The next few years are going to be transformative from a marketing perspective in the financial services sector – partly driven by a new generation of marketing technologies but also continual changes in consumer behaviour.
This will lead to Digital Darwinism, says senior financial marketer Stephen Ingledew, who has held senior executive marketing and customer roles with large financial services businesses, most recently Standard Life and Barclays.
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We spoke to Ingledew and asked him to help shed some light on the evolutionary process that sees digital marketing embedding itself within corporate organisations in many countries.
To start, what does he mean by Digital Darwinism?
Quite simply it means when technology and society are changing faster than organisations can adapt to and the only positive way to respond is to become customer driven. One consequence of this is that organisations will need to radically evolve their marketing operations in order to become customer driven.
To do this, financial organisations will need to ask themselves how are they relevant to a consumer’s life and how do their products address real-life changing consumer needs.
“Failing to address the real and changing needs of consumers will open the way for the new emerging group of market disrupters that will do so. Established businesses can too easily assume that because they are the biggest and have the most resources that they will be the survivors, but Darwinism proves that isn’t the case. Those who adapt and change will succeed, not those that continue to do what they have always done,” Ingledew says.
Within this rapidly evolving marketing environment, the selection of the most appropriate marketing operations platform is important. From his broad experience of leading technological advances in large organisations, Ingledew believes Aprimo’s Marketing Operations platform can help transform the way businesses interact with its customers. “Aprimo supports the key foundations of marketing – issues such as governance, risk management and supplier relationships,” he explains.
“Technology has always been around – on a basic level it facilitates automation and efficiency but it does not in itself create a customer driven businesses.
“Aprimo allows for technical advances to be combined with innately human marketing skills, such as creativity, an imagination and empathy – skills that technology cannot replace. As time goes on and the possibility of more jobs being replaced by technology, we must find a space that allows people to add value through their human skills. Aprimo frees marketers to be marketers!” he continued.
According to Ingledew it is important to go beyond the front line marketing team and support many aspects of the wider marketing ecosystem such as legal, risk, sales channels and third party suppliers. “This helps break down silos within a company and provides a keen focus on client contact, the customer need and the purpose of why you are in business. This way the focus to not just be on technology. This is important because otherwise it is all about efficiency, which is not necessarily something that gets people out of bed in the morning.”
“The brand is personality – it is not the company colours nor the logo. Customers relate to personality, and they expect it to have a certain level of consistency. The more comfortable you are with a personality, the more you engage with it. However, within marketing different channels are often used such as mobile, telephone or social: frequently each channel can give a different experience or facet of your personality. This can then lead to confusion for your customer.
“By having a single source of marketing truth providing transparency and consistency of message tone and style, Marketers can ensure the root core of the brand’s personality is amplified across their channels. Whilst still enabling creative conversation, it provides an opportunity to give consistency with personality,” says Ingledew.
His background as a lawyer has meant he has always seen the importance of marketing compliance. He believes that the best marketing operations platforms provide governance and control whilst still driving operational efficiencies.
“The right technology platform enables you to have confidence that your marketing messages are compliant. Once you have compliance confidence, you can empower your teams to be more creative and co-create with customers. We need governance and control – this is where marketing operations technology becomes invaluable,” he explains.
“Regulators have the power to investigate, fine and potentially sanction the senior person who is ultimately responsible for signing off marketing from a regulatory perspective. Therefore, as senior executives are distanced from day to day operations, they need the assurance that their marketing messages are compliant and legal. In this respect, Aprimo’s Marketing Operations have given me that assurance and helped me sleep at night.”
“Once you have that confidence and competence teams can self-regulate,” continued Ingledew, “but to do this there is a need for governance and control, and this is where technology comes into its own.”
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