BANK AND FINANCIAL SERVICES SOLUTIONS

Perspectives: Marketing Insights You Can Use Right Now

Video Marketing: Overcoming 3 common challenges

Posted by Laura Costello on Oct 12, 2016

Why are you still not using video? 

By now you know that including video as part of your content marketing strategy increases customer engagement. There is no shortage of statistics like these that prove video is only going to become a more essential marketing channel, and even our own non-scientific review of bank social and content marketing revealed engagement rates over 10x higher on video posts vs. posts with just text and images alone.

But knowing the statistics – and watching competitors jumping on the trend and gaining traction – is still not enough motivation for many businesses to get moving. We hear a number of excuses from marketers explaining why they aren't including videos in their content marketing plans – anything from budget concerns, timing concerns, subject matter concerns, not knowing how to distribute once they're complete – to just not quite knowing where to start. While these may seem like valid excuses for not moving ahead – are they rooted in reality? We’ve gone ahead and debunked a few of the most common “challenges” we hear below:

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Topics: Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, video marketing

How to Improve your Marketing Messages Using Buyer Personas

Posted by Ingrid Gonzalez on Sep 15, 2016

Who visits your website (or doesn’t)? What content should you highlight to get the right people there? Do you really know and understand who your buyers are in order to target them effectively?

These questions and many more can be answered when you establish buyer personas for your business. It’s vital to segment your audience and truly understand their needs, challenges, concerns and goals in order to create more powerful marketing initiatives that drive results.

In order to get started, you need to define and understand your company’s value proposition. What do you offer your customers that others can’t? What challenges do you solve for them? While this isn’t always easy, you may end up learning something about your business that you didn’t realize! And don’t worry - we’ll provide you with some tips and ideas on how to get the process started. But first, let’s take a step back and explain what buyer personas are and why they are so important.


What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are defined as fictional and generalized representations of your ideal potential customers. The strongest buyer personas are based on data and market research, which has been conducted through insights from your customer base.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

How Banks Can Improve Social and Content Marketing: Part Two

Posted by Rick Hall and Laura Costello on Sep 09, 2016

A one-week snapshot of bank content marketing activity

Last week we posted that we were looking at the actual ‘what’ behind a random sampling of fifteen banks' social marketing efforts, specifically reviewing the industry's top used social media platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

As a refresh, the fifteen banks we observed were evenly divided into three segments:

  • Five traditional national and super regional US banks 
  • Five traditional community and regional US banks (generally under $10 billion in assets); and
  • Five non-traditional banks (virtual banks with no branches)

Again, we know this isn’t a scientific study (by the way, we don’t have dozens of interns around to surf sites and log activity – we did the work ourselves) and that the timing around Labor Day wasn’t picked for its height of social media activity levels. But even so, we found some trends that were at least interesting to us – and hopefully some of you as well.

So what did we observe from the social and content marketing efforts of 15 banks? 

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Banking and Financial Services, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Bank Inbound Marketing

Content Marketing in 2016: How Banks Can Improve Social and Content Marketing Efforts

Posted by Rick Hall and Laura Costello on Aug 31, 2016

You don't need to spend much time on social media these days to realize just how overwhelming it is to process the constant stream of new content. And with research showing the strong correlation between number of posts per month to increased web traffic, this trend is only continuing to grow.   

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Topics: Bank Marketing, Content Marketing, Banking and Financial Services

I already have a blog. Why should I care about LinkedIn Pulse?

Posted by Laura Costello on Jul 20, 2016

Content marketing: “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”  - Content Marketing Institute


As a marketer in 2016, there is no doubt you are aware of the importance of content marketing. A well thought out content marketing strategy allows marketers to hone in on their target audience, define what their needs are, and provide them with relevant insights. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2016 report, 88% of B2B marketers report using content marketing as a component in their marketing plans – making up an average of 28% of their annual marketing spend.

But with all of this adoption, the amount of content available for consumption every day can be overwhelming. Between blog posts, article shares on Twitter and LinkedIn, videos, webinars, infographics, Slideshare, e-newsletters, etc. – it often feels like an insurmountable task to stand out from the crowd and get your message read by the right people.

The good news is that it is not hopeless – with a targeted plan in place, your message can and will be heard. But with the wide range of options for publishing and reaching your audience, how much weight should you give to social media publishing options like LinkedIn Pulse vs. self-publishing on your company website and blog?

