How to be a more effective B2B finance marketer

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Lift your game
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 3 September, 2019
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In 2015 the Content Marketing Institute dropped a bomb when they published North American research indicating that only 25% of financial marketers who use content marketing think they’re any good at it.

What that means is 75% of everyone who participated – financial marketers working in accounting, banking and financial institutions in B2B, B2C and hybrid businesses - knew they needed to be more effective content marketers. A sentiment that is felt across the financial services sector, and in particular amongst asset and wealth managers, we offer tips to help B2B finance marketers make the most of their content marketing efforts.

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At least wealth and asset managers had some idea of what they should be doing more of, even if they weren’t quite getting it right yet. Econsultancy’s Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector Report published in early 2016 found that for firms like BlackRock and JP Morgan Asset Management, personalised and relevant content was seen to be key for delivering against the priority of revolutionising the customer experience.

Disappointingly, a couple of years later when Econsultancy released their 2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services Report, they found that organisations in the sector were still neglecting content. Compared to other sectors, financial services companies were less inclined to believe that content marketing, content management and the creation and delivery of video content were a priority.

Come on people: if B2B content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spend over paid search, and generates more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing at 62% less cost, what are you waiting for?

If B2B content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spend over paid search, and generates more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing at 62% less cost, what are you waiting for?

Back to B2B finance marketing basics

Before you go forth on a mission to improve your content and create those compelling customer experiences, ask yourself: do you have a clear content strategy in place, and does it include a set of agreed goals? Commonly they would be a combination of:

  • Building awareness
  • Building an email list
  • Educating clients and prospects
  • Pushing prospects along the buyer’s journey
  • Generating leads
  • Retaining existing clients/increasing their purchases
  • Boosting search engine rankings
  • Conversions/sales
  • Converting customers into advocates

Without defining those priority goals you’re shooting into the wind.

Target audience and customer personas

What’s also crucial is knowing the customer you’re trying to reach. Personas can help. Hubspot defines a customer persona as a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

A 2019 research report from the Content Marketing InstituteMarketing Profs shows that top-performing B2Bs use personas; and that well-researched personas can help teams create successful content. However, too few content marketers (only 42%) are actually talking with customers to understand their needs.

Asset and wealth managers: if you don’t have detailed intel into advisers' and investors' demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals, now is the time to get it.

Personalisation, the new must-do

Even with your goals lined up and a clear picture of your audience, failing to personalise content for your personas means you could be sending out content that your audience doesn’t value. If your content speaks to the frustrations and challenges of your ideal client, if it recognises what motivates and excites them, and gives them what they need to do their jobs better, it becomes a powerful way to build trust and loyalty.

One great example is the Fact vs Feeling tool developed by US firm Oppenheimer Funds, which asks investors to examine their emotions and how optimistic they feel, and learn how those emotions affect their decisions. Each participant ends up with a personalised summary of their economic optimism and suggestions for investment strategies that would best match their comfort level.

US firm Putnam Investments uses their Advisor Tech Tips blog to give useful tech advice to financial advisors so they can stay on top of trends in mobile, software and social media. It’s clearly aimed at an advisor pain point – their knowledge gap in the face of overwhelming technology options. Overcoming this challenge in turns frees up more of their time to devote to their clients.

Matching the customer journey

Content not only needs to be pitched just right, it needs to be the right kind of content for each stage of the customer journey.

Demand Gen’s latest survey on content preferences of B2B buyers shows 88% of respondents want content producers to focus less on their product features and more on the value that can be brought to the business. And 75% of respondents agreed that content producers should use more research and statistical data to support the claims made in their content.

When it comes to content types, podcasts are preferred at the top of the funnel while webinars work best in the middle.

Do social well or not at all

Let’s use an example. International asset manager M&G Investments UK have a popular blog – Bond Vigilantes, and they enjoy some of the highest levels of engagement on LinkedIn compared to their regional competitors. Yet their Facebook page is updated once per year and customer comments are ignored. If you set up a social channel and you rarely post, or your posts are of poor quality, all you’re creating is a negative brand impact.

The above are thought starters for asset and wealth managers looking to turn that content machine around. Hopefully, we’ll find when Content Marketing Institute or Econsultancy do their next surveys into financial content marketing, more marketers will express confidence in the work they’re doing.

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Image: Agência Brasil

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.