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Analysis

Take a Page Out of These Finance Companies Checkbooks

Learn how some of the top financial businesses are standing out from the competition (and consumers) with innovative marketing campaigns. "Dull"? Think again!

Lauren Dowdle
December 02 2017

Let’s play a word association game. What words come to mind when we say “financial industry?”

We’re betting “clever” probably wasn’t your first choice. Or second and third. Descriptions like “structured,” “stale” and “strict” are more likely.

But there are several financial businesses breaking from that stereotype and taking their marketing efforts to the next level. Insurance companies like Progressive and Geico, produce comical commercials for an industry that isn’t exactly the sexiest.

Let’s take a quick look at how the financial services and insurance industry approaches marketing according to CMO.com:

  • 53 percent are increasing their investment in marketing analytics in 2017
  • 33 percent (the majority) believe AI will be the big opportunity in 2020
  • 6 percent more likely to rank data-driven marketing as a top 3 priority over peers in other sectors

So what are some of the best ones doing? Check out five interesting financial business marketing campaigns.

1. Capital One

This brand is continuously working to change that mindset that all finance businesses are boring at best. Through their Banking Reimagined Tour, Capital One found a way to provide a personal, inviting experience while engaging and marketing to customers.

This nationwide tour included a trailer that brought a digital experience to 10 cities. It gave people an interactive look at their financial values and outlooks, including an augmented reality experience that showcased their financial goals with 3D holographic imagery.

For those who missed the tour, the company also runs Capital One Cafes where people can enjoy a cup of coffee, baked goods and financial coaching. These hangout spots help people take care of their banking needs, learn about the latest digital tools, speak with a company rep or just use the free WiFi. They’re bringing their marketing efforts straight to consumers.

2. State Farm

Perception is everything. And that can be a hurdle for insurance companies, especially with younger audiences, who might not think they need it, or have a negative view of insurance companies. So instead of focusing on topics directly linked to insurance, State Farm took the leap to publish content their audience would be passionate about.

They partnered with BuzzFeed and Gawker to find interesting content that worked with their “Like a Good Neighbor” and “Better State of Living” campaigns.” The goal? To build engagement and be top of mind if and when people purchased insurance. It wasn’t about making a hard sale: They were giving their audience valuable content.

Whether people came for a blog on water tips, how to stay safe during a storm, or setting financial goals, they were getting to the site — their main goal. Between the relevant content and the hilarious Jake from State Farm commercials, they’re staying on top of their game.

3. Regions Banks

Consumers want to feel like companies truly understand them and their issues. That’s true no matter what industry you work in. To show it not only knows their customers, but also can help them, Regions Bank launched a marketing campaign featuring real people: Next Step Project.

The commercials and online materials give a glimpse of a person’s life — helping viewers connect with them based on where they are in their financial journeys — and then how Regions has helped them overcome struggles or answer questions.

It portrays a personable experience and shows that Regions cares about its customers, all without a Regions spokesperson coming out and giving the pitch. Because really, that makes me think the opposite if they have to come out and say what their customers could state themselves.

4. Avidia Bank

Most people enjoy following their favorite celebrity, influencer, friends and family on social media. Keeping up with a financial business’s page might not top their list, but Avidia Bank is looking to change that, one post at a time.

So, it seemed only natural that they would turn to social media to launch their Cardless Cash product.

“The best way we can promote mobile banking is by marketing where our customers are. More likely than not, they are on social media on their phone, so it’s a natural extension to download our mobile banking app and use it wherever they may be.” — Michael Allard, Avidia Bank chief marketing officer

They started the social marketing campaign by building anticipation for the card using #CardlessCash. The teaser earned them 2,030 impressions and a 10.13-percent engagement rate, values that are higher than the average rates.

From there, they did live Q&A chats on Periscope and also used their internal employee advocacy program to put a personal touch on the campaign. They might have been trying to market a product, but they were also building social engagement in the process.

5. LendingTree

You’ve probably seen their commercial. It’s pretty hard to forget an ad with a puppet in his underwear.

But that’s not why they made our list

What makes them special is the amount of time and resources they’ve spent on content marketing. They’ve purchased several companies that are focused on organically earning customers using editorial content, helping to diversify LendingTree’s services and allowing them to not just focus on paid advertisement.

They offer blogs on a variety of topics including autos, small business, house and home, credit cards and personal finance. The content explains the sometimes-tricky financial areas in a way we can all understand. LendingTree realizes the need for editorial content that answers a question or solves a problem for their audience.

Make an Investment in Marketing

Even financial businesses have a few clever marketing strategies up their dry-cleaned sleeves.

The point behind all of the campaigns is to not only reach potential and current customers, but also show people they understand and can provide what they need — and can catch their attention doing it.

All it takes is one idea, a little creativity and customer understanding to build a successful marketing campaign. Even if you’re in the finance industry.

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Lauren Dowdle

Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer and magazine editor based in Nashville, Tenn. Her nearly decade-long writing career has covered everything from landscaping to marketing — plus being interviewed by Jay Leno and winning a backhoe-operating contest. When she’s not behind the keyboard, you’ll find her spoiling her four furry babies and exploring the city with her husband.

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