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Topics: digital, Content Marketing, Internet Marketing, Inbound Marketing

How will you solve the content marketing challenge?

Posted by Laura Costello on Mar 24, 2016

Finding and connecting with prospects in 2016 is no longer as easy as placing an ad or sending out a direct mail piece and waiting for the leads to flow in. Today’s buyers are savvy – most will complete 70% - 80% of their research online before engaging with an organization  so it is critical that your online marketing strategy includes content that appeals to every stage in the buyer’s journey. 

But the reality of creating – and keeping current – all of that content can be overwhelming, and often feels like an uphill battle. Whether you own a small business or are part of a large marketing team, creating original content takes time, energy and focus (not to mention budget) that you may not always have available to dedicate to the task. And with research proving that the companies that post more frequently are seeing exponentially more traffic headed to their sites, all signs point to the fact that this is a task that you can not ignore. 

So how will you solve the content challenge? The good news is that there is no shortage of expert research, opinions and insights available to help set you in the right direction. Here are a few of my favorites below: 

 

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Topics: Internet Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

How should Marketers deal with the ‘New Buyer Reality’?

Posted by Laura Costello on Nov 05, 2015

It has been widely accepted that buying habits have changed drastically in recent years for both business to consumer and business to business buyers. But what is the new buyer reality?

Buyers are operating in a digitally disrupted world.  The buying process is now on their terms; it begins when they want to begin and proceeds how they want it to proceed. Buyers do 70% - 80% of their research online to purchase a product or service before they engage with an organization. They are no longer reliant on salespeople for access to information and insights, but will develop their own knowledge about products and services to determine their views and aren’t interested in speaking with Sales until they're ready. To try and curb this or sway this trajectory is pointless and may even have a negative result.  

So how do marketers position themselves to be there when their buyers are ready for them? 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, buying cycle, buyer reality, customer journey

When marketing to new customers, are you a hunter or a trapper?

Posted by Bruce McMeekin on Aug 28, 2015

In your organization's marketing efforts, are you a hunter or a trapper? Most likely you are both. The bottom line is that the outcome is the same. Understanding the differences and how your organization approaches new business is critical and can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving. And, in today’s competitive climate, there is no room for barely surviving.

So as you begin to evaluate where your company is in the sales and marketing process, it is important to understand the internal marketing philosophy. Does it lean towards inbound marketing - which is about pulling customers in, ie. trapping - or are they interested in going out and pushing the marketing message to the prospect no matter if they are ready or not, ie. hunting? Both are necessary and having a deeper understanding of both and maintaining the right balance is critical.

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Topics: Direct Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

Why are 77% of marketers missing their revenue targets?

Posted by Bruce McMeekin on Jul 01, 2015

77% of marketers are not exceeding their revenue goals, according to a recent study by HubSpot.

No question, the focus of today’s marketing organizations is all about social media, SEO, Inbound Marketing, etc. Should it be? Of course. You cannot grow and thrive without it. But what is overlooked are the principles that those marketing disciplines are rooted in: the expertise of targeted Outbound marketing efforts. So should you shift to Outbound initiatives? Not necessarily. You need a balanced, integrated approach to become one of the 23% of marketers who are exceeding the revenue goals.

Here’s the issue—many marketers are using plans built solely around search engine marketing, social media, email marketing, or some other individual channel. Why? Because they’ve become intoxicated by the lure of astronomically high ROI claims, virtually meaningless when viewed outside the vacuum in which they are seen. This buzz has been generated by companies and people deeply invested in its success. These include companies that are still predominantly staffed by marketing automation solutions engineers, who are actually software wizards, not marketers. And all the talk isn’t limited to the marketing operations and automation folks who are making claims. There are also many strategic consulting firms and agencies that are doing the same, but they don’t have enough experience as practitioners to execute on the very recommendations they’re recommending to clients.

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Topics: Internet Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Bank Inbound Marketing

Bank marketing: Is content marketing missing from your marketing plan?

Posted by Laura Costello on Oct 14, 2014

AmeriFirst increased sales 5% by marrying content marketing with their traditional relationship strategies. 

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Topics: improve response, Bank Marketing, Bank Inbound Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Internet Marketing, Banks, Content Marketing