Céline Heinl
18 October 2021 10 min read

Statistic confirm it: French people will rarely have saved as much as during the period of uncertainty due to Covid from March 2020 to May 2021. However, the month of June 2021 marked a spectacular economic recovery: +10.4 % in terms of household consumer spending[1].

Could this recovery, coupled with the boom in online shopping, reveal a change in behaviour towards investment? If we observe digital trends, the global phenomenon of ‘personal finance’ is significantly echoed in France. For stakeholders offering investment opportunities, the whole challenge lies in the capacity to define the marketing approaches that correspond to the specific features of client profiles.

How do you guide your clients towards investment?

The consideration phase: knowing how to inform (and reassure)

French people have a reputation for being ‘saving champions’ and they love information content relating to personal finance. Although this content deals with saving, it mainly focuses on investment.

As some of the most conclusive examples, podcasts capture the attention of growing audiences. Judge for yourself:

  • La Martingale: “A podcast that talks about personal finance, investment, saving and assets.”
  • Budget chéri: “The podcast for all those who want to take control of their money and bring their spending in line with their life goals”.
  • Tout sur votre argent: “ ‘Tout sur votre argent’ (all about your money), Europe 1 and ToutSurMesFinances.com, the leading digital media outlet for personal finances, offer to help you manage your money optimally.”

These podcasts did not exist until three years ago. The theme of personal finance, which saw a real boom in English-speaking countries, is now reaching France. Newsletters are also encountering great success.

French people can see that anticipating retirement, through capitalisation, is a solution more and more people in European countries are turning towards[2]. They are now open to investment, which is seen as a project for the future, but which crystallises doubts and fears. Only quality information, targeting specific client profiles, can remove the obstacles in terms of motivation to invest. A sure sign: institutions such as Cardif Assurance and BNP Paribas are teaming up to offer a real media platform, la-retraite-en-clair.fr.

Online information has become one of the essential pillars of sales strategies.

The multinational firm Blackrock provides the largest global study each year on the relationship between wealth and well-being[3]. These publications highlight fears relating to investment. The latter are not the preserve of the French, as they are expressed in all the developing countries. The study indicates that 57% of the people surveyed do not invest for the following reasons:

  • Investing seems too intimidating.
  • I prefer to concentrate on other objectives in the short term.
  • Investing is just for experts.
  • I’m afraid of losing everything.

For banks and financial organisations, there is important work to be done in terms of teaching, to reassure their clients and then advise them.

One of the keys lies in targeting profiles. The expectations of the ‘millennials’ generation are not the same as for groups above the age of forty. Another aspect that must be taken into account is a strong theme such as Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) which needs to be presented from different angles and with a different tone according to age brackets.

To sum up, it’s essential to study the different client profiles in depth (the famous ‘personas’) in order to gain an understanding of their questions as well as their socio-cultural references, as closely as possible. To do so, content marketing has efficient tools (questionnaire, speech analysis and interviews) to put in place increasingly advanced strategies.

The action phase: putting forward investment prospects that match your clients' profiles 

Banking advisors know perfectly well how that encouraging investment is about knowledge (informing) and psychology (reassuring and motivating). An inclination to take risks says a lot about a client. In the same way, an ability to propose investments in line with a client’s values and expectations says a lot about a banker.

When Netflix says a lot about sales strategies (for the banking sector).

The current digital trend tends towards ultra-personalisation. And Netflix has built its success thanks to this approach. Their interface will not suggest the same film recommendations at all for a person who logs in to a ‘family account’.

Brands have understood the interest in refining the personalisation of their offer. Startups are building their services in this way, by listening to and observing users. It’s no longer the time to impose a product, but to confirm the connections between types of customers and the products/services on a market.

In this way, algorithms and artificial intelligence enable you to connect customer data with a company’s offer with ever-increasing accuracy.

In the new economy, there is great complexity given that certain products may attract radically different customer profiles. For example, do you think that these types of investments concern a specific age bracket?

  • Bitcoin
  • Vineyards
  • Water
  • Gold

The many investment applications are reshuffling their cards (Birdee, Mon petit placement, Nalo, Cashbeen Finary, Interactivebrokers, Juicy, etc.). It’s surprising to see that both very young people and retirees are interested in cryptocurrencies. Everything lies in the quality of the customer relationship, which starts with the relevance of the information disseminated by a brand.

What’s the first step in a phase of action? To gain an in-depth understanding of your clients’ profiles. This will enable you to propose investments that are able to attract a specific audience, according to ‘persona’ categories that are increasingly diverse.

