The Importance of the Visual Display of Data in Financial Marketing

When it comes to financial and investment branding and marketing, the visual language that your firm uses is of the utmost importance in helping to improve your marketing, attract and retain clients, and build your brand.

To do so, your firm should have a solid design strategy that not only tells the story of your firm but also gets your point across in a simple, useful and elegant way. Leading companies in all industries use design to drive marketing effectiveness, customer retention and highlight differentiators and competitive advantages. In fact, nearly three quarters of companies say they have improved customer satisfaction and usability through design, according to a new report entitled “The New Design Frontier” by InVision, which surveyed 2,200 designers worldwide in fall of 2018.

“Obviously in the world of investment marketing, data visualization is even more important than other industries. Finding unique and engaging ways to bring numbers and data to life is paramount to our design process. We are constantly pushing boundaries of software charting capabilities, infographic design and color theory across both print and web execution to help our investment clients improve their visual display of data.” 

MBC Strategic Founder, Matt Brunini

The InVision report found that companies with high design maturity are more likely to see cost savings, revenue gains, productivity gains, speed to market, and brand and market position improvements through their design efforts. The ultimate goal for financial design and data visualization should be “to try to help people see better and more intensely,” says Edward Tufte, whose 1983 book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information continues to be a top seller. Making data more manageable by getting rid of rigidity and clutter should be a top priority for anyone who is taking complex data and redesigning it across reporting, sales and marketing materials in the financial and investment industry. Your clients’ attention span is short and if you’re not getting the point across quickly, your design is missing its point.

From working in financial services for the past two decades, we’ve put together the following list of insights and processes for financial marketers and designers to better illustrate their brands and data:

1. Do Your Homework

First and foremost, conduct research on the audience to figure out what they do, think, feel, and how they invest and manage their finances. Combine all your findings and observe where problems or gaps exist. Imagine the experience from the client’s perspective and seek out ways to improve their experience. Get an idea of the preferred setting for interacting with data and content. The goal is to empathize with your clients and prospects to create visual experiences that will resonate with their expectations and push them towards action.

2. Define Your Scope

What is the feasibility and viability of producing these creative marketing concepts? Do you have the time and budget to create 10-minute videos around each of your 10 fixed income strategies? If not, perhaps you can begin with shorter printed materials highlighting your investment strategy and process. Try to define the hierarchy of information, prioritizing what your target audiences care most about. A white paper on volatility patterns in emerging markets might not interest your retail clients, for example. Next, find what captures their attention and how you can display data around those concepts most effectively. Make it impactful, make an emotional connection if you can.

3. Tell a Story

A stand-alone chart is nothing without a story around it. In our experience, an investment story develops three characteristics:

  • A compelling opportunity
  • A unique strategy or set of expertise from the investment manager
  • The value generated for the client

Clients are motivated by more than just performance and identifying those other functional and emotional needs will help you create a unique story. Your story isn’t just words and it isn’t just images, it is a combination that clearly highlights the importance of the underlying brand to the viewers. Notice how we weave a story into the graphics below that sets the firm apart from the crowd:

4. Focus on the data that matters most

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of data—and it’s especially hard for your clients. Make sure the data that you’re displaying focuses only on what your clients are interested in. Growth of $10,000 or a visualization of your firm’s illustrious history might be more important for some audiences than quarterly performance, always make sure to show what the clients want rather than what is par for the course. Don’t try to do too much with too much data and make the most important data memorable.

5. Use simple, elegant solutions to communicate complex concepts

When communicating investment concepts, the right visualization can dramatically improve a client’s understanding of long-term, complex investing topics. The challenge is finding a clear, effective way to demonstrate that value. Simplicity and elegance go hand-in-hand.  

6. ideate through strategy and design

Brainstorm a range of creative ideas and come up with a prototype that achieves your goals and those of your target market. Bring your team members and designers together and share ideas. Adapt your concept based on feedback and continue refining.

Bring your investment industry marketing and design together

The firms that stand out are those with simple, elegant designs which is consistent, clear and concise across all of their marketing and branding collateral. You want readers and clients who are going to look at these financial and investment industry design materials and think: ‘That makes perfect sense’ rather than scratch their heads wondering what it is they are looking at.

Where MBC Strategic Can Help

We understand how complex the world of financial and investment marketing and branding is—it is our singular focus—and we bring 20 years of design and data visualization best practices. We seek ways for investment companies and financial advisors to build out an authentic story and highlight their unique value proposition in a way that differentiates themselves from the sea of same in the industry.


If you’re interested in learning more about how MBC can help your company, give us a call at (310) 445-3333 or submit your email here.