An effective marketing function is vitally important to financial services businesses. Yet often businesses and marketing teams in this sector find it difficult to track requests for work and monitor creative workflows. Teams struggle with a lack of proper visibility and oversight, creating internal bottlenecks as they wrestle with prioritising marketing requests and managing internal resources.

They may also find it difficult to properly track and manage external agencies.

So why should financial services businesses address these problems? The primary consequence of failing to do so delays in releasing campaigns to market. Given most activity marketers undertake is time-sensitive, any days or weeks lost can equate to a sizeable loss of revenue, not to mention media booking penalties and increased agency costs.

A modern marketing resource management platform can help financial services businesses resolve issues such as these and maximise the effectiveness of their marketing teams.

Financial services businesses’ requirements of marketing operations and management platforms typically fall into two ‘buckets’.

The first is governance and compliance.

Too many financial services businesses rely on ad-hoc email approvals for artwork and campaigns. These approvals are hard to track and even more difficult to reconcile when people leave the business.

Modern MRM platforms should consolidate and streamline approvals – including legal – and provide an audit trail. Centralising information and processes to a single platform can deliver the rigour and certainty that ensures compliance.

However, the platform should also provide functionality that extends beyond these fairly basic requirements.

Workflows

A number of financial services businesses categorise specific workflows to support certain types of campaigns by budget or by complexity.

For example, a highly complex marketing campaign will have a set of requirements that stakeholders need to follow, right up to and including the organisation’s most senior marketing stakeholders. The platform needs to allow project owners and campaign creators to deliver a clear path for approvals and delivery to market.

This enables any stakeholder that dips into the process to access clear instructions governing his or her activity.

When the campaign concludes, the platform should give owners, creators and other stakeholders the ability to check the processes themselves, whether those processes were followed and what approvals were issued and when.

Put simply, an MRM platform should enable marketing teams to meet compliance targets and demonstrate that they followed the correct processes to achieve them.

However, for most financial services businesses, governance and compliance is a ‘hygiene factor’ that meets marketers’ and other stakeholders’ minimum expectations of workplace capabilities.

The second ‘bucket’ of financial services’ businesses requirements is where MRM platforms can really add value.

These requirements are centered on improving productivity and delivering a greater return on a marketing investment.

Financial services businesses need an MRM platform that helps them fulfil their objectives in these areas while increasing visibility and the effectiveness of processes involved in dealing with agencies.

The platform should also provide the flexibility to create new processes to support businesses that may be restructuring marketing functions or undertaking digital transformation exercises.

So why should financial services businesses invest in an MRM platform now? The importance of tracking marketing campaigns – and the resources needed to deliver them – is reinforced by the increasingly lean nature of marketing teams.

With marketing managers monitoring team members much more closely, a platform that enables them to see how long it takes individuals to run certain processes is extremely valuable. They can easily identify opportunities for improvement and take corrective action as needed.

Furthermore, marketing teams have considerably more channels to go to market with than their predecessors. This makes visibility of current and previous campaigns – that cannot be achieved with the use of spreadsheets scattered throughout the business – increasingly important.

The marketing platform should provide a centralised view of these campaigns and all associated resources. The calendar can be a particularly valuable tool for a traffic manager who receives requests and assigns activities to team members based on availability and overall workloads.

An MRM platform is also particularly valuable for financial services businesses that may be moving studios and activities in-house. Doing so requires them to build out new processes and track activity closely.

Furthermore, where financial services businesses are working with marketing agencies, they need to be able to monitor and measure performance. Given agencies’ influence on campaign costs and time to market, understanding how long activities are taking and how many iterations of a creative asset are needed to reach completion is essential.

In the second part of this article, we will elaborate on these points and provide examples from the financial services and other sectors that illustrate how marketing operations and management platform can transform the marketing function.

About the author

Emma Sutton is the Senior Customer Success Manager, Simple which  is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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