Financial Services marketing is an industry like few others. People that work in this sector know better than most, the impact that rules and regulations can have on what’s possible in marketing. There’s a constant pressure to play things safe, stay conservative, and above all, to avoid punishment by regulators. But, we don’t have to be beaten into ineffective content by the rules, we just need to accept what we have and up our creative game.
In this video, our MD explores video marketing models that can help marketers in financial services.
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Here is a transcript of the film.
Video marketing doesn’t escape the restrictions of legalisation but it certainly helps overcome them and both for B2B and DTC services it’s becoming increasingly important in the marketing mix. That’s why for the next 14 minutes I’m going to be focusing on how finance brands can use video to build trust with consumers, how to plan long term and how to do all of that in a highly regulated world.
On top of regulations, financial services face a pretty cynical public. During and after the 2008 financial crisis, the banking industry was made out as a villain; free-wheeling, reckless and culpable. In 2016, 92% of millennials don’t trust banks. Even now there are residual trust issues among consumers.
There are however two bits of good news to look at, Firstly, Financial services and Fintech happens to be home to some of the most creative marketers in the world. I meet people from all sectors and it’s always the people that work in this industry who show the capacity to think around blockers, to overcome negative sentiments, and to sell highly emotionally charged products like pensions and mortgages.
The second bit of good news is that there is a real opportunity at the moment for brands to make a positive impact on the market. Covid 19 has been a horrid experience for all of us and we must never forget the toll that it has taken. However, it does also represent an opportunity for financial institutions to prove their trustworthiness, and indeed to be helpful to customers and business.
But before we get going, let’s get a really quick intro to me, so you know, that I know, what I’m talking about! I’m MD at Hurricane, which is a highly experienced video marketing agency that helps brands to create content that’s actually worth watching. We do strategic planning to fit video into the marketing stack and we create content from national tv commercials to brand promos, content marketing and online events… I’ve written a book called video marketing strategy and now have an online video marketing course imaginatively called “Video marketing strategy”. So basically I’m a total nerd!
Ok so, that’s enough about me… let’s get back into content. Building trust and standing out.
The journey starts with taking a step back and looking at the challenge of time. This industry relies on the trust of its customers which takes time to earn, and lots of effort to keep. Add to that some of the longest sales cycles around and it’s easy to see that financial services marketers are playing the long game.
An elongated user journey means that real success is found by firms that position themselves as industry leaders who can be counted on when times are both good and bad. It means that brands have to serve content to audiences on a regular basis. And it means being consistent with messages that are responsive to the world around them. It’s because of this that I’ll be putting short-horizon advertising to one side today and focusing on long-term content marketing.
To understand how video can work over months and years to build a brand, there are two key models that I like to work with. The first is a very simple digital sales model that many of you will be familiar with and the second is a content model that I call HHHG.
So let’s start with the quick one.
This is the traditional sales funnel for a customer journey. Mass media lands huge amounts of eyeballs at the top of the funnel, millions in the case of tv commercials. Over time these leads are whittled down, conversations are had, and a prospect arrives at the end of the funnel as a sale. But this model is pretty much dead on its knees. The digital world just doesn’t work this way. Instead, we have a new funnel. The top of the funnel is now narrow as we can add fewer, but more targeted leads. The content we put out here is not only paid placements that push, unwanted, into people’s social feeds but search-focused content that draws people to our brand. Here, we can expect to use ultra short-form films, 15 Instagram ads, short-form banner videos, 30 second long how-to films, social media marketing and more.
Once brands have people’s attention they need to hold it, by acting like a publisher. Now, content must earn its place in customers’ lives and form an ongoing conversation between brand and consumer. This stage of the funnel is vital in turning a prospect’s interest into a genuine intention to purchase. Durations in this stage of the funnel creep up, most will peak at the 4-minute mark but really engaged viewers will stay for 10 – 20 minutes for the right content
Once a customer has heard everything they need to know they’re ready to buy, and it’s up to brands to switch mode again. This time to being a salesperson, this is where video content must make conversions. Big calls to action, clear messaging and short punchy price drivers are vital here.
Post-sale, brands need to retain and grow customers, where possible building on their total lifetime value. And here variety is what matters, a combination of attention-grabbing awareness films and useful mid-funnel content is going to work well.
And there you have it. It’s a model who’s principles you’ll be very familiar with but it’s good to get our aligned as awareness, consideration, conversion and retention are vital in the language of video marketing.
The digital sales funnel helps us to visualise how we will use video across a customer’s journey. But there are so many kinds s of content, is there something to help us consider what will work best at each stage? Well, guess what, there is. My HHHG! model is based on the YouTube model of Hero, Hub, and Hygiene, but it’s updated and refocused so it’s more relevant to the financial sector.
Hero content is the name given to big set pieces that drive overall brand awareness with people that have not engaged with a brand before. The content tends to be bold and emotional and it is pushed to a wide audience. Hero isn’t content that the audience is looking for and, just like a traditional advert, it is activated using paid placements, online influencers and PR. With very few exceptions, Hero content sits at the awareness end of the funnel. Examples of hero content are all around us, here is a standout example created for PWC by the director Filip Nilsson that tackles the issue of trust in financial services head-on.
