5 Incredible Examples of Content Marketing From Banks and the Finance Industry
When asked to recall your favorite online content, you probably don’t think about stuff made by banks. Unless, of course, your job is to make content for a bank.
That’s not a knock on finance content at all, by the way. It’s just that flashier B2C brands often muscle their way center stage, showing off the products and services that people genuinely love shopping for: sneakers, beauty products, vacation packages. When most of us sit down to research where to bank, we’re not really jumping for joy.
Believe it or not, the caution with which consumers approach money actually makes finance content into fertile ground for creativity. If you’re a content marketer at a financial institution, you’ve been asked to fulfill a particularly bright promise: not only do you need to establish a trusting relationship with your audience, but you need to develop a voice entertaining enough to make your bank stand out.
After all, the actual content of bank marketing stays largely the same from institution to institution—there are finite ways to approach writing about, say, a checking account or a credit card. But just like bottled water, it’s the packaging that counts.
Here are some of our favorite examples of content marketing from banks and financial institutions in the last couple years.
MD Financial’s Medical School Cost Calculator
MD Financial’s goal is even more specific than the goal of most financial companies; they aim their content at medical professionals and their families, and they focus specifically on the financial challenges faced by this demographic.
That’s why the brand’s med school calculator is such an incredible tool. By targeting a young audience that hasn’t yet committed to going to medical school, they’re initiating a trusting relationship early. After all, if a pre-med student uses an MD Financial calculator to pick a med school, they’re way more likely to consult the brand’s content as they grow in their career.
Keep the marketers’ Rule of 7 in mind when you create content for an audience that you hope will stick with your brand their entire careers. On average, it takes a consumer 7 points of contact to feel they have a relationship with a brand. The earlier you can seed that first memory of value, the faster you’ll reach customer loyalty.
Let’s be honest. When it comes to placing a brand name in unexpected situations, Citi is the reigning queen. Because of Citibike, you can’t rent a bicycle in most cities without thinking of the bank, and thanks to the Citi Entertainment program, you’re reminded of Citi’s offerings every time you buy tickets to see Lizzo play her flute. If you go deeper into the bank’s entertainment offerings, you might even buy tickets to Citi Sound Vault, an exclusive musical event series.
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The bank’s entertainment access program links its credit card in consumers’ minds with aspirational and fun purchases like concerts. If you’re a Citi person, the music content suggests, you’re also the kind of person who spends disposable income on live music. You’re not just financially literate: you’re fun loving, young, and hip.
While anyone can view Citi Entertainment content, you have to have a Citi card to make a purchase. While you’re deciding whether you should pull the trigger and convert, you can follow Citi Entertainment’s content via email newsletter or on social. All the content distributed through those channels hammers home the same point: cool people simply bank with Citi.
It’s the bank’s longterm commitment to a younger audience, pop culture, and entertainment that makes Citi’s access program one of the best pieces of content marketing in finance.
Deloitte’s annual back to school survey
Now, Deloitte isn’t a bank, but it’s one of the Big Four accounting organizations and financial advisory firms. They help high earning movers and shakers manage their wealth—right? At least, that’s the identity you might gather from Googling their brand name. If you enter Deloitte’s orbit by way of content marketing—as most will—you’re likely to conclude that Deloitte has a unique and realistic handle on what affects the finances of regular folks.
Take the brand’s annual back to school report for example. Deloitte spends each year surveying American families about the materials they find themselves buying for kids every time autumn rolls around, and they present their findings in a cool animated infographic. It’s not just about new clothes either; Deloitte breaks the data down to show how many families shop brick and mortar vs online, and the brand unveils customer “dealbreakers,” research methods, and typical shopping cadences week to week.
Although they’re not a B2C company focusing on school supplies, Deloitte knows the subject is a topic of concern for their target audience. That display of empathy is why the brand belongs on our list of stand-out finance content marketing campaigns.
Mastercard’s Priceless Surprises video series
Mastercard got very far in the market with its “priceless” motto, which has graced the bank’s ad campaigns for two decades. You know the campaign language—”There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”—but you couldn’t see it in action until the bank started pumping out its Priceless experiential marketing and tie-in social campaigns.
With the help of beloved celebrities and influencers, the bank has positioned itself as the credit card distributor that makes dreams come true. Just check out what happened when the brand brought Kyle Lowry to meet his biggest fans:
The Priceless Surprises campaign isn’t just a sweepstakes or an influencer marketing campaign. It operates as a nurture campaign, asking existing customers to fill out a form about themselves in order to enter the contest, and it also positions the bank as an empathetic force of good.
Bank of the West’s “Positive Banking” subway takeover
Few banks are as well positioned to deliver meaningful content as Bank of the West. The brand is about as California local as you can get: focused on environmental sustainability, addressing climate crisis, and educating consumers on what their money “does” while it’s sitting in the bank. It’s the bank of choice for many young progressives—if those forward-thinking consumers happen to stumble on the bank’s content.
That’s why it seemed like a masterful move when Bank of the West took to San Francisco’s subway tunnels—they call it the BART over there—and launched an experiential campaign that had a grassroots feel.
The bank employees flooded a particular station in matching green t-shirts, surveying any passengers who walked by on basic financial literacy and sustainable banking. They also plastered the station ahead of time with print ads from floor to ceiling, fighting to get the word out as they gathered their data. At the end of the day, they left the station having made an impression on thousands of commuters, and most importantly, they had new data on their target audience.
How to win at content marketing in finance or banking
If you’re a content marketer working at a financial institution, you can count on a few universal truths as you ideate new campaigns. Yes, your content should be educational and include a specific CTA that maps against your company’s goals, but it should also enhance the brand’s unique position at market.
Is your brand committed to flashy, fun, poignant moments with artists like Citi, or is it the thinking person’s bank, cognizant of social issues like Bank of the West? Your content should answer that question in a fluid, natural way, and it should be aimed at your target audience personas.
Although any great financial content marketing strategy should include educational tools like onesheets, e-books, and whitepapers, you should study the more ambitious campaigns of those marketers who have come before you.
There’s nothing stopping today’s banks from getting involved with charitable giving, political statements, or entertainment events—in fact, you’re far better off if you can leverage the things that your consumers care about and enjoy.