Finance Companies: The 4 Obstacles Facing Your Marketing Department Part 1

Finance Companies

Are you a CMO of one of the many competing finance companies, faced with defending your marketing team’s budgets all too often? Do you see your team spinning their wheels, constantly working with all areas of the organization with few qualified leads to show (beyond the typical RFP requests)? According to the CMO Survey as of February 2016, the finance industry spends on average 9.1% of its budget on marketing, a small number in comparison to almost all of the other industries (education, energy, and construction are the only industries ranked lower).

What’s preventing your organization from increasing your much-needed budget? Put simply, all of the interference your team faces, preventing them from dedicating time to the basics of a marketing position – driving traffic to your website, expanding your reach, and generating qualified leads. Below are some of the top obstacles that you may or may not be privy to and how to address them accordingly:

Legal and Compliance Constraints

I recently attended a marketing conference in which internal industry regulation departments was repeatedly stated as a top obstacle by both finance companies and healthcare industry marketers. This makes sense entirely given your Legal and Compliance Department’s job ultimately is to minimize exposure and risk while a marketer’s job is to maximize exposure by taking risks. These opposing forces can easily tie up the process, prevent a new campaign from launching, and delay a timely marketing piece from being distributed. Work with the department instead of against it.

Ensure they are 100% in the know of what your next plans are, the content you are creating, and any executive decisions you have made. Better to pivot and address compliance concerns up-front rather than down the line. Build a strong foundation for a relationship with this typically conservative department in order to be more efficient. I have witnessed projects get derailed at the last minute due to a lack of foresight and communication. Don’t let this happen to you!

Content Creation for the Sales Team

Sales and marketing departments have always been closely correlated and today that’s true more than ever. In fact, 50% of finance CMOs say their marketing team shares an equal position with the sales team; content creation for the sales team is certainly a primary role for a marketer within finance companies. But what content are you producing for them? For example, creating client-based slides, internal strategy updates, and product grids are all typically used as a means of closing a potential sale or educating the sales team not to generate a new lead. So why is the marketing department creating it? Discuss with the sales team what they can take on and free up more time for your marketing team to get back to what they were hired to do: gain qualified leads for your company.

Client Service Tasks

Frequently, a marketer will be asked to produce an existing client’s quarterly standard deviation or a performance attribution report catered to a specific client. These are for existing clients and the responsibility of a client service team (or sales team depending on your company’s structure). Everyone within your company should have access to the same software tools and databases that are relevant to their work. These tasks are taking away essential marketing time from your team and aren’t contributing to the numbers you’re presenting to the CEO every quarter. 33.3% of finance CMO’s claimed their marketing team’s primary responsibility and time was spent on customer relationship management. Why? Unless that’s built into the job description or how your team is measured, then why is your team focusing on another team’s responsibility?

Make the case to your CEO to get rid of the unnecessary workload and train up the client service team on the databases and necessary resources.

Data Management

What’s a great marketing tool? Using your investment product data! It’s at the core of creating riveting content and providing concrete information to the consumer regardless of whether it’s an individual investor or business. Unfortunately, with an increase of complexity in products within the industry, such as multi-asset strategies, there’s a lack of software supporting the calculations of these products. The marketing team is typically responsible for the aforementioned manual calculations and you most likely are using one that can’t handle your entire product suite.

Look to make the case to upgrade to a new software, get back to automated numbers, and stop the unnecessary manual calculations eating up your team’s time!

As the end of 2016 approaches, look to gain some insights, survey your team, and compare your findings to the ones listed above. Looking ahead to 2017, CMOs should propose a new marketing strategy and get their team back to making the most of its budget.  Get ahead of other finance companies by establishing a new marketing strategy for your team. That’s coming up in part 2!

Lisa Zanchi
Marketing Analyst

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Posted on November 17, 2016 in Management, Marketing

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About the Author

Lisa Zanchi is currently a Marketing Technology Analyst with the Boston location of SHIFT Communications. She has experience in launching and managing content marketing strategies, social media marketing campaigns, and influencer identification. Former finance industry employee and loyal admirer of all things data.
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