When targeting financial services executives, marketers must communicate the values of their company—not just the specifics about their product or service, said Jane Lauterback, exec VP-global CMO at marketing agency Doremus. “When you're in any kind of financial relationship, retail all the way on up, it's really about who you trust,” she said.
Financial services executives want to be communicated with in a clear and sincere way, Sullivan said, with a focus on the future rather than remorse over what has happened in the past. They also want transparency, she said. “That's about making things simpler to understand—[for example,] making pricing really clear so people know what they're paying for and how they're paying for it—and being honest about what the timing will be in delivering something,” she said. “It's that ongoing dialogue, and openness and sincerity with these executives that's important.”
Having a flashy advertising campaign with nice photos is no longer enough to make prospects and customers feel good, said Jennifer O'Connell, a director in the financial services group at agency Partners+Simons. “You can demonstrate trust and transparency only through interaction and engagement versus campaigns and advertising,” she said. “What makes people feel good today is to know that we understand them and that we're doing what it takes to endear ourselves to them—not by showing them fancy ads, but by demonstrating a commitment to meeting their needs.”
Marketers need to demonstrate that commitment in every interaction they have with a customer or prospect, O'Connell said. For instance, Web site content should be easy to find and presented in “digestible buckets,” she said.
Companies should use their Web sites and other online marketing efforts to focus specific messages on specific segments, she said. For instance, they can categorize Web site visitors by persona and deliver specific Web site tools and checklists based on a visitor's needs.
Overall, Sullivan said, media channels that can support tailored, personal selling efforts have been the most well-received. “It has to be simple and quick,” she said. “Executives are being asked to do the work they did two years ago with half the staff. The easier you can make it for people to make decisions and do their job, that's what they're looking for.” M