After two full days of learning from and networking with industry leaders, it’s safe to say the 2016 DMFS Summit was a complete success. We came away from the 2016 Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit in New York with so much insight from so many amazing, knowledgeable people from all corners of the industry. We’re excited to get it all down on paper and share with all of you.

Content Marketing

78% of marketers in the financial industry report using content marketing, but only 25% of those consider themselves to be effective. This massive gap in content marketing satisfaction could mean one of two things. First, it could mean that financial marketers are trying their best to produce content as often as they can but they simply lack strategy, execution, vision, or all three. Secondly, it could mean that financial marketers are effectively utilizing content marketing, but they’re just not satisfied with their performance because they feel they could always be doing more.

In either case, developing an effective content strategy is key to even approaching a place where you can be satisfied with your quality of content marketing. One of the main problems content marketers are consistently running into is the fact that content marketing is a different game than it once was.

  • A customer used to be a target segment or profile, but now they’re a multitude of individuals that must be understood individually.
  • Content used to be a broadcast meant to impress, now it’s a conversation that must either inspire, educate, or entertain while remaining relevant.
  • Context used to be a controlled, time-limited appointment or promotion, but now it is evolving constantly and exists everywhere.

Content marketing has gotten to the point where you have to think beyond just the marketing push aspect of it, and instead consider the entire customer journey. By the time a customer engages with your company they are already 60-70% finished with their decision making process. This means you have to begin the customer relationship well before you have even met the customer. They need to get an idea of what you do and who you are well ahead of any kind of buying decision so you need to get that information out there in a way that makes you and your company look great.

The best strategy to achieve this goal is to find the perfect balance in between your audience’s interests and your organization’s right to speak. Finding that balance will give them a reason to listen to you while you subtly talk up the problems you and your business solves. Instead of talking about your products directly, go with the approach of talking about your customer’s needs and goals. Build yourself up as a trustworthy thought leader in your industry to inspire confidence in your future customers.

Context

It is crucial to your content marketing strategy that you understand the context of your interaction with customers. Customer data is typically a static figure taken from an older report and reflecting the customer in the past rather than the current (or, hopefully, future) customer. You have to focus on remaining relevant to who the customer is now as opposed to who the customer was when the data was collected, which requires a thorough understanding of the patterns of your customers’ behavior.

In order to achieve this holistic view of your customers’ behavior, you must look across all of your forms of collected data and form a single customer view. This requires you to break down your data silos (something we’ll get into more later) and connect with the various departments in your company who have some form of data on your customer base so you can all contribute to delivering relevant, contextual content.

Video

Producing quality video content is certainly an aspect of content marketing, but it is such an emerging and increasingly important part of financial content marketing that it deserves a subsection of its own. There are three challenges that must be addressed if you are to build a complete video content strategy from scratch:

What to create

Rather than beginning the process by asking yourself what you should create, you should instead ask yourself, “what do you want this content to accomplish?” Create a simple mission statement for your strategy that addresses what type of content you will make (educational, entertaining, practical, high concept, thought leadership, explainer, etc.), who you are making the content for and what your given audience should take away from your videos.

How to create it

Once you have decided what kind of videos you want to create, you actually have to go out there and do it. This is why it’s important to be rational about your video ideas. Sure it would look cool to film your entire thought leadership piece in Grand Central Station, but it’s neither practical nor convenient. But, in that vein, when you do record something you should try to leave your office and go somewhere more interesting to your viewer. As nice as your office may be, no one wants to see where the sausage is made. Have some showmanship.

In terms of video quality, it all depends on the budget you’re willing to allocate. You can either invest in an in-house videographer, assign a marketing team to produce video, or outsource it to an agency. Regardless of what you choose, make sure to meticulously assign jobs for the video so you can be sure nothing slips through the cracks. Script writing, story boarding, script editing, video shoot logistics manager, editor, video distributor and talent are all positions which need to be assigned in order to create a worthwhile video. Even if you are double and triple assigning jobs to the same people, make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

How to gauge success

Videos are very easy to differentiate successes from failures since not only can you see if your recipients engaged, you can see how long they engaged before they lost interest. Make a list containing a few KPIs you would like to to achieve with your videos. Collecting leads, maintaining attention span and click through to your CTA are great examples of video goals.

Creating these goals before you make your first video is a great way to make sure your videos are all consistent in style and message and all support your marketing objectives. The last thing you want is a hodgepodge of varying types of video and styles which will just end up confusing your user.

Big data

Odds are you have more customer data coming from so many directions you don’t even know what to do with them. Ads, web analytics, social media, email, business intelligence, just represent a few of the possible data sources that could be flooding into your business only to either sit there becoming more and more irrelevant, or be utilized independently of each other, never really giving you the full picture. It turns out that 80% of marketers feel they aren’t effectively segmenting clients in real time, meaning that by the time they have the opportunity to segment a particular client into a particular category, that client could’ve completely changed their outlook.

The #1 obstacle when it comes to integrating omnichannel activities comes from a lack of integrated tech platforms. Too many dashboards performing different tasks and generating separate, less valuable information.

To fix this you have to get everyone on board. Your marketing, product, tech, compliance, CRM, and sales team all have to be on board if you want to have a chance at fully leveraging all of the valuable data you have available. But, since you all have distinct jobs with distinct lingo, you have to create a common language around the data your are all contributing. Separate the different types of data into categories that all of your teams are aware of. Event management, email system, mobile, social, website and CRM can all be part of the central data language which will eventually give you a more complete view of your individual customers.

After your data is segmented and tagged so it’s better organized, you then have to put the data into action. The best way to utilize this data on a mass scale is to take the segmentation, behaviors, and preferences you have collected and feed them into dynamic, targeted and automated distribution systems so you can deliver your clients and prospects relevant, engaging content that they want to see, when they want to see it.

The only thing left to do once your segmentation, marketing automation, and dynamic distribution is set up properly is to monitor, review and enhance how your dynamic marketing system is performing. Pick out weak points in the funnel you have created and test out new thing to try to smooth them over. Like with most things, practice makes perfect.


We could go on for days about all of the things we learned from the DMFS this year but no one wants to read all of that second hand, which is why we just picked our favorite parts. Being around so many intelligent, passionate people was truly a wonderful experience and we are really looking forward to next year’s event.

Until then, to learn everything you need to know about Big Data and how wrestle the out of control fire-hose that is your data stream, please feel free to reach out to our resident expert, Chrissy Perez to schedule a quick call or meeting!