Client-side Marketers, in my experience, fall into a number of natural roles. In Financial Services the impact is amplified by the presence of an unusually specific role relating to product management.
So, what are the role types?
- Product Marketers
- Comms Marketers – broken down into Marketing Services/Operations and (pure) Marcomms
- Brand Marketers
- Commercial Marketers
In FMCG this is not a role you will see commonly, it is a role that has a specific focus and resonance to the complexities of financial services and particularly to the regulated nature of the products. The core accountabilities for these marketers typically include;
- Product build and management – by this I mean design and build of the product from concept to live status to archival as an historic product
- Pricing – all aspects, be it cost or return, fees or charges. In some complex products this is in harmony with Actuarial support and in the case of Investment businesses the Product Marketer might be a Marketing actuary
- Delivery of the sales, engagement and retention targets (when the Comms Marketers are operating as a marketing services function)
- Technical and regulatory expertise.
It is a fascinating role, one I have carried out with full commercial accountability in some cases and in other brands acted as an SME whilst the Comms Marketers have held accountability for delivery of sales, retention and other metrics.
Experience tells me the following 6 aspects of the role are the critical success factors:
- Really understanding the product is crucial from a technical and regulatory standpoint – it helps hugely with the second CSF…
- Understand what makes your customer buy/cancel/avoid the product
These two areas may seem obvious, my point is the depth of skill and understanding is really important, you can’t ‘blag it’.
- Understand the value engineering of the product i.e. know and use what value your customers place on all elements of the product versus your cost to build. I wrote a post on this topic some time ago, you can read it here. Without this your pricing decisions run a significant risk of simply being hit and hope
- Understand the channels of delivery available to you. There is a holy trinity in most businesses that you would do well to note: Product Marketers & Comms Marketers & Operational/Channel capacity planners. The multiplicity of levers you can pull across these three dimensions to establish your price elasticity and deliver your plan is considerable
- Measurement. Product Marketers generally have Excel open permanently on their screens and are likely to be the only people other than your data team that prefer to use pivot tables! Joking aside a good Product Marketer understands the measurement across the key areas of new business and stock. The really great ones work further down the value chain and understand the impact of how changes in the product dynamics can be used to improve profitability, customer satisfaction, retention and so on. This is one area where ‘geekiness’ is a highly valued commodity.
- Product Marketers hold the keys to many an armoury. They will be able to deploy any number of tools to improve product design, attractiveness, beating the competition and so on. It is possible to design great products and services from the gut, but the weight of P&L accountability usually weighs heavy enough in risk management terms to ensure that a more scientific approach is applied in Financial Services.
Here are some links you might find useful in this specific area
You will note that I have not discussed propostion build in this role. My strong belief is this sits in the brand space and I will cover it later in this series.
If you have any thoughts on my post, then please spare a moment to comment, I would love to hear your opinions.