Three Key FinanceConnect:14 Takeaways for Marketers

February 15, 2014

Engaging with a large audience on social media is rarely easy. It takes time and resources to effectively listen, manage, and react to situations while building relationships with followers. Many financial services companies find they have it even harder. Compliance laws limit what they can say, and, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, leading financial services companies are still working to regain the public’s trust.

But, as we found out on Thursday 2/13 at LinkedIn's FinanceConnect:14 in New York, the top marketing minds in the financial services industry are a dogged bunch -- and anything but deterred. In one intensely insightful day, they discussed the shape of the finance industry to come and shared some best practices for how to reach consumers with social media.

Penry Price, LinkedIn’s Vice-President of Global Sales, Marketing Solutions, nicely summarized the day with three bullet point takeaways:

1. Relevance + Authenticity = Trust

A key theme for the day was the importance of communicating authentically in an age where audiences expect brands to be human. In a conversation about leadership, John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, emphasized the importance of connecting to the audience, “in a way that is true to who you are and what you feel.”

This theme also came up during a break out panel when Paul Butcher, Head of Digital Communications for Citi, explained that trust comes not just from a single interaction but from the entire relationship with the customer. “Brand trust is what you build between a past and future interaction,” he said. “It’s a matter of time and a matter of integrity.”

As Butcher explained, being truly social means experimenting and trying new ways of connecting, whether making jokes or testing new content. Added Butcher, “The risk of not doing something interesting is bigger than not doing anything at all.”

Paul Butcher, Lisa Caputo and Johan Jervoe speak on a panel about The Social Currency of Content, hosted by CBS Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger at LinkedIn FinanceConnect:14.

2. Listen to your social audience

Another theme that emerged at FinanceConnect:14 was the importance of taking the time to understand and really get a feel for your social audience.  Paul Butcher noted that even though Citi took some heat from its social media audience after the financial crisis, the company learned a great deal from what its clients were telling them on social platforms. “We created a whole campaign that was launched digitally by putting the faces of many of our employees front and center in dialogue,” he said. That moment of emotion turned into an opportunity to connect.

In his opening keynote, PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian shared how much value he gets on a personal level from his interactions on social media, especially on LinkedIn. Sure, the esteemed thought leader has access to many of the brightest minds in finance, economics and politics in the world. But, according to El-Erian, he also “gets some really interesting insights,” from his social followers. El-Erian also mentioned that his opinions are increasingly shaped in a positive way by “the ability to communicate in a much more targeted community of common interest.”

Mohamed El-Erian speaks about macroeconomic trends with Jill Schlesinger in front of a room full of senior marketers at LinkedIn’s FinanceConnect:14 event in NYC on February 13th, 2014.

3. Data informs us and helps us make better decisions

A number of speakers drove home the point that good data goes a long way when it comes to seeking an authentic connection and being responsive to your audience. Scott Roen, Vice President, Digital Marketing  and Innovation for American Express, said his company derives a great deal of value from a range of engagement metrics used to gauge success with their OPEN Forum community.  We look at “impact on a net promoter score and receptivity of [members] wanting to do business with us, and we measure it,” Roen said. “These programs have a very positive effect.”

David Edelman, Global Co-Lead, McKinsey Digital, provided a framework for how clients can leverage data. Properly implemented, data, Edelman explained, can mean the difference between offering a digital service, which customers will appreciate, and becoming a fully-operational digital bank, which customers will really value and thank your brand for.

David Edelman speaks about On Demand Marketing at LinkedIn FinanceConnect:14 in NYC.

These, of course, were just some of the many great insights to come out of FinanceConnect:14. Stay tuned, we will be sharing more content from the sessions, including presentations and video recordings for those that missed it.

If you attended FinanceConnect:14, in person or via the live-stream, we want to know: What takeaways did you leave with? Tweet us @LinkedInMktg with the hashtag #inFC14.