On the heels of the Argyle 2017 Financial Services Forum: Marketing and Technology Innovation, three members of our leadership team sat down to share their observations and insights from the show. The focus of this year’s event was to explore how digital transformation will continue to impact financial services today and tomorrow. The following conversation took place between Jonathan Fiur, Director of Financial Services Solutions, Ed Breault, Vice President of Marketing and Industry Solutions, and Steve Sugar, Senior Solution Consultant.
There is still a fundamental skills gap – too much martech, not enough marketing technologists
Jonathan: I found that across the board, the attendees had a real hunger and excitement for learning about new technology that could solve their business challenges. But, it was clear their appetite for technology currently outstrips their ability to really understand it and bring it to a process for operational excellence.
For example, I spoke with a marketer from a bank that mentioned his company is building a data lake. People across the organization are already coming to him interested in using it. But he is telling them to come back in four or five months while he and his team get their arms around the technology and figure out what do with it.
Ed: I think a lot of that comes down to a learning curve. Most people only have a few years of experience in financial operations marketing. They’re excited to discover new channels and technology, and many are using them on the fringes or within the confines of a business unit. But for the most part, the majority of folks aren’t yet integrating those channels or systems into the core business – connecting the dots and implementing coherent strategies.
Steve: Many of the attendees I spoke with are in the “learning and listening” phase. They just aren’t yet ready to pivot from insights to doing something with it to make it actionable. I met a CMO from a wealth management institution that is in the process of building her technology marketing stack. She was doing exactly that, exploring what the market has to offer, preparing herself to make decisions but not yet ready to do so.
Marketing roles are changing: From brand stars to data wonks
Ed: I do think the skills gap is starting to be addressed based on the skills and roles of many of the attendees I met with. At past events, I remember talking with CMOs, VPs and directors of marketing who all had similar traditional brand marketing backgrounds. At this recent Argyle event, I spoke to many marketers at those same executive levels with deep technology backgrounds in data science and analytics. So the tide is starting to turn, but slowly.
Jonathan: I agree. A number of people I spoke with realize there is a skills gap. They know they have to figure out how to move beyond bringing technology onto their organization to actually putting that technology to work for the company at-large.
Customers expect value through content
Ed: Many of the people I interacted with mentioned that their customers expect a new kind of relationship through marketing. What they want and what they will listen to is not interruptive marketing about products or brand. That piece of marketing is dying, if not dead. Whether it is from an organization’s content strategies or messaging, marketers have to dial into the value that they can create for customers and prospects, be it through entertainment or utility.
The focus has to shift to what the audience wants, not what an organization’s products do. Even if a prospect never purchases a company’s product, marketers have to be willing to invest in them, try to win their hearts and minds.
Jonathan: One of the speakers from a bank and credit card issuer mentioned they had been sponsoring an email newsletter (The Skimm) that has a huge female millennial following. It turned out to be very successful, something the company didn’t anticipate -- they never realized what a strong connection they had made. Now the bank is looking for new ways to engage with that audience beyond just talking to them about what the company does.
It’s time to take action
With new technologies and channels continuing to enter the landscape, marketing will become more and more complex. But there are ways to control your operations and harness the power of your data. Aprimo helps bring order to the chaotic world of marketing by automating marketing operations and bringing all marketing activity into view. Learn more about how you can meet the challenges of tomorrow by taking action today at www.aprimo.com.