Tapping the marketing power in your pocket

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Adviser produced content could be the key to future growth of the UK protection market; perhaps even the whole financial services industry.

I recently spoke at the Protect Association annual conference on how client engagement – not product tinkering – was top of my agenda for overcoming the stagnation of protection sales. It is all about engaging clients with great content that informs and educates rather than pushes a product to them.

As part of the presentation I asked everyone in the room to hold their mobile phones in the air. I was hoping to spot a basic old Nokia and make fun of it. But, no, everyone had an up-to-date smartphone.

I asked the audience what their devices were and most simply quoted their model type. No one ventured to describe it as anything other than a phone. A little more coaxing and people started to realise the true power of what they were holding in their hands.

First of all, it is a mobile TV studio. Most smartphones will take broadcast quality HD 1080 video. Some even capture 4K video, which is even better than broadcast quality. There is nothing stopping advisers from creating great videos for their clients.

Secondly, it is a portable radio station. Smartphones allow you to record audio. There is nothing stopping advisers from creating great podcasts that answer client’s questions and add value to their experience.

Thirdly, it is a virtual assistant. A smartphone allows you dictate into the microphone and your words will magically appear on the screen. This is often without any spelling errors; all you have to do is tidy up the punctuation. As an added bonus, you get to write just like you talk. Much better than bloated copy full of corporate management jargon.

Further discussion and everyone at the conference was feeling more positive about what they could do with these amazing devices.

But back to reality. Few people have started producing such content. Pete Matthew is well known for his successful Meaningful Money podcasts, which people have downloaded over 100,000 times. Informed Choice’s Martin Bamford also runs a well subscribed podcast. Chris Daems and Chris Budd, among others, have written books, too.

But there is much more room for content. So what is the problem? Is it time pressure? Well, you can dictate a 500-word article in less than 10 minutes. You can record a decent video in the same amount of time, broadcasting it live or repurposing it later if you like.

Is it compliance concerns? Well, as long as you do not push products and just inform or educate, there should not be any issues to worry about here.

Only income protection saw any growth in 2015. Arguably, part of the reason it did so was the success of the Seven Families campaign. Those seven videos, seven stories about real people facing financial hardship, were not promotional. But they were engaging.

The campaign acts as a perfect example of the sort of content we all have the power to produce with the mobile TV studios, radio stations and virtual assistants we all carry around in our pockets and bags.

Roger Edwards is managing director of Roger Edwards Marketing and marketing director of Protection Review