Here’s another by Starling Bank that’s worth taking a look at, Again note how it reduces finances to an emotional connection.
While Hero content is busy shouting from the rooftops and taking all the budget .. HUB films are quietly getting on with things behind the scenes. This regular content is aimed at people that are already familiar with your brand and it encourages them to engage. Hub films ensure social channels have a regular supply of fresh, engaging content that explains who you are, how you think and your perspective on the world. Hub content typically sits the consideration phase of the funnel but as it is so highly searchable it can cross into awareness and drive organic traffic for your brand.
Natwest nail this with their business series
Next, we move onto help films. YouTube has called this content hygiene as it’s typically used daily, like cleaning one’s teeth, but for me “help” is a label that more clearly says what the films are for. This is a subject matter that your audiences are looking for as they have problems to solve or questions to answer (hence the name Help content).
Again, we can look to Natwest, who have a full catalogue of helpful tutorial videos on their YouTube channel from explaining how to open up an account to connecting with younger audiences with a series of videos that explain money matters to kids.
Finally, we need to understand the form and purpose of go! videos. These are simple executions that focus on driving one specific action. They may be served to people via retargeted paid placements or sit at the bottom of the funnel to be activated by email or social, but they are always focused on measurable KPIs.
Now that we understand the model of how content can be served across the sales funnel to accommodate the long lead times of sales in financial services we can start to look at the idea of emotional drivers. Which levers can you pull to resonate with viewers at an emotional level? What are their hopes and fears and their goals in life… both public… and private.
When I’m running workshops around this I ask brands to think of the things that will make their customers care about or want from their product. We start with the optimistic; the things that you would hope your customers care about… saving the planet, making the world better, delivering a better service… all those things. Next, I ask them to be a little more cynical about what benefits they think their customers want. For example, they might want to look great to their boss and get a promotion, they may just want an easy life, or they may just need to keep their job.
It’s fairly common at financial service marketing events where I’m talking about emotional drivers for me to be challenged by someone that says there is simply no emotion to be had in their product, it’s too dry, it’s too functional, its too… well, dull. And to these people, I have to politely say “you are wrong”. There is always something that we can hang our messages onto. To prove this I like to show this video created by Taulia. now, meaning no disrespect to Taulia, their product is insanely dull, by any standards, unless you get really excited about electronic invoicing. but they have still found an emotional driver to engage people … and they’ve had some fun along the way.
Explaining ways to find the best emotional driver for a video is a whole session in itself, but my main tips are 1: if in doubt aim to grow trust, and 2: you can never be sure what will work so AB test things and you’ll be surprised by the results.
At Hurricane, we made a video for an investment app that gave insights about buying and selling decisions. We had two potential motivators to test. One was that the app gave you great insight to make better decisions, the other motivator was that the app was cool, felt great to use and would make you look like you had the best investment tools. We didn’t know which would work and AB tested the results. and the film that got the best results was not the one that promised better results as we thought might be the case, but it was actually the one that showed off that you would look like you had the best tools if you downloaded it.
OK, so, up to now we’ve had a look at some models that help you connect with target audiences over time and to build an emotional connection. As we have a little time left let’s take a look at a single brand that stands out in the market and see what lessons we can take from them.
MasterCard is, of course, a giant in the industry when it comes to financial services marketing. They are well known for their Hero content, But, they also think in depth. MasterCard offers a wealth of videos that cover a wide range of topics. To get your head into a wide range of ways in which video can be used it’s worth looking around MasterCards video content. You will see a real mix of content across the Hero, Hub, Help and go. And you will also see that the content is targeted at different emotional drivers.
We can also see something else of real value … MasterCard has moved on from YouTube
Let’s take a look at their videos on the channel. Over time they’ve had some real winners. But when you sort by popularity you can see that the big successes are from years ago, some as many as 8 years ago. If we sort by recent date you can see that there are really very few films, and what there is, there is clearly no paid behind it, as view numbers are low, sometimes only in the hundreds.
However, if we jump over to other channels, we can see that MasterCard’s Facebook channel is doing really well, their Instagram channel gets lots of love, and we can see that there is a real push into Tik Tok.
Now what we see here is MasterCard successfully identifying where to put their effort in reaching target segments. They are clearly trying to penetrate Gen Z and Gen Y, so the natural place is to be on Insta and Tik Tok. And what they’ve done well is not used their existing YouTube channel as a repository of content that doesn’t get watched. That’s a trap that many have fallen into and it just weakens the brand.
The thing to take from this is not that YouTube is not the right channel for financial services, it’s that we have to constantly consider where to put our content. If you want to look at what’s working well in this sector at the moment look at Facebook and Linked in for older audiences and Insta and Tik Tok for younger ones.
OK, so there we go, a super whistle-stop tour to get you thinking about video in financial services marketing.
My main takeaways are, consider where in the funnel you are targeting customers, what their emotional motivators might be, and above all, concentrate on building long term trust by answering questions and providing solutions when and where people need them
I’m always open to answering questions so please fire me as many challenges as you would like.
Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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