Robin Powell on evidence-based investing and content marketing in financial services – MAF166


My guest this week is Robin Powell, a journalist and content marketer.

We talk about how he set up an agency to help financial services professionals with their content marketing, and how he became interested in evidence-based investing, the approach often forgotten in the debate between active and passive investing.

Welcome to episode 166 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Robin Powell on evidence-based investing and content marketing in financial services - MAF166

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How content marketing can help those working in financial services
  • The process Robin uses to create a content strategy for clients
  • Which people inspire Robin
  • Why Robin thinks video is the king of content
  • How Robin got into evidence-based investing
  • How evidence-based investing works
  • Evidence-based investing versus active investing and passive investing

Who is Robin Powell?

Robin’s background is journalism. He worked mostly in broadcast TV on news and current affairs, producing award-winning documentaries. He also worked on politics shows for BBC and Sky.

Feeling the industry was ageist, he left to set up a consultancy and stumbled across financial advice by chance when working with his first client, a wealth management company. Although Robin’s content marketing consultancy doesn’t exclusively produce finance content, it is their area of expertise.

His interest in content marketing came from following emerging trends in the TV industry, and becoming fascinated and energised by the disruptions that technology brought.

Summary of our chat

Robin believes content marketing is the only form of marketing that still works.

But it can take time. However, Robin says it’s key because it’s your message, values and philosophy and what sets your business apart. Nobody else will tell your story.  You need content to share your message. Content marketing lets financial services professionals to show their expertise.

To create a content strategy, Robin helps financial professional clients find ways to stand out. This is a challenge in a crowded marketplace. Each company needs to identify their unique selling point. It’s important to manage expectations and show that content marketing is the long game, not an immediate fix.

Robin has been inspired by financial bloggers creating valuable content in the US. The biggest investment blog is by Barry Ritholtz. He’s built an entire advisory firm around content by hiring advisers who can blog for him. It can be a lonely place, but Robin says finding a niche and being consistent helps to build an audience.

Robin says evidence shows video is a powerful way to get a message across. The combination of seeing and hearing a person makes them more believable. Search engines love videos as long as they’re properly optimised. They’re an effective way to drive traffic to business websites.

A wealth management company approached Robin to make a documentary about investments. When he carried out research in preparation for the shoot, to his surprise, he found a lot of investing, even by professionals, is based on theories, hunches and behavioural biases. This is not what people expect is the case.

The evidence shows that professional money managers, who are actively trying to beat the market, usually fail to do so, once you factor in the fees you pay for them, as this cancels out any profit.

Academic research shows that active investing is a loser’s game. And yet it’s still the default approach. Evidence-based investing is making decisions on academic evidence,  produced using robust statistical analysis, is independent, peer-reviewed and time-tested. What the industry does rarely meets these criteria.

Index funds (or passive investing) are cheap and do what they say on the tin, so you know what you’re getting.

A marketing campaign or product Robin loves

There’s a tendency to make content too intellectual, but people’s buying decisions are based on emotions, so the key is to move people in some way. Robin says he’s been impressed by 10X Investments in South Africa, who employed a well-known TV comedian to produce a series of videos showing how ridiculous it is that people give away their wealth. They’re funny, but each tells a story and makes an important point.

Links and contact details

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