Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"I have no idea what I'm doing": the marketers' quandry

Welcome to online marketing in financial services. While the industry, for the most part, hasn't been fast to adopt digital marketing or social media, it's still bewildering territory at times.

"No corporate function has evolved more than marketing" said Razorfish's Ryan Alderman, quoting McKinsey (McKinsey Quarterly 09.2009).

It's no wonder marketers in financial services feel lost.

To do justice to the presentation, which was the best I've seen this year on social media, I'd have to share every slide and my own observations ... and will do so over the next few weeks with many of you.

Here is a taste of the insights shared by Alderman in today's opening session.

Financial advisers
An estimated 46 per cent of financial advisers own iPads (which were launched 18 months ago).

What they expect from their interaction with financial institutions says Alderman, is:
  • World class experiences regardless of channel (traditional or virtual)
  • "Always on"
  • Near real time relationships
  • Multi-channel...everything. Communication, service, information. You name it.
We are, according to a Harvard Business Review study, consuming 12 hours of media in a nine hour period - thanks to multi-channel simultaneous consumption.

The way our customers want to engage with us is different - and it's more likely to be about the conversation than the content on the website.

At the same time our norms around financial services are changing...consumers, says Alderman, are morel likely to share previously personal information about finance, including our choices, experiences and, critically, recommendations.

What does that really mean?

It means that thanks to our ownership of multiple devices, and the increasing availability of multiple media across devices we are splitting our attention across devices and using multiple technologies or devices at once. Maybe you're running a phone with email and browser at the same time as watching a webinar...and our customers are doing the same. Think here browsing the Internet or Twitter updates while watching TV.

The cost of attention just went up - massively.

Against this backdrop it's even more important for marketers to understand "context" as well as content.

Why "conversation" trumps broadcast...and paid
Some other numbers thrown out today spell the death, or at least decline, of paid media. I've yet to source these numbers so offer them with a health warning...
  • 75 per cent of people believe companies lie in ads
  • 77 per cent trust financial institutions less than they did last year
  • 38 per cent believe companies will do what's right
  • 15 per cent of people enjoy the ads as much as the program - guessing that's TV only
What hasn't changed?
All that is well and good. But the fundamental goals of marketing haven't changed. How we go about achieving the goals has changed. And will do so, ever faster. So get learning.

And remember this says Alderman: advertising in not marketing - stop confusing them.

Marketing is now about creating brand engagement across media. So find an audience (don't create another destination or website), bring creative and technology together, learn from integrated analytics. And from those who've been before us.

Ones to watch?
At least in the United States, Alderman cites American Express (particularly for their small business digital marketing), Fidelity, Vanguard and Pimco.

How did they get there? Trial and error.

BlueChip Communication , Australia's leading financial services communication firm, is attending the PAICR conference (twitter #PAICR2011)

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