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Santander: a finance content marketing case study for millennials

Santander: a finance content marketing case study for millennials


5 years ago

5 years ago


Since millennials have become grown ups – a process that started in the late ‘90s – financial content marketing has had to reinvent itself. From killer social media strategies to fintech disruptions to content that helps, rather than sells, there’s been no resting on the proverbial laurels for marketers. 

Winning over millennials’ love (and money) is no easy feat. But, now, we’re bringing you a finance content marketing case study that’s done just that. 

Meet Santander Bank’s Prosper and Thrive, an online hub packed with relatable, meaningful, quirky, inspiring finance content, from ‘frugal travel tips from frequent flyers‘ to ‘money tips from everyday millionaires‘.

Santander Bank, founded in Spain in 1857, is the 16th biggest banking institution in the world, with US$1.4 trillion in assets under management and a total market capitalisation of $69.9 billion.

The challenge

Despite being stereotyped as big spenders, more interested in eating out than buying houses, millennials are actually pretty anxious about money. 

In fact, around 63% of millennials in the UK worry about their financial future, according to a 2019 study by Revolut Bank

But they’re not interested in old-fashioned advice — in the form of facts, figures, and complex and often confusing investment commentary. Millennials want finance content that’s clear, dynamic, diverse and offers choices.

Millennials want finance content that’s clear, dynamic, diverse and offers choices.

Plus, ethics are paramount. When investing, 75% of millennials are likely to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, along with return, according to a 2017 study by Lonergan Research, commissioned by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

For Santander Bank, which is more than 150 years old, winning millennial customers meant coming up with a new approach to financial content marketing. 

The strategy

Rather than simply creating more millennial-friendly ads or tacking millennial-friendly stories onto existent finance content marketing, Santander went big. It dedicated an entire hub – and strategy — to the generation. And, where the bank had previously focused on SEO-optimised content aimed at winning customers, it turned to raising awareness and building relationships.

Importantly, Prosper and Thrive stands alone. Sure, it carries Santander branding, but it looks and reads like a magazine, packed with advice, ideas, inspiration and entertainment. Forget sales. 

Content ranges from financial advice, to lifestyle tips, to left-of-field features. It’s delivered for maximum attention: think catchy headlines, unusual angles on tired topics and an upbeat tone.  And it’s organised for ease: users can search via three categories — ‘Save Up’, ‘Master Debt’ and ‘Live Life’ — or explore organically, beginning with ‘Featured’ and ‘Recent’ content on the home page. 

The goal is to ‘re-introduce millennials to an industry they have shied away from by delivering financial content that improves their financial wellbeing, but doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a bank,’ Jessica Newton, vice president and director of engagement planning, Arnold Worldwide, told Marketing Dive.

What’s more, from day one, Santander focused on distribution, with an extensive plan that targeted audiences with relevant content, achieved through a mix of both organic and sponsored media – and measured the results.

‘Having a measurement plan from the very beginning allows the marketer to be the storyteller and explain to the organisation the impact content marketing is having on the business,’ Paul Pennelli, vice president and director of digital advertising at Santander Bank, told gotcha!

The results

It’s not just millennials who are thriving and prospering thanks to Santander’s financial content marketing; it’s also the bank. Launched in 2016, Prosper and Thrive attracted more than one million readers within the first year, inspired 200,000 interactions and scored more than 1,000 email sign-ups. 

A bonus was customer acquisition. In fact, Santander, in tracking the number of accounts opened through Prosper and Thrive, enjoyed 12 times the results expected

The hub also won the 2017 Content Marketing Institute Award for Best Creative Collaboration in Content Marketing and was a finalist in the Best Content Marketing in the Financial Services category. 

Ready to reach millennials with targeted financial content marketing? Get in touch to get started. 

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