Amid the nonstop barrage of macroeconomic headlines — about interest rates, home sales, employment levels, inflation, etc. — it’s sometimes easy to forget that behind the cliché of our “uncertain economy,” there are millions of consumers who are expressing stress related to their financial health.
According to a survey from CreditWise from CapitalOne, nearly three out of four Americans (73%) say that finances are a “major contributing factor of stress in their lives,” and the American Psychological Association reports that 65% of Americans are worried about their money and the economy at large.
While some financial institutions have focused on financial literacy in their marketing efforts by promoting content on managing debt, saving for retirement and legacy planning, many have missed a critical piece of the puzzle: taking a holistic, always-on approach to consumer financial wellness.
When financial services brands align their marketing efforts with consistent messaging about financial wellness, they can become key partners in helping customers overcome money-related stress — and in doing so, they have the chance to build real trust and deepen client relationships.
Research from Accenture shows that more than half of consumers want to receive advice from their financial services providers, and that consumers are willing to share personal financial data in order to receive more tailored, customized recommendations.
How can financial services marketers help?
1. Use education to get ahead of consumer fears
Given that financial services marketers closely monitor macroeconomic trends, they’re uniquely positioned to advise clients about rough waters ahead — and provide timely guidance. For instance, the average credit card interest rate is at a nearly record high of 20.68% for existing accounts and 22.75% for new offers, according to WalletHub’s October 2023 Credit Card Landscape Report. While lenders can, of course, benefit from higher rates, cardholders may struggle to repay debt, ultimately posing challenges for issuers. Financial education and money management tools, along with strategic and thoughtful approaches to marketing, can help address consumer fears and encourage responsible, realistic personal spending levels.
The thing to remember about personal finance is that it’s, well, personal — and so one way for brands to stand out is to treat customers as individuals with unique circumstances. In the recent transformation of Avant from a fintech startup to a bank offering a full array of financial products for non-prime/middle-income consumers, the brand’s marketers worked with creative agency Periscope, a Quad company, to highlight the human side of money and to portray the tenacity needed to tackle real financial challenges head-on. By infusing financial wellness into its positioning, Avant is enabling underbanked consumers to consider smart financial solutions to deal with life goals.
2. Adopt a ‘help us help you’ mindset and work together on customized solutions
Financial services companies are in a unique position to empower consumers by using their own data to inform specific recommendations. Beyond demographic profiles, banks can use other information to meet customers at specific points in their financial journey and offer personalized financial guidance.
USAA, for example, offers customers a Financial Readiness Plan that pairs information about the customer with predictive technology to create a customized action plan. This approach helps strike just the right balance of informing customers while simultaneously building trust.
A study by the Milken Institute found that 29% of Americans are uncomfortable asking questions about financial products in the first place, which indicates that discretion about when and how to request personal information from customers is key.
3. Offer ongoing support through content and calculators
To be a true partner in the journey toward financial wellness, be sure that those who need support can more easily and quickly find you by building a robust content marketing strategy, employing SEO to create targeted content based on consumer requirements and amplifying the content through strategic organic and paid campaigns.
Rise Interactive, a Quad company, helped build a financial empowerment program for one of the largest banks in the country. At the core of this program was SEO-optimized content on financial awareness and literacy, including unique calculators to help customers learn more about their mortgage payments, savings and related topics.
The content was communicated through blogs, articles, video assets and infographics, connecting with key audiences via relevant media channels. And it was supported by an integrated, full-funnel media campaign across native and programmatic channels, resulting in a 107% increase in traffic to optimized categories and a 35% increase in cost-per-acquisition savings.
The bottom line: Financial brands that use smart content marketing strategies can help inform customers about possibilities for financial wellness they may not previously have considered. By serving as true partners to their customers and refining their strategies to match the moment, financial services marketers can both walk with and guide their customers on the path to financial security.
Want to learn more — and continue the conversation? Reach out to Erin Slater, Head of Strategy, Financial Services, at email@example.com.