The Three Lessons Financial Services B2B Marketing Needs to Learn from B2C


By Michael Richard, Managing Director, Alan Agency

B2B marketing already has a reputation for being uninspiring and boring, especially compared to its mainstream counterpart. Add to that an industry like financial services – which is often loaded with jargon, dependent on terms and conditions and therefore usually faces its own challenges when it comes to creating provocative and engaging B2B work – and there is clearly a marketing problem that has yet to be solved.

The problem often lies in the lack of ambition of agencies and clients to work together to break free from the culture of mediocrity in B2B communications. The result is that many B2B brands are missing out because they fail to tell their electrifying stories and share their extraordinary acts of innovation.

Instead of simply accepting that financial services B2B marketing is pointless, brands and agencies have the opportunity to seek out the difference, unplug a more ambitious attitude, and dig for the truth. There are all the reasons why financial services B2B marketing can be more visceral, more provocative, and ultimately more effective. But to achieve this, B2B must take a big chunk of the book from B2C and start using their consumer-based techniques to better market their businesses.

Below, I’ve outlined three lessons that B2B financial services marketing can learn from B2C:

  1. Ditch the transactional and seek the strategy

Very few brands of financial services companies seem to successfully adopt a proper and robust marketing strategy. Instead, they rely on a very functional and transaction-oriented approach – where the agency simply responds to the project brief laid out before them without any long-term strategic approach or broader business vision. There is no strategic relationship. Often in B2B, account managers are just project managers, not strategic advisors or partners, who can work in partnership with their client to build a game-changing brand through integrated marketing. This must change.

B2B marketing is not just about white papers – although they have a role to play in some circumstances – it needs to communicate detailed and insightful research and share crucial findings and data – which require more thoughtful strategies. The strategy hides under their content. For example, B2B marketers need to examine consumer trends and behaviors in financial services, combining “colorful” qualitative research with more “beige” data and statistics. It is also a matter of presentation and placement. Using smart infographics, emotional images, and eye-catching videos can be a great way to make B2B more engaging. Likewise, being able to dissect and aggregate content for cross-channel promotion will help brands reach new audiences more often.

  1. Be inspiring as a brand

The skills, expertise and knowledge embedded in B2B financial services brands – from technology and data analytics to commerce across multiple platforms – are exceptional. Fintech companies are leading the world with their innovation and use of technology. They are changing consumer and business approaches to financing, entering new markets, and changing people’s perceptions and expectations of financial interactions and information. They are redefining the way technology is used in this industry to unleash something exciting and engaging – but B2B marketing rarely communicates that innovation and drive with the inspiration it deserves.

B2B agencies often focus their work on storytelling or humanizing B2B. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not always inspiring. It has to be about wrapping a compelling promise in an attitude that shatters the status quo – provoking the truth about these progressive brands and ensuring their inspiring message is delivered across all marketing channels.

  1. Market to the people

The name alone – B2B – may be the biggest hurdle in this industry. The idea that two organizations without personality deal with each other. Data, research and technology all look like machines. But behind every interaction between one company and another are people – even in a world of corporate finance or fintech – business partnerships are all about people in a room, talking and interacting on a human level.

B2B marketing is not about using a computer, it has to connect with an individual, someone with thoughts, feelings, emotions and biases just like any other form of marketing communication. So why do so many B2B marketers still focus their marketing on sharing facts and figures rather than benefits and insights?

We have seen significant progression in the B2C financial services space – simplified investing, digital banking bringing excitement and an improved, intuitive user experience to personal finance, as well as the rise of digital marketing techniques. affecting. But, so far, very little movement on the B2B side. Frankly, these two worlds have converged so much that it’s now an old-fashioned, outdated distinction that just needs to go!

Authors biography :

After a false start in medical school, Michael served as a graduate intern at Ogilvy, running the Guinness, Ford & Reebok business.

Finding that Canary Wharf was not for him, he moved to Saatchi to run Saab, Carlsberg, Federal Express and new business.

Feeling he needed more FMCG experience, he moved to Gray to manage their P&G, Mars and GSK global accounts, in addition to being the European Group Marketing Director.

Ever enterprising, he went on to build his own integrated top 25 agency, eventually selling it and turning it into an AIM-listed media plc.

Deciding to focus on a few side hustles (Water in a Box & This Girl is on Fire), he then took a few years out of the agency world before returning with a vengeance as VCCP’s International Managing Director. After being seduced by private equity to become CEO of Digital Unlimited Group, he realized his mistake and left to help build and eventually sell the Feed agency.

Still believing that B2B agencies were disappointing, boring and conservative, he decided there was a huge opportunity to create a compelling one. So when Feed sold he decided to lead alan., determined to succeed here and take advantage of this important market opportunity. working with clients such as Amazon, LSEG, Mastercard, Schroders.


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