On of the most indicative examples is SRI (Socially Responsible Investment). Although virtually non-existent in the United States, it has seen real popularity in the European countries such as France and Germany. Here too, applications flourish: Goodvest, Miimosa, Lendopolis, Ecotree, etc.

What categories of population are attracted by this type of investment?

Absolutely all of them. The youngest groups are very receptive and parents and grandparents think that it’s an essential solution for the future of the planet and their descendants.

Will the different age brackets invest in SRI in the same way?

Of course not, and this is the challenge that bankers face: offering a broad range of investments, while judging the priority and relevance of an investment type for a specific client profile. In this effort, algorithms become an ally of choice for institutions, to understand client data in detail.

What strategies should you put in place to ensure that your marketing content can convince your clients? 

Create content that is specific to your personas

The first question you should answer is who are your personas?

It’s impossible to offer relevant content and put in place a targeted content marketing strategy without answering this question precisely.

First of all, define your audience’s demographics and the socio-professional categories within them. You can then analyse everything that makes up the habits of the different audience segments: which websites do they look at? What are their preferred social networks? How do they take decisions?

Once this research phase is complete, you’ll be able to establish your value proposal. This means explaining how the financial products that you propose are attractive to each audience category. By answering your personas’ questions, you’ll develop a trusting relationship, which will consolidate your brand image. For this, it’s essential to determine all the themes that affect your audience, and to choose the most suitable communication channel.

In terms of the investment solutions, you can divide your themes according to your personas’ chronological objectives:

  • In the short term, for returns fixed over a period of a few years.
  • In the medium term, for projects that mark an important stage (financing a wedding or a decisive purchase).
  • In the long term, such as a property contribution or preparation for retirement.

There are many communication channels and you’ll have the choice between free dissemination (blog, business page on social media and newsletters) and fee-paying dissemination. The content formats must also be taken into account, because some audiences will have their preferences (written, audio or video).

Develop digital engagement with your clients

In content marketing, the roadmap is easy to follow. Offering quality content determines the success of a communications strategy. This reinforces your brand’s identity and deepens the client relationship.

You just need to apply Amazon’s recipe, i.e. always be guided by the client vision (and satisfaction). This approach can be summed up by the expression Client Centric. The more you answer your clients’ doubts and questions, the greater their engagement (online interaction) will be.

Digital communication is leading institutions to develop their ability to listen to their clients. The most relevant messages reassure. They show the expertise of a banker who dedicates themselves to their client, in order to support them in their financial decisions.

This notion of support must be at the heart of online interactions (emails, blog articles and social networks). Your brand must focus its communication on the following bases:

  • Do the same questions arise in conversations with your clients?
  • Are there specific stages or actions that seem to intimidate or block part of your clientele?
  • Do your clients have one or more important events on the horizon?
  • Which persona category is the content you’re preparing aimed at?

By answering these question, you’ll put forward a content strategy and interactions that truly meet the different client profiles’ expectations. Digital engagement will be amplified. This is the key so that saver profiles begin to consider investment solutions.

Use the testimonials lever

Testimonials, or ‘social proof’ in marketing terms, are one of the most important psychological resources to use. They reassure the client in the initial stages and contribute to a brand’s reputation.

The selection of client testimonials must therefore anticipate several essential criteria:

  • What was the impact of the solution proposed? Beyond the financial aspect, it’s important to probe the client about the personal benefits. An anecdote adds a human touch, making the testimonial even more convincing.
  • Does the client interviewed correspond to one of your audience personas? This in an absolute condition for the reader to identify with the testimonial selected. They will therefore find it easy to envisage a prospective investment.
  • Does the person interviewed have a regular online presence? If not, some discreet clients do not want you to use their opinion and post it on the Internet.

For a testimonial to really have an impact, it must be based on the personal dimension:

  • Will I be able to increase by contribution to the purchase of this property asset?
  • Will I have the means to found my company?
  • Will I be able to pass on a comfortable inheritance?

The personal angle adds authenticity. It highlights a client's beliefs, which explain why they chose your institution and how your services have enabled them to finance important life projects.

To finish, let's take an example from the automotive sector. Market research has demonstrated to what extent it can be difficult to convince a buyer to change car brand. We can imagine that it’s no less easy to convince a saver profile to ‘venture’ into the world of investment. This is the specific challenge of content marketing.

Inform, reassure, support and convince clients. Once again, the quality of the information (and commitments) proposed is essential. To achieve this, the research and dialogue phase with your clients will be key.

[1] https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=9611&lang=fr

[2] https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/insights/investor-pulse#not-investing

[3] https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/5401760