It seems like since the introduction of the internet (how's that for dramatic?), the key headline in most marketing literature is focused around the pace of change. The pace of change of consumer expectations, consumer behavior, technology, automation...it's a blanket statement that's still applicable. Although the financial industry has lagged on the adoption of sophisticated digital marketing, it’s now widely utilized and understood as table stakes in modern marketing. At the center of the Why of evolving marketing is consumers.
As time passed all of the activity, interactions, and engagement online was being stored as “big data." Access to this information gave companies the potential to completely transform marketing as it was known. The challenge was that few companies had the technology and skillset to translate this data into meaningful and actionable insights that drive and reward consumer attention and engagement.
Effective marketers across all industries have evolved from seeing marketing as a few simple categories – branding, creative, media – to what it is now – a highly scientific, data-driven discipline. Keeping pace means more than developing your own knowledge set and marketing muscle; it means looking at ways you can fortify your people resources in order to engage real people.
Hire staff and train up internally
The role of marketing within any financial institution has made a monumental shift over the last two decades. Traditionally, marketing departments were responsible for leading strategy, creative, and execution. Much of that could be managed by someone with similar skill sets. Today, however, a well-rounded marketing department requires a range of specialties and experience in order to run effectively. You'll want to explore adding resources that cover four business functions for a versatile and effective marketing team.
- Content marketing
- Marketing science
- Customer experience
Adding to your team's knowledge base may require literal new additions. But let me encourage you to also seek within your own ranks the talent and aptitude to broaden skill sets and critical thinking. Morale should be a primary consideration in this decision tree. Pursue subject matter experts who demonstrate an almost compulsive need to ensure that customer experiences are positive, consistent, and shared. Seek training and education that addresses the many ways in which people learn.
Hire and manage multiple external agencies
Another option to taking on the responsibility in-house is to look externally. This model is an avenue for companies who prefer to maintain smaller teams and who have the financial means to invest in seeking out and retaining external partners. If you're considering a vendor-partnership, the functions that are typically outsourced are illustrated here. In this model, integrated communication and strategy is critical.
Seek partners who share your values and intuitively understand your goals by asking probing questions about client requests and their resolutions.
- Can you provide examples of clients with similar business models to ours?
- Describe a problem you helped solve. How did you define the issue? Who contributed to the information gathering stage? How did you validate concerns?
- Have you encountered a client goal that you could not address? What did you learn from that failure or opportunity?
- What is your team's communication style when things are going well? What about when stress and stakes are high?
- How will you determine what success looks like?
- Can you share a typical metrics dashboard?
It's not too late to change the trajectory if you haven’t yet adjusted to this new era of marketing. But it is imperative to fortify your talent when it comes to magnifying and optimizing your brand reach. There are ways to elevate your marketing organization to include data science and sophisticated marketing technology that are affordable and streamlined, allowing your team to stay focused on adding value where it is best utilized: connecting and relating to the communities you serve.