February 18, 2020
Hits, impressions, clicks, share of voice, etc. For financial services CMOs and CCOs who are leading brand campaigns, buzzwords like these are meaningful, especially when combined with additional metrics. For others in the C-suite or on the board of directors, this marketing jargon may be somewhat ambiguous, as industry terms seem to evolve with the dynamic digital environment.
Communications professionals in financial services may be challenged to demonstrate their value to their organizations, as not every initiative has a direct impact on revenue. Adopting a clear process for measuring and reporting results, however, can educate stakeholders while connecting campaigns to business results.
Start with success.
Before you can claim success, you need to know what it looks like for your financial services brand. Every organization is unique in how it operates and its goals, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In general, a good starting point is having a personal conversation with your business partners to reach consensus about objectives.
Consider which groups or divisions you’re serving in your marketing or communications capacity, and set aside time to talk about their goals, how they envision getting there and how often to check progress. If the goal is to increase sales, then dig deeper to learn what needs to happen — is it driving customers to the website, equipping salespeople with better tools to gauge customer needs, or educating consumers about little-known products or services?
Agree on what the business goals are, and then investigate how marketing communications can provide the right supports to move the goal posts closer. Perhaps it’s embarking on a social media campaign or an influencer partnership, or maybe it’s developing a series of podcasts or creating a financial literacy library. Be clear in how your initiatives will support the articulated goals.
Leverage measurement and analytical tools.
The marketing communications tactics your financial brand adopts will determine, in large part, the type of measurement and analytical tools you’ll need to track performance and tie it back to business results. The wide array of available tools and resources runs the gamut when it comes to cost, but their benefits stretch beyond mere tracking.
Begin with analytics provided at low or no cost by platforms that you may be using in your financial brand’s campaign, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Also, consider the free Google Data Studio, which can be integrated with premium products to create custom dashboards with specific reporting needs. Products like Rival IQ or SEMrush come at a cost, but they do offer a full suite of digital marketing services that go beyond tracking and measurement to helping position your financial brand for success.
While your budget and initiatives will determine which analytics tools are the best fit, there is no doubt your marketing team should understand how the chosen analytics tools work and how to extract meaning from them. For those who aren’t quite up to speed, education is critical. Fortunately, most analytics tools offer tutorials and guidance. It’s important to have a good handle on the metrics and what they represent, as this knowledge will be critical in tracking and reporting progress to your business partners and higher-ups.
Regularly measuring performance from the beginning of an initiative is also critical; you can use the information gleaned to adjust your program as you go, improving the chances of success. Oftentimes, campaigns ultimately appear very different from what was originally envisioned, and that may be perfectly fine if the changes are based on solid data that indicates which elements are working and which need refinement.
Be clear and concise in reporting.
Depending on the initiatives your financial services brand undertakes, reporting can be as frequent as daily, weekly or monthly or as infrequent as quarterly or annually. Whichever route you take, look back to the goals established early on and show measurements that relate to those goals. If you’re reporting to a board, learn which metrics they prioritize, as you’ll want to frame your reports to incorporate those key measurements.
Also, remember that less is more. Keep reports clean and use visuals to underscore progress. Graphics like line, bar or pie charts are easily digestible and clearly show where you succeeded. That said, some commentary in brief bullet points adds color and provides more context to the data presented, and some narrative can help clarify marketing jargon that may otherwise alienate some stakeholders.
Build a more educated audience.
In making a case for the value that marketing and communications bring to a financial brand, an important step is educating business partners, executives and board members about how the industry measures and shows results.
If you're interested in learning about other ways to make impactful changes in 2020, check out my top six financial marketing resolutions.
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