In the years following the Great Recession, industrial production declined, university students went to extreme odds to find jobs, and big banks and their financial affiliates lost consumer trust. As late as 2014, the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed financial services was, yet again, the least trusted industry in the world.
In response, financial brands turned to a new strategy to boost community engagement and redefine their image: They told stories. By 2015, 95 percent of financial companies were using content to market their products and services, with 90 percent confident that content marketing would become even more important to their organization in the next 12 months.
And while these stories have fared well—the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer reported that financial services were on the path to trust—some companies still struggle to inspire engagement, demonstrate brand lift, and ultimately prove a positive ROI, all while complying with stringent legal regulations.
When Contently hosted the Executive Finance Summit last week in New York City, the goal was to give financial services marketers a place to openly talk about these issues. They learned about exclusive analyst reports and heard case studies from leading brand publishers.
While attendees mingled after the panels, I caught up with a few marketers to discuss their greatest challenges.
“Our biggest challenge is measurement because there is an overemphasis on trying to nail down one number you can track. Content marketing is about more than one metric when done right. If you chase just one metric, you can game it, but you’re cutting out so much value to yourself and your audience.”
—Courtney Colwell, director of OPEN Forum and content marketing
“The first challenge is developing curated, personalized content—a reasonably manageable calendar and a robust pipeline of content. On the execution side, it’s [building an] infrastructure and having the resources to do it.
“So for us, it’s personalization and curation, it’s the pipeline, it’s execution, and it’s placement. We want personal, curated content with a robust pipeline that promotes the brand, speaks to the customer, and also speaks to our involvement in the community. We’re going through measurement and KPIs right now.”
—Nathaniel Halsey, senior vice president of digital services marketing and infrastructure
Bank of America
“The biggest challenge in marketing is an evergreen one—how to get really good metrics, how to get key learnings on a repeat basis so you are consistent with your analytics and can give insight back to the business on how content is performing and why it’s valuable to the brand.
“As far as metrics go, are they going deeper in your funnel with your content? Do you have an opportunity to retarget them? It’s engagement first, but are they furthering their consideration of the brand?
“One of the things that content marketing can do if it’s done well is satisfy the need in financial services for trust. If you do it right, you’re giving your client, customer, and your prospects something that they need—and that inspires trust.”
—Bob Mirales, director of content development and delivery