Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Insiders's Guide to Australian Financial Services Content Marketing: top 5 trends to watch

This financial services content marketing thing we've been talking about for the last few years appears to have gone crazy. 

In a seemingly correlated event, my blog has yet again gone very, very quiet. 

The short version is that we've been too busy doing the work to talk about it. The long, and infinitely more interesting, version you can ask me about over a drink!

Here's a quick insiders' guide to what we've seen so far in 2014 and how we think content marketing will evolve into 2015. This post deals with two of the top five trends. My next post (really!) will deal with the next three.

TREND ONE: Getting of religion

Last year and this year we've seen a massive turn around in financial services C-suite and marketing thinking. 

We're no longer having to have the "why digital, social or content?" conversation. Thankfully.

The conversation now has turned to "how do we do digital, social and content?".

The answer is as varied as the context, the client, and their customers, clients or stakeholders.

A logical starting point is a discovery exercise. These too, are massively varied. Answering the "how?"question might start with:

  • a social media listening exercise
  • a comprehensive online audit
  • a digital strategy review
  • a content and channel audit
Regardless, we can't answer the question without quality research and thinking. So no, there are no effective quick wins (see my next lost for more on that!) without discovery.

Trust me, we've tried it. And failed. 

TREND TWO: The "Oh sh!t" moment

After discovery, comes the proverbial "oh sh!t" moment. It goes some thing like this:

"Our digital, social and content is a) non-existent b) shabby or c) nowhere near good enough now that we've had a proper look at it"

"We are SO far behind on this. It's overwhelming. Where do we even start?"

"We have limited resources but the opportunity/challenge looks like a bottomless money and people pit. What now?"

"We don't know this stuff - and certainly don't have the expertise to make it happen anytime soon. BUT we're going to lose the race if we don't get started."

Or a personal favourite?

"The Board want to know how we are planning for social media / online reputation risk / digital strategy. We're kind of not. Well, not well enough."

It's not a fun feeling, being in this moment. The good news it's temporary. As long as you keep moving.

By keep moving I mean:

1. Get clear on what matters most - now, and medium term2. Choose the right mix of inhouse expertise and external help3. Plan carefully - perhaps a well resourced trial before a full commitment 4. Set clear milestones and 5. Review, refine and repeat

And yet many are doing it right now - trying to quickly get content strategy up and running without proper planning, get a super-fast digital rollout in place - without a sense of where audiences are online...and more. 

But "sssshhhh" - don't tell them how to do it properly or they just might! ]

Overall the "oh sh!t" moment is a good thing - it's a realisation more is needed. And the moments are just going to keep coming as digital marketing, social media and content marketing practice proceed faster than many can keep up in practice.

The inside tip here is simple: dedicate capable people from inside and out, keep your BS detector on and for Pete's sake TRY something. The sooner you fail, the sooner you learn.

My next post on Australian financial content marketing will talk about another three things we're seeing:

TREND THREE: Quick and dirty (aka quantity over quality)
TREND FOUR: The rookie error: create more content
TREND FIVE: Getting it together: strategy, planning and implementation in harmony.