10 CMOs from 10 leading BFSI companies participated in the Banking Frontiers April cover story on marketing trends in the recent past. The cover story is divided into 10 parts, with each part revealing a specific aspect:
Part 1: The data bubble keeps inflating
CMOs discussed about the shift in the sources of data in the financial sector:
The importance of data from various sources will continue to grow in the financial sector. With the increasing digitization of financial services and the proliferation of mobile devices, social media, and other digital channels, financial companies have access to more data than ever before. Nowadays data is becoming more abundant and accessible as financial sector generates a huge amount of data from customers’ financial transactions.
Sreekanth C K, Head of Marketing at ESAF Bank, says: “Data gathering, and optimization will continue to create opportunities by understanding the customers better and their journey, which will allow financial institutions to grow their business with data-driven decisions, augmenting customer segmentation, pin down frauds, reduce operational risks and improve operational efficiencies.”
M V S Murthy, Chief Marketing Officer at Federal Bank, believes that marketers are being subjected to data deluge. Its magnitude can be overwhelming to the extent of causing delusion – as in, the possible fallout is that it becomes a blind spot. However, the real-time power that these streams give is invaluable. They help anticipate, be proactive and be relevant while reaching out to prospects or existing customers.
He adds: “The other priming is the power of personalization that allows for near in-person interaction. However, if the data points are not complete or missing then the client interpretation suffers, and it rubs off wrongly on the brand. There will be an increasing demand for data, but smart marketers will filter out what’s not needed rather than make their marketing initiatives claustrophobic and stunned into inaction.”
Holistic approach for data collection
As per Aabhinna Suresh Khare, CDMO at Bajaj Capital, there will be a shift towards a more holistic approach for data collection and analysis. This means that there is a need to look beyond traditional transactional data and start leveraging data from a variety of sources, such as browsing behavior, search queries, social media posts, and media consumption patterns. By incorporating this broader set of data sources, financial companies will be able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their customers and their financial needs.
Suresh shared an example: “We can use browsing data to identify potential customers who are actively looking for financial products or analyse social media posts to understand the sentiment around our brand. At the same time, it is important to recognize the challenges associated with collecting and analysing this data, particularly concerning privacy and data security. As such, we need to ensure that we are using this data responsibly and transparently and that we are complying with all relevant regulations and standards.”
Third-party data & inclusive ecosystem
Sandeep Walunj, CMO, Nippon Life India AMC believes that transactional and other first-party data will be more important due to various reasons: “I see organizations cooperating for second/third-party data. I also see third-party consent aggregation platforms coming up; SEBI already has made provisions for account aggregators.”
Aabhinna predicts that the future of data in the financial sector will be characterized by a shift towards a more diverse and inclusive data ecosystem, where data from a variety of sources is leveraged to drive better customer experiences and business outcomes.
Part 2: Data: A qualitative shift
Marketing heads reveals the importance of data in the BFSI sector to improve efficiency & profitability:
Data enables financial service providers to offer personalized service, improve efficiency, and increase profitability. The shift in data sources affects the operational costs, staffing strategies, customer experience and more. The world is seeing a massive surge in data generation. As the technological revolution gains momentum, so is digital data generation and storage.
Emerging technologies like IOT generate vast volumes of data which are opening new opportunities in the commercial and business worlds. Many public and private organizations have started to control the immense capacities of these data. The business system data provides credit cards, loyalty cards, web browsing, and mobile app history. The administrative system data have a census, population, foreign trade, income, social, health, etc.
Technology & Data
The ubiquitous system includes mobile devices, sensors, actuators, etc. Data is collected from individuals through mobile usage, mobile sensors, and the internet. Seema Jadhav, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications at Trust Mutual Fund, says: “These data sources can help improve educational, healthcare, airline, and investment decisions. Large-scale decision-making necessitates consensus measurement, consensus-building mechanisms, subgroup clustering and behavior management, to which AI will positively contribute.”
