In Financial Services terms, in a client-side sense, this is a pivotal role which supports the other Marketing functions. The breadth of this role is considerable and is likely to include the following areas:
- Defining the brand story – including its values, tone of voice and creative execution guidelines.
- Defining (non sales/lead) campaigning to tell that story to the target audience. This will include delivery of creative, typically only above the line.
- Holding the delivery lines (Marketing Comms and Operations) to account as regards alignment to the brand story and values externally and, in a best in breed structure, running internal comms.
- Proposition development ensuring an outside in approach. This is an important function to separate out when the Comms function is acting in a Marketing Services role. It will harness Product thinking alongside Customer need thinking rather than falling into the trap of clever people building clever products that customers do not need, demand or even understand.
- On this point, and in line with my constant desire to promote outside in thinking, research and tracking of brand level metrics should sit in this function.
Public Relations and Public Affairs are often in this role holders remit – this is my preferred position and whilst in larger organisations this can be a separate department, it works best in my opinion when it reports in to the Brand Marketers.
In my experience this role also provides a bridge into HR as the internal proposition and branding is as important as the external one. Its manifestation may be basic (templates, branding internal documents etc) and/or more profound in synergising the values for colleagues with the external values.
Purpose of this role
It is quite easy to define the purpose in marketing theory terms but my interpretation is as follows;
“The purpose of the role is to build awareness, trust and advocacy of the brand with target customers in a manner that makes the direct campaigning and sales activity more effective. In short it is the conduit between your business, its commercial offer, what the business (brand) stands for and its Customers.”
Is it really that simple?
No, certainly not, the breadth of this role aside, the role will be managing a natural tension with the Comms function as regards guidelines and with internal teams whose inventiveness in attaching clip art, stretching and distorting logos and images is quite remarkable and extensive!
It is a role that demands great stakeholder management skills and to be successful demands a substantial budget which may well include mainstream TV channels, outdoor and press as well as digital.
I have worked with some great people in these roles and the common ability they have in abundance is to be able to ‘think up’ strategically and juggle the multiple, different, demands and critical success factors.
Critical success factors
This is hard to be specific on as I can only talk in general terms, each brand being very different, but consistently the following have enabled great decision making in my experience;
- Brand tracking of advocacy – NPS at a non transactional level if you like – possibly expressed as a customer engagement score
- Brand tracking of awareness
- Customer growth trajectories going in the right direction – overall or in target sectors, there is no shame in supporting the non retention of non-attractive customers, if it does not knock on to your target customers
- Customer cross holdings as a proxy for growth in value terms. Your category may discount this as a solus metric – if the business is only offering long term investment policies it may have a different feel than if you are offering annually renewable commodities such as Travel Insurance.
- Campaign metrics will be relevant, not just RoI but specifically reach in TV is crucial alongside detailed measures such as Gross Rating Points and CPM by audience segment.
As you can see this is a varied role and the breadth of skills required explains why this is a separate role in most Financial Services organisations. Click the links below to look further;
So do you agree? Let me have any comments when you get a moment.
04 March 2020