How to conduct a year-end tune-up for your marketing routine

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Another busy summer flew by at Gregory FCA, and we know our financial services clients didn’t feel a slowdown either as the longest-running bull market ever raged on. Despite this, hopefully everyone took some time off to recharge on a beach, lake or mountain! As coworkers reconnect and catch up, marketing teams in particular can use a reboot to set goals and objectives for the coming fiscal year. Our asset management clients that take time to evaluate their marketing efforts in the fall have found it not only helps them end the year strong, but also creates greater opportunities for success in the year ahead.

In many cases, the developments we’ve seen in financial marketing during the course of this year represent a continuation of previous trends. The platforms marketers utilize to tell their brand’s stories are updating, evolving and expanding every day. It’s an exciting time, but also one that requires close monitoring. Platforms that may have appeared to lose steam are being given new life, such as podcasts with the growing adoption of smart speakers. Additionally, YouTube’s increasing engagement numbers are convincing marketers to incorporate more video content.

As autumn approaches, here’s a helpful checklist of recommended tasks to accomplish during the home stretch of the year:

Update your approach. The statistics indicate that starting a podcast could be a smart marketing strategy. From Alexa to Google Home and other competing products, the prevalence of smart speakers continues to grow. In early September, Adobe Analytics released survey results that found nearly half of U.S. consumers could own a smart speaker by the end of the year, based on current purchase plans. Furthermore, NPR recently published a study by Edison Research that found more than half of first adopters and early mainstream smart-speaker owners are listening to podcasts through these devices. Additionally, 37% of smart-speaker owners listen to two or more hours of news on their speaker each week.

Align your initiatives. It’s easy for different efforts (events, conferences, white papers, sponsorships, advertorials, media placements, etc.) to become siloed during the course of the year, so make sure all these initiatives come back together in the fourth quarter. For instance, the issues your spokespeople address with the media should align with the subject matter in your white papers, speaking engagements, marketing collateral and brochures. The more unified front an organization presents, the easier it is for prospects to identify your firm’s area of expertise and unique value proposition.

Review social profiles. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now 16, 14, 12 and 8 years old, respectively. Take the time to conduct an audit across your platforms to ensure your brand’s messaging is timely, consistent and appropriate for each channel. Additionally, make sure the spokespeople who promote your brand are displaying accurate information – titles, summaries, headshots, interests, organizations, etc. on their profiles. You’ll also want to look at whether your brand ambassadors are making an effort to amplify the team’s earned media coverage. If they aren’t, consider setting up a training session to educate spokespeople on this process and reinforce the importance of sharing to expand messaging reach.  

Revisit old ideas. What might not have been a great idea at one time could make perfect sense now. Never throw an idea out the window, but rather put it aside and see how it might be implemented differently as circumstances change, new platforms become available or channels evolve. When the enticing economics of online banner ads and sponsored posts became apparent, physical billboards lost market share. But surprisingly, Apple, Google and Amazon ranked among the top six spenders on out-of-home advertising last year and Netflix made it into the top 15, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

Research awards. Many award-submission processes roll throughout the year, but the end of each year brings some notable awards (e.g. the Mutual Fund Industry Awards by Fund Intelligence) that enable you to highlight the previous year’s work. What better way than winning an award to boost morale and showcase your team’s efforts in front of the whole organization? Be proud of your accomplishments and provide the industry with an opportunity to recognize them.

All of these tasks and more can be accomplished by taking some time to recharge your marketing strategy before the end of the year. You’ll be thankful you did come December, when it’s time to show the leadership team which results and returns can be attributed to the marketing department.