She further adds: “Decision-making lies at the future intersections of AI, ML, DL, and emerging data sources. With the ongoing advancement of technology and the evolution of consumer behavior, it is expected that the financial sector will progressively recognize the significance of a more diverse set of data sources beyond conventional transactional data.”
Prioritization of Data
The growing adoption of digital channels for financial transactions such as online banking to mobile payments and online retail capital markets penetration offer a vast amount of data that can be scrutinized to gain an enhanced understanding of consumer behavior and preferences.
Pankaj Kapoor, Chief Marketing Officer at Reliance Securities, adds: “Social media platforms and other digital channels have become significant sources of information and influence for consumers. Users now rely on these platforms to seek advice and recommendations on financial products and services. By analysing social and other forms of online activity, financial institutions can attain valuable insights into customer sentiments and preferences.”
Digital disruption is one of the most important trends to act upon in 2023. The importance of data from various sources will only grow as the financial sector becomes more digitized. Shriram Finance has a greater emphasis in the future on customer data, specifically data generated from transactions, browsing behavior, search queries, social media posts, media consumption, and cookies. Diana Monteiro, Deputy VP of Marketing & Communications at Shriram Finance & Shriram Housing Finance, provides details: “ Handling data responsibly and securely has become more critical. To maintain customer trust and confidence, financial institutions must adhere to stringent data protection regulations. We anticipate a greater emphasis in the financial sector on data-driven marketing practices. Customer data will become a key resource to deliver personalized experiences and devise targeted marketing campaigns.”
Media Consumption & Cookies
Social media data can provide insights into customers’ sentiments, preferences, and behaviors, which can be used to inform marketing and product development strategies. Media consumption data (which news articles or videos customers are consuming) can provide valuable insights into customers’ interests and concerns, which can be used to tailor financial products and services.
Anand Bhatia, CMO t Fino Payments Bank, says: “Different data points (transactions, browsing, media posts, etc) impact different aspects of a consumer’s interaction with us – from cross sell (transactions have a heavy influence) to acquisition (external data points like media consumption have a big impact). Hence I see it as a ‘horses for courses’ approach. The best part is that we have the means to work with diverse data streams and stitch a desired view of the customer.”
Part 3: Analytics, Automation & Attribution
Marketing heads shared the importance of analytics, personalization, automation & attribution in marketing campaigns:
The accuracy and effectiveness of marketing efforts in the financial sector have improved with better availability of data. Data analytics has allowed financial institutions to gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s habits, preferences and needs. They are now able to deliver more personalized, relevant marketing messages and specifically target customers with measurable outcomes. Web analytics, social media marketing analytics, lead generation and attribution, SEO analytics, email marketing analytics, etc, are the leading analytics use cases.
There is an emerging trend of predictive analytics that helps to anticipate customer needs and behavior. Diana provides more details : “Financial institutions can predict which customers are most likely to be interested in a particular product or service by analysing large amounts of data. The activity can highlight key insights about the potential target groups and enable personalized marketing messages. It can result in increased engagement, and in turn, higher conversion rates.”
Pankaj added: “As a result of greater data accessibility, brands are now leveraging advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and anticipate future outcomes. This enables them to refine their marketing strategies and pinpoint the customer segments that are most likely to exhibit interest in their offerings.”
With the growing sophistication of data analytics and artificial intelligence, BFSI companies can expect to see greater improvements in marketing accuracy and effectiveness. But all this has some drawbanks. UV Vamsi Krishna, Head of Marketing at StoxBox, explains: “It is important to note that the use of data for marketing purposes also raises privacy concerns and regulatory challenges, which will need to be addressed by financial institutions to maintain consumer trust and comply with relevant regulations.”
Personalization & Customization
With more data available about individual customers, brands can personalize their marketing messages to a greater extent. This includes tailoring messaging, offers, and recommendations to specific customer preferences and behaviors to increase relevance and engagement, leading to improved conversion rates and customer loyalty.
