Finding the right marketing agency to help your financial firm achieve its goals is no small task. Not only do you have to find a team with the necessary digital marketing skills and experience you need. There are also the intricacies of financial services which they must understand. You do not want to be spending half of your time educating your agency about what you do and how the industry works.
Below, our team at CreativeAdviser has been working for many years in marketing for financial services. We share some of our thoughts about how to find the right agency for your company based on our experience. We hope you find value in the content here and invite you to contact us if you’d like to talk with our team about your own marketing strategy.
In today’s digital, global age it is now possible to hire a marketing agency from anywhere in the world. This includes countries where there is a lower standard of living, lower wages and, therefore, lower costs for Western companies to do business with.
Whilst we are not opposed to UK-based financial firms looking abroad for a marketing agency, this is sometimes driven by a desire for low costs – above all else. Many CEOs of companies in developing countries are aware of this and seek to compete in a race to the bottom. This can lead some businesses to pay staff wages unfairly, cut corners with ethical practices or simply ignore best practices.
As such, we encourage financial firms to look carefully at the financial marketing agency they are considering for their campaign(s). A good company will be more than happy to be transparent with you about their business model, their team and their business culture. Also, take time to consider multiple agencies – even across different regions – to see how they compare with each other.
Many financial firms see marketing simply as another irksome business cost. As such, the motivation is often to squeeze the budget as much as possible so money is freed up for other projects/departments. Yet it is important to not simply see marketing spend as a burden and look for the cheapest agency on the market. Rather, marketing should be seen as an investment.
In other words, it shouldn’t just matter how much a financial marketing agency costs. It matters even more to consider the results they can deliver. A low-cost, non-specialist agency may seem the best choice if it ticks the “marketing budget box” for your business. Yet, if they deliver sub-par (or no) results, then the budget was effectively a waste. However, a better-quality agency might cost you more, but if they can demonstrate a higher, more consistent return on marketing investment (ROMI) over time, then it more than pays for itself.
There are lots of spheres of business where, arguably, it is not overly important to have a specialist agency dedicated to your marketing. In financial services, however, the concepts, jargon and business models involved are typically complex and require a strong level of financial education in the agency you are looking to engage with.
Specialisation, of course, usually comes with a higher cost. That’s because the skillset you are looking for in your financial marketing agency are more scare in the wider marketplace of SEO/digital marketing companies, and have taken considerable time and investment to develop. Here at CreativeAdviser, for instance, we are aware that we are not the cheapest agency on the market for financial planners and other firms. Yet our clients can rest easy knowing that we understand their sector, clients and business very well – allowing them to entrust the legwork to us, and get on with other important aspects of their business.
Financial marketing agencies come in lots of different shapes and forms. No single one of them can be the perfect fit for every financial firm looking for a marketing partner. Some agencies (like ours) are fairly small, making them generally more suited to serving SME financial firms, such as the large portion of UK financial planning firms. Others are quite large and are better positioned to support established, big companies with multi-million-pound marketing budgets – such as banks.
Look for past success
Hiring a financial marketing agency can be a bit “chicken and egg”. You likely want a partner who can guarantee that they will deliver results and ROMI. Yet nobody – not even the best marketer – can promise such a thing. Similar to an investment firm trying to convince a client that they can help grow his/her money, until an agency actually starts work on your campaign, you cannot fully know how well they will perform. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.
However, there are ways to lower the risks involved for a financial firm looking to step out in faith with a marketing agency. The most obvious one is to ask for evidence of their past campaigns with firms that are similar to your own. How long did it take to start delivering results for these clients? How did the two parties work constructively together, and what kind of ROMI was seen when the campaign fully gained momentum?
Just as with investing – to borrow the analogy again – these past successes do not guarantee future results for your own marketing. However, they are strong evidence of agency competence when it comes to crafting a viable strategy for a client, implementing it and making necessary improvements along the way to achieve the client’s goals.