Hurdles to Building a World-Class Marketing Organization (Hint: It’s all about data)

Hallie Williams April 10th, 2018
Marketing Insights

Building a world-class marketing organization is the goal for any financial institution, but it isn’t easy to achieve, especially now. As consumer expectations rise and the financial landscape itself shifts in the wake of all the new martech available to us, financial institutions need to take a long, careful look at their marketing teams to determine if they have the budget, resources, technology, and data to compete at a high level.

While traditional marketing roles remain relevant, the explosive growth of digital channels and data analytics is changing the game. Plainly put, marketers need a higher level and greater variety of skills in data and analytics if their organizations are going to thrive. To say data analysis is a pain point for the banking industry is an extreme understatement.

Data analysis pain

A staggering number of financial institutions, 89 percent, cited data analysis as a problem, according to the 2017 State of Financial Marketing report from Digital Banking Report. In addition, another 90 percent felt that insufficient internal resources or manpower were a challenge. This is a dangerous combination in such a competitive marketplace.

So, what’s causing the trouble? It’s not that the data isn’t out there; a massive amount of data exists about everything from customer behaviors to their wants and needs. For some, the problem is having access to the data but not knowing quite what to do with it, while others need to gain better access.

Either way, it requires a paradigm shift when it comes to data. Instead of using data and marketing analytics to understand past events, the financial industry needs to start using data to predict and anticipate future customer needs. In real time, when possible. The whole point is to deliver the personalized service the customer is increasingly expecting. It means delivering relevant offers at just the right time. It’s about engaging consumers based on their needs, life stages, aspirations and spending.

Turning data into insights

Data analytics, once only available to the giants in the field, is much more accessible today. Properly analyzed, data reveals key insights that help marketers quickly respond to new market trends and changing consumer behaviors. Those insights can be used to create better products and personalized experiences that drive revenue and cut costs.

It’s about picking up marketing signals that tell us about consumer intent. Signals are behavior-based, like clicking on a web ad or making a purchase online; event-based, like having a child go off to college or a car lease expiring; or passive, like having too much money sitting in a checking account instead of in a CD.

Analyze those signals and you’ve got responsive, intuitive, customer-centric marketing.

Limited manpower hampers efforts

Part of the problem isn’t in the data at all. It’s in personnel. Marketers who understand advanced data analytics and innovative marketing technologies are in short supply. Without the required skill sets, financial service organizations will have a challenging time breaking down silos, leveraging marketing automation, implementing initiatives and measuring results.

According to the marketing trends report, the current marketing teams at most financial organizations don’t include data professionals.

Other marketing hurdles

Data analytics isn’t the only hurdle marketing has to overcome, but it is the thread that ties all of those hurdles together.

  • Reluctance to change. A favorite phrase is, “That’s just how we’ve always done it.” And when it comes to technology, organizations tend to fall back on legacy systems. Big mistake. They’re not optimized to deal with a digital marketplace.
  • Budget constraints. Almost half of marketing departments say their budgets are too small or way too small.
  • Incomplete performance and ROI measurements. Most marketing organizations don’t have the capability to provide multichannel attribution and customer journey measurements.
  • Under-utilizing technology. There are more marketing technology options available now than ever before, and they’re less expensive than they used to be. But, according to the marketing trends report, the ability to leverage the benefits of this new tech is a top challenge for financial organizations.

How do you move past these obstacles? Download our white paper, World-Class Marketing for World-Class Financial Institutions, for a deeper dive.

Outsourcing or insourcing?

It’s no bombshell that every marketing organization wants to be a data-driven, customer-connected, revenue-generating machine, so, given all of these obstacles, how do you get there? No organization has the resources to slay every marketing discipline, so you’ve got two options: insource or outsource.

Insourcing means committing the time and resources into either turning someone (or several people) on your staff into a data analytics expert, or making the significant commitment to hiring someone who already has the expertise to lead your team. Customer-engagement specialists, data scientists, and digital and content marketers are in high demand. Headhunters are on high alert for these pros, coming after them with offers constantly. (Hint: Tell your college student to major in data analytics.)

Outsourcing might be a better option, especially for institutions that aren’t the Wells Fargo’s of the world. It means fewer headaches for you and less pressure for your staff. It might be wise to let the pros who do this every day work their magic for you, too.

Bottom line: The sands are shifting in the financial industry and big data is behind much of it. At Deluxe, we’re here to help you make sense of this brave new world.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.