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Financial planning marketing: Three essential elements of your financial services marketing strategy

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 16 Dec, 2020
Essential Essential topic

Strategic financial planning marketing is in flux. As more customers make financial decisions online, the digital competition is harder than ever

Digital Transformation in financial services marketing has completely changed how businesses and consumers connect, bringing you closer to your customers than ever before. In the case of financial planning marketing, getting these relationships just right, at every stage of their journey, is crucial for digital marketers.

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Digital Transformation in the financial planning industry

Marketing to reach and convert financial services customers requires a defined value proposition, communicated clearly, and with the digital infrastructure to back it up. In the wake of COVID-19, many finance companies are implementing next-gen technology to overcome rising costs and rapidity pressures.

As a result, marketers are working amidst the ramping up of technology innovation, increased tech productivity, and modernization of platforms. Marketing leaders must take the position of the customer in these times of change - keeping these crucial stakeholders at the heart of every business decision.

This is not unique to the world of financial marketing. In fact, as the above article suggests, there could be learnings in the industry from the world of tech. For example, the tech 'platform' structure can just as easily be applied to the world of financial services, or retail, as outlined below.

Financial services marketing management

Finance and retail planning diagram

In the case of the banking example, the customer-journey platforms represent the customer's experiences of banking - the products and services they want and use. The Core IT platforms, whilst not strictly 'marketing owned' are what enable these processes from the customer side.

Core/IT platforms are also feeding in marketing data to optimize customer relationship management and targeting (see below), which in turn will influence the customer journey.

Digital Transformation is all about streamlining the way these platforms work together, to become more effective, and profitable.

Core Module
Manage change for digital transformation​

Manage change for digital transformation​

Part of the Managing digital marketing transformation Toolkit

Learn how to review the impact of change related to digital transformation in an organization and take steps to manage the change process

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Plan your financial customer lifecycle using the RACE Framework

In the face of Digital Transformation in the financial marketing sector, I strongly recommend that you approach your financial marketing planning using the RACE Framework. RACE marketing planning allows you to review your digital marketing strategy over the entire financial customer lifecycle.

The RACE Framework is crucial to your financial marketing plan because the content and distribution methods you use will be different according to the stage of your relationship with the customer. See the below, taken from our Digital strategy success factors Learning path.

"To be successful in digital marketing requires consideration of the many opportunities available across the customer lifecycle from customer acquisition to retention.

Our customer lifecycle visual suggests the complexity of orchestrating digital marketing activities since there are so many interactions from organic and paid media plus content and website interactions."


Core Module
Digital strategy success factors

Digital strategy success factors

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to define a structure and scope for your omnichannel marketing strategy

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As you can see in the diagram, REACH activities are often a mixture of paid and owned media including advertising and SEO. Whereas ACT and CONVERT tactics are more digital experience focused - for example, personalization and automation can be applied as the customer, and their behaviour, is known.

Planning your financial planning marketing strategy

So, how can you kick-start your financial services marketing? The answer is, of course, a data-driven, strategic marketing plan. That's what we're here for today.

There are so many different forms of marketing plan today, it can be hard to know where to start. If you want a plan that is concise, practical, and results-driven, I recommend you start with this simple table, taken from our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path.

Financial marketing planning framework

Core Module
Structure a plan using Smart Insights’ RACE

Structure a plan using Smart Insights’ RACE

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to structure a comprehensive omnichannel marketing plan, using Smart Insights' RACE

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This plan consists of five elements and outlines the deliverables applicable to each element. You can choose to focus more on one element if you feel there is one activity which your financial services organization is poor at, or structure a plan across all five:

  1. Performance review and marketplace analysis
  2. Set vision and objectives
  3. Define strategy and governance
  4. Segment and target
  5. Define OPV and experience

"RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately, it’s about using a data-driven approach, applying web analytics and recommended best practices to get more commercial value from your investments in digital marketing."

Our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path will guide you through this step-by-step process in full. Let's explore what some of these aspects could mean for you and your financial marketing planning.

Financial marketing performance review and marketplace analysis

As you know, SWOT analysis contrasts the internal strengths and weaknesses of your financial services company with external opportunities and threats in the finance environment. We also recommend Smart Insights members make use of the TOWS resources available, to plan their strategy.

The TOWS matrix reviews not only the situation in internal strengths and weaknesses (shown in green) and external opportunities and threats (blue) around the edge, but also shows four central boxes (orange) for creating strategies to succeed in the marketplace.

Financial services SWOT marketing plan

Core Module
Create a digital SWOT using RACE​

Create a digital SWOT using RACE​

Part of the Digital marketing strategy and planning Toolkit

Learn how to layout and populate an omnichannel SWOT-TOWS analysis as part of situation analysis

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Set vision and objectives for marketing your financial services to customers

Planning your vision and objectives for your financial marketing is an essential part of your strategic plan. It's important to keep in mind what metrics you will be using to measure your progress. The useful mnemonic VQV can help you define what the metrics will be used to measure in terms of volume, quality, and value.

REACH metrics such as unique visitors can only show you so much - whereas the bounce rate and the revenue per visit are much better indicators of the quality and value of your visitors.

Recording the volume of sales your business generates is vital - but this metric alone does not show the whole picture of your CONVERT marketing. Measuring KPIs such as the % conversion to sale or sales value demonstrates the quality and value of your sales.

RACE Planning KPI Dashboard

Segment and target your financial services business' key customers

Segmentation and targeting is where digital marketing really comes into its own. The level of precision targeting available to the modern marketer is outstanding. Consider this in relation to the RACE Framework of the customer lifecycle and you will quickly start to see just some of the opportunities RACE planning offers.

STP financial marketing planning

Core Module
Digital segmentation and targeting

Digital segmentation and targeting

Part of the Managing digital marketing transformation Toolkit

Learn how to review and improve your use of online segmentation and targeting techniques in order to deliver more relevant, more responsive communications

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Financial planning marketing real-life example

Revisiting the customer lifecycle model discussed earlier (and the tech platform model, before that), segmentation and targeting can be applied in the below example using marketing data during the customer ENGAGE journey.

Financial marketers segment existing customers with particular criteria/behaviour, such as over £3,000 savings in a Help To Buy ISA, and engage them with targeted email and social retargeting to cross-sell mortgage products.

With the right strategic plan in place, keeping your customer at the heart of your marketing, you can turn the financial marketing planning flux to your advantage. That's where Smart Insights can help you, get in touch to find out more about our support and resources for marketers in the financial services industry.

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

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