The last two years have been defined by career changes, relocation, and urgency when it comes to making financial decisions.
In a discussion for the How Agencies Thrive podcast, Cash Meyerhoffer and Jennie Anderson from thomasarts, and Zach van Kerrebroek from StackAdapt, share how financial services marketing has shifted strategically to build consumer trust, and foster growth during uncertain times.
Read on to learn some of their holiday marketing tips, or listen to their discussion, here.
Financial Services Marketing Faced Challenges
The start of the pandemic was a time of major uncertainty for financial services campaigns. Many clients opted to pause their campaigns to see how things would play out. At thomasarts, they focused on flexibility and support. Jennie says that they allowed their clients to pause campaigns with no questions asked, and offered support to their clients however they could. Availability was key, and being able to work on the fly was helpful. It was a great opportunity for thomasarts to show their clients how speedy they are, and their ability to pivot quickly.
Cash says that thomasarts actively sought opportunities to help clients manage the uncertainty they were facing. This meant adjusting messaging to show empathy, and keeping up with the changing situation. For example, they were following when and how stimulus packages would be rolled out, and how stimulus packages would affect the finance sector.
According to Zach, during this time the two key challenges that the financial services marketing sector faced were messaging and budgetary. AdAge called 2020 the year of “tone deafness” because there were so many moments in which brands could misread the room. Timing was everything and for financial services, the goal was to instill confidence in consumers. And, budgetary challenges were a natural part of navigating uncertainty. It was hard for brands to figure out how to adjust their budgets in a landscape that was rapidly evolving.
Key Strategies in the Current Landscape
Today, the financial landscape is much more settled. Uncertainty is for the most part behind us as consumers and marketers adjust to the “new normal.” Jennie, Cash, and Zach reveal the key strategies marketers in the financial services marketing vertical should be taking into consideration going forward.
With the pandemic, we saw a big shift in how people consume information and entertainment, especially with online video. Jennie says that if budget allows, now is the time to introduce new tactics like programmatic audio and connected TV into your media plan. This is how brands can stay relevant, especially as consumer habits evolve.
Cash says that the pandemic has sped up digital adoption. For example, when you go to a restaurant now, you’re scanning a QR code to see the menu. And with changing restrictions, many consumers are turning to digital channels for discovery. With consumers relying on their devices and spending time researching online, there is growing value in aligning marketing messaging with the content that consumers are reading about. One way to reach these audiences is to leverage contextual advertising tactics.
Zach emphasizes that now you need to be willing to adjust your strategy in real-time to drive impact in a changing landscape. Clients are changing up their campaigns, sometimes on a daily basis. By being adaptable, flexible, and willing to pivot quickly, agencies can keep up with client needs. Demand-side platforms (DSPs) are perfectly suited to on-the-whim changes, but regardless, marketers should be prepared for them.
The Future of Financial Services Marketing
So, what does the future hold? We expect that marketing in general will continue to be shaped by evolving consumer habits and lifestyles. But in financial services marketing, there are specific predictions that Cash, Jennie and Zach have for the future.
Cash says that while many financial institutions have focused on those who are already established and known to financial institutions, it is worth it to also look to younger generations. Many young people faced financial hardships throughout the pandemic, and have now grown more aware of the importance of financial security. By reaching those young audiences, financial institutions and brands can build relationships with them early.
Jennie explains that moving forward, financial institutions and brands should focus on offering their financial products and services online. And, if they are available online already, look for opportunities to improve or innovate the online offerings. This is important because digital banking is becoming an expectation, especially amongst younger consumers. Make sure your online offerings are mobile friendly, too!
According to Zach, fintech is growing, and its growth has been accelerated by the pandemic. Consumers are looking for digital financial services and products that offer convenience, and so it makes sense to use programmatic advertising to reach them where they are: online. Using innovative targeting tactics like contextual advertising, and leveraging channels like audio and connected TV will help you to reach the right audience.
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Jennie says that in her experience, financial services marketing has stuck with traditional media. But to succeed in today’s digital-first landscape, finance marketers need to embrace new tactics and channels. Zach agrees—he says that understanding your consumers is very important when it comes to growing campaigns. Marketers in the financial vertical will succeed by understanding today’s consumers and where to find them, which is increasingly online.