content come from? That alone can lead to paralyzing inertia.
You can jumpstart your effort by tapping into the resources that are already around you. Iterating. Learning. And adjusting. It’s an agile way to approach content marketing that can help you make real strides.
Before we begin, we need ...
It’s easy to feel bombarded by the amount of information out there touting the power of social media for new client acquisition. Unfortunately, among all the irrational exuberance, the pitfalls get ignored. These include everything from compliance issues to setting yourself up to be un-friended, removed, and no-longer-followed.
Social media can play a part in helping you get referred, but there is no magic in putting it to work. In fact, it’s just common sense.
At our firm, we advise our clients to approach social media with three things in mind:
- Be considerate. Ask yourself, “How can this ...
Are you prepared to help answer it?
When it comes to our investments, the question my wife asks is simple. "What does it mean?"
That's quite different from guys. Men tend to make investing competitive. It becomes a game. Guys ask questions like, "How did I do?" and "How much can I earn?" Heck, we even refer to it as 'portfolio performance'.
The women have it right. They get to the heart of the reasons we started investing in the first place. Whether it's, "Does it mean we can replace those windows?" or simply, "Does it mean we ...
Clients and prospects want to engage and learn whenever and however it suits them.
Digital retirement planning tools will soon become the price to pay for investment advisors. Anyone who has experienced online banking or played around with Mint.com understands the potential of online financial tools.
I can already hear the chorus from the investment advisory world, “Sure, those things are great, but they will never replace me as an advisor.” I agree. When people think about making decisions that affect their life savings, they want to talk with a real person. The problem is you may never get ...
Contrary to most portrayals, retirement unfolds in stages.
Much marketing looks at retirement as a sort of finish line. It talks about reaching retirement. Or arriving. In reality, retirement unfolds in stages. Planning around the stages can help financial services marketers more effectively message to retirees.
In general, retirement spending follows a V-shaped pattern. Early-stage retirees may be fulfilling a lifelong dream by purchasing a vacation home or taking a trip. This becomes an active time. And spending tends to reflect that.
Middle-stage retirees may find themselves settling in. Although they may still travel or pursue hobbies, spending tends to ...
The secret to marketing business banking is unlocking your expertise.
A couple things happened this week that led to this post. First, I received a letter from a bank soliciting the company's business. It was like every other solicitation from a bank. The assistant vice president sending it spent the better part of the letter telling me all the usual stuff – number of years in business, services they have, number of locations, and number of ATMs.
I kept waiting for him to tell me where they fit in the banking landscape. To prove to me a specialization that will ...
From RIA to CFP to PFS, we just seem intent on making the client's head hurt.
RIABiz had an excellent post – "What exactly is an RIA?" It really reminds us of how much the investment services industry loves to define itself with all kinds of acronyms that tend to do little more than confuse the vast majority of financial services clients.
As financial marketers, this should be a wake up call. I got excited that Schwab was sponsoring a site to help explain and promote the RIAs. But after review, I still have not found a definitive explanation of ...
Boomers are looking for guarantees.
Variable annuity sales continue to rise according to a recent report from LIMRA. The trend points to mass affluent investors' increased focus on guaranteeing income in retirement years.
In the traditionally conservative bank channel, we're seeing the emergence of the structured CD. Again, another product designed to provide some guarantee while having the ability to capitalize on market gains.
The economy has turned a once apathetic group into a more attentive audience. They are telling us with their dollars the issue that is important to them. It will take more than the traditional tell ...
There is a good article on AdvisorOne that revisits the Roth IRA opportunity. Of note is the strategy to do a small Roth conversion this year to start the clock on the 5-year holding period. This allows the investor to then add new money into the Roth in subsequent years without being subject to the 5-year holding period on the new money.
This is a great way to engage clients without making the Roth conversion a huge either/or proposition. It gives them real reasons to take action this year without committing a large portion of assets. And it’s ...
A little innovative thinking can take a potentially incendiary subject like Reg E and turn it into an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customers. Check out this idea from a credit union in North Carolina. Then let’s look at those things that we think are negatives and find the unique opportunity hidden behind the headaches.
For more financial marketing insight like this and the latest relevant headlines, check out my posts at our financial marketing blog.
There are roughly 50 million Americans who could benefit from professional financial advice but do not have access to an advisor according to Robert Shiller of Yale University as cited in the Wall Street Journal.
Many of these underserved may very well be in the mass-market segment, with the majority of their assets in a retirement plan but other monies scattered among different institutions. Many times, these folks believe that they don’t have enough for a financial advisor to be interested in them. Nevertheless, they have retirement worries and need help.
On top of that, advisor ranks are shrinking ...
Financial matters are complicated. There is no denying it. But that’s no excuse for the overwhelming majority of financial communication that does little to address the situation.
It’s difficult for regular folks to make sense of it all by wading through paragraph after dense paragraph of financial-speak. Research reveals that today’s financial consumers crave simplicity and clarity. But even the most seasoned financial services marketer knows how difficult it is to keep things simple while delivering valuable insight. In fact, sometimes words get in the way.
Fortunately, we’re starting to see the adoption of information visualization ...
You couldn’t have lived through the last two decades without wondering at some point and time, “How are all these people around me affording these luxury cars? These vacations? These homes?” As the great recession has revealed, the majority couldn’t afford any of it. It was leveraged using home equity and credit card debt. Boomers are especially guilty as a generation. But are we starting to see a change in attitude?
According to this article in Bank Investment Consultant, a recent study by TD Ameritrade shows that there may be a trend among boomers to define success as ...
In this article on Life Insurance Selling, Jay Nagdeman reminds us, “The key to successfully serving this generation of 71.5 million people, who will soon control the lion’s share of the wealth in this country, is to recognize that most baby boomers are not interested in pursuing a traditional retirement of leisure.”
Some of this shift in thinking is driven by a desire for a more active and productive lifestyle during these years. But there will also be a significant number of boomers who simply will not have enough saved and will have to work. Whatever the reason ...
The old model of marketing in the financial services industry focused on product. Highlight a product and tell them why your firm was the better choice for delivering it.
Today, clients and prospects have unprecedented access to resources to learn about and compare offerings, and even discuss the pro’s and con’s with their peers. The companies that will win are those that will not only share knowledge with clients, but also help them understand what they should be evaluating depending on their situation.
The fact is that people are most likely to make decisions about financial services and ...
As GM went into bankruptcy, they launched gmreinvention.com. So what are they talking about? Themselves. Look, potential car buyers are going to ask, “What does this mean for us?” Savvy taxpayers are going to ask, “How are all those tax dollars we gave you going to benefit us?” Hey, it’s not that we don’t care about you, GM. It’s just that we’re human. And we’re going to want to know, what’s in it for us?
With the emergence of the swine flu threat, the ag/animal health industry has been presented with an unusual situation. Many would argue that the industry has a responsibility to help the public understand how a scare like this happens. But more than just offering an explanation, the industry has the opportunity to put the scare in perspective.
In today’s world, this is more important than ever. When the industry is absent from the information sharing, the perspective gets dominated by articles like one in the Huffington Post titled, “Swine Flu Outbreak — Nature Biting Back at Industrial Animal Production ...