Financial services entities must view authenticity as a key asset

Financial services seems like rocket science to common consumers.

Financial services seems like rocket science to common consumers. The business is naturally complex, so most marketers simplify advertising to grab consumers' attention rather than speak to deeper needs. This approach results in shaky relationships and, often, resentful consumers. So how do financial services marketers authentically connect with people to realize real, sustainable results that increase both transactions and trust in your company?

  • Start with the "why" - your purpose for being. Understanding your purpose allows you to create marketing messages that form the foundation of consumer relationships. The United Services Automobile Association, for example, uncovered its purpose of "serving those that serve." This clarity allowed it to establish a guideline for creating products, developing marketing messaging, and more, while ensuring it all ties back to "why."
  • Define your "how." Who are your customers, what are their needs, and how will you help them attain their goals? Most consumers view financial services as commodities that are virtually interchangeable across a broad set of players. Once you understand your "why," you can define your "how." How will you serve customers? Stay open 24 hours? Offer services via mobile? This "how" helps you better identify specific target customers willing to engage in deeper connections.
  • Say what you mean, mean what you say. Create transparency and encourage authentic communication with consumers. This could be about creating programs, tools, and strategies that allow you to understand your consumers' financial needs, while helping them understand your firm and how you are the right choice for them.  
  • Foster authentic relationships. Choose to invest in the right customers. If you consistently serve the right customers, the business will grow, regardless of your marketing strategy. Client churn is expensive and will not result in loyal customers. High-quality relationships can help build a devoted clientele and improve ROI.
  • Be yourself. Trying to control information about your firm is impossible in an age of full access. Be authentic. Share your firm's story and use that as the impetus to establish trust with customers.

Tim Rumpler is VP of consumer marketing at imc2.

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