As per M V S Murthy, one of the biggest gains has been to the recipient. Brands can avoid the bombardment of messages. Still, anxiety can get better with prudence we tend to communicate on repeat. The opportunity is to customize the message to the medium while keeping the overall pitch constant. This helps track each strand across the format, message, and medium.
M V S Murthy further adds: “We have the capability of tracking impact on the physical distribution channels as well as the digital marketplaces, whenever a campaign goes live. The delta is significant compared to a few decades back.”
Sandeep says: “While I see targeting becoming more important, I am not sure whether communication customization will hit the bull’s eye for a good amount of time since mass customization is not going to be easy enough to crack quickly. Difficult to replace human creativity when it comes to relevance and relatability. “
The covid pandemic made a fundamental change in consumer behavior. So, in data-driven marketing, the availability of updated data is critical as customer behaviors evolve daily. Sreekanth C K shares more details : “Marketers adopt a comprehensive approach to data collection, gathering not just behavioral trends and location-based insights, but also third-party analytics on their business, customers, and competitors, to complement their in-house customer data.”
Data has enabled marketers to make more informed decisions about campaign strategies and tactics. Aabhinna says: “By analyzing customer data, marketers can identify the channels, messaging, and creative that resonates most with their target audiences. This allows them to optimize campaigns in real-time and improve ROI.”
There is also a major downside to the marketing data regarding its genuineness. With rampant increases in marketing budgets aided by digital penetration during covid, much fake or irrelevant data got accumulated in every marketer’s database. UV Vamsi shares the initiatives to remove the fake data: “At StoxBox, we have implemented AI tools that work alongside the campaign management suite, mainly to remove outliers and fake data received especially from social media.”
Automation & Attribution
With the help of data, marketing automation has become more sophisticated. Marketers can use data to trigger personalized messages, recommend products, and optimize campaigns in real time. This not only improves efficiency but also ensures that customers receive more relevant and timely communications.
Aabhinna divers deeper: “Data has enabled marketers to better understand the customer journey and attribute value to specific touchpoints. By analyzing data across channels and devices, marketers can more accurately measure the impact of their campaigns and optimize their marketing mix accordingly.”
Overall, the increasing availability and richness of data has enabled marketers to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. By leveraging data-driven insights, marketers can create even more personalized and targeted campaigns, optimize their strategies in real time, and measure the impact of their efforts much more accurately.
Part 4: ROI measurement on the go
Marketers discussed the simplification of ROI & rise of permission marketing:
The increasing availability of data enables companies to perform more comprehensive measurements of their marketing campaigns. This entails tracking customer engagement, conversions, and return on investment (ROI) to gain insights and make data-driven decisions to refine their marketing strategies over time. Anand commented: “The cost of acquisition declines and overall ROAS (return on advertising spends) improves. We are reaping the benefits of better availability of data. Apographic targeting basis handset type, cost, location, media habits, and surfing behaviour gives a huge upside.”
Amidst the proliferation of customer touchpoints, brands are leveraging data to interweave their marketing campaigns across various channels. Pankaj shares: “This approach ensures that clients receive unified messaging and offerings across platforms, thereby augmenting their engagement and catalyzing purchase decisions.”
The focus of marketing has shifted from competitive advertising to the collection and distribution of data. Because of how powerful database technology has gotten, it is easier to market to an individual than a target group. Information is collected through things like surveys and polls.
Seema Jadhav feels that the most exciting development in this field is permission marketing. Permission marketing allows businesses to collect information about consumers for direct marketing. Many tools are available to personalize direct mail and track and target marketing information. More accurate information, collected and organized in databases, is the key to good customer relations. Digital technologies in marketing allow consumers to find and research products from the comfort of their homes. Direct marketing is now encouraging consumers to do just that.
