Financial Marketing and Financial Advertising


It’s easy to conflate financial marketing and financial advertising since both tend to fall under the same umbrella. However, acknowledging the key differences between the two can help ensure that your firm has the appropriate people and resources focused on getting the the most out of each effort.

Allocating resources to both marketing and advertising is increasingly necessary. The rise of “digital” means that staying ahead of the curve is as important as ever for financial firms vying for the attention of traders and investors in a very competitive landscape.

In this article, we’ll unpack the differences between marketing and advertising, then discuss what they mean for your financial firm.

What is Marketing?

In its most basic form, marketing encompasses all activities used to promote your services or products including advertising.

Financial marketing activities range from public relations, graphic design, website development, social media strategy, email drip campaigns, buyer persona targeting, content marketing, podcasting, and much more.

Marketing is a “big picture” term. In a lean financial firm, marketing and advertising may be handled by the same person wearing many hats, but as a firm grows, these roles will naturally diverge, or even be outsourced separately – which is a good thing; the best results come from concentrated efforts by specialized experts who have the bandwidth to focus on specific tasks.

A marketing strategy acts as a road map designed to lead your firm each step of the way into overall business growth. The first steps to successful financial marketing involve building an overall marketing strategy with concrete goals.

>> Need a Content Marketing Strategy Goal? Get SMART!

Building a financial marketing strategy takes time and care and includes a strategic and tactical breakdown of goals and objectives. If your financial firm seeks to generate leads and build brand awareness as part of the overall marketing strategy, advertising is a natural inclusion to support an overall strategy.

What is Advertising?

Marketing is a broad concept. If marketing were a whole cake, advertising would be just one slice. As in a financial marketing team, each “piece” is focused on a different aspect: public relations, graphic design, content writing, analytics and so forth.

Reduced to its most basic form, advertising focuses on “getting the word out” about your company and services. Ads have a clear objective – to get in front of your target audience with an offer that entices further action – whether that be a phone call, website visit, a web form submission, or pure awareness.

  • Brand Awareness advertising campaigns are designed to do just that – create share of mind. This type of ad is often characteristic of established financial firms that have built a solid reputation. Ads of this type often include a logo and a tagline or compelling question designed to invoke thought.
  • Lead Generation advertising campaigns are obvious to spot because there is usually a company logo along with a call to action in the design. An example of a call to action in a financial ad may be open a trading account, speak with a financial advisor, or download a special financial planning report.

Again, these advertising objectives are key components that would serve an overall financial marketing strategy.

>> Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: A Primer for Financial Firms

Ads have evolved into more than just an ad in a newspaper. They include a variety of channels: magazines, email, TV, radio, digital, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, text message, podcasts, direct mail, and more.

While modern advertising options are vast, it’s important for financial firms to not fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. In our previous post about building buyer personas, we discussed the importance of drilling down to specific targets and this is essential to an advertising approach.

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is relatively affordable for firms of all sizes to run ad campaigns, especially when it comes to retargeting ads. Those who click on retargeting ads tend to be familiar with the ad’s product or service since retargeting ads result from a user being “cookie’d’ after visiting a firm’s website. Learn more about cookies here.

Digital ads also afford financial firms with the ability to choose criteria that will more accurately match to a target audience via demographics, interests and career paths — digital ads allow a marketing team or advertising specialist to view results in real-time and adjust on the fly to optimize efforts while an ad campaign is running.

Traditional Advertising

On the traditional side of advertising, print, TV, direct mail and radio ads should not be forgotten. Traditional advertising is still a great channel to target older demographics to reach people who are later in their careers, retired, or perhaps not technically savvy and would not be prone to encountering digital ads online.

Traditional advertising channels may not have the granular data and flexibility that digital ad platforms offer but considering the habits of your key targets may help distinguish whether digital or traditional channels (or a mix) work as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Bringing It All Together

The key takeaway is that while marketing and advertising are similar, they are two separate concepts that have overlapping objectives. Understanding the nuances between the two will help both financial marketing teams and financial advertising specialists operate independently AND in tandem more efficiently in service to a greater common goal.

Learn how to better market your financial firm – Contact us.


You may also be interested in: