Is print extinct in finance content marketing?

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Far from extinction
By Jasmine Crittenden, contributor. 12 March, 2019
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Print has taken a hit with the advent of the Internet. But despite the predictions of journalists such as Michael Rosenblum, the wound is yet to prove fatal. In The Guardian, he writes, “Now we are privileged to witness yet another mass extinction – this one of the world of print”, comparing the phenomenon to the wipe-out of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

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It’s true that media companies are suffering. But, nonetheless, print – like vinyl – is making a comeback. And nowhere is this more evident than in the arena of content marketing. Given the rise of fake news, the ubiquity of blogs and Internet fatigue, print has re-emerged as a powerful tool – one that inspires trust, asserts a point of difference and commands concentration.

In a 2017 survey of 1,030 US consumers conducted by Clutch, 58% of respondents identified print advertising as trustworthy, while just 41% said the same of online ads.

Here, we take a look at the finance companies making waves with print.

Aviva Investors: visualising data

Cue shameless plug. The inherent irony of financial services communication, particularly B2B institutional marketing, is that such a data-rich industry repeatedly fails to visualise data in a comprehensible and engaging way.

We know people process visual information far quicker than the written word, and yet agencies offer clients and prospects dull and overly-complex charts.

Our goal at The Dubs was to break this habit. We deliberately used the more traditional medium of print to create a beautiful coffee table book - The Little Book of Data - that people would cherish. We wanted to cut through all the content noise that exists in marketing and produce something our clients could relate to.

Aviva clients and marketing professionals alike loved The Little Book of Data as shown by it taking out a Silver Award and People's Choice at the 2019 Creativepool Awards in the Publishing category.

We wanted to cut through all the content noise that exists in marketing and produce something our clients could relate to.

TD Ameritrade: fresh, fun and edgy

TD Ameritrade, a brokerage firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, publishes thinkMoney®, a quarterly magazine that educates traders while entertaining them. It’s packed with challenging ideas, how-tos, and, most importantly, lots of laughs. thinkMoney® took home Best Print Magazine Overall at the 2016 Financial Communications Society Awards.

“[thinkMoney] sees about 90% of [TD Ameritrade’s] customers take direct action on a product it sells through the print magazine,” writes Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He praises the publication’s “true collision of amazing design and provocative information”. And he points out one of the great advantages of print in the face of Internet fatigue: “Since traders are in front of computers all day long, they look forward to the opportunity to disconnect and discover.”

That said, to ensure digital devotees don’t escape, thinkMoney® works alongside TD Ameritrade’s online platform, The Ticker Tape®, winner of Best Content-Driven Website at the 2016 Content Marketing Awards.

EY Assurance: highly targeted

Another branded print publication that’s positioned itself as an industry thought leader is Reporting, a biannual magazine launched in 2011 by Ernst and Young Assurance. Like thinkMoney®, it aims to inform readers, but at the same time, provide interest and inspiration. However, Reporting’s mission and target audience are far narrower.

“We provide thought leadership on the issues global companies face in communicating corporate performance,” the website reads. “EY Reporting content is tailored for board members, audit committee chairs and finance directors.”

Reporting works arm-in-arm with a digital hub of the same name. So, in between print issues, readers can access online feature articles, commentary, videos and infographics. Topics range from the challenges of optimising data to the benefits of fighting fraud with technology, to best practice for CFOs.

Both in print and online, Reporting’s content comes packaged in beautiful design. In 2018, Issue 19 of the magazine – created in collaboration with C3 Creative Code and Content GmbH, a German content marketing agency – was a finalist in the Best Print Publication (Design) category at the 2018 Content Marketing Awards.

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Image: Universal Pictures

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Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.