Building trust with clients is a top priority for financial advisers in 2015, Birmingham Business School MidEx study shows

MidEx and Ember Television banner

As part of its commitment to support Organisational Improvement in the region, Birmingham Business School’s Midland Excellence programme runs a unique post-study internship programme that allows Midlands SMEs to gain access to the research skills of our most recent and talented MSc and MBA graduates. Ember Television, a Birmingham-based content marketing company with specialist expertise in the financial services sector, were one of the first companies to benefit from the scheme, commissioning a study to examine content marketing for the financial advisory sector.

The research found that establishing trust with leads and clients is the top marketing priority for financial advisers. Faced with being the industry that is least trusted globally, it appears that the financial services sector is turning to content marketing as an approach to repair the damage following the 2008 financial crisis and a string of industry scandals including LIBOR rigging and PPI mis-selling.

The study went on to find that while the majority of financial advisers see online content as the most effective marketing tool, they remain unconvinced by the business benefits of social media. The news will be welcomed by content marketing agencies but work will have to continue in persuading the industry of the value of reaching potential clients via social networks.

Educating clients and investors is also an ongoing concern for financial advisers. 74% of the respondents saw investor education as key to their business. Video content is set to play a bigger part in this process. 80% of respondents said they were planning to include video in their content marketing strategies for 2015. The findings are in keeping with the widely reported increased popularity of online video, in part because of better connectivity and a rise in the number of people watching video on smartphones and tablets.

However, the research also showed that although 66% had a content marketing strategy, 19% admitted that they did not stick to it. Many are planning to use video content in 2015, but the actual uptake of the medium remains to be seen.

The study was conducted over a 12-week period by Winnie Muchina, an MSc graduate researcher of Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham.

Robin Powell, Executive Director at Ember Television, commented: “There’s been very little quantitative research into this specific area and we felt a thorough investigation was long overdue. Financial planners and wealth managers have traditionally relied heavily on word-of-mouth and on traditional marketing such as printed brochures. This study shows that they’re now increasingly looking to digital marketing to help them attract and retain clients.”

Key findings:

  • Advisers see online content as the most effective marketing tool but remain unconvinced by social media
  • Financial advisers are getting more organised in their content marketing efforts, with the majority of advisers having a strategy
  • The importance of online video is recognised as 80% plan to include video in their content marketing strategies for 2015 
  • Discipline is an issue as one in four advisers did not stick to their content plans, so the actual uptake of video remains to be seen
  • A blended approach to content production is the preferred way, with a combination of in-house and outsourcing being the most popular approach at 40%. 37% planned to outsource video production

The MidEx internship programme has also provided similar support to West Midlands Special Needs Transport so far this year.

If you should like to commission a similar study, please contact:

Andrew Miles 
Corporate Relations Manager
Email: a.t.miles@bham.ac.uk