Here at Palmer we frequently read up on what other marketing firms say about the state of inbound marketing, particularly as it applies to the financial services sector. More often than not, every piece of advice or bold declaration has to be taken with a grain of salt because, after all, everyone — Palmer included — has something to sell.
For example, we aren't too surprised to find out that the person who wrote a white paper encouraging banks to work with SEO agencies just happened to...work at an SEO agency. Similarly, we recently looked at research illustrating the lack of CRM productivity at most companies, and guess what? The research was conducted by — you guessed it — a CRM efficiency consultant. This doesn't mean the advice is inherently bad; it just means it may not come from a completely objective source.
Rather than name names we'd like to briefly touch on some advice that we feel is bad, regardless of who said it. Keep this bad advice in mind as agencies and consultants come knocking.
The greater your presence of social media, the more customers you'll reach. On the surface, this sounds like logical math. Upon further inspection, it’s a recipe for scope creep and burned out marketers. Banks have finite resources. From a financial perspective they simply can't have a robust presence on all the major social networks. Furthermore, many social networks aren't aligned to the typical financial services buyer persona. Pick your networks wisely.
More is more! More keywords, more hashtags, more blogs, and so on. Again, what's not to love? You'll reach more people, right? Wrong. Your followers, just like your marketing team, have a finite attention span. Stuffing posts with keywords alienates search algorithms — it looks like you're trying to game the system. A tweet with six hashtags looks like spam. (Fun fact: a report by Salesforce found that tweets with one or two hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags.) And frequent 1,000 word blog posts, while potentially illuminating, will make smart phone-using readers' eyes glaze over.
Software will save us all. Financial services firms are drowning in data. Software packages offer hope that managers can harness this data, and better yet, leverage it to make better and faster inbound marketing decisions. This is all true. But vendors oftentimes neglect a crucial factor: the human element. If the back-end data isn't properly cleaned and organized, the subsequent decisions will be based on falsehoods. And software packages can't, for example, make sense of free text pertaining to a specific opportunity that can in turn influence lead scoring. An intelligent human needs to make these decisions. This requires time and yes, perhaps even additional training.
Content is king. Bad advice. Content was (arguably) king. But content for content's sake won't serve a financial services firm — or any company, for that matter. Instead, compelling, actionable, and shareable content is what will boost your SEO efforts, drive your inbound marketing strategy, and serve as the foundation for deliverables like white papers, FAQs, and customer testimonials.
That's our two cents. What do you think? After all, you're fielding calls from vendors all day: what advice have you received from the experts that turned out to be just plain wrong? Better yet, are we wrong? Does your firm successfully use Pinterest, for example?