The intangible services of the financial industry can be difficult to effectively market. It’s a large, competitive industry that demands a structured and creative marketing strategy to stand out.
Strategic differentiation is key. What can you offer that will be indispensable to your customers? Shared values are the main reason 64 percent of people have a relationship with a brand (Harvard Business Review). Or what can you offer that your competitors aren’t? Sixty percent of millennials will switch brands if they get more benefits (Bond).
Start by analyzing your competition. Identify their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what you can bring to market that they aren’t. Even if your products and services are similar to (or functionally the same as) your competitors, how you run your business, provide your products, and the experience you bring to the relationship can provide differentiation. Seventy-one percent of customers have ended a relationships because of poor customer service (Kissmetrics).
Next, take a look at your target market. What are their problems and how can you solve them with your product or service? Make sure your internal staff is crystal clear about what value you provide to your customers.
One way to stand out from your competitors is to develop different products or services than they offer. You can also expand your services menu to include personalized or packaged options.
Pricing your products or services below those of your competition is often a popular option with customers. On the other hand, higher pricing can position your business as a prestige brand or cultivate an image of quality. You could also offer additional services such as extended business hours or personal service to offset the higher price of your services.
Beyond what you offer in tangible products and measurable service, the experience you provide to your customers can be a strong differentiator. Is your business more convenient, better located, or quicker than your competitor’s? Maybe you offer a higher return over time or more secure online experience? Positioning your business in this space can help you establish a niche.
Once you find a set of differentiating characteristics, you have to develop messaging that reaches your target audience, through the channels your audience uses and prefers.
Clearly communicate what makes you different. Knowing and understanding your strengths and communicating their value to your customers is the key to successfully differentiating yourself in the market. One way to accomplish this is to know what your target audience wants and needs before they do. What products will be useful to them? What communication channels do they prefer to use? What kind of customer service experience will they appreciate?
Don’t be afraid to come up with something new or creative. Continuously assess how you can disrupt the industry. Be willing to do things differently from what your company or the industry has always done.
Above all, don’t try to be everything to everybody. Have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and make sure you’re speaking to them. Know the audience that will be a good “fit” with your offerings (check out our Target Audience Persona worksheet to help you narrow this down).
You will stand out from your competition if you have successfully positioned your business in a meaningful way that is preferred by your target market.