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Crisis Response 2020: Financial Marketing in Uncertain Times

Gramercy Institute just released an important, timely and brand new research study. This industry study, 

“Crisis Response 2020: Financial Marketing in Uncertain Times,” 

features the collective opinion of 135 senior marketers from

the world's leading financial brands.


HIGHLIGHTS: Crisis Response 2020: Financial Marketing In Uncertain Times

Gramercy Institute is pleased to present these highlights to its members, partners and industry colleagues. 


In late March 2020, Gramercy Institute surveyed 135 marketers at financial firms, 83% reported their positions as “Senior” or “Very Senior.” 104 completed the entire survey. 


Findings have suggested that “this is not your grandfather’s crisis!” Unlike previous financial crises, the financial services industry is not to blame. In fact, financial firms are being viewed as victims, along with other industries and individuals. What’s more, despite the fact that we are currently in a financial crisis, the financial services industry is being looked upon with respect by the U.S. and vital to the recovery from the current financial crisis.


As such, “trust” in the financial sector does not need to be reinstated. It is already here. Audiences are receptive and seek communication, clarity and empathy.



85% of financial brands say that their financial clients have “several more” or “many more" financial needs than they did pre-crisis. No one is blaming the financial services industry for THIS crisis. Financial marketing needs to help make sure that the world understands that, this time around, financial services is part of the solution—not the problem.



We got this. 86% of financial marketers report that not only do they have crisis communications plan in place—but they are using them right now. Marketers at financial firms agree that we are in a crisis—they are ready for it.



Further, marketers at financial firms are looking at this crisis in a highly strategic way.  There is concern—but there is no panic. 0% (that means not one marketer of the 135 from 80 firms we surveyed) reported that their plan was to “go dark” from advertising and marketing during this crisis.



To the point that financial marketers are not panicking, 72.34% of respondents said they are planning to “refocus strategies and budgets” based on the pandemic crisis situation.  



Current agency relationships remain secure. That’s a good sign that no one is panicking.  Most (74%) financial brands report "adequate" current coverage from financial partners and agencies. There is some new demand for new agency services as 8% of respondents reported that they do not have enough coverage from external marketing partners and agencies to meet their current needs. I suspect that as time marches on, even more needs will surface for new agency partners.  



The agency services that financial brands deem most valuable right now are “media” agencies. “Digital” agencies and “strategy” agencies are also among the most valuable now to financial brands. It makes sense. These are all addressing complex strategic needs for the financial brand.


Marketers are not pretending that this isn’t happening. More importantly, financial brands are not overreacting during this pandemic crisis. The pandemic is not taboo. As far as topics go, it is a problem to solve. At financial brands 73.96% of respondents say that a majority of their outbound messaging is “characterized as crisis specific."



So what value message are financial brands rallying around? From a list of nine potential themes, an overwhelming number of respondents believe that "safe and secure" is the phrase that pays at the moment, when communicating with clients and customers.



People are home and media is being absorbed now more than ever by financial audiences.  From a media perspective, financial marketers believe that “content marketing is of critical importance” today (right now) during this crisis. Social media works well too right now report financial brands.   



While no one—or no group—can predict the future, there is wisdom in the masses—the trick is tapping it. Gramercy Institute notes that 72% of financial markers believe that this crisis will endure for between six months and one year.  



Our industry will scale down by 8.25% within the first three months of this crisis, believe marketers at financial brands. There will be belt-tightening and a need to think critically about staffing needs. Still, there is more than enough need for hard-working and dedicated financial marketers. They key, is to keep your eye on your own clients (and their adapting needs!)




  • MARKETERS AT FINANCIAL BRANDS: Remember that your customers and clients have a very specific set of needs right now. Keep communicating. Keep marketing to these unique needs. Keep new ideas flowing.  Be empathetic. Answer your clients’ questions. Listen. Respond thoughtfully. 