Transactions & Browsing
Transactions will likely remain a critical source of data for the financial sector. However, there may be a greater emphasis on real-time transaction data, as well as an increased focus on analyzing the underlying behavior and patterns behind transactions, such as what types of products are customers purchasing, when are they making these purchases, etc.
Aiswarya said: “With the growth of online banking and financial services, browsing and search data will likely become more important. Financial institutions may use this data to better understand their customers’ financial needs and preferences, as well as to personalize their marketing and outreach efforts.”
Part 5: Fintechs vis-à-vis Incumbents
Marketing experts highlighted the key differences between fintechs & incumbents as regarding marketing:
The diverse business models and target markets of fintechs and incumbents result in contrasting marketing strategies. Fintechs adopt an agile and adaptable approach, harnessing digital platforms to connect and interact with customers efficiently. They concentrate on a specific customer group or niche, customizing their offerings and communication to resonate with that audience. In contrast, incumbents have a wider customer base and a well-established brand image. They may utilize a variety of channels, including conventional methods like print or TV advertising, while also embracing digital channels to extend their reach to a broad and targeted audience.
Sreekanth C K shares: “Fintechs tend to prioritize user experience and convenience in their marketing efforts, highlighting their digital platforms and mobile apps as key selling points. They may be ready to compromise on costing and offer incentives such as lower fees or higher interest rates to attract customers.”
Diverse Business Models
The marketing strategies of fintechs and incumbents can differ significantly due to differences in their business models, target customers, and resources. Fintechs tend to be more agile and innovative, leveraging technology to disrupt traditional financial services and reach new customer segments. In contrast, incumbents have established customer bases and brand recognition, and with agility can keep up with adapting to changing market trends and technological advancements.
Fintechs typically focus on digital marketing channels, such as social media, search engine optimization, and targeted online advertising to reach and engage with their customers. They also tend to prioritize customer experience, offering personalized and user-friendly interfaces that simplify financial transactions and decision-making.
Aiswarya believes that FIA has an immense advantage, since it moved to big data and tech adaptations very early on. “We were not afraid to include new customer segments, create increased brand awareness, and improve customer experience. As a result, our business’s marketing strategy shifted in many ways in the past few years. We began targeting new customer segments and found ways to appeal to different segments. This required us to adjust messaging, advertising channels, and even product offerings. We began leveraging the fintech brand, and having a strong brand reputation helped our business by adding trust and credibility.”
Diana bats for incumbents. She says: “Incumbents typically have larger marketing budgets and a wider range of marketing channels to work with. They may tilt more towards traditional marketing methods such as television, radio, print advertising, and on-ground promotions for branch and ATM networks. Having said that, much new age and digital-first players are emerging and experimenting with large investments in digital channels and implementing agile marketing practices.”
According to UV Vamsi Krishna, fintechs typically target a specific niche in the market, such as millennials, small business owners, or underbanked populations, and use digital channels to acquire and retain customers. They tend to have a more agile marketing approach, relying on data and customer feedback to quickly test and iterate campaigns.
He says: “Fintechs often offer new and innovative products that are designed to be simple, convenient, and user-friendly, and their marketing messages tend to emphasize the benefits of these products, such as speed, low fees, and personalization.”
Marketers believe that collaborating with a fintech can be advantageous for incumbents when it comes to marketing strategy. By joining forces, incumbents can tap into new demographics and markets, and gain access to advanced technologies and channels for customer engagement. Partnering with fintechs can provide an opportunity to access new customer segments and benefit from the innovation and agility of these startups. This may require a shift in marketing strategy, to focus on digital channels and to emphasize the benefits of the fintech’s products and services.
Sreekanth C K offers more details: “Collaborations may lead to a greater focus on digital and mobile marketing initiatives, as incumbents leverage their fintech partnerships to elevate the overall customer experience and expand their reach. Additionally, fintech partnerships can provide opportunities for co-branding and cross-promotion, which can further enhance marketing effectiveness.”
