Taking the Personal Finance Conversation Home: 5 Things I Learned at FinCon18

October 10, 2018 Cal Escue

FinCon is a convergence of media and money, where bloggers, vloggers, Fintech startups, publishers, and app companies gather to discuss what’s pushing the financial industry forward. Taking place in Orlando this year, over 2,000 attendees joined for the 8th annual conference. Both established and up-and-coming brands were present to discuss how they could get their message out, expand their brand further online, and captivate their audiences. Among the thought leadership represented and trending FinTech topics presented, there was a lot to learn. Here are some of my top takeaways:

1) Younger generations are engaging in open conversations when it comes to money management

This is Mogo’s first time at the conference, and after being invited to speak, we had a great presence and resounding voice amongst those looking to grow their brands online. Our roundtable discussion “Money Talks: Why Sensible Money Management Has Become a Social Topic,” focused on the elephant in the room: millennials and their social discussions around money. Over 44% of the workforce in 2020 will be identified as a millennial (roughly ages 18/23 to 37)–or 86 million people–as reported by the American Bankers Association. Among most millennials laden with debt, conversations about money-saving tips, tricks, and, of course, how to pay off student loans have become frequent and open. Our talk focused on how to reach this, at times, elusive generation, and how to target them effectively towards action.

2) Voice (i.e. Amazon’s Alexa) is a growing advertising and branding ad format

Within this larger conversation of Reach and Extension, we saw many topics and conversations around voice and in-home devices pop up as a way to further engage your audience. Alexa Flash Briefings, 30-second long audio-clips, were a hot topic and have been growing in popularity. Voice, as we all know, is a time and energy saving tool that we use for typing out text messages, asking our phones for directions, or to call someone via Bluetooth, and ever increasingly in our homes. With Voice devices on the rise, companies are now breaking into the market with new ways to provide perspective and valuable content, leaving opportunity for growth in advertising options for marketers to deploy.

3) Create a Facebook group to growth hack your audience (and no, not just for nonprofits)

Creating a company led or sponsored Facebook Group is a way for you to open up to your audience and provide a collaborative setting on key topics and initiatives that are important to your audience. In many ways, this can be seen as providing something for free–so why would you do this? In many ways, yes, it is a free space. However, as an advertiser, it’s a more authentic way to connect with your audience without constantly asking for something from them. Rather, it’s a way to provide value as a thought leader in your space and provide expertise on how to help out the end user. In this regard, it’s a terrific means for brand awareness and top-of-mind recruiting for new prospects. This comes along with utilizing the right message in the right format, though–something that is extremely important today as more and more content becomes digital.

4) Creating a clear and inclusive message is key; hence, why more than content is king

“Content is King”–we’ve all heard it, the trite phrase that plagues every Marketing 101 handbook. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but kings get overthrown. With so much content being published every second, minute, hour, and day by marketers, it’s hard not to feel like you are sending a message into the vacuum of space. So, how can you overcome this? Answer: by creating a message that is inclusive with clear outcomes for the consumer. It may seem rudimentary, or even Marketing 101, but we see it everywhere, branding without any sense of “What does this do for me?” attitude. JFK once said, “Vote for me, and we will go to the moon.” What’s our incentive for taking action and voting? We will go to the moon. Each message cannot be as simple and clear as this, but sticking to your principles and keeping your message strong and clear can help with your traffic and conversions.

5) Blogs are evolving to become full-time publishers and the growing app universe amongst Millenials and beyond

Throughout the conference, we saw a very popular conversation around messaging off of major publisher sites. Where are readers spending their time? What content are they digesting in the personal finance world? Increasingly, all fingers point to personal finance blogs, apps with open discussion forums, and personal finance groups. This traffic is highly sought after and it’s easy to see why some publishers are willing to pay for the content to be on their site. Chasing the end-user or consumer is not a new concept among advertisers, but realizing how our audience is talking and about what can certainly help inform our messaging and targeting strategies. We highly recommend getting to know your audience as much as possible by simply asking for a visitor list or path to conversion from the site, helping you understand where they consume content most.

While a very quick five days, the conference opened our eyes to the overall zeitgeist and culture of the consumer-facing financial industry and its direction in the future. We enjoyed FinCon18 and look forward to an exciting attendance next year!

If you’d like to discuss more on these topics, or anything and everything FinTech related, reach out to me at cal@mogointeractive.com.

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