Financial Marketing: How to Overcome Budget Limits and Demonstrate Impact

Financial services marketing can sometimes feel daunting – budget constraints, multiple channels and limited resources are some of the most pressing challenges for CMOs. Your CEO is asking you to demonstrate ROI, while cutting your annual budget, so how do you win in this situation?

Navigating Budget Constraints

If your budget has been cut due to economic uncertainty or as part of firm-wide cost-cutting measures, you are not alone. According to The Financial Brand, a survey of CMOs in the financial services industry has shown that marketing budgets have been cut yearly since the pandemic, with budgets decreasing by almost 3% from 2022 to 2023. 

In such times, CMOs need to turn their attention to what is proven to work for the company. To do so, analytics will continue being your best friend. A starting point would be to look at which channels and what type of content have provided the greatest number of conversions. These can be the main focus for your ongoing strategy. Next, evaluate technology and event attendance costs and identify where you could negotiate a deal. Although getting a lower price might not work every time, trying to negotiate can result in cost savings.

Consider high-impact marketing tactics to reach new audiences and benchmark your outcomes against industry standards where appropriate. For example, it is proven that content remains a top tool for engaging audiences. You can assess your audiences’ top pain-points or industry trends and create a blog post that educates and informs. The typical conversion rate here is 5%, so going above 8% means outperforming the industry standard. Another consideration is investing in public perception surveys to measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness campaigns.


Leveraging the Right Technology

Studies show that MarTech spending is diminishing yearly, with Gartner research showing it was at all-time lows of 33% utilisation of total stack capabilities in 2023, down from 58% in 2020. If you are in the FinTech business, you might have talked to your target audience about “consolidating the tech stack” many times. Well, it’s time to consolidate your MarTech stack. Perform an audit of your technology and identify features that overlap or are not being used to be able to downgrade where necessary.

Aggregating data is just as important as consolidating technology. A platform that can house marketing, sales and customer service data allows the marketing department to easily understand where there is room for improvement and what works well. Eliminating data silos will help you collaborate with other departments globally and continuously improve results.


The Importance of Evergreen Content

Nothing is better if you’re short on resources than evergreen content. Start by asking yourself and researching what are some of the questions your audience has always asked. Once you have these, position yourself as a leader in the market by creating content that informs and helps your audience. This information can be delivered via blogs, videos or any other easy to ingest medium, and should be easily updated if necessary.

Now that you have your content, you can start repurposing it across various channels and in different formats. Maybe you distributed a blog post on social media, but you would like to revisit the subject – simply create an infographic with the most relevant information. Think of channels as a web and not as stand-alone platforms. For example, your blog post should include your target keywords to help with SEO, but it can also be turned into a social media post which points back to the website.


Leverage your Partnerships

A cost-effective marketing campaign can be around partnerships as it will help split the resources required. If your company has a series of partners, consider a joint marketing effort to leverage your relationship. Shared marketing initiatives can vary from educational webinars involving both companies, to shared research and articles educating the mutual target audience. It also means both entities can be in charge of different parts of marketing, easing the burden on each company’s resources.

Partnerships are a great way for brands to increase awareness and loyalty. Associating with another good brand gives you validation, and reminding your audience of your connection to these companies will cement you as a leader.


Customer Retention Tactics

Let’s start with a simple truth: everyone wants to feel valued. On a personal level, we engage more, sometimes only, with brands that leave a good impression or reward us for our loyalty. In B2B marketing, things will look different, but the core idea stays the same.

Put your data to work to provide a level of personalisation in your interactions: tailor your communication to your audience based on their past behaviour and interactions. To do this easily, segment your audience on demographics, behaviour, and other relevant criteria. This will help you develop targeted marketing campaigns that address the specific needs and preferences of each segment, increasing the likelihood of customer engagement and retention.

Develop relevant content for your clients, which can include educational content, newsletters, webinars and updates to keep customers engaged and informed. By becoming a trusted source of information, clients will continue to rely on your brand and come back to use your resources time and time again.  

Put in place a strategy to gather client feedback which can inform a number of departments on possible improvements: create surveys to understand client sentiment and show their opinions are valued. Another way of engaging with your clients is maintaining a consistent stream of communication through a dedicated newsletter. This will help deliver valuable content directly to their inbox and keep your brand in their minds.


Measuring and Demonstrating ROI

To start with, clearly understand the objectives of your business and create one or two KPIs for each of these. Make sure you use historical data to understand what an ambitious, but not impossible, target may look like. These will allow you to see if you’re on course to achieve your target and report to stakeholders.

Marketers want to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) to stakeholders, but it is also a valuable measurement to help you make informed decisions about allocating resources, adjusting strategies, and scaling successful campaigns. The formula will look something like this: Financial Gain from Marketing Efforts minus Marketing Spend divided to Marketing Spend. To be able to do this, make sure you capture all the costs associated with marketing efforts, such as:

  • Advertising expenses
  • Staff time
  • Software costs
  • Design and production
  • Any other incurred costs.

For example, you want to increase web traffic through content. Start by measuring the impact of increased web traffic on your business such as an increase in sales, lead generation, or any other metric tied to your business objectives and assign a monetary value to this increase. Consider all costs associated with creating and promoting the content that contributed to the increase in web traffic. Subtract the total cost of content from the additional revenue or value generated, then divide the result by the cost of content. If your goal is brand awareness rather than direct revenue, you might use non-monetary metrics such as leads generated, customer engagement, or user interactions to calculate value.

Reporting on your achievements is just as important as measuring them. Consider who your audience is, from both functional and personal perspectives to better understand how to present your data. General guidelines include:

  • Start by providing a concise summary of takeaways for the stakeholders who are unable to spend much time on the report but should be kept in the loop.
  • Use visualisation where possible to make data easier to digest.
  • Clearly outline the goals set for each marketing initiative and provide a comprehensive view of goal achievement to help stakeholders understand whether campaigns are meeting objectives.
  • Provide context for the data by explaining trends, notable observations and improvement opportunities.
  • Include actionable insights and recommendations to show the relevance and benefit of your work in continuously improving the business.


Do More with Less

In the financial sector, CMOs are challenged to achieve more with less. This involves a blend of data-driven decision-making, efficient resource allocation, and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction. As explored throughout this blog post, a strategic focus on planning, measuring, and optimising will help you allocate budgets efficiently and cut costs where needed. Clear business objectives, well-defined KPIs, and a meticulous calculation of costs associated with marketing efforts unlock accurate ROI measurement and successful reporting.

Share your success stories with us to help guide fellow marketers and join us in shaping the future of marketing efficiency in the financial services industry!