UV Vamsi feels that incumbent may also need to adapt its marketing messages to align with the fintech’s brand and target audience and to collaborate closely with the fintech to ensure a consistent and effective marketing approach. Overall, the marketing strategy for an incumbent will need to be tailored to the specific fintech partnership, considering the goals and needs of both parties and the characteristics of the target audience.
He adds:” We have partnered with both large service providers and fintechs to help us scale quickly. Several partners are helping us in product development, content writing, CRM, marketing automation, digital KYC, and the like.”
CMOs also agreed that partnering with fintechs can bring about significant growth potential and new business opportunities. In terms of marketing strategy, this partnership can lead to a shift towards a more customer-centric approach, with a focus on enhancing the customer experience and providing user-friendly products. Additionally, incumbents can leverage the technological capabilities of their Fintech partners to offer more innovative and efficient financial services.
Pankaj shares the challenges: “There are challenges which include culture differences, IT system adaptability, regulatory uncertainty and trust. To overcome these challenges, both parties should believe in the power and benefits derived from collaboration and actively work towards establishing a collaborative relationship.”
Marketers agreed that incumbents should exhibit their commitment to collaboration by allowing top executives to interact at the initial stages of collaboration and securing innovative resources promptly to reduce delays. Additionally, incumbents should establish corporate-backed venture capital funds, and innovative labs, and investigate opportunities at the early stages of fintech transformation.
CMOs emphasised that incumbents should promote fintech partnerships and set aside resources and effort towards establishing an open-source platform to provide agility to the system. This will allow greater ease of IT design and collaboration when dealing with designing and integrating external technologies. Pankaj advocates: “A balance between fin and tech should be sought, which will bring about real change in the financial industry. this partnership can lead to a more engaged customer experience, new business opportunities, and enhanced revenue streams for all parties involved. as an incumbent, shifting towards a more customer-centric approach and leveraging the technological capabilities of fintech partners can bring about significant benefits to the marketing strategy.”
Part 6: Cooperative marketing is the new buzz
Marketing heads shared the details about the new marketing metrics:
Fintechs are digital-first, they also can invest upfront and wait for traction to develop. Incumbents typically spend a portion of their earnings, Fintechs can burn cash upfront to create future earnings.
The basic concepts of marketing are the same across all mediums for everyone. Depending on the stage of life of the brand and its objectives, the marketing levers get pressed. Fintech marketing is built on the same fundamentals as other industry-specific marketing; it’s not about how you market a fintech but how and where your customer wants to be sold. What is true for traditional financial institutions is true for fintech; trust, credibility, and reliability come first.
Sandeep says: “Cooperative marketing is one obvious answer. Here, you align marketing objectives with a Fintech and harness them together. Borrowing best practices are something I have done with pride. Fintech’s excessive focus on online recruiting and fulfilment has motivated us to strengthen our physical/ phygital play and gain for churn left behind by fintechs.”
Fino Payment Bank work with partners and they have full alignment on the objectives. The bank focus on communication, TG, sensitivities, etc.
Seema shares: “Traditional financial institutions will have no choice but to follow suit because the market will demand it as a marketing strategy; they use gamification, affiliate or influencer marketing, experiential marketing, partnership marketing, community marketing, branding, and content marketing.”
Segment, Scale & Sustainability
Federal Bank is working on a 3S model that has a triad of Segment, Scale, and Sustainability. M V S Murthy shares details: “Taking the last first, we don’t want to do anything that we don’t think we will have the passion to pursue over the long term. It pertains not only to the marketing team but to all the business verticals which are glued by marketing.”
He adds: “We want to be nimble to scale up once the proof of concept or tests are done. Most important is that the strategy must be sharp enough to be relevant to different customer segments. The 3 S is the starting point and NPS – Nimble, Passionate, and Sharp – is how we go about it.”
