The number one challenge Patti Ernst has when it comes to creating content is time.
“The sales team is trained very well, but we don’t always have the luxury of time. The team wants it next Tuesday, and I know it takes three days in compliance and five days in design. I have to ask favors of everyone,” says Ernst, Channel Marketing Director at financial management company Invesco. “But everyone understands that we are working toward the same goal, doing great work for our clients.”
Time is one of the universal challenges for all content marketers. Invesco has a very efficient process that helps its marketing team deal with, and sometimes circumvent, that particular challenge. Their content marketing process is designed to maximize the input of various team members — sales, marketing, and compliance.
As a channel marketer, Ernst sits at the very important intersection of these three teams. She focuses on three channels — broker-dealer, defined contributions, and annuities — and works with the sales teams for each channel to align content creation with customers’ messaging strategies. For example, one of her customers has a global focus. To create marketing content for this client, she uses materials developed by the international product marketing team, then tweaks the content to fit that specific client’s marketing language.
When it comes to understanding the language the client wants to use, Ernst gets a lot of feedback. In her role, she works directly with clients, client engagement teams, sales teams, and the marketing teams, so she is involved at all levels of the relationship. And many of her clients are not at all shy about sharing what they need. Sometimes they send her a list of words they want to use, or instructions on how they prefer to say certain things — using the word “strategy” instead of “planning,” for example.
Creating shareable content in a strictly regulated industry
No matter the format of the content (white paper, case study, presentation, etc.), the content creation process is well defined: The product marketing team creates content for a specific Invesco fund. Once the content is finalized, it is sent to the compliance team for review. After compliance gives approval, that piece of content is made available via an online repository, which can be accessed by both the sales and marketing teams to be used, as needed. At this stage, Ernst or a member of her team can view or retrieve (but not edit) the content.
When she needs to customize this existing content to meet the needs of a particular client, Ernst works with the product marketing team and the product manager to make necessary edits. If any changes are made after the content has been approved, it must be sent back to the compliance team for review.
Invesco’s content marketing process for creating brand new materials is similar — Ernst works directly with the product marketing team and product manager to develop customized content. However, in these cases, she takes the lead in the process, since she knows the client better than anyone.
“It is great that we do it this way. Then the product marketing team will learn about this client’s focus and find out things they weren’t aware of.”
Financial services is a highly regulated industry, so the marketing and sales teams are always aware of the role the compliance team plays in the content marketing process. And, in turn, the compliance team knows the importance of its role in creating this content; thus, the team has worked together to reduce the average turnaround time for reviews to three days. (This doesn’t include social media, whose team has a dedicated compliance team member to take care of their real-time needs.)
When Ernst works on content that includes disclaimers (which most content does), she is equipped with a plan: From her experience, she has learned most of the disclaimers that will be needed, and how much space to allot for them in the final piece.
“If I’m working on a brochure, and I know the content will be two pages, I have to make the brochure four pages because of the disclosures. I do the best job I can adding the disclaimers, then I send it to compliance, and they make sure I used the correct disclosures, specific to that fund.”
But of course, all of this takes time, which Ernst has factored in to her content marketing process.
“When I get a project, I’m always aware of deadlines,” says Ernst. “Half the time, the content is the easiest part. If I get a project due in two weeks, I back out printing and compliance so I know how much time I will have to work on the content. Sometimes, the client requires approval as well, so I also have to factor that in.”
This content marketing process works well because Invesco provides its sales, marketing, and compliance teams with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs. And they are always on the lookout for new resources to improve the process. Their mission is to do everything for the benefit of the client. And creating and using excellent content is part of that.
“I really like how this is all put together at Invesco. We are partners here,” says Ernst. “Everyone is working toward the benefit of the client; how we can make it work for Invesco and our clients’ success.”
Need more guidance on best content marketing practices for the financial services industry? Don’t miss the Content Marketing World Financial Summit on September 12, 2013.
Cover image via Bigstock
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