Faced with being the industry that is least trusted globally, it appears that the financial services sector is turning to content marketing as an approach to repair the damage following the 2008 financial crisis and a string of industry scandals including LIBOR rigging and PPI mis-selling.
The study found that while the majority of financial advisers see online content as the most effective marketing tool, they remain unconvinced by the business benefits of social media. The news will be welcomed by content marketing agencies but work will have to continue in persuading the industry of the value of reaching potential clients via social networks.
Robin Powell, executive director at Ember Television, said: “There’s been very little quantitative research into this specific area and we felt a thorough investigation was long overdue.
“Financial planners and wealth managers have traditionally relied heavily on word-of-mouth and on traditional marketing such as printed brochures. This study shows that they’re now increasingly looking to digital marketing to help them attract and retain clients.
“Investors are crying out for content - especially video content - to explain, for example, the importance of starting to invest as early as possible and not taking fright when markets fall.
“Content marketing - rather like investing itself - is not a quick fix. But if you commit sufficient resources to it and, crucially, persevere with it, all the evidence shows that it delivers handsome dividends.”
Educating clients and investors is also an ongoing concern for financial advisers. 74% of the respondents saw investor education as key to their business. Video content is set to play a bigger part in this process. 80% of respondents said they were planning to include video in their content marketing strategies for 2015. The findings are in keeping with the widely reported increased popularity of online video, in part because of better connectivity and a rise in the number of people watching video on smartphones and tablets.
However, the research also showed that although 66% had a content marketing strategy, 19% admitted that they did not stick to it. Many are planning to use video content in 2015, but the actual uptake of the medium remains to be seen.
Andrew Miles, corporate relations manager at Birmingham Business School, said: “Our Midlands Excellence Organisational Improvement Programme aims to generate a sustained positive benefit to the performance of organisations across the Midlands, and we’re delighted to have been able to work with Ember Television to expand their understanding of their largest client sector.”
The study was conducted over a 12-week period by Winnie Muchina, an MSc graduate researcher of the Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. It was jointly funded by Birmingham Business School through its MidEx Postgraduate Internship programme, and Ember Television, a Birmingham-based content marketing company with specialist expertise in the financial services sector.