  • LEADERS AT FINANCIAL AGENCIES: Consider this: Your clients are figuring all this out on the fly. Help them. Be patient.  Be inventive (but not crazy). Be there for them. Offer them advice. Consider their (brand new) tactical challenges. Help them communicate with their clients in a thoughtful and sensitive way.


  • MARKETING & MEDIA PARTNERS: Come shout about it! Share your value with your agency and financial marketer colleagues. Respect their time and be patient—schedules are very tight right now. Express your value and how it can particularly solve their current (brand new) marketing issues. Understand that at the end of the day, your clients are figuring this out in real time. They are counting on you to help them figure out this “new normal.”

 Purchase Study

(one-company license): $895

“Our world is a different place from the one we woke up to just three or four weeks ago, says Bill Wreaks, Chief Analyst at Gramercy Institute. “We’ve all watched the pandemic unfold and we’ve witnessed the consequences it has presented to global financial markets. What remains unclear, uncertain and—until now—unknown is what this all means to the financial services marketing industry.  


Gramercy Institute along with well over one hundred senior colleagues delivers direct answers to the industry’s questions as it publishes this important study. 


This in-depth report will contain a one-page executive summary and  approximately 15 annotated charts, documenting and describing the opinions and sentiments of marketers from the world’s leading financial brands. Finally, this important report will include approximately 20 specific recommendations specifically for financial brands, financial agencies and financial media and marketing partners on how to most effectively navigate these uncharted waters of the industry.


Purchasers will have the opportunity to receive specific set of action-oriented recommendations oriented for financial firms, for agencies or for financial media/marketing partners.


Gramercy Institute will be issuing a “Summary Report” to its full global financial services community. Full studies with charts and recommendations are available for purchase.


This study was completed the week of March 23, 2020 in direct response to the pandemic and financial crisis.


Marketers from over 80 leading financial firms agreed to participate in this study. 85% are "senior/very senior" marketers at leading financial financial firms.


Request info on the roster of 80 leading financial firms that these study respondents work for.

Request information on sponsoring this study.



Marketers from leading financial firms were asked these survey questions:


MARKETING RESPONSE: With respect to the pandemic crisis, please characterize how your own marketing team is likely responding to it.


MARKETING RESPONSE: Do you have a crisis communications plan in place?  Are you using it now? 


CUSTOMER NEEDS: In the wake of this sudden crisis, financial CONSUMERS today suddenly have (MORE OR LESS) financial needs.


CUSTOMER NEEDS: What are some of the sudden new needs of financial consumers?


CUSTOMER NEEDS: In the wake of this sudden crisis, financial B-TO-B CLIENTS today suddenly have (MORE OR LESS) financial needs.


CUSTOMER NEEDS: What are some of the sudden new needs of financial B-TO-B CLIENTS?


TONALITY: We've listed some typical financial product attributes below.  At this time, which ones seem MOST appropriate to promote financial products right now? 


TONALITY: We've listed some typical financial product attributes below. At this time, which ones seem LEAST appropriate to promote financial products right now? 


MEDIA: What types of media do you feel are most effective in reaching BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS financial audiences in TODAY? 


MEDIA: What types of media do you feel are most effective in reaching BUSINESS-TO-CONSUMER financial audiences in TODAY? 


MESSAGING: During this crisis, how would you characterize the majority of your outbound messaging? 


AGENCY RELATIONS: Please complete this statement: At this time, my financial firm has (BLANK) coverage from our external marketing partners and agencies? 


AGENCY RELATIONS: What kind of agency or marketing consultant services are most valuable to you at this time? 


CRISIS DURATION: Please offer your “best guess” to respond to this question: “For the most part, the financial marketing industry will be ‘back to normal’ in (BLANK)”


EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK: By what percentage do you believe that marketing teams (across the industry) will be down-sizing or up-sizing in the next 3 months?


Purchase Study

(one-company license): $895

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