After two years of responding to government intervention into the revenue structure of financial organizations, bank marketers are now faced with heightened levels of competition, a more demanding customer base, an unfavorable rate environment and, in many
cases, a shrinking budget. But potentially most challenging to financial institution CMOs I meet in my travels is the ability to respond to the shift in the ways we interact with customers and prospects.
The flood of data, channels, devices and changing consumption patterns have marketing departments in financial organizations of all sizes trying to determine if they are prepared. They are reviewing the skills sets that will be required to take advantage
of the opportunities these challenges present, and realizing that gearing up may require a heightened level of personal engagement from all members of their team.
These challenges are reinforced by a set of studies that I recently reviewed that surveyed marketers from all industries. IBM's 2011 Global Chief Marketing Officer Study entitled,
From Stretched to Strengthened found that the majority of CMOs feel unprepared when it comes to the explosion of data available (71%), the impact of social media (68%) the growth of channels and devices (64.5%) and the movement from mass markets to micro
More importantly, several of the areas where CMOs stated they were least prepared were also those they believed would be the most important for their businesses. In fact, each of the top four areas of preparedness gap are also in the areas where the impact
on the marketing function was thought to be the highest.
But while there were many references to the growing analytical side of online measurement and monitoring in the IBM study, only 26% of CMOs surveyed track blogs, 42% track third-party reviews and 48% track consumer reviews. The need for a much better understanding
of ROI was referred to many times in the study, going as far as saying that the CMO of today is in position similar to that of the CFOs 10 years ago.
Turning data into action was also the primary organizational issue in Unica's
Annual Survey of Marketers, with the need to harness the power of the mobile device and to leverage the potential of truly integrated marketing also ranking high. As with the IBM study, the Unica research indicated that there is a significant gap between
desire and achievement, with much more progress needed in the use of insight for better customer communication and measuring the impact of efforts across channels.
tangible results from efforts. This also seems to be true in the bank marketing industry, where many are questioning the financial impact of investments made in social media and wanting to connect 'fans' and 'follows' into leads and sales.
Just like most other industries, bank marketers are being tested daily during a period of unparalleled change and will be required to respond to these new market realities:
- The consumer is definitely in control of the business relationship, with the ability to shop with a click and change bank partners without ever confronting us face-to-face.
- While margins are thin and the tolerance for fees is low, delivering customer value is the table stake in the game both from a perspective of products offered as well as access afforded.
- There is a greater need for seamless integration of marketing channels with an eye towards both effectiveness and efficiency.
- Accountability for marketing investments has never been more important at a time when bank revenues are at a premium, with new tools for measurement and skills for assessment being leveraged.
- Each of the above realities will require a more robust and continuous level of testing as tools, approaches and consumer attitudes continue to change.
At the National Center for Database Marketing Conference last December, where hundreds of practitioners met to discuss current trends and share success stories from a variety of industries,
one thing was clear . . . there is no silver bullet. In fact, most marketers are working hard to hone their skill sets in a very fluid environment.
The good news is that there are amazing solutions being developed daily to help marketers do their jobs more effectively. The bad news is that the change is continuing at a more rapid pace every day. To be effective, bank marketers will need to have both
great learning agility and adaptability to 'what's next'.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing your marketing department in the coming year? Is your team prepared for the changes ahead? What are you doing to prepare for the new marketplace?
I would love to hear your comments.