Auditing isn’t just for accountants. Marketers, we’re talking to you.
“Set it and forget it” is a thing of the past for financial marketers. Market volatility is spurring the need for more investor education, mounting investor demand is challenging marketers to create new and better environmental, social and governance (ESG) materials, and there’s a growing imperative for your messaging to be aligned with corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. The list goes on.
It’s no surprise that what once was considered an “evergreen” marketing mix is no longer as timeless as it once seemed. That’s why it’s important to audit your marketing content to ensure your messaging is aligned with your strategic marketing goals. If anything is off-kilter, it can compromise your brand story and put your hard-earned brand equity at risk.
Whether you are analyzing your marketing materials to identify stale messages, pinpointing gaps in your sales funnel, revising outdated figures or taking your marketing initiatives in a more digital direction, this five-step process will help you optimize your marketing and sales efforts.
Step 1: Analyze your marketing materials in relation to your priorities
Instead of a reactive approach to updating your materials, we recommend you be proactive to ensure your current marketing aligns with your firm’s strategic goals. Ask yourself what you want your marketing materials to achieve. Are there any risks or gaps? Have your goals evolved, and are your marketing materials keeping pace? The answers to such questions will likely be multi-faceted, so you will need an approach that takes a look at your key priorities and examines your marketing ecosystem through those diverse lenses. Here are examples of goals to guide your marketing audit:
- “We want our marketing materials to be on-message.”
- “We want to lower our marketing costs by amplifying our existing marketing materials.”
- “We want our language to reflect our ESG and DEI policies.”
- “We want our communications to be free of gender bias.”
- “We want to produce targeted materials that support our sales funnel.”
Step 2: Create a content map
Now that you’ve clearly defined your goals, it’s time to categorize, prioritize and map your marketing materials to identify opportunities, risks and gaps.
Start by using the goals you defined in Step 1 to determine how you prioritize your marketing efforts. You can group materials by client journey, theme, product or campaign. For example, if your goal is to target a specific demographic segment, such as Millennials or Gen Z, you could create a list of all the materials that apply to this segment and take stock of the touch points and assets you could use to communicate with them.
You might find that you have lots of content targeted at generating leads and awareness, but you need to fine-tune the messaging and value proposition on your website to drive conversions.
Step 3: Think digital first
While recent events have accelerated the transition away from print materials to digital assets, you may still have a library of strong materials that are only available in hard copy. And there’s an even better chance that your firm wants to take many of them in new digital directions. You can use a matrix or client journey map to help you identify where high-performing materials can be leveraged across all mediums. Digital is no longer an afterthought, because in many cases that’s how your audiences are accustomed to interreacting with your brand.
Over 50% of consumers believe that online experiences will be more important than in-person experiences.1 All the more reason to ensure your digital experience is on point. You likely have a wealth of marketing content that can be repurposed and optimized to create engaging and sharable infographics, videos, microsites and blogs.
Step 4: Line up your resources
Is your team big enough and scalable enough to handle the updates and fill in the gaps that you identified? Are there any talent or capacity gaps? If the thought of auditing or updating your marketing strategy and materials seems daunting, think about hiring a marketing and content partner who can help create a strategy and optimize your content. For best results, look for a partner that knows what resonates with key audiences in the financial services ecosystem. It’s important they understand how to produce desired outcomes that align with your business objectives – whether that’s reinforcing your brand, driving conversions, retaining clients or all of the above.
If you need additional resources, make sure that your content partner has the product and industry knowledge to complement and round out your team. Culture, collaboration and fit are key to a productive partner relationship.
Step 5: Execute, test and optimize
Now that you know what marketing materials you have and which ones you want to refresh, retire, optimize or create from the ground up, it’s time for your writers, designers and developers to get to work. Develop a strategic project plan that allows you to prioritize your marketing initiatives. That can help you think ahead, budget wisely and make large projects more manageable. It’s no longer a set-it-and-forget-it world. You’ll want to allow room in your budget for A/B testing so that you can course-correct and make micro-adjustments to ensure your content is performing at its best.
Is your marketing strategy positioned to withstand the forces of change? Following the five steps above will help make sure your marketing plan is resilient and moves in lockstep as your markets, consumers, stakeholders and corporate guidelines evolve. The result? A marketing department with perennial value-add.
Ready to audit your marketing strategy? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1The Digital Consumer Appnovation Research Report