Staying Relevant in the Era of Digital Disruption: 4 Lessons from LinkedIn’s FinanceConnect 2015 [Day 1]

May 7, 2015

The digital world in which the financial services industry operates is transforming every day. Changes in technology and shifting demographic trends continue to affect how consumers spend and manage their money, making it imperative that financial companies build and nurture their networks in a crowded marketplace.

On Wednesday at our 2015 FinanceConnect Conference in New York City, we invited some of the industry’s biggest thought leaders to share their advice on how to stay relevant in the current era of digital disruption. Many of them agreed that companies should stay true to their messages and use innovative techniques to reach their audiences with the metrics to back up their decisions. More of their valuable insights appear below.

Embrace and target millennials

Millennials are a large, powerful market and reaching them is key if you want to succeed in today’s digital world, especially through the use of mobile devices and social media.

“We’re seeing an incredible shift to millennials,” said Sachin Rekhi, Product Director of Linkedin Sales Solutions, who is a millennial himself.

Rekhi said every year, parents transfer over $1 trillion to their children, and he noted that only 2 percent of millennials will decide to keep their parents’ financial advisor. These dynamics make it even more imperative that advisors adjust their marketing approaches so they can reach this generation as they prepare for their inheritance.

Empower employees to share

Your employees are probably more influential than you realize; they can contribute significantly to your content marketing efforts. Companies that have socially active employees are finding it easier to build their brands and get their messages across.

Zoë Diamadi, Senior Director of LinkedIn’s Business Operations, said sharing knowledge on LinkedIn not only helpsmembers but the companies they work for as well. She estimated employees have a reach that is 20 times bigger than what the company can access on its own. “Employee networks are valuable, large and relevant,” she said. “These are people who have opted in and created relationships already. Small increases in employee activation can drive significant impact."

Diamadi said LinkedIn’s Elevate mobile app makes the most of this trend because employees can share trending content and schedule it to go out at exactly the right time to have the most impact. In addition, analytics provide companies with a direct report of how successful the content performed.

Valter Sciarrillo, Head of Measurement Projects for LinkedIn Marketing, also emphasized the importance of employee impact, saying that 91 percent of LinkedIn’s most successful content marketers are posting via their employees, often in long-form content.

Break through the noise

Consumers are faced with more information than ever, making it a challenge for companies to break through this “infobesity” to reach their target customer.

“Every 48 hours, we are producing the same amount of content as we did from the beginning of time until 2003,” said Jessica Gioglio, who is the Head of Sprinklr’s Content Lab.

For advice on how to stand out with so much content available, Gioglio said embrace a customer-centric strategy. Learn what your customers want at the specific time they want it, and then serve targeted, relevant content.

“You have 2.8 to 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention,” she said. “This means you should use visuals, which are processed 60,000 times faster than text alone. Videos can increase engagement by 74 percent on LinkedIn, while photos provide an even bigger boost of 147 percent,” claimed Gioglio.

Carlos Dominguez, President and CEO of Sprinklr, which is a social media management software company, added that great ideas can come from small discoveries and advocated for experimentation, making sure it’s tied back to metrics.

Find the narrative

No matter what, never lose the storytelling in your messaging, advised Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contently, which connects freelance writers with companies looking to develop content for their consumers. Snow suggested thinking of brand development via the snowflake method – where a one-line description evolves into many different threads that all point back to the core.

Rod Kurtz, a Content Strategy Consultant for financial services companies, agreed that once you zero in on your core message, you can then determine a story that will resonate. “Consumers want to align with brands they feel good about,” he said. “Telling the story about your brand will keep people coming back.”

That sentiment was echoed by Jim Cowsert, a Vice President at Voya Financial, who works on the company’s advertising and brand strategy.

“Stay on brand,” he said. “It’s tempting to go for the low-hanging fruit of engagement, but stay on brand and keep it true.”

Missed FinanceConnect 2015? Check out the recorded sessions here.

For more insights on how Finance Marketers can succeed with real-time tactics in an ever-changing landscape, download volume 2 of our Sophisticated Finance Marketer eBook Series.