With over 500 participants from across North America, the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit 2018 was a symposium of industry experts and thought leaders looking to the future of financial services and insurance industry marketing.
Day one featured an engaging talk from our own President & CEO, Andrew Lo, where he shared insights from our experiments in integrating AI and machine learning into our marketing efforts, which he has summarized in his post, Case Study: How Kanetix Ltd. leveraged AI to optimize customer experience.
There were plenty of discussions throughout the conference around how cutting-edge technology, data, automation and digital media are transforming the way financial services marketers communicate with and reach new customers. For this post I wanted to focus on insights from content marketing, voice as the new marketing medium, and personalized email marketing.
Content Marketing: Back to Basics
DMFS took a back-to-basics approach when it came to content marketing. Many of the talks were built on building effective content marketing strategies including foundational recommendations for getting your content strategy off the ground.
Tammy Cash, executive VP, head of marketing at Horizons, playfully defined content marketing as “the stuff people want to see and want to be engaging with.”
It’s different than standard marketing collateral because it isn’t promotional in the same sense as a landing page. Instead, content marketing is about building thought leadership, establishing trust, and connecting with your audience. The approach and promotional channels vary depending on your audience and whether the content is geared at a B2C or B2B market.
One of the challenges with content marketing, Cash said, comes from finding qualified employees and team members to deliver on content, including content auditing, goal setting, editorial management and strategy, and measuring ROI. We can relate within our own marketing team at Kanetix Ltd, hiring former journalists in-house as well as working with active freelance journalists and content producers.
“Journalists have a lens of really understanding and being effective at creating content, as well as parsing that content,” she said. “Don’t overlook journalists. They’re a compelling part of a content marketing team.”
She shared The Periodic Table of Content Marketing by Econsultancy as a resource for thinking through your content marketing strategy. Despite being from 2014, much of it remains relevent and can still be applied to your content marketing efforts today.
“Don’t be afraid to engage your audience with content beyond typical lead generation,” Cash said, presenting a case study her company did around trading and the Toronto Raptors. “Design content to hold attention and build loyalty.”
Listen Up: Voice is the new Mobile
Digital is more than what’s written. In her talk “Alexa, How Will the Internet of Things Affect Financial Services?”, Shannon Sloan, director of new business development at Rich Media, made an argument for voice assistants ushering in the next frontier of digital, just as mobile did 10 years ago.
The field has grown rapidly and the smart home evolution is beginning to take place. The same evolution is trickling into businesses, entire cities, and even people—with smart watches and connected devices on their person at any given moment.
By 2020, Sloan said, there will be 200 billion internet connected devices, plus 75 per cent of all new cars will come equipped with smart technology. What does it mean for financial services and those of us working in the insurance industry?
- More data
- More types of interfaces
- More opportunities to reach people
We’ve already started implementing smart technology at Kanetix Ltd. One example is through empowering consumers to get voice-assisted auto insurance quotes from our brands through Alexa and Google Home, which you can read about here:
- Smart Speakers Make it Easier For Insurance Companies to Connect With Shoppers
- Are Smart Speakers the Next InsurTech Revolution?
Personalized Email is the Champion of Permission-Based Marketing
So much of what we do in the marketing world is interruptive, whether that’s our intention or not. We use complex algorithms on the net to target consumers and entice them to click on our ads and ultimately complete a purchase, but today’s consumers are privy to this technique and installing ad blockers more than ever.
Real Mahadeo, Head of Sales, North America at MailJet, said interruption marketing is losing steam and permission-based marketing is taking the lead.
“Social media is the most interruptive platform. We interrupt people when they’re reading the news, talking to their family, watching a video,” Mahadeo said. “We’re losing tomorrow’s customers because they’re tired of being interrupted.”
The solution? Permission-based email marketing. In his presentation, Mahadeo made the following points:
- 41% of millennials use ad blockers
- 90% YoY growth of mobile ad blocks
- 34% of digital ads are clicked by mistake
- Canada is the third largest market globally to use ad blocking technology
- Financial services has the lowest click through rate, but highest CPM in search
- Unlike social media, you can own your email channels
- Email is the most effective communication channel with the highest generating ROI with $38 returned for every $1 invested
- 72% of consumers prefer email over any other channel
“We need to stop targeting people for no reason,” he said. “Millennials are not loyal. They’ll switch easily. Brands that want loyalty from millennials need their permission.”
Mahadeo likened social media to building on someone else’s land. You can’t control Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, but you can control your own properties of which email is one, he said. It’s about “loving the customers you already have” and sending them messages that are anticipated, relevant and personal.
Before sending an email, he recommends asking:
- Is the consumer expecting to hear from you?
- Is your message relevant to a problem or an action they are experiencing in that moment?
- Does your message treat the audiences as one in a million, or as a human being?
He also pointed out the difference between promotional emails and transactional emails. Promotional emails are self-explanatory, whereas transactional emails occur when someone needs to reset a password, make a payment, etc. They represent a huge opportunity for marketers in the financial services and insurance industry.
Transactional emails, Mahadeo said, have:
- 4-8x higher revenues than bulk emails
- 152% higher click-through rates
- 3-6x more opens than marketing emails
Yet 52 per cent of these emails are written by IT departments, he said. They lack personalization and personality overall, and only 29% of them are responsive.
Smart email is the act of combining both. This is something we’ve been implementing at Kanetix Ltd. through marketing automation technology. We shared our secrets to success in this article about how to build a successful marketing automation plan (MAP).
“If you fuse both, you have an opportunity to take advantage of that full attention,” he said.
This is especially important to note considering financial services sends consumers 12.2 messages per month on average versus four in other industries. “People are tired of getting communications from the financial space,” he said.
Overall, the Digital Marketing for Financial Services conference this year reiterated the importance of providing customers with authentic, relevant content that feels natural to them. It’s about looking for opportunities in existing strategies while embracing the move to voice and new technologies, but in your efforts to bring in new customers, don’t forget about the ones you already have.
About the author:
Sheena Lyonnais is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Kanetix Ltd. A former music and tech journalist, Sheena has been with Kanetix Ltd. since 2013 first in a content marketing capacity and now specializing in SEO, CRO and UX. She’s fascinated by how technology brings humans together and the stories we share along the way. She’s also a certified yoga teacher and ups the zen factor at Kanetix Ltd. by serving as our resident yoga teacher.