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FX marketing professional Bart Burggraaf of MediaGroup London explains why product and strategy matters more than pretty advertisements
I am willing to concede that product and strategy can flow from a great creative idea and that in the past many major advertising successes came from a Creative who found the golden nugget in an otherwise distinctly un-shiny company. A famous example is Avis who used the ‘Avis is only No. 2. We try harder’ line to push its market share.
These kind of successes are hard to come by these days. In financial services specifically there is the handicap of legal and compliance requirements, but beyond that, for margin products the audience is very niche and there is large attrition. That means that there is little incentive to build a brand position because the audience is not only small, it also suffers from a very short ‘memory’ because of the attrition.
Furthermore, one could argue that trading platforms are decidedly unsexy and traders care more about the facts then they do about the pretty advertisement campaigns and lofty ideas that accompany them. Various research has shown that traders are mostly sensitive to price, platform and stability of brokers and that makes complete sense when considering the product.
So what followed when it came to marketing in this industry is exactly what you would expect; changes around the margins, a focus on facts. A new and prettier website, nice slogans, endless varieties of saying ‘low spreads’, social proof in the way of awards and so on. And that’s fine if you are looking for OK results at OK cost, brokers can and do make a decent living out of that.
But I submit that there IS room for a strong, differentiated brand for a long term competitive advantage and that regardless of the mentioned limitations, something can be done for brokers to get there. But for it to work, it needs to go beyond the slick slogan and shiny advertisement. So, what to do when management expects a Creative Campaign That Changes Everything?
Start with research. Find a niche audience (within the already small target audience) that competitors are not addressing and rebuild your offering from the ground up. Do something radical, gradually so if need be.
The important thing to remember is that in order to compete and become a market leader, you need to be better than everyone else and/or first in the market. Remember also that most of the big names in the industry today were the ones that started when the industry was in its infancy. This is not by accident, first comers have an immense advantage.
So, find your niche and be the first to address that market, make your company about that niche and its needs. Then make a pretty advertisement.
This article was written as a guest editorial by Bart Burggraaf, Managing Director & Partner at MediaGroup London, which is a specialist marketing agency focused on financial services companies.