3 Marketing Campaign Opportunities Financial Service Brands Missed

January 25, 2017 Jonathan Crowl

Make your marketing campaign part of a long-term, sustainable content strategy.

When you hear the term “marketing campaign,” does it make you cringe a little?

Marketers lead complex, ever-evolving professional lives, many of which have historically been dominated by creating and executing campaigns with short shelf lives. Sure, when a marketer oversees the completion of a successful digital campaign that uses multiple channels to promote a product or service, it’s easy for him to chalk up the campaign as another win. But in the long term, was all that effort worth it?

Campaigns may generate strong numbers, but they are usually costly—both in terms of content creation and distribution. (In 2015, Ad Age reported average costs for TV spots—some running as high as $1.55 million for 30 seconds of air time.) And while campaigns may be effective at raising awareness for a particular promotion, the content that is created becomes an awkward asset for the company: it can’t be repurposed or realigned to fit any long-term content strategy. Once the marketer takes a closer look at the numbers, they see that they’ve invested a lot of time and money into content that will become less valuable over time, and fast.

Sound familiar?

That kind of spending isn’t sustainable in a time when efficiency and long-term ROI are so highly valued in marketing. For content creators, this strategy can be exhausting to execute: instead of slowly building content and marketing campaigns that have a compounding value, creatives are asked to repeatedly start from scratch. For morale as much as business sense, marketers at financial services brands and elsewhere should prioritize creating content that doesn’t fade in value. Luckily, crafting a sustainable content marketing strategy that offers longer shelf lives and better ROI is entirely possible today.

Here are three examples of missed marketing campaign opportunities by financial services brands, as well as strategies that could work for any enterprise institution.

1. M&G: Microsite vs. Media Site

The microsite is somewhat of an antiquated content strategy. Why? Oftentimes microsites are static, missing the obvious benefits of consistent publishing around subjects that the brand would like to build online authority around.

In some cases, the original incentive to build a microsite is overtaken by the recognition that microsites may not be the best way to publish and house online content. United Kingdom-based financial services managed M&G learned that lesson the hard way. The company decided to showcase its expansive video content campaigns through iView, an M&G-owned microsite that attempting to replicate a TV channel in terms of how programming is created and showcased alongside one another.

But there were inherent problems with this approach. While the company’s video content was strong, its microsite branding gave no indication that consumers could go there to get insightful financial guidance. Meanwhile, the company was diverting resources away from its professional sites, where it made sense to present this content alongside the services offered by the company.

It should come as no surprise, then, that M&G shut down iView toward the end of 2016. It kept all the video content, though, and instead migrated it over to the company’s main site. The move should only strengthen the company’s SEO for its main website, while allowing all of its resources—and its customers—to be poured into the site where conversions are most likely to happen.

2. Chase: TV Spots vs. Mobile Marketing

Financial institutions want to involve themselves in every part of a consumer’s life. From opening a checking account to saving for college tuition, buying a home, and beyond, consumers need a wide range of banking products over the years.

Digital channels, and in particular mobile technology, are excellent vehicles for deploying these new solutions. And the use of one solution can be seamlessly used to promote other products in the future. A recent TV ad campaign by Chase showcased its college tuition savings vehicles, along with a section of their website where consumers can learn more about managing their financial futures.

In this case, the company is using a product to sell a brand concept, which is that Chase can help consumers build the life they want, and the financial freedom they seek. Mobile products like Mint, not to mention standard banking apps, are perfect outlets to realize this vision: Content created for these solutions can be used repeatedly over time to recommend relevant products and services. A TV spot might reach millions, but it’s short-lived and costly.

A single financial product is often the start of much larger ambitions. Eventually, the institution wants to be able to get you using as many products as possible. Content created with this goal in mind is forward-thinking about what consumers will need next. Instead of simply selling the product, it aims to sell a vision for your future, with financial services on the ready to help you get there.

3. American Express: Direct Mail Spam vs. Better Behavior-Based Automation

For banks trying to expand their business with existing customers, automation can be extremely cost effective and a great long-term use of content. Automation uses behavioral and other triggers to time the release of content to specific individuals. For example, instead of sending out an email blast offering new banking features to checking account holders, email content’s release is triggered by certain spending behaviors—overdraft fees, high credit limits, etc. This automated messaging is built ahead of time and deployed when the moment is right, based on metrics the company sees in a customer’s financial activity.

You’ve already seen this brand of automation in the home mailings you receive from your bank, American Express very much included. It’s what has led to media backlash with sites like Target Marketing writing, “When they bomb, credit card executives think they can make their numbers by sending out even more of this incompetent junk until the mailing totals add up to billions.”

No Junk Mail

An individual’s financial activity is chock-full of indicators that can be used to time the delivery of content beyond direct mail that heralds a “can’t miss” credit card opportunity, however. Not only does behavior-based automation extend the life of content, it also makes it much more efficient, since it is reaching relevant consumers at the most relevant time. Meanwhile, the automation also supports personalized experiences that consumers want from larger enterprises. Automation doesn’t have to be limited to email, either—financial apps, SMS, and other channels can be used to automate content distribution, creating a win-win opportunity for consumers and these institutions.

Most importantly, this approach to content marketing turns content into a living asset that can evolve or be modified over time, instead of existing as a static asset that grows older every day. Long-term strategies like these are critical to building a sustainable marketing game plan.

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