5 steps to break the digitization of marketing activities in the financial sector


Saurav Basu is founder and president at evaluation enabling digital transformation within the insurance, financial services and healthcare sectors

Connecting to the right audience at the right time and with the right message is the primary goal of any marketing team. With the majority of the world population onlineis drastically changing the way companies connect with their audiences.

However, in this changing landscape, the financial sector has fallen behind. The evolution in customer behavior and demands, increasing competition from fintech startups and patchy regulatory constraints have made traditional marketing activities obsolete and costly. To survive in today’s marketing era, financial services firms must have modern digital marketing processes and strategies.

As a business transformation consultant, leader and entrepreneur, I have been part of numerous marketing transformation initiatives taken by financial organizations. The one phenomenon I’ve seen repeatedly is how starting with the right process can simplify the complex digital transformation journey. To successfully review existing marketing activities, the right process starts with the right mindset.

1. Assessing Current Condition

Starting the digital marketing transformation with only a vision of the future and new technology is not ideal. To ensure a strong foundation for future marketing activities, financial companies must begin with a thorough assessment of the current state of affairs and an inventory of their existing processes, tools and technologies.

A systematic examination of your current marketing activities should reveal the problem areas that are standing in the way of business growth. This first step can help you identify fundamental gaps and gain a deeper understanding of your financial business’s problem areas before moving on to the next stage of transformation.

2. Defining Future Goals

Since this is the stage where stakeholders will determine future business goals, the second stage requires much more strategy making. It is a critical step in the marketing transformation process as business goals directly influence marketing approach.

Successful marketing requires an alignment between both business goals and marketing goals. After the business goals are clarified, you can define your marketing goals. A pillar of the approach is the SMART goals framework: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound objectives. Using this simple approach, you can specify marketing goals that are not too ambitious but are beneficial and relevant to the business.

3. Gap analysis and roadmap creation

The goal of gap analysis is to compare the current state of the business with its vision for the future and create a roadmap to address areas of concern. However, the process must provide answers beyond the questions, “What changes are needed?” and “When are the changes needed?” To successfully determine the value of transformation and the method of change, business leaders must understand why the changes are needed in the first place.

Evaluating the current state with your defined future goals can reveal where the current process is failing. These process errors create gaps that prevent the marketing team from delivering the desired results. Business stakeholders can use checklists or more sophisticated scoring systems to assess the marketing processes and gain insight into which processes fail, why they fail, what changes are needed to improve the process, and the time frame in which to implement the change.

Gap analysis is a collaborative task, and cross-functional stakeholders in the business, along with the marketing team, must be part of it. Once the marketing gaps are recognized, fully defined and understood, you and your team can create a roadmap of relevant solutions and technology, prioritized based on what your business needs most.

4. Choosing the Right Technology Stack

The sheer number of emerging technologies and MarTech solutions on the market makes it difficult to opt for simple, integrated solutions. Effective MarTech solutions must be able to automate the most basic tasks, free up team members’ time, and provide an aggregated return on investment (ROI). Some of the fundamental tools and technologies that you need to decide on at this stage include:

• A customer relationship management system (CRM).

• A content management system (CMS).

• Email Marketing Tools.

• Data analysis and reporting tools.

• SEO tools.

The single most important aspect for a marketing transformation leader to consider at this stage is their existing technologies. Updating and overhauling existing technologies often reduces the number of resources you need. Combining your existing technology framework with new and relevant solutions can effectively boost marketing activities for the future.

5. Putting data at the heart of transformation

This last phase is more like a general guideline that applies to almost all digital transformation initiatives. With data at the center of the process, a finance organization can make more precise changes to its marketing efforts in ways that positively impact its business.

In traditional marketing, data is used more for reporting and analytics. In digital marketing, however, data plays a much larger role. It enables optimization of the business model in real time, generates predictive intelligence and improves the overall quality and safety of marketing activities. By focusing on data, you gain insight into your target group. This kind of in-depth understanding of customer behavior, requirements, and retention trends helps to accurately optimize marketing strategies.

Digital transformation in every aspect of your business is a matter of both organizational and technological change. By thinking digitally first, financial business leaders can better connect with their customers, keep pace with the dynamic changes in the market and become frontrunners.

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