Marketing lessons from Advertising Week Europe

Following Ad Week Europe which was hosted in London 18 – 22 April 2016, Henry Clifford-Jones, Director of Marketing Solutions UK, DE & ES at LinkedIn talks to us about the key takeaways for FS companies. 

Whether it’s a business owner choosing accountancy software to run their business on or a high networth investor deciding their next big bet, there has never been so much choice during the decision making process. Organisations, of all shapes and sizes, are having to work harder in our always on, digital lives to get into the consideration phase, let alone make it as the final choice.

The week before last saw the great and the good from across the advertising industry gather in London for the fourth annual Advertising Week Europe. With hundreds of sessions, and everyone from WPP Group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell to Piers Morgan taking to the stage, the industry debated some of ad land’s hottest topics.

So here are some of the most relevant marketing lessons and trends for the financial services sector discussed at Ad Week Europe a few weeks ago:

Rethinking B2B: It takes more than a factual white paper to persuade today’s CFO or business owner. In fact, at Ad Week Europe, B2B marketing and advertising was given a re-brand, referred to as both B2P (business-to-professional) and even B2H (business-to-human).

As our personal and professional lives continue to blur, there was lots of discussion at LinkedIn’s B2B Forum around how B2B marketers need to move from messaging around functionality to using emotion to engage with customers in a professional context. For example, it is no longer enough to simply share the facts about a new auditing service; messaging needs to appeal to decisions makers’ human side too.

But how easy is it to make an emotional connection in B2B? Very, according to Laura Milsted at Interprise, who said that when it comes to business decisions, your job is on the line and “the emotion is real.”

Being relevant, on the right channel: The importance of targeting people with the right messages in the right places at the right time was a hotly debated topic as ever. LinkedIn’s VP-Marketing Solutions, Penry Price, talked about understanding the behaviour and mindset of people who have flocked to digital “watering holes.” Personalisation and relevance will be increasingly key for brands in the financial services space.

Video: The role of video in the marketing mix is nothing new, but at Ad Week publishers really stepped up the case for its inclusion. YouTube released a study claiming that online video ad units deliver up to 50 percent more return on investment (ROI) when compared with TV.  It was also interesting to see how B2B brands are harnessing video, with the likes of EY using it to build purpose into their brand and reach professionals across the world.

Ad blocking: It’s no surprise that ad blocking was on the agenda, with new figures from eMarketer suggesting it could become an “epidemic.”

The challenge for marketers across all sectors is to create content that is increasingly meaningful and relevant for the mindset of their audience at that time. LinkedIn’s Penry Price said that ad blocking was in fact probably the right thing to do, since “It forces people to be more relevant for their users.”

Talent: The biggest skills gaps amongst marketers are in areas such as ad tech and behavioural targeting. It goes without saying that marketing teams within financial services companies need to keep on the front foot when it comes to recruiting and retaining a top team, but Dominic Grounsell, global digital marketing director at Travelex spoke about the challenges of doing so. “As we’re becoming more digitally orientated the people I’m trying to hire are different from when I started in my career. We need people who can analyse and handle large amounts of data,” he said. “But those people are bloody hard to hire for marketing jobs.”

If you need to take away one fact from Ad Week Europe, it should be this: using data and creativity to deliver highly relevant, personalised content is going to be more important than ever for marketing success in 2016. As LinkedIn’s Penry Price summed up: “market to the professionals that matter in the place that matters and you won’t just be part of the scenery. You’re guaranteed to be part of the action.”

By Henry Clifford-Jones, Director of Marketing Solutions UK, DE & ES, LinkedIn