Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Get it Online, CMOs in Financial Services!

The term digital marketing has become ubiquitous in the field of marketing, but how can CMOs in the financial services firms take advantage of it to bring their business to the next level? Consumers are increasingly leaning toward online channels to fulfill their needs. However, digital marketing is still very confusing for many CMOs in the financial industry because they do not know where to start, what the trends are and what actually benefits them. As a graduate student in the IMC program at Northwestern University, I have found three articles and identified few trends that CMOs in the financial industry may want to start paying attention to.

In TopFive Technology Trends in Financial Services – July 2013, ongoing and emerging digital trends were identified as the adoption of digital is skyrocking.[1] There is no doubt that mobile is taking off like a rocket. The driving force behind the rise of mobile usage is because of customers ’growing expectations in the digital age; as a result, a new phase of financial management is expected to upgrade customers’ lives to a whole new level. This article also talks about the importance of the understanding of the customer experience journey. The study of customer experience journey can be very helpful for companies to strategize around the customer. It is also true that CMOs need to understand the customer’s touch point and then make strategies from the customer’s perspective so that CMOs can better engage the customer in the era of digital. TheFinancial Services Industry Steadily Grows Digital Ad Spend talks about the importance of digital ads and mobile platforms.[2] The spending on digital marketing is getting stable, but search and display ads will still play a crucial role in the interactive marketing spend. What’s more, the investment in mobile sophistication is also growing in order to meet the customer’s instant need of getting financial information. Thus, we can see that the importance of mobile and digital ads truly is rising in the current evolving times.

Don’tget Left Behind: The Rise of Digital Marketing in Financial Services[3] emphasizes a lot on the importance of customer engagement in the financial industry. I believe that we are experiencing a dramatic shift from a brand-focused approach to a customer-centric strategy, whether we like it or not. Digital marketing only works when you provide relevant messages to your customers. Relevancy not only helps engage customers, but also helps fully enhance customer experience in this digital era.

In my view, create relevancy in this digital world is the key to success in financial industry. How are you going to achieve that? Mobile and Search marketing will definitely be your BFF. Based on these three articles and my experiences on this cutting edge of digital, I identified three key actions that may interest you:
  • Increase Relevancy - deliver relevant messages and desired information that your target market really cares about
  • Invest in Search Marketing and Mobile Optimization- enable financial services to enhance the effectiveness of their website and marketing efforts through search engine and mobile optimization
  • Enhance Customer Experience – understand the customer’s touch point and leverage this understanding to deliver satisfactory customer experiences

As CMOs in the financial industry, you might want to focus on these insights in order to get the best returns and outperform your industry peers. It might be a new start that seems to be very challenging and frustrating; however, the understanding of these current and emerging trends is definitely vital to the success of your business.

Lynn Lee is a M.S. candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill, Northwestern University with versatile experiences across sales and B2B/B2C marketing. Follow me @Lynnlee2013

[1] Dias, E. (2013, August 07). Top five technology trends in financial services – july 2013. Retrieved from
[2] The financial services industry steadily grows digital ad spend. (2013, July 02). Retrieved from
[3] Capodicasa, F. (2013, June 05). Don’t get left behind: The rise of digital marketing in financial services. Retrieved from


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