Why it’s important to work for clients in more than one industry
As most agencies, mediaman has a focus on certain industries. This wasn’t the plan from the beginning, it just happened that way. One project leads to the next: Another car company likes our work for Mercedes-Benz and invites us to pitch. Our work for one financial client puts us on the radar for others. Most clients like to see references within the industry. It means we already understand the basics. We have done our homework. We have researched target audiences, we know how the sales process works, etc. This is particularly relevant for companies that sell complex products – the ones where for years the common understanding was “we cannot sell that online, it’s too difficult” (e.g. mortgages or life insurance).
Similarities between Pharma and Financial Services
Two of our focus industries with complex products are financial and pharma. That didn’t happen because a pharma company was looking for an agency with good knowledge of the financial industry, or vice versa. But it could have. Or maybe it even should have.
When I googled the topic, I found multiple articles about the similarities between the two fields. An article from Australia explains “Why financial planners really are the doctors of the finance world“, Dan Ariely posted an article on LinkedIn in 2012 called “Finance, Meet Pharma” in which he calls for stricter oversight in the financial sector, comparable to the FDA’s role for pharmaceuticals. I was only marginally aware of these parallels until I was working on projects for a biopharmaceutical company and a mutual fund company at the same time. It was the end of the year, and we were brainstorming ideas for both, planting seeds for the next 12 months. We had come up with a tool that would help doctors find information on therapies for a particularly debilitating disease and share it with their patients. All of a sudden, it was also a tool for wholesalers to share investment themes with advisors to pass on to their clients. While we were discussing our target audiences and their needs we realized they were similar. And if health care providers and financial advisors have similar challenges, maybe the solutions could be similar, too?
Similarities between Automotive and Financial Services. Yes, they’re there.
After that we started wondering: what have we learned from our clients from other industries that we may apply to our financial clients? How about the automotive industry? Seems too far fetched? Maybe… But what if we could apply our knowledge in connecting potential car buyers with dealerships to connecting financial advisors and wholesalers? If we can get prospects to schedule a test drive, maybe similar user experiences may get advisors to schedule an office visit by a wholesaler. Or why not translate our Mercedes-Benz Car Configurator into a Portfolio Builder? They are both about customizing a complex product to match individual needs and wants. We even realized that we already had put this to work. Our experience with car customization already flowed into a retirement dashboard on Plumvo.com.
For my work as a user experience designer, I will always insist on working for clients in multiple industries. I believe cross-pollination is important. Not just between our international locations in Germany, China and the US, but also between different fields and different teams. Not only does it make my work more interesting, it also helps my clients, who can benefit from all the different things I’ve learned and worked on. So next time you are looking for an agency for your financial services project, why not pick one with references in pharma and automotive? I know a great one.