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Younger Americans are less tied to traditional institutions—and more open to digital innovations and new ways of managing their finances.

As a financial services marketer, how can you respond and adapt?

This is the first in a series of posts designed to help marketing professionals thrive amid seismic industry changes.

 For years, the financial planning sector has been a comfortable ship on a steady course. Working Americans contributed to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or a personal individual retirement account (IRA), and relied on a financial advisor for guidance in achieving their personal goals. Face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and the occasional review of online reports comprised the bulk of financial planning. Humans were at the center of the process.

Fast-forward to today. A sea of change is crashing ashore in the financial services world. Nimble fintech startups are reinventing nearly every aspect of how we spend, save, plan and manage our money. Innovative digital solutions, such as automated robo-advisor platforms that offer customized planning at a fraction of the cost, are growing in popularity.

And consumers, particularly younger individuals, are upending the status quo with new attitudes and expectations. Millennials, for example, place far less trust in traditional institutions like banks and brokerages than their predecessors. They are far more digitally fluent and open to non-traditional platforms and providers.

Consider these facts:

  • Nearly three-quarters of investors under age 40 are open to working with a virtual financial advisor.1
  • There are now more than 50 robo-advisory offerings in the U.S.—up from just two in the year 2000. Online platforms are projected to manage a staggering $8.1 trillion in global assets by 2020.1
  • Aging baby boomers are set to transfer as much as $30 trillion in assets to younger generations in the coming years.2

For financial services organizations, it adds up to a tremendous opportunity—so long as your brand can stand out in a crowded market space and engage your target consumers.

Start with the right marketing approach

Whether your brand is known or new, traditional or upstart, the amount of disruption in financial services makes the right approach more critical than ever. And while more financial planning tools have gravitated to the web, that doesn’t mean your marketing can succeed with only online tactics.

Direct response methods, which combine savvy brand stories with offers and calls to action specifically designed to move consumers to action, are a great place to start. Integrating broadcast radio and television ads, for example, with your online activities enables you to reach a greater number of individuals in a highly controlled and measurable environment.

Here are three other “must-haves” for next-generation financial services marketing:

1. Highly personalized messaging. In exchange for sharing their information, today’s consumers expect you to tailor your communications to their unique product interests, stage in life and other personal preferences. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all emails; now, even small firms must employ a sophisticated, one-to-one approach.

2. Frictionless interactions. With innovations in payments and ordering, companies like Uber and Amazon have set the bar for making it easy to do business. Your marketing and sales must now compete at this level. Responding to an ad, requesting more information or contacting you to set up service must be achievable with the fewest possible clicks and steps.

3. A seamless stream of communications across devices and channels. Lastly, omnichannel communications are paramount. No matter when or how your consumer chooses to interact with you, via online or offline methods, you must have technology in place to recognize and pick up your engagement right where you left off. That means a robust infrastructure and coordination among marketing campaigns, agencies and in-house IT.

A conversation may begin with a text message, move to a view of your demo video on a smart phone, then leap to an online form followed by an email confirmation—all of which must convey the same top-flight brand experience.

Achieving your marketing goals in a disruptive environment can seem a tall order. Fortunately, we’ve charted this course before. For smooth sailing, contact us to learn more.

Up next in our series:  [Campaigning in a Crowded Market]



1  Investopedia, “How Fintech Is Disrupting Wealth Management,” published April 27, 2017

2, “Robo Advisors And The Great Money Movement,” published September 12, 2017

Katie Scheetz

By Katie Scheetz

Chief Business Development Officer

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