Innovation & Experimentation
Fintechs are known for their ability to create highly personalized and targeted marketing campaigns, leveraging data and technology to engage with customers in real time. Aabhinna says: “By partnering with fintechs, we can gain access to new tools and technologies that can help us improve our targeting and segmentation capabilities.”
Fintechs are also known for their innovative and experimental approach to marketing, often testing and iterating on new strategies and tactics. Aabhinna adds: “By partnering with fintechs, we can tap into this culture of innovation and experimentation, learning from their successes and failures and applying those insights to our marketing efforts.”
Part 7: Martech & Content to rule in 2023
Marketing experts debated the skills required by a modern-day marketer:
The marketing landscape is continuously evolving, and as a result, businesses need to stay ahead of the game to ensure that they remain competitive. CMOs believe that certain marketing skills will become increasingly important in the coming year, and they are preparing their organization to meet demands.
Marketers recognize that systematic digital engagement will continue to be a critical component of any successful marketing strategy in 2023. Pankaj speaks: “Companies are investing in digital transformation programs and tools to enable our teams to better leverage digital channels to connect with potential customers. Understanding the customer journeys and identifying crucial touchpoints will be crucial. To meet this demand, we are leveraging data analytics and creating cohorts to enhance our efforts in this area. Additionally, we are developing a deeper understanding of user experience design to improve our customers’ interactions with our brand.”
As per Pankaj, digital media platforms continue to grow in popularity, we expect investments in paid advertising to become increasingly important in 2023. We are investing in training and tools to enable our team to create highly targeted campaigns that resonate with our target audience maximize conversion rates and acquire profitable customers. Effective communication through content is critical for any marketing campaign. We are placing a strong emphasis on developing content that is compelling, clear, and concise, and can resonate with our target audience. To do so, we are investing in training and tools to improve our content creation abilities.
AI, ML & Analytics
No matter what new technologies emerge, customers will remain the driving force behind marketing strategies. Therefore, the focus of new skills will be on improving the customer experience. Enhancing the customer experience will remain a top priority for companies, and marketers who can create personalized experiences that seamlessly integrate with customers’ lives will be highly sought after. To achieve this, companies should invest in customer journey mapping and offer training to their marketers on customer experience design that is guided by behavioural economics principles.
Personalization will be a crucial aspect to ensure that customers receive content that is relevant to them, which will increase the likelihood of a positive response. Moreover, customers will have the opportunity to receive updated information based on predictive insights derived from their recent browsing history. This approach will not only enhance the customer experience but also enable companies to generate an attractive return on investment.
Digital marketing is expected to continue its upward trend with a greater emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media campaigns, and email campaigns. As consumers become more digitally savvy, businesses must adapt their marketing strategies to meet changing consumer behaviours. Utilizing effective SEO techniques, engaging in social media campaigns, and developing targeted email campaigns will be key to maintaining a competitive edge in the digital marketplace.
ESAF Small Finance Bank to invest in emerging technologies and platforms that allow the bank to optimize data, artificial intelligence, and personalization in its campaigns. Sreekanth C K speaks: “We will receive training to acquire the latest skills and expertise needed to navigate the increasingly digital and data-driven ecosystem.”
AI and machine learning is becoming increasingly important in marketing in 2023. Fintechs are using AI and machine learning to analysed data, automate marketing processes, and deliver personalized experiences to customers. To prepare for this, businesses should invest in the necessary tools and technologies to integrate AI and machine learning into their marketing strategies. FIA has been agile in adapting to these early in its journey.
Aiswarya says: “Digital marketing has been on the rise for several years, but it is likely to become even more important in 2023. With the pandemic accelerating the shift to digital channels, businesses need to focus on building a strong online presence. This includes investing in SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and other digital marketing channels. FIA has been an early adapter here too by investing in tools and training efficiently.”
