From the financial crisis in 2008 to the decreasing number of working baby boomers, the finance industry has had to make some major changes in the way they think about marketing and content. In an attempt to stay one step ahead of the growing competition, banks, credit unions and financial tech solutions are starting to dedicate significant marketing budgets geared towards developing robust content strategies.
Here, we discuss 3 key trends in finance marketing that are demanding an increase in content production, provide a set of action items for moving forward, and illustrate one of our favourite examples. We see these trends affecting clients in the finance industry, but many of them also apply just as well across multiple other sectors.
1. Brand loyalty is decreasing like never before
In an industry where most organizations have relatively similar offerings and switching providers is as easy as clicking a mouse, brand loyalty is becoming a luxury that most finance companies no longer have. Just a decade ago, people tended to stay with the same banking institutions for years, sometimes for life, but that is no longer the case. One-time offers, like iPads or discounts, work as a temporary solution to occasionally attract new clients, but do not build long-term relationships and trust.
What’s needed now is the ability to make your customers feel appreciated and understood. This is where content becomes key. Provide your current customers with valuable and relevant content that also builds your credibility as a knowledgeable brand. Financial institutions have unique knowledge of economic conditions & trends, data on spending patterns, best practices on personal & business finances, and their staff have extensive finance expertise. This is a gold mine for developing content in a variety of formats, such as podcasts with daily advice, videos showcasing extraordinary employees, and a cartoon series with personal finance tips.
Once your content production is established, it’s important to take the time to have a true understanding of who the customers are and what’s important to them. By using information on consumer behaviour to deliver personalized and relevant content at the right time, you can create a truly unique customer experience. However, the key is to keep it consistent and on-brand across multiple channels, such as email, web, mobile and social. Once your expertise, personality, experience and content are all seamlessly added together, you’ll have a strong foundation for customer loyalty that goes beyond promos and ads.
2. People choose companies based on emotion
On a similar note, because banks offer comparable services and products, the average person will often select a financial institution based on emotion. Take an honest look at your website – what do you see? Are there images of smiling, happy customers & tellers? Maybe a pic of your mascot giving visitors a friendly hello? Potential customers make their first impression about you within 7 seconds, so the images, colors and graphics you use on your website, social media and advertising are critical to the success of your company. What’s even more important is finding ways to connect to the deep emotions and personal beliefs of your customer base. Use your website and social media pages to let them know about a recent event you sponsored, a partnership you entered with a local vendor, or a school development you’re involved in. Generally, people prefer to work with companies that align with their own values.
To further the bond that you have with your customers, take the time to personally reach out to individual clients with content hand-picked for their needs and goals, or notify them about changes they previously suggested that have now been implemented. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way to making your customers feel valued and heard. It’s also important to use content to show authenticity and transparency. Social media sites are a great place to build your brand, show the human side of your company, and get valuable feedback!
To be truly successful, the personality you first portray must be consistent and carry through every interaction. From marketing to sales & customer service, it’s key to ensure all employees understand and embrace your company’s brand and what it stands for. Providing a consistent experience builds both trust and love among customers and prospects, so find solutions and establish programs that would enable as many employees as possible to be on-brand in every interaction.
3. The age of the millennials
As baby boomers start to retire, financial institutions are finding themselves thinking about the next generation: The Millennials. This generation is a tricky one – they’re the ones who always ask “why”, the ones who always demand more, and the ones who will always find all their answers at the click of a button. They’re driving the need for more blog posts, more photos and more videos to be liked, shared and commented on. Not only do they demand content, they demand an experience that is personalized and hand-picked just for them. This frenzy is causing a dramatic need for a consistent flow of new and relevant content from the companies that hope to survive. And just when you thought that you’d mastered the latest channels, multiple blog posts, social feeds and personalized messages, this demographic of customer will demand even more right-now, me-centered service available anywhere across multiple devices. Personalized content will become the new norm for the Millennial Generation and drive user loyalty for years to come.
How a Canadian Credit Union Leverages These Trends
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, “Vancity,” is a local banking institution based in Vancouver, BC that is showing an exemplary understanding of these 3 trends and how to use them to their advantage. The credit union truly knows its customers and their needs, as well as what it means to be a citizen of Vancouver. This, along with their incredible marketing, has given them the reputation as Vancouver’s friendly neighborhood credit union since 1994. The Vancity experience is consistent from top to bottom. From their social media to their website and brick-and-mortar branch locations, everyone in Vancouver knows the Vancity brand and what they stand for.
Recently, Vancity began releasing videos and articles specifically targeting the youth of Vancouver. These young adults who are making their first break from home are feeling trapped and hopeless in the rapidly growing housing market, as housing costs have risen roughly 25% over the last year (and shows no signs of stopping). Vancity understands their pains and uses crowdsourcing to get the conversation started on what “Vancouverites” can do to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world. In a stroke of genius, the credit union pairs empathy about this incredibly difficult situation with advice and tips related to this localized situation.
There have been mixed reviews about their strategy, but Vancity has been able to position themselves as a credit union that cares about the future of Vancouver’s youth and is willing to invest in maintaining the culture of the city. This strategy puts them in a strong position going forward.
Content marketing is still relatively new to the finance sector, but is on the rise! If you haven’t already, now is the time to begin creating a strong content marketing strategy to solidify your position in this changing market. Be sure to create a variety of types of content, such as videos, blog posts, webinars, infographics and eBooks, to address all types of viewing preferences.
Looking for the next big thing in content marketing? Check out these 4 ways that AI can improve content marketing.