The most important principles of finance content marketing

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Core lessons in content marketing
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 24 May, 2019
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Former journalist and content marketer Dr Ray Welling now writes books about digital disruption and teaches marketing at both Sydney University and Macquarie University. In part one of our interview with Dr Welling, we get a refresher in the most important principles of finance content marketing.

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If you had finance content marketers in one of your classes, what would be the three lessons or principles you’d most want them to learn, and why?

The first principle would be customer centricity – that it’s not about you, it’s about them. In academic terms, we’ve moved from a product orientation to a customer orientation.

Because of the changes in society and digital technology the customer is now at the centre of the seeking / purchasing process, but many organisations - especially long-serving ones - are stuck in the old days when the company was at the centre of the universe and traditional advertising was the only way they communicated with customers.

These old-school businesses need to re-tool, rethink the way they do everything and start over with their product lines based on solving customer problems, instead of saying: I’ve got this idea for a great product, who can I sell it to? This is very, very difficult for established companies to do, and understandably a terrifying thing. This is why so many disruptors and start-ups are jumping in and seizing an opportunity.

The second principle is related to that, it’s this concept of Youtility - Jay Baer wrote a book about it and I talk about it in Macquarie University’s global MBA. It’s the key principle of content marketing – instead of shouting at your customers, you need to help them solve problems – provide Youtility to them rather than selling products.

It’s the key principle of content marketing – instead of shouting at your customers, you need to help them solve problems.

And the third principle of finance content marketing?

It comes from one of the other key people in this area, Simon Sinek. He talks about the concept of working out what your ‘why’ is. It’s developing the real purpose for your business, and that purpose should not be: we want to sell X. It’s more: what is this problem that we want to solve? That’s our ‘why’. And if everyone in your organisation buys into that and understands that’s your overriding purpose, then that gives everyone a goal to shoot for.

If you can come up with a ‘why’ that is truly distinctive compared to your competitors, and one which resonates with your customers and potential customers, it will help guarantee success for you in the future.

The old concept of brand love – it’s a vanity metric. You don’t want someone to be in love with your company, you want people to be in love with what you can do for them. This is not rocket science but it’s amazing how many companies still can’t get it, because of this entrenched thinking around their products.

What are the opportunities in the aftermath of the royal commission? Where could a smart brand really clean up?

The first is in PR. Instead of doing crisis management it’s important to actually get out in front, be transparent.

You need to be honest and you also need some real cultural change, and you need to really be on the customer’s side - not just say you are.

And you do also need to retool for this emerging customer base of Millennials and Gen Z. So for instance, operating as a sustainable organisation is more important the younger your customer base.

What could a financial brand – a bank, insurer, asset manager - do to really stand out or be more memorable in their market?

I’d turn that question on its head and say, do you want to be memorable or do you just want to make it easier for your customers to do business with you? I’d argue that just being good at what you do is going to help with customer retention and customer win-back – because if you’re doing a good job, even if you lose a customer, they’re more likely to come back if their competitors aren’t treating them well.

You want to create campaigns that are memorable sure, but really - just doing a good job is more important than coming up with some flashy campaign that’s going to make you stand out.

You can do the best marketing in the world for a so-so product and it will stand out, but if the product sucks you’re still not going to be able to hang onto your customers.

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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.