Our digital marketing Roundtable is approaching its 20th anniversary! Having attended them regularly since they started as e-Business Roundtables way back when, it is as fun to see some familiar faces as it is exciting to welcome the many new participants.
Bob Pearson of W2O Group kicked off this Roundtable with a thought-provoking presentation on “Analytics to AI: What Leads to Success and Why?” In the keynote that followed, Mike Cogburn urged firms to use data to target advisors and pro buyers whose investment decisions they can influence with highly personalized experiences. The main takeaways from the discussion that ensued are:
Marketing teams are diversifying.
While marketing teams stayed rather stable over the years, we are now seeing far more new faces recruited from financial news, e-commerce, banking and agencies. Marketing teams are also drawing talent from other business functions within their enterprises like business intelligence, information technology and sales. These “crossover” members are helpful in building bridges to other parts of the organization, where they have relationships and functional knowledge, which helps them develop and bring projects to fruition more quickly than before. They are leading initiatives in customer lifecycle marketing, lead scoring and attribution.
Leveraging marketing technology is a challenge.
Most firms do not seem to have a shortage of marketing technology but rather of the talent to assess and use it. A number of firms have invested in powerful stacks from Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce. But not all have marketing technologists and data analysts in place to understand and leverage their capabilities. That said, marketers at a few firms are clearly leveraging their integrated CRM and marketing automation stacks to deliver precisely targeted, personalized and measured digital campaigns.
People are recognizing advantages of data-driven marketing.
Data-driven marketing was a thread through much of the discussion, with participants describing greater emphasis on outcome-based strategies and experiences. Several marketers discussed the drive for accountability in measuring the impact of campaigns and events and the push for agility in quickly developing and launching projects, analyzing what’s working and determining business impact. Marketers from a couple of firms specifically described the transparency that analysis has provided to sales and marketing in what is influencing purchases and in which territories campaigns are performing successfully, and helping sales teams focus proactively for better outcomes. A few firms are piloting AI applications for chatbots, generating attribution analysis and enhancing site search.
Partnership with sales is increasingly common.
Another theme that surfaced throughout the Roundtable was a marketing and sales partnership founded on the use of technology and business intelligence to jointly develop digital initiatives. Partnership is cultivated through regular meetings to review and receive feedback on presentations, thought leadership and campaigns; shared reporting on the effectiveness of campaigns; and closed-loop marketing. One firm has gone so far as to put the sales desk under the management of marketing to promote greater integration.
Overall, it was notable to observe the growing drive to meet advisors where they are and provide what they need to make decisions to do business. Most marketers seem to be clearer than ever before about the opportunities presented by personalized digital marketing and what they need to do to overcome challenges standing in the way.
Written by Julia Binder
Head of Strategic Marketing Research