Financial services marketing insight from Partnership Assurance

Hayley Dawson

Senior Account Manager

Posted on March 10, 2015

The best financial services marketing insight comes from those on the front line. That’s why we decided to talk to one of our clients and see what they have to say about financial services marketing yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Getting to know you

Nigel Murphy is Channel Marketing Manager at Partnership Assurance, a specialist insurer providing enhanced annuities and life cover for people with poor health or particular lifestyle habits, such as smoking.

Partnership Assurance also happens to be one of Talisman’s wonderful clients.

Down to those financial services marketing insights

So Nigel, what does financial services marketing look like at Partnership?

We sell our products through intermediaries, primarily financial advisers.

Our marketing is therefore split into two areas: the first is above the line activity to raise awareness of our propositions and brand.  This includes advertisements in trade press like Money Marketing or New Model Adviser and digital banners on their websites, as well as direct marketing activity to financial advisers.

The other area, which I manage, is more about targeted content marketing with an educational focus aimed at our strategic partners. These are mainly IFA networks and service providers.  The idea is to increase awareness of the contextual issues surrounding our products, such as the impact of pension reforms on enhanced annuities, to help ensure our products are a consideration in the IFA’s advice process.

Partnership believes that annuities will remain an important part of financial advice for those that need to secure their basic costs in retirement.

And what kind of media and channels do you use in your marketing?

It’s a complete mix across different media.

We support face-to-face sales with brochures and digital tools such as Target Income Calculators, which total up the costs of living and calculate the amount required to secure that income after retirement.

Our wider campaigns include digital banners, print ads, our website and microsites, videos, events and editorial content for publications.

Content marketing is very important to us. We work hard to talk about current events in politics and regulations and aim to be reactive so as to provide valuable insight and drive awareness of not only our products but also the issues that affect adviser’s clients.

So having been with Partnership for close to six years, what would you say the biggest changes in financial services marketing have been in that time?

There’s been a big shift towards digital and social media.

There’s much more acceptance of, and engagement with, social media. People are finally starting to understand its potential in the financial services world.

Most IFAs now have iPads and laptops – this has been a particular shift in the last year – so digital delivery has also become more important in terms of sales aids and tools. 

And what about the last three to six months? What’s the latest trend you’ve seen?

Overall in the industry there’s been a shift towards much more customer-focused, consumer-friendly and service-orientated marketing, unlike the more abstract artistic interpretations of the past.

I’d say this is partly down to the changes in perception the financial services industry has suffered in the last few years.

For us this has less of an impact because we don’t sell direct to the consumer. Being in such a crowded market with some big-name competitors like Prudential and Aviva, we are more focused on developing a brand in the intermediary space, which encompasses good service and providing increased value for clients.

That means we can be more flexible in our advertising and direct marketing activity.

When it comes to looking for agencies to help you execute your campaigns, what do you look for?

There are quite a few agencies out there that claim to have experience with financial services clients, but you quickly work out which ones really do.

The experts add value because they understand:

  • The regulatory frameworks
  • The need for quick turnarounds, especially with sales literature
  • Commercial awareness
  • The nuances of the intermediary market
  • Compliance and marketing that is fit for purpose

And how does Talisman help you? (Of course we were going to ask!)

Well, Talisman is one of the good ones. They have a very personal service and are reactive, which is key for us. We don’t need to give too much explanation because they know the financial services industry – they can just get on with the job and turn it around quickly.

Talisman work on a lot of our literature – their experience means they know what buttons to press and they understand the logistics of producing compliant literature.

Beyond that, they provide creative input for our digital campaigns and advertising. They’re also working with us on a strategy to tie our branding together outside of specific product campaigns.

Finally, looking ahead into 2015, what would you say the next big thing is going to be for marketing in your industry?

Well for us, it’s the pension reforms that come into effect in April with regards to annuities: that’s going to change the market and drive product innovation. It’s a change we welcome because we’ve always tried to drive choice for the client so they get a better deal.

Content marketing is going to be key for educating the market, giving context and delivering our value proposition messages. And of course along side that there’ll be the ongoing challenge of how to increase digital and social media engagement and maximise value from those opportunities.

It’s going to be an exciting year.