December 10, 2019 Mark Bornstein
This article was originally published on paymentssource.com. Shared with the author’s permission.
New data protection laws are changing marketing forever for merchants, payment firms and other companies.
It started with GDPR, the EU’s landmark privacy regulation that ensured consumers must consent to receive digital communications from corporations. California is next: The California Consumer Privacy Act, modeled largely after GDPR, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
As more state and national governments feel the privacy demands from their constituents, this trend will fundamentally change how we market to our audiences. Making phone calls and sending unsolicited emails will eventually be a tactic of the past.
When it comes to certain marketing tactics, such as promoting webinars, the strategy is too often to simply blast as many emails and try to get as many folks to attend as possible. The same goes for in-person events. As these regulations take hold, marketers need to move from force-feeding and spamming their database to create engaging experiences that audiences will want to sign up for and even subscribe to long term. It’s no longer about generating leads, now we have to learn how to build an audience.
So you may wonder, who is executing the model? What companies are already creating valuable, subscription-worthy content right now? The answer may surprise you: Financial services and payment companies are leading the way.
That’s right. A sector not known for its innovation or willingness to change is actually a shining example when it comes to creating hubs of engaging content. Charles Schwab, for example, this summer announced a first-of-its-kind pilot program modeled after Netflix: a $300 signup fee gets customers a one-on-one consulting session and $30 a month after provides unlimited access to their videos and content. A glance at Schwab Live illustrates how they’ve created a news source for their customers, with wall-to-wall programming covering topics ranging from “Introduction to Futures Trading” to “How to Invest in Dividend Paying Stocks” to live market coverage and more. It’s a shrewd move. Now customers have a CNBC-style content stream that’s on-demand and personalized to their needs and interests.
Citi has its “Life and Money by Citi” section that features sit-down interviews with celebrities and athletes like Noah Syndergaard, Dak Prescott and Saquon Barkley. These conversations draw in a wider range of audiences, including those who are not as engaged in the financial community.
Meanwhile, American Express, which has long been the leader in the business market, has a landing page that features a range of topics to advise SMB owners and executives alike. These topics include — in a very meta sense — content marketing. Other titles include “Should You Create Your Own Podcast?” and “Doing Business in Japan: 10 Etiquette Rules You Should Know.” Many of these subjects seemingly have no connection to the financial services expertise you’d think American Express would be touting.
But that’s because this industry understands what it was built on, and that’s face-to-face relationships.
These financial services companies are still building relationships, but they’re doing it in innovative, digital new ways. They’re doing it through creating engaging content experiences and news hubs that their customers can enjoy on their own time. The rest of us should follow their lead — or risk having our own marketing messages go bankrupt.