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  • Writer's pictureFinancial Marketing Pros

Pro Tip #14: Harvard Business Review Highlights The Power of High-Trust Media

From the desks of Joe Bayliss & Roy Furr

You’ve probably heard the old lesson: your prospects won’t become clients until they trust you.  


But does that factor into your choices for marketing? It should. Because where you advertise influences the trust you’re establishing with your prospects.


It’s true. That’s why we use trust badges in client marketing, such as “as seen on” and “featured by,” alongside the logos of news media. Because being in those places conveys trust (that you can continue to leverage).


In a sense, you’re borrowing that trust. Because the consumer trusts the media channel, by association they trust anyone who appears there. Simply by being in the right media gives you a powerful level of trust.


This also extends to advertising.


Advertising in different media is more or less trusted, depending on the media in which it appears.


For the longest time, our audience (prospects for financial advisors) would NOT trust anything they saw on the internet. That’s changed, somewhat. But far less than many digital marketers might want you to believe.


Don’t just take our word for it. We recently came across an article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) on “Why Marketers Are Returning to Traditional Advertising.” And it revealed something fascinating.


So-called “traditional” media channels win when it comes to establishing consumer trust.


HBR cited a MarketingSherpa study, revealing that all five of the most-trusted media channels are “traditional” media. When it comes to making a purchasing decision, here’s what media channels consumers say they trust the most:


  1. Print advertising

  2. TV advertising

  3. Direct mail

  4. Radio advertising

  5. Outdoor and public advertising


Not all of these are perfect for financial advisors, we’ll admit. And we’re seeing response rates constantly shift in some of this media.


But every client relationship in the financial industry is built on and maintained by trust. The more they trust you, the easier it is to get and keep clients. And traditional media still wins when it comes to trust.


For each of those traditional media — what we consider to be “high-trust media” — 7 out of every 10 consumers reported they trusted that media channel to help them make a buying decision. Which means that when you’re advertising there, you’re getting borrowed trust from 7 in 10 consumers — just by being there.


The highest-trust media placement in digital advertising, according to the same study, was search engine ads. But even there, just 6 in 10 consumers report those ads as trustworthy.


Only 4 in 10 consumers consider most other digital advertising to be trustworthy. And our guess, although we don’t have the data to analyze and confirm this, would be that these 4 in 10 skew toward a younger audience — not the type of client you’re looking to attract.


To take this one step further, we’ve seen the numbers…  


Our clients skew toward using high-trust media, such as TV and radio. Because once you have the courage to try it, you find it works. But these clients are also still using digital — and their results there are informative. 


Digital drives a weak minority of new leads, clients, and production. It simply doesn’t work as well. You can get tire-kicker leads all day long. But it’s hard to get high-value clients that convert.


The majority of financial advisors who are using lower-trust digital media as their primary advertising medium are missing out in a big way.


With digital, you’re starting from a place of lower trust. Which means a higher hurdle toward establishing the client relationship. And often lower total ROI.


Just because it’s easier, or cheaper, or you prefer digital media, or “everybody’s doing it,” or there’s 1,000 digital marketing agencies to choose from, it doesn’t mean that’s what you should be doing.


If you want to rapidly grow your financial advisory by attracting and converting more high-value leads and clients, you need to be making the most of high-trust media. We offer a Free Marketing Audit, including a Marketing Strategy Audit, to help you discover which media channels and marketing strategies will generate the biggest results for you.



Please understand we’re currently only accepting new clients who are spending a minimum of $250,000 per year in marketing.


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