Digital marketing shift: lessons for Financial Planners
Something interesting is happening in the world of marketing.
Big organisations are increasingly shifting their spending away from ‘traditional’ marketing channels, and instead splashing the cash on ‘digital marketing’ and ‘new media’.
Case in point is retailer Next.
In the year to January 2019, they reportedly spent £36m on all things digital marketing; up from £19m the year earlier.
They plan to spend £46m on their digital marketing efforts this year.
During the past five years, the digital marketing budget at Next is set to have risen by 500%. They were ‘only’ spending £8m on it in the year to January 2016.
Next are far from alone in making this shift. You only have to look at the fortunes of national newspaper groups and magazine publishers to understand the money is no longer going their way.
There are several valuable lessons Financial Planners can learn from this shift in marketing budgets.
Big businesses are shifting from traditional to digital marketing because they get better results from the latter.
Results from digital marketing are typically easier to measure than results from more traditional forms of marketing, especially print advertising.
While you can track responses from an advert in a print publication, the ability to monitor and re-target responses to digital adverts gives this a competitive edge.
Digital marketing is also a lot easier to target.
When you place an advert in a newspaper or magazine, you rely on the demographics of that publication.
Digital advertising allows you to get specific about your audience.
This specificity extends to the ability to create ‘lookalike’ audiences on several of the social media platforms; taking the core attributes of your existing clients and cloning that audience to reach thousands of new prospective client who look and behave in similar ways.
For the typical Financial Planner business, allocating more marketing spend to digital allows smaller budgets to stretch further.
You can dip your toe in the water without committing to a big spend, testing to find out what works and then doubling down on the most effective ads.
The shift also makes sense because, increasingly, digital channels are where our attention now lies.
Habits are rapidly moving away from reading print publications and watching television shows live as they are broadcast, to consuming social media or online content, and television shows on demand. As our lifestyles change, our marketing must keep pace.
From what I’ve written so far, it might sound like shifting from traditional to digital marketing is a no-brainer. Here’s the thing though.
I like to zig when others zag.
A popular move to digital has, I firmly believe, created opportunities for the marketing savvy Financial Planner to slip into the gaps left open by departing advertisers and marketers.
At a time when everyone else is online, getting offline is a powerful and effective way to capture (and hold) attention.
Giving your prospective clients something tangible – like a printed client magazine or postcard – when others are merely sharing ethereal material, sets you apart from others.
This is not to say that your attention and budget should not primarily focus on digital channels. It absolutely should.
But do keep your eyes open to the opportunities presented by the departure of competition from the traditional marketing environment.