How to Be Creative in a Boring Industry (Part 1)

How to Be Creative in a Boring Industry (Part 1) 780 460 Seth Patel

Do you work in a “boring” industry?

If you struggle to explain what your company does to your friends or family without eliciting a “yawn,” then yes, you may very well work for a “boring” industry.

In these highly-regulated industries, marketers face very real challenges in the creative process, which often bars their content from ever seeing the light of day!

In this two-part series, we’ll break down some of the top challenges related to brand compliance, distribution and creating content in “boring” industries.

First thing’s first – The top challenges related to creating compelling content in boring industries.

Creating content in industries like insurance and other financial services sectors is absolutely necessary today. 89% of B2B organizations report using content marketing (and of those who don’t, more than half plan to in the next 12 months.)

But three top challenges have emerged as the largest hurdles for content professionals to overcome in these sectors; relevance, balancing regulations and sales needs, and brand compliance.

Here’s what to consider to successfully create content in “boring” industries:

  1. Content relevance

Effective content is about relevance – but in industries like insurance, it can be challenging to come up with ideas for content that don’t make your eyes want to glaze over.

No matter how boring, complex, or otherwise ho-hum your core product offering is, the content you produce just needs to address the concerns and priorities of who it’s intended for. Whether you’re creating content for insurance brokers, or content for end consumers, this advice holds true:

“Your prospects and clients are simply looking for any content that will help them be more profitable, productive, successful, or maybe just help them sleep better at night.“

Marketers in insurance organizations can also use internal data to help uncover their future content plans. Are you tracking which content assets are most widely used by brokers in the field? (Hint: A Marketing Asset Management tool can help you track exactly that.) This information is hugely valuable when determining what to do more of – and what’s working, or what types of content and topics to invest less in.

  1. Balancing regulatory compliance with sales needs

In highly regulated industries like financial services, content marketers often struggle to produce content quickly due to the approvals required for every asset. The controls put in place by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) make it critical for all content to be reviewed before it can be published.

Out-of-date information puts organizations at risk of breaking compliance laws, or being sued or fined.

Although this is a necessary evil, brokers and sales representatives in the field often need marketing  assets quickly to satisfy the needs of eager prospects and customers. This creates a friction point between sales and marketing teams that is only exacerbated by the regulatory approval process.

What’s worse, as new laws are passed, marketing materials must be updated to stay in compliance, making asset management a tricky, but really critical skill set.

To mitigate this friction, and reduce the risk of non-compliant content, organizations should create clear and standardized review and approval processes. To create efficiency, the role of MAM technology can help to execute batch updates to information (such as the disclaimer) across hundreds of assets in a single instance, preventing workload backups and saving marketing’s valuable resources.

The agility in which marketing is able to respond to requests for new or modified content can impact the relationship, trust, and collaboration of these two departments.

  1. Brand Compliance

As if content wasn’t under lock and key enough with FINRA and other regulatory requirements, content in financial services must also satisfy the guidelines of brand compliance. This is the case for any industry that creates content for customer consumption.

When content is fragmented, or lacking correct branding or key messages – its impact on revenue is diminished, according to research by MarcomCentral and DemandMetric. When content isn’t aligned to the rules of brand compliance, it loses its ability to impact revenue generation by 11%. In fact, 85% of marketers with fragmented content assets think they’re “very poor” or “neutral” at meeting buyer needs.

What’s a financial services marketer to do? Start by making sure brand compliance guidelines are well established throughout your team. Include examples and guidance for anyone creating content for your organization. Then, launch a portal for brand management – a resource where employees can find content and create customized assets that have been pre-approved in a dynamic way. In short, empower your employees to create customized assets while adhering to brand compliance.

Summary

The job of a content marketer in regulated industries like financial services (we see you, insurance marketers) is unique and especially challenging.

However, as insurers strive to grow their businesses, they’re increasingly turning to content to grow awareness, capture leads, enable sales, and nurture buyers along their journey. Though the role of content management is harder than ever, it’s also more important than ever.

Deploying best practices in Marketing Asset Management can help you succeed in a world dominated by regulatory and brand compliance.

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