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By Parris Johnson on September 20, 2018

The Top 5 Marketing Trends for Finance Brands in 2018

How can distributed finance brands attract and retain more customers this year? Here's the top trends advisors are using to drive better local results in 2018.

Marketing is always evolving. In 2018, companies are focusing on more customer-centric marketing initiatives, such as smarter content marketing and social marketing. For many industries, such as finance, adapting these marketing trends and tactics will be crucial to attract new customers and facilitate stronger relationships with existing customers in the next year.

For distributed finance brands, executing more customer-focused initiatives will rely on the collaboration and communication between corporate and local teams. To pull off these trends, local advisors will require more resources and guidance from their corporate advisors, and corporate advisors will need to maintain more control over brand assets and deliverables.

In this article, we'll discuss the most popular marketing trends in finance for the coming year, and why brands should incorporate them into their local marketing strategies. We'll also cover the tools necessary to support those tactics.

Why Corporate Marketers at Finance Brands Must Adopt the Latest Marketing Trends

In the words of Joe Stanhope, an analyst at Forrester:

"Marketers must adopt the right strategy, operational best practices and technology to win, serve and retain customers in this new environment."

Stanhope was referring to the current state of local marketing. Given the evolving preferences and expectations that consumers have from brands, financial brands must go beyond traditional or outdated digital marketing efforts. Now, brands must connect with consumers at times of opportunity, while fostering a positive and consistent brand image across channels.


It's no longer enough to wait for customers to come to you. In 2018, brands must be proactive and find ways to target potential customers with the most relevant, effective messaging and engagement strategies at their disposal. Customers are seeking more excitement from their finances, and are open to tactics such as gamification, which 65 percent of millennials say would help them be more engaged with their finances.

The Top 5 Marketing Trends to Impact the Financial Industry in 2018

In the next year, financial advisors should keep the focus on providing customers with a more personalized, engaging experience. Here are the top marketing trends that finance brands should stay abreast of in 2018, and consider adapting alongside a local marketing automation tool.

Trend #1: More Relevant Content

Content marketing is a great way to demonstrate value to potential customers. Besides creating exceptional content, the success of content marketing relies on knowing where, when, and who to promote content to. Merrill Lynch, for instance, uses content marketing, or mapping, to attract more affluent clientele.


The team at Merrill Lynch identifies all of the financial needs that they can provide expertise in and hyper-targets the consumers seeking those needs with high-quality, extremely relevant content.

"Getting the right message to them, the right piece of content, at a time when it’s on their mind is critical," says Joe Corriero, Head of Digital Marketing for Merrill.

By presenting them with the exact answers and insights they're looking for, Merrill attracts highly qualified clients that are ready to work with them.

Trend #2: Digital Asset Management Adoption

The savviest financial brands will get ahead of the curve with storage, reusing, and analyzing the performance of their creative collateral. By adapting one central repository for organizing and managing their assets, advisors can easily pull creative from previous campaigns, assess the success of those assets, and make the optimizations necessary to improve upon it.


"Digital assets will no longer be just stored static digits belonging to one entity, but is becoming a stored dynamic value with potential to generate more value to many, even unrelated, entities,” says Medhat Mahmoud of Huawei Technologies.

Using a Digital Asset Management tool, advisors quickly access those materials, or pull in a mass of data on their current marketing efforts across the entire company.

Trend #3: Compliance in Social Marketing

In a heavily regulated industry such as finance, social media use and social marketing can impact a financial institution’s risk profile. However, with so many customers engaging on social media, finance brands can't afford not to adapt and connect with customers on those platforms. Finance brands can still maintain a strong social presence and stay on top of various compliance guidelines within their industry, such as communication regarding deposits, payments, or lending.

Finance brand teams should equip their local and corporate advisors by discussing these regulations around social use. As long as financial advisors can avoid advising potential clients or customers on social, or sharing articles that "adopt" them to their opinions or guidance shared in that article, or any request or recommendation for a consultation that could be perceived as soliciting, social can a strong resource for brands.

Trend #4: Refreshed Brand Identity

For many customers, every finance brand feels the same. According to a study by The 2017 Financial Regulation Survey by the Cato Institute, customers are wary about financial institutions and Wall Street in general, and need more transparency around products and services. So in 2018, financial brands should look to differentiate themselves from their competition, with tactics such as:

  • Updating their unique value proposition - Financial brands need to develop a unique value proposition, or UVP, that tells the visitor why they're the best choice for a customer. This messaging needs to be prominently displayed on the website, and incorporated into messaging.
  • Conducting a competitive analysis - To set themselves apart from the competition, financial advisors need to understand how they stack up against other financial institutions. By conducting a competitive analysis, advisors can find weaknesses and friction that customers experience in the industry, and resolve those challenges in their offerings.
  • Refreshing buyer personas - Buyer personas should evolve over time, incorporating new information about customers. Financial advisors should talk to individuals that represent their real-life personas, and consider the changing needs of customers, shifts in behavior, and their ongoing goals and motivations to help update personas.

Overall, advisors can conduct a strategic brand refresh by tapping into the brand's core values, and finding more ways to communicate those values to their customers.

Trend #5: Increase Collaborate Feedback

Financial advisors can learn a lot about their customers from their team members. Many of the customer-facing representatives at a financial institution can help shed light on the day to day frustrations that their customers face. By consulting with these internal team members, such as salespeople, agents, and brokers, advisors can also tap into the financial goals customers are setting for themselves.


All of this feedback can inform stronger messaging and more targeted campaigns. Advisors can also solicit feedback regarding new marketing campaigns, and take that information to make optimizations and updates in future iterations.

The Key To Successfully Adopting Marketing Trends

The local and corporate advisors that are already completely in sync with their day to day local marketing can find a lot of opportunity in adapting marketing trends into an overall strategy. However, some financial brands are already experiencing challenges achieving coordination and consistency in their existing local marketing strategies. Before diving into new trends, these teams should consider investing in a local marketing automation tool.


Using a lightweight tool, local and corporate advisors can align and work from one central repository of on-brand marketing collateral. With the use of these tools, teams can streamline their efforts, and refocus on finding new and exciting ways to connect with their customers.


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Published by Parris Johnson September 20, 2018
Parris Johnson