What do financial decision makers pay attention to?

Wanna talk through how an insight like this can impact your company?


Every few years we work with a research firm we love to ask financial decision makers what types of messages connect with them and where they find those messages. Upon asking more than 1400 financial decision makers in our 2015 research to rank the most favored ways to really connect with them. The envelope please….


In person events are by far the most preferred method to connect with decision makers. This is great to know but there is a huge problem with the data. When drilling down, 88% of these same folks that love the event venue attend only 2 events per year or less which is a significant reduction from years past.

They cited expense reductions, loss in productivity from being away and other things that show scars of the crisis. They love events, but they don’t go. We think you should find a method of doing a series of webinars. Rapidly.


72% ranked a well-crafted email newsletter as the most important way to connect with them. The newsletter must be full of several content items and be more informational than promotional. Again, we use the 4-1-1 rule. Four Thought leadership informational short articles for every one soft promotion (webinar or event invite) and one hard promotion – apply now. And as for the frequency they’d prefer…you’re gonna totally blow the guess on this one…WEEKLY.

Why? A well-crafted e-newsletter offers the decision maker the ability to quickly scan for items they like, consume the articles and items of interest and move on. Good content in the e-newsletter delivered weekly builds credibility and trust in your expertise while never feeling like they are being “sold”.

Of the decision makers surveyed, they are 83% more likely to take a colder call from a salesperson if they see regular value in their e-newsletter.  Boom.

Are you a trusted source of insightful or innovative ideas, industry/economic outlooks, etc.? Hmm. Oh and BTW…from their feedback…longer technical white-paper-like content sucks.


54% of all decision makers say they research company websites of potential solution providers “extensively” before accepting the first serious sales call. Upon landing on the site, participants made the decision to learn more or exit from the company’s messages within 19 seconds of landing on the site. 19 seconds. What is your web presence doing for you today?

What were the least preferred content areas?


76% said are highly unlikely to consume a video of company messaging or even a testimonial. Yep, tons of people telling you video is the future and you need to be pushing more and more of it because your targets are consuming video like crazy…but not so fast. Most decision makers cited the time (average 5 minutes) being too long and presenters or content presented being unengaging.

We think a few things are going on here. One, we think our dearly beloved research partners showed them videos that were kinda weak. But then again, most videos produced in the commercial finance business are, well, kinda weak. We think the venue of video will be great in the long term and might be now as long as you are producing the good stuff. And please keep in mind, it doesn’t mean no one is utilizing video, it just means it was least preferred compared to other channels.

Direct Mail.

We can sum this one up pretty quick…42% of respondents have someone else that does the triage for their mail. Doesn’t bode well for the average postcard campaign. That said, we believe that creative direct mail (dimensional mailers, appointment setting programs, event support) in more targeted areas can be highly effective. Just pay attention to the strategy and as always the ROI.


54% of decision makers said they are far more likely to notice you if you publish an expert article in the online version of a publication than if you are counting on them thumbing through the printed latest edition of whatever it is. A banner ad in that pubs email blast or website is a nice alternative to print ads as well.

Some other interesting insight

  • Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter were in the middle of the pack. Interesting because they were dead last…by far…two years ago.
  • Also in the middle of the pack but down 3 spots in the ranking and out of the top 4 for the first time ever…the salesperson meeting.

It is important to state that from our view, the salesperson is still and will always be the most important cog in any business development machine. But the world is undeniably changing and how that sales team engaged might need to evolve and need more air cover from marketing in the fight. If you ever wanna chat about these results and what that means for your business development approach, give us a holler.

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