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How to Drive Thought Leadership for Lead Generation in Financial Services

Massive changes are coming to the global financial services sector.

Chinese banks are still growing, positioning the country as a leading force in the region and the world.

Fintech startups are also expanding and changing how market segments, often neglected by major institutions, manage their money.

Deloitte expects unprecedented disruption over the next ten years in areas like:

  • Compliance
  • Infrastructure
  • Risk management
  • Talent

How can you show potential clients you’re prepared not only to tackle these changes head-on but influence their outcomes and the industry’s future?

Successful thought leadership.

Sadly, most executives approach thought leadership the wrong way. Instead of keeping their audience in mind, they create thought leadership to please their own egos.

That strategy won’t work for generating leads, boosting ROI, and keeping customers happy. Driving thought leadership in financial services demands careful consideration of your audience, their fears, and their needs.

Why is Driving Thought Leadership Critical for Lead Generation in Financial Services?

The finance sector changes every day. Businesses must show – not just tell – potential leads and customers why their company is a trusted partner.

Let’s start with some of the major arenas for change Deloitte points out:

  • Compliance: Thought leadership shows that you’re following current best practices and keeping an eye on emerging regulations in different markets around the world so your customers can operate without hiccups.
  • Infrastructure: Use thought leadership to show leads how you’re embracing tech-driven infrastructure to improve the experience, keep accounts secure, and offer new features. Let leads know about your ambitions for the future.
  • Risk management: Explain via thought leadership how you approached problems during the pandemic-driven downturn and what steps you’re taking to protect customers. Let leads know what you anticipate for the future in your sector and how your company will adapt.
  • Talent: Show leads what you’re doing to attract top talent from around the world. How are you preparing your team to manage AI? Explain how you’re investing in your own talent to stand out from competitors and grow.

It doesn’t get much more high-risk than financial services – especially with fintech companies potentially triggering new regulations and compliance issues. Thought leadership gives leads a peek into your mind. It explains what upcoming issues you’re already thinking about and addressing so leads can feel secure.

That’s why it’s so effective for demand generation and lead generation.

5 Questions to Ask for Driving Thought Leadership in Financial Services

Thought leadership is not content marketing. It’s more closely related to journalism.

Great journalists know a story is only as interesting and in-depth as its research. A great journalist doesn’t only identify today’s problems. They also offer potential solutions and explain what problems will pop up tomorrow.

A great journalist knows who they’re writing for and what they want to teach them. They use their expertise, insight, and knowledge to keep readers hooked and create stories no one will soon forget.

That’s what you need to do to drive thought leadership for lead generation.

1. Who is Your Audience?

You might think you know your audience but their needs and fears change every day. Expertly designed surveys help you get to the bottom of your audience’s evolving nature.

Financial companies must also find new ways to approach often neglected market segments like B2B payments, minority communities and businesses, and low-income individuals.

Both traditional and alternative research tools help you capitalize on data and technology to build well-rounded profiles on leads that are essential for driving thought leadership.

2. What Matters to Your Audience?

Bain and Harvard Business Review have identified 40 distinct B2B elements of value businesses use to evaluate potential partners or vendors.

Some value props are objective and not up for debate – like compliance and price. Others are more subjective and depend on your audience and your company – like vision and social responsibility. Those in the middle include productivity, risk reduction, transparency, and many others.

It’s easy to figure out the objective stuff, but what about the subjective elements? Without comprehensive research, you’re just guessing.

3. What Does Your Company Stand For?

As you uncover your target market segments’ subjective values, you may even realize they don’t align with that of your company!

If that’s the case, you’ll never be able to create thought leadership that appeals to your leads .

Figuring out your own company’s values is critical. What subjective elements do you offer – like timesaving, stability, and culture? What value do you bring to the financial service industry and the world?

Uncovering these value props are important because they give your thought leadership not only personality but also consistency and purpose.

4. What Niches Do Your Competitors Already Cover?

With so many different finance sectors, there’s really no need to insert yourself into a niche your competition has already covered extensively for years.

Driving thought leadership is much easier and more effective when you find a new arena to disrupt.

Comprehensive research on your competition and your audience’s perspective of the competition is critical.

Once you finish your research, you may discover that the competition isn’t as threatening as you once thought. You’ll also no doubt discover areas they have been criticized in where you can swoop in with effective thought leadership.

5. How Will Your Company Approach Tomorrow’s Problems?

Content marketing solves yesterday’s problems. Thought leadership identifies tomorrow’s problems and offers nuanced yet trustworthy solutions. People remember thought leadership.

As with great journalism, amazing thought leadership also demands a specific editorial line. Your editorial line can certainly evolve as the sector adapts – and it should. But the point is to offer stability in your innovation and cement your thought leadership voice.

Rethink How You Approach Driving Thought Leadership

The financial services industry is changing rapidly in response to the pandemic and will continue to change in the years to come as well. Customer expectations will consequently change in response.

Without consistent research like qualitative and quantitative research, surveys, questionnaires, insights, and data, you risk developing thought leadership for yourself rather than your leads and customers.

Your audience must always come first. Create thought leadership for them, and you’ll always drive thought leadership that shapes their behavior and the industry.

Find out why original research is the backbone of effective thought leadership in financial services.

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