Shifting Financial Marketing into Gear
Why Rapid-Response Marketing Should Be Part of Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Rapid response marketing is a strategy that leverages breaking news and events to provide brands with an opportunity to lend a voice to the situation with relevant content, messaging, and public relations. It works differently than traditional marketing campaigns in that the responses are quick, concentrated, and don’t involve a great deal of planning or technical effort.
Examples of Rapid Response Marketing
Essentially, rapid response is about recognizing marketing opportunities and deploying them on the fly. It’s about seizing the moment, keeping the brand message as relevant and timely as an umbrella over your head on a rainy day.
Of course, that’s just one example. Here are a few more from the retail landscape:
- Putting batteries at the cash register when storms are approaching and having employees ask, ‘do your flashlights need batteries?’
- Tide Laundry Detergent runs trucks with washing machines into devastated areas for residents without water and power to use. Outwardly, it’s ‘community relief,’ but it’s also excellent rapid response marketing.
- Advertising your sun-blocking clothing to coincide with a big announcement about skin cancer risks.
We’re All Connected – And That’s the Point
In the digital world, social media shows trends and opportunities faster than ever. Marketing to these opportunities has always been a smart idea, but now it has a name!
Consumers tend to have a visceral connection to rapid-response marketing. Because the events in question are something they are experiencing in the moment, it’s easy to connect with other users and brands who are going through the same things.
Case in point – the current COVID-19 situation is affecting every last person in the world. A brand’s response to it (or lack thereof) can make or break their public image. When the lockdown started to happen, people were looking to their favorite brands to see what they were doing to keep their customers and employees safe.
Brands that responded with concern and immediacy demonstrated their empathy with their audience, inviting loyalty even when stores were shuttered. Top brands tailored their messaging and outreach to meet the immediate needs of an uncertain public, and many have gone above and beyond what anyone thought possible to maintain a strong connection.
Some examples include distilleries that pivoted their production to make hand sanitizer, service companies that ramped up their online customer service presence to meet increased demand, clothing manufacturers churning out face masks, and Dyson making parts for ventilators.
Those that did not respond or whose response was inadequate or myopic stand to lose market share once the landscape starts to reopen. Of course, not all situations are as all-encompassing as the pandemic, but it’s safe to say that brands that didn’t shift their thinking won’t be able to pick up where they left off when the lockdown is lifted.
The takeaway from all this is that there is long-term value in rapid response, one that extends well beyond immediate coverage.
Rapid Response Marketing in the Financial Industry
In the financial industry, when there is a need to produce content or get the word out about their team’s perspective on a market move—for example, when the price of oil goes negative?!—the window of opportunity is small. The impact of such sweeping changes is dramatic, and the potential to cause mass panic is genuine.
Rapid response messaging calms and creates a sense of reason among investors who would otherwise panic. Your customers look to you for expert guidance, and any hesitation on your part could be seen as ambivalence, hubris, or straight-up ignorance.
In a crisis, rapid response is essential, and in some cases, part of a legal compliance framework. For example, if customer data was breached, if interest rates change dramatically, or if there is a real and present risk that your customers should be aware of, you need to share that information with them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
While planning for an unknown occurrence might seem like it’s putting the cart before the horse, having a process in place that allows you to deploy immediately will actually lower your marketing costs. It eliminates the time you would typically waste re-posturing, and helps you get the message out while the situation is still top-of-mind.
Making Rapid Response Part of Your Marketing Strategy
So far, we’ve established that every brand needs to be prepared for rapid-response marketing. If you take the time to prepare a framework for rapid response, you will save thousands of marketing dollars and reduce the risk to your brand image.
But how does a financial marketer make it part of their overall strategy? Here are a few ideas.
These days, people communicate in many ways. Often, it’s a generational bias that dictates how and when we want to receive information. Some might prefer email, while for others, it’s SMS. Social media is an excellent way to get your message out, but not everybody uses it or engages on the same platforms.
In best practice and for optimum penetration, you need to use every tool at your disposal. Mass email, text messages, and social posts should be deployed immediately when the situation warrants to ensure all of your customers hear what you have to say.
To make the process more efficient, pre-designed templates should be on hand and ready to go. If you are using a CRM solution like HubSpot, you already have the tools to set yourself up for rapid response success.
For example, you can create and deploy landing pages, emails, and social posts instantly, based on pre-designed, branded templates that allow you to push vital messages out to your customers and followers with just a few clicks. Analytics within the platform help you track your results and ensure maximum reach, so even though the campaign itself is done on the fly, you still have all the same insights you would with a pre-planned campaign.
Expect the Unexpected
Rapid response marketing is a great way to gain loyalty, show authenticity, and stay relevant during significant events. It’s also a great way to offer innovative solutions that add value for your customers, like providing access to federal relief funding. Conversely, it could be about a compassionate gesture, like lowering interest rates or waiving account fees for the next three months.
Strike While the Iron is Hot
If you’re prepared for it, rapid response marketing allows you to pounce on opportunities as they arise. These are the kinds of situations that pass quickly. If you don’t act immediately, the moment is lost in time; however, if the message does penetrate, there is a potential for exponential amplification.
Sometimes, it’s just about picking up what your followers are throwing down.
Case in point: A 2017 tweet to fast-food giant Wendy’s from a follower who wanted to know “how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets” generated 330 million social impressions and gained them 149,000 new followers on Twitter.
Wendy’s responded with an unfathomable quota of 18 million retweets, but even though the follower didn’t achieve that number, the internet exploded in response. With 3.65 million retweets, Wendy’s awarded him a year of free chicken nuggets and donated $100,000 to Dave Thomas’ Foundation. The brand estimates a gain of $7 million worth of earned media based on this campaign, which doesn’t include millions more worth of press coverage generated from the hashtag #NuggsForCarter.
Rapid response marketing is an essential strategy in your marketing toolkit. Reaching your customers and followers quickly in response to current events and imminent changes is critical for building loyalty and strengthening brand image in good times and bad.
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