• Fear.

  • Spying.

  • Noise.

  • Debates.

  • Subtle hints.

  • Boredom.

  • Obsession.

This might seem like a quick review of the presidential campaign to date.

Instead, it's a list of things that keep us up at night. We can't stop thinking, reading and talking about them. That's because they're changing how we approach marketing. And they should be doing the same for you, as well.

Fear.

Yes, we're obsessed with fear. Today, fear drives the news, political discourse, falling markets and uncertain economy. And fearful voices are louder than rational ones.

That's why we're inspired by quietly rational financial marketing and communication campaigns that triumph over fear. Have you seen the Prudential retirement campaign? It doesn't use scare tactics to get people to save for retirement. It shares facts, figures and personal stories to clearly explain why it's important to invest for the future.

What about Simple Bank -- a company that's anything but noisy? They almost whisper to consumers their message about how simple saving can be.

Have you seen The Hartford's Business Owner's Playbook and BizAhead (full disclosure: Carpenter worked on this campaign)? The content in these two online corporate-sponsored publications show business owners how to become more successful and protect their livelihoods rather than scare them into buying insurance.

Why we're obsessed: These are just a few examples of campaigns that are intelligent antidotes to irrational fear in today's financial marketing world. And as far as we're concerned, sound information delivered in a clear, rational voice will always win out over fear.

Spying.

Today, we have access to data that tells us what's going wrong:

  • Visitors make it to your website and bounce.

  • People read your web content, but they're not clicking to contact you.

  • You build a cool online experience, but no one is making it to the end of it.

While it's great to have data that tells you something isn't working, it doesn't show you exactly what's wrong.

"Spying" on your website visitors can help you learn what they are -- and are not -- responding to. Website recording software like Mouseflow allows you to anonymously watch what visitors do on your site. It can show you what they're reading and actions they're taking. More importantly, it lets you know when and where they're abandoning the site. While this is not a new idea, it's one whose time has come in today's data-driven marketing culture.

Why we're obsessed: We love watching website visitors engage with content. (We may be watching you right now...) It let's us see what's working -- and more importantly -- what's not -- so we can make our content better and more valuable to readers.

Noise.

Every now and then we take our ear phones off and listen to all the noise out there. We also like to notice the surprising things that break through the noise.

  • Charming things like the Facebook-related software that looks at your posting history and tells you -- and your friends -- something about you and what you value.

  • Fierce people like Adele who's honesty and soulfulness break records.

  • Simple statements like when the Pope arrived in the U.S. in a Fiat and knocked everything else off the front page.

Why we're obsessed: We wonder: What can we do to surprise consumers in simple ways to break through the noise and honestly connect with them?

Debates.

It's likely that millions of people each day will interact with your brand through social posts or a blog article, and they'll express their opinions on what you have to say. Or your next big ad campaign will be based on the the opinions of online community members. Or you'll sell products by joining discussions with online groups.

Social media has turned marketing into a discussion or debate and the brands that are best prepared for the debate will win in the end.

However, most brands were built for a push media world rather than today's community-based culture. These brands are not equipped to get into a dialogue with their consumers. And today, brands that can only talk at their consumers -- rather than listen and respond to them -- fall flat.

Why we're obsessed: People in online communities wield more power than organizations or institutions and brands need to reflect this new reality. Is it time for you to rethink your brand based on today's community-based marketing culture?

Subtle suggestions.

As marketers, we all want to say the right things to the right people at the right time. Impossible? Not really.

Why not do what big publications and retail outlets do and use software that makes content recommendations to your website visitors based on their interests? (Idio is an example.)  And if you don't have the content your consumers want to read, the software will tell you. Creating a content journey based on what your consumers want to read -- balanced by what you need to say to them -- is a game-changer.

Why we're obsessed: Anything that lets us get to know consumers better helps us respond to their needs more effectively. And isn't that what good marketing is all about?

Boredom.

Many people (not you, of course) who do marketing for financial companies grow comfortable with the same old, same old, day after day. But with social media overtaking mass media, small screens dominating big, and Millennials becoming a more dominant economic force then Boomers, it's not the time for financial marketers to be bored or boring. They need to wake up in the morning and head to work each day excited about the possibilities of engaging with their consumers in new and different ways.

Why we're obsessed: We live for creativity. And the right creative agency partner can help you find ways find ways to become more relevant -- and a little less boring -- in today's changing financial marketing world.

Obsession.

Why should you be obsessed with obsession? Because it means you care deeply -- and feel quite passionately -- about something. And when you feel that strongly about anything, it could mean you're on to something big.

Why we're obsessed: Why would we be doing marketing work if we weren't all a little bit obsessed?

Conclusion

Staying current with all the marketing-related things you should obsessed by can be challenging. Today's world is just changing too fast for most marketers to be able to keep up on their own. Why not connect with an agency partner that has a pulse on what's happening to help you and your company stay up-to-date? Having someone you can call to learn the latest can help you feel more confident that you're not falling behind.

 

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