Written by Tim Focas

American philosopher Robert Paul once said: “Even before Christmas has said hello, it’s saying buy buy,” (although perhaps “bye bye” is now more appropriate). Financial market participants across Europe have been on a buying binge of their own in recent times – all in a bid to be compliant with the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II).

But last week’s long-awaited January 3rd MiFID II implementation deadline by no means marks the end of this regulatory spending spree. Particularly as technology systems and processes will need to be updated throughout 2018 to meet new demands of the local regulators. For example, the FCA, via MiFID II, will have unprecedented volumes of information on market abuse. Firms can expect a greater focus on this once the data comes to light, which may in turn prompt a review of systems in this area.

With adjustments to these systems continuing well beyond January, banks, brokers and asset managers should get ready for a barrage of sales pitches from the regtech community. On the one hand, having a wide choice of solutions to select from could be a good thing. On the other, how many vendor pitches can a risk management or operations officer get through before frustration and fatigue sets in?

For regtech firms fighting to get their voices heard, there are a number of points to consider. Too many vendors still fall into the trap of thinking that “unique” product capabilities alone will be enough to turn heads. The problem is, with so much MiFID II product news out there, an all-singing all-dancing compliance solution just promoted through the usual media channels no longer cuts the mustard.

Instead of going down this road, regtech firms should take a step back and think differently about how effective communications can help them meet their goals. The style and tone of content is the first thing to consider. There is demand for non-product-centric stories that connect a specific market structure change driven by regulation with a wider event that everyone is talking about. It could be, for example, using the 10-year anniversary of Lehman’s collapse as an excuse to argue why banks should review how much capital they need to protect themselves from sharp price falls. And it is not just about the written word. If a piece can be supplemented by an engaging visual image, then businesses will be much better placed to hook in their audience. There is certainly demand for visual content – more than 60% of marketers planed investment in video marketing last year (Source: Content Marketing Institute).

Developing timely thought-provoking content is, however, only half the battle. In order to stand the best possible chance of generating leads, choosing the right media channels is key. In some instances, a granular approach to audience targeting through channels such as LinkedIn could be the best way forward. A snappy headline and introduction for a sponsored piece of content can clearly communicate the benefits of a regtech firm’s technology to a specific audience. Tracking impressions, average click through rates and social actions is a far more tangible way of measuring the success of any content campaign, above and beyond press clippings alone. In most cases, there will be multiple appropriate channels and firms should be sure to exploit them all effectively to give them the best chance to engage their audiences.

A post-MiFID II world presents the ideal forum for the regtech industry to start thinking about how they can create and push out specialist content, both written and visual, through more targeted channels. Firms that do will be best placed to increase awareness of their solutions as financial institutions continue to make key buying decisions throughout 2018. Those that stick to the traditional approach of pushing out “game-changing product news” may generate some quick wins, but ultimately, they will end up losing out long term to those who adopt a more targeted approach.

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