CX, Agile Marketing & Automation
Customer experience is becoming increasingly important in the financial sector. Marketers who can create and deliver exceptional customer experiences across all touchpoints will be highly valued. With the need to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, financial institutions will require marketers who can work in an agile manner, and quickly test and titrate their marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation is becoming an essential tool for financial institutions looking to improve their marketing efficiency and effectiveness. Marketers who can manage and optimize marketing automation systems will be in high demand.
Aabhinna says: “In a highly competitive market, customer experience will be a key differentiator. Marketers will need to have a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences and be able to design and deliver personalized and engaging experiences across channels.”
In 2023, delivering exceptional customer experiences will be a key differentiator for brands. UV Vamsi explains: “Marketing professionals will need to have skills in customer journey mapping, customer feedback analysis, and customer relationship management to create memorable experiences.”
Analytics & Martech tools
Data analytics is becoming increasingly important in marketing as businesses collect more data on their customers and marketing campaigns. To prepare for this, fintechs should invest in tools and technologies, and expertise to analysed and interpret data effectively. Diana says: “Marketing analytics has been a sub-skill for a long, I think it will take precedence this year as more consumers move online, digital marketing skills such as social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO will be critical for success. With the growing importance of data-driven marketing, financial institutions will need marketers who are skilled in data analysis and can use data to make strategic decisions.”
She further added: “We anticipate that the importance of digital marketing skills will continue to rise in 2023, with an increasing emphasis on data analytics and customer experience. Financial institutions must ensure that their marketing teams have the necessary skills to succeed in this rapidly changing environment.”
According to Anand, A marketing manager or CMO, without extremely strong analytical skills is handicapped with a poor understanding of social media as a platform is at a disadvantage with limited frontline sales exposure and will struggle with a lack of interest in martech tools has an uphill task We are trying to give our team members as much exposure as possible on all these points. It is a journey. Some of it can be trained for and some are behavioural change.
As the pace of change accelerates, marketers will need to be able to quickly adapt to new market conditions and customer behaviours. Agile marketing methodologies will become more important, enabling marketers to test and iterate on new strategies and tactics in real-time.
As per Aabhinna, to prepare our organization for these trends, we are investing in training and development programs that focus on these skills. We are also hiring new talent with expertise in these areas and partnering with external agencies and consultants to bring in additional expertise. Additionally, we are investing in new technologies and tools that enable us to better analyse and interpret data, personalize customer experiences, and optimize our marketing campaigns in real time. By focusing on these skills and capabilities, we believe we can stay ahead of the curve and continue to deliver value to our customers.
Shriram Finance is developing a super app that will cater to the lending and saving needs of our close to 7 million customers. The NBFC is partnering with over 100 new partners to provide add-on services like medical care, and the purchase of assets like cars, bikes, gold, etc, which will make us a one-stop shop for rural and semi-urban customers. Diana provides more details: “We are continuously bringing down the cost of the acquisition through digital leads by better understanding our customers and eliminating poorly performing channels. We have a well-planned SEO strategy, which drives organic website visits. We believe that a targeted rifle shot is better than a scattered shotgun blast.”
Marketers need to get deeper into business. The brand is business, and BFSI companies are in the business of brands, across a slew of our services. M V S Murthy predicts: “There will be increasing demand for the ability to cross-pollinate ideas. The culture of workplaces will need to be discovered as India opens and takes centre stage at global levels. I would say that we are no longer quarantined brands being sold in outlets, but we are the idea of India which domestic as well as international customers buy in. It’s not enough to sell a unit, dominance will require ownership of ecosystems and that is what we need to skill ourselves.”
M V S Murthy further added: “The simple thing we ask for every initiative in Federal Bank is – what is missing in this jigsaw? What more can we cover? How long should be the length so that the entire perimeter is enclosed with a complete solution? We work on micro-markets for instance, where the public, our customers, the small and medium enterprises as well as local culture and relics all become a part of the omnibus marketing approach.”
