Jennifer O'Connell, director of business development for Partners+simons, Boston, works closely with the agency's financial services practice, which serves clients including Chartis, MasterCard Worldwide, Sovereign Bank and Sun Life Financial. BtoB recently spoke with O'Connell about best practices for financial services marketing.
BtoB: What kinds of trends are you seeing in b-to-b financial services marketing?
O'Connell: One trend right now in financial services and across the board in many industries is the idea of content development. Everyone wants to create a conversation with customers and prospects, and provide them with an experience. Everybody's trying to create content. It's very valuable because it's important to get thought leadership out there. It's very valuable to provide interaction with your unique point of view. But you're also not the only firm out there doing that; you're not the only fund provider or insurer trying to reach your intermediaries and provide them with all this information. In addition to being a conduit for your business, they have a business of their own that they need to grow, and run, and maintain and sustain. Bombarding them with new websites to get information, new communities to be part of, new white papers to read and new tools to use can be massive overload. It's about being very discerning when you deliver content. With their limited amount of time, give them content they can absorb and use in a way that works for them.
BtoB: What types of contents are most effective?
O'Connell: People are being so inundated with education [materials] and with tools, it's overwhelming. So how do you do a good job of getting your point of view out there and be an asset to intermediaries and your channel without trying to do too much? Talking to your channel helps you do that. Creating content in a vacuum is really shortsighted. The idea of delivering greater value via information, education and tools is about giving people what they need to do their job. So talk to them and find out what they need to do their job and work backward. —M.E.M.