As a financial marketer, pulling yourself out of the ‘now’ and extrapolating about what lies beyond can be a reach—especially when we’re experiencing some of the most tumultuous change in living memory. In its 2020 State of Marketing report, Salesforce has identified some shared beliefs and forecast key trends that financial marketers should be aware of in the years to come.
In Jan/Feb 2020 when Salesforce was collecting data for its State of Marketing report, COVID-19 hadn’t yet turned the world upside down. But the research presented is remarkably prescient for financial content marketers looking to position their brands for the future. Looking to the future, the research reveals key trends in financial content marketing.
Top priorities driving trends in financial content marketing
- Compliance with privacy regulations
- Engaging customers in real-time
Across all industries including financial services, innovation – being able to adapt to change, was marketers’ number one concern, even before the pandemic struck.
It signals an urgent push for transformation, based on shifting expectations and behaviours of consumers, businesses, and society at large. As the report says, “Marketers are under tremendous pressure to overhaul their organisational models and use of technology to provide differentiated, digital-first customer engagement.”
Addressing number two in the priorities list – compliance with privacy regulations – leading companies across all industries are recognising the need to not only comply with but exceed privacy regulations to build customer trust. (In the UK, compliance with privacy was the number one priority across industries). This is something all finance brands need to embrace, with trust held up as the number one core value for improving engagement.
The third priority, engaging customers in real-time, has become even more crucial with technology driving rising customer expectations. The focus on engagement asks marketers to be more than messengers; the role now and into the future involves fostering meaningful customer relationships well beyond the first purchase and understanding the full customer journey.
Top 3 challenges
Innovation and engaging customers are also among financial marketers’ top challenges:
- Engaging customers in real-time
- Creating cohesive customer journeys across channels and devices
To achieve ‘cohesive customer journeys’ future marketing roles are less and less likely to own specific stages of the sales funnel, or to only focus on specific tactics like email or social media. The report highlights a new focus that applies expertise at every stage, from branding to acquisition to retention and advocacy. If your organisation is still designing roles based around isolated parts of the journey, it’s time for a re-think.
Top success metrics
- Web/mobile analytics
- Sales effectiveness
The traditional KPI of revenue is still the number one success metric for financial marketers. In fact, most industries, from consumer goods, energy and utilities and manufacturing, to health and media, still look to revenue as their “north star”.
Yet if you look at communications or government sectors, their marketing leaders put customer satisfaction in the top spot. Across the board, social analytics, digital engagement and lifetime customer value are creeping in, helping marketers gain a holistic picture of what’s working and what isn’t across the customer journey.
Importantly, 88% of companies that self identify as high performers lead customer experience initiatives across their organisations, compared to 68% of under-performers.
Importantly, 88% of companies that self identify as high performers lead customer experience initiatives across their organisations, compared to 68% of under-performers. The definition of marketing success is changing and forward-thinking marketers will be changing their approach to move with it.
Customer data sources used by marketers
Interestingly, while financial marketers have used 10 data sources on average in the last two years, that’s projected to jump 50% to 15 sources in 2021.
People are recognising that customer engagement is data-driven, and in the future, marketers are expected to turn to more transactional data, declared interests/preferences, and known digital identities as the top 3 forecast sources.
The end game here is empathetic marketing based on deep insights – delivering messages and offers that resonate with an individual’s unique needs and expectations. AI is helping on that front, with 84% of all marketers surveyed reporting its use, up from 29% in 2018 and 70% of high performing marketing organisations have a fully-defined AI strategy.
Silos and shared goals
77 to 79% of financial marketers believe they’re sharing common goals and metrics with other teams, including sales teams, service teams, e-commerce teams. Often this is through collaborating on “strategic initiatives like account-based marketing programs, or through tactics like factoring a customer’s unresolved service tickets when sending marketing communications”.
While 17% of financial marketers still feel like they’re siloed, 50% believe their cross-channel coordination is dynamic, i.e., brand messages and content on one channel are tailored based on their actions on another channel. For example, you don’t annoy your customers by targeting them with an ad for something they’ve already bought. Other Salesforce research backs that up, with the finding that 69% of customers expect connected experiences.
In a time when customers are seeking more and new types of information from businesses through a multitude of channels, marketers are taking on the challenge by forging new processes and relationships with cross-functional colleagues, Salesforce says.
Most impactful tech and trends between now and 2030?
- Expanded online population
- New regulations
Financial marketers believe 5G wireless networks will have the greatest impact over the next 10 years. Around the world, there is also the recognition that new customers and prospects will be brought online as more of our global population is digitally enabled.
Standing these findings up against the backdrop of COVID-19, we see the imperative for connecting with customers through the right messaging and channels, being adaptable with strategy and budget, and focusing on important values: customer experience; helpfulness, relevancy and trustworthiness; and the pursuit of innovation.
To translate these trends into a meaningful content strategy, get in touch.