Empathy, long-term value creation, long-term brand building (as against chasing downloads or transactions), using technology optimally for customer delight, Data Science (as against regular analytics), deep understanding of cultures, and ability to reply to right technology in the right manner will be some critical skills that will be in demand in 2023. Sandeep said: “I and my team are learning by doing, tasking ourselves with out-of-the-comfort-zone assignments and projects, and training ourselves formally.”
Learning & Research Sessions
Unlike 10 years ago, the tools available today are far more advanced and comprehensive. You can do a lot both in terms of quantity and quality. StoxBox has higher dependency on the partner, and they will slower the execution process. UV Vamsi said: “As such we do a daily 30-minute of group learning and research sessions on the tools that we use and also on the latest trends in the industry. I have observed that the solutions to complex problems lie in the basics which experienced marketers tend to ignore. Sessions like this help us in a big way in alignment and improving our ROIs.”
Content the Undefeated Warrior
According to UV Vamsi, with so much content being created every day, it’s essential to have creative skills that help brands stand out from the crowd. Skills such as design, storytelling, video production, and copywriting will be important in 2023.
Seema predicts: “There will be a bigger focus on quality over quantity, content marketing will become more data-led, ai-powered content marketing will grow in popularity shoppable content will drive social commerce, podcasts will see a steady rise short-form video will continue to see exponential growth, brands will boost engagement through interactive content, user generated content will remain a key strategy.”
Part 8: Mentoring for Skill Upgradation
CMOs disused the key training programs for better reach:
BFSI companies have adopted new digital technologies to upskill employees. The training programs allow employees to gain proficiency in digital technology, including AI, ML, data science, business analysis, data visualisation, digital marketing, cyber security, etc.
Some have really formalized it. Diana shares: “We have developed the Shriram Management Education Scheme (MES), an 18-month MBA program that helps employees hone skills like influence, and empathy, and build business strategies. Also, we deployed hybrid learning – a blend of physical, instructor-led sessions with e-learning modules, to train employees for specific skills.”
Training Programs on Analytics & CX
As businesses continue to shift towards digital, it has become crucial for marketing teams to stay up to date with the latest tools and techniques to better serve their customers. BFSI companies have developed several comprehensive programs to equip their teams with the necessary skills. This includes topics such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social and content marketing. The training includes hands-on exercises, case studies, and practical tips for implementing effective digital marketing campaigns.
Given the increasing importance of data in marketing, training programs that teach skills such as data analysis, data visualization, and analytics will be valuable for marketers. To keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing, companies may consider training programs in areas such as SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and mobile marketing. Training programs that focus on creating exceptional customer experiences can be useful for marketers.
UV Vamsi dives deep: “Topics such as customer journey mapping, customer feedback analysis, and customer relationship management can be covered in these programs. Training programs that teach creative skills such as design, video production, and copywriting can help marketers create memorable and impactful campaigns.”
Marketers undergo specialized training in user experience design, customer journey mapping, and customer segmentation. It encompasses interactive workshops and exercises aimed at developing a deeper understanding of customers and crafting more personalized experiences.
Pankaj shares more details: “We provide training on marketing automation platforms. It encompasses various aspects, such as the implementation and optimization of marketing workflows, leads scoring, and nurturing campaigns. Additionally, the training focuses on data management and integration with other marketing technologies. In addition to technical training, we also focus on soft skills training such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and time management. These skills are critical for marketers who need to work cross-functionally and manage complex marketing projects.”
Mentoring Sessions & Curated Programs
There were few curated marketing training programs designed to explore the different marketing facets beneficial for marketing team members in their roles. Seema lists: “These programs include knowing your market, digital marketing, search engine marketing social media communication understanding customer behaviours and motivation email marketing campaign and strategies content marketing, frequent workshops with Meta and Google.”
Anand quips: “We conduct regular mentoring sessions to bring team members up the curve. It is hard to replicate actual