The transformative changes of the digital era go well beyond technological innovations that affect how financial marketers deliver messages. This radical shift fundamentally changes what kinds of messages we deliver.
Messages that resonate in the digital era will embody “purposeful positioning,” one of the essential components of winning brands, according to Marketing2020’s ongoing global survey of leading marketers.
Remember Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum, “The medium is the message?” In the immersive digital era, consumers are embedded in the information stream, no longer passive recipients of messaging, but an essential part of the distribution system, in a dense web of overlapping social networks.
There’s a continuous, burbling conversation going on at this digital party, with new guests showing up every minute. You’re no longer able to rap your glass with a knife and instantly command attention. You need to work the room.
So forget about big, anthemic displays of your brand. Instead, you’re knitting together the perfect digital bits and pieces — making mutually rewarding connections with the right people.
That means the traditional marketing funnel is dead. As Pele Cortizo-Burgess wrote in Adweek, “Consumers’ ubiquitous connectivity now means they are, in effect, always in the consideration phase.”
What does all this mean to the financial marketer’s messaging?
Keep the Conversation Going — But Stick to the Point
Smart marketers keep an ear to the ground. Pay attention to what your marketplace constituents are saying — about what they need and how those needs are being met — and craft content and messaging relevant to the ongoing conversation. “Aligning your point of view with what is meaningful to your customers is not a new idea. But the rate at which users are adopting and interacting with digital content enables them to become an essential part of your distribution system through social," explains Melissa Scauri, Carpenter Group's Client Engagement Director.
Think of the social media as a scalable word of mouth: Consumers are continuously gathering information, absorbing impressions and making judgments. You must always be wearing your game face at this 24/7 party.
Consumers are better informed and more in charge than ever, able to quickly gather and share information, rapidly sniffing out phonies and poseurs.
You must respond with purposeful positioning, making your brand values integral to the way you do business. When you fully inhabit your brand, down to your very organizational structure, every customer touch point becomes imbued with your brand purpose.
Follow these three simple steps to create a purposeful brand.
First: Pare away everything extraneous. Define your core purpose, and keep it simple, direct and focused.
Second: Be accessible to the right people in the right places, and become an active listener, so that you can keep the conversation relevant and specific.
Third: Deliver the purposeful experience. Your marketing content should be engaging and emotionally evocative. Use interactive experiences to reflect your commitment to a two-way conversation. And keep it actionable; always be available to help consumers get something done now.
As we’ve already learned from Marketing2020’s comprehensive new research, “The facts speak loudly: Brands with a clear purpose have the ability to drive higher business growth, margin and price than those without.”
Everybody likes having a purpose in life. Take the time to find one for your brand — and position yourself for success in the digital era.