Blockchain: Why FS marketers must get with the programme

Billed as the biggest innovation since the internet, blockchain is in the process of revolutionising the financial services sector. To make the most of the opportunities on offer, FS marketers will need to challenge traditional strategies and mind-sets and, above all, overcome their fear of the unknown.

Alongside Brexit, blockchain was one of 2016′s biggest buzzwords. No FS conference programme was complete without it.

Over the coming 12 months, this momentum only looks set to intensify as investment in blockchain solutions balloons – especially among the FS sector. As Giancarlo Bruno, Head of Financial Services Industries, World Economic Forum puts it: “Rather than stay at the margins of the finance industry, blockchain will become the beating heart of it.”

Yet, many banks, asset managers, investment specialists, and professional advisers are putting off talking to their audiences about blockchain. On the surface, it’s easy to see why:

1. It’s a complex subject. Involving some mind-boggling mathematics, even the most experienced financial professionals struggle to define what blockchain is and what it can do. This makes it tough for marketers to get their heads around it. Read our US Blockchain report or our UK Blockchain report.

2. It’s pretty new. With the technology still very much in its infancy, few well-known FS blockchain solutions currently exist – especially ones that are customer-facing. This means that traditional marketing avenues like product brochures and advertising simply won’t cut it.

3. It’s not got a great reputation. Blockchain was originally conceived as the technology behind Bitcoin – the cryptocurrency that is synonymous with the online black market. In reality, Bitcoin has many legitimate uses and blockchain exists as standalone technology. Nevertheless, there are perception hurdles around blockchain that make marketers’ jobs that bit harder.

4. It’s uncharted territory. Blockchain is currently unregulated – and there’s nothing more difficult for FS compliance teams than ‘grey areas’. This is making it even tougher to get sign off on ‘traditional’ marketing materials.

Despite the very real concerns around blockchain right now, FS marketers cannot afford to shy away from the topic. The technology is already a buzzword among the tech community and is now starting to enter public consciousness.

From reducing fraud to speeding up processing times and reducing transaction costs, blockchain will soon become a yardstick for innovation. Your customers will expect you to be embracing it and talking about it.

Of course, with such a complex and nascent technology, communication can be tricky. But there are clever ways you can engage your audience around blockchain without taking unwarranted risks.

Thought leadership content, from articles and whitepapers to infographics, videos and webinars, has a key role to play in helping to educate audiences about the technology, dispel myths, and even grow critical mass.

At the same time, good quality content – and the right content marketing strategy – can help you carve out a meaningful niche as a blockchain thought leader. So, cast those fears aside. It’s time to get out of the starting blocks.

Find out more about the challenges and opportunities of blockchain marketing and content’s role in navigating any potential pitfalls in our latest report:

Read our US Blockchain report or our UK Blockchain report.

John Cooper

John is the Director of Content for Editions Financial, driving the strategic vision for content within the agency. He is passionate about the processes by which we create, activate, amplify and optimise content with intent. In his spare time, John continues with his struggle to write the perfect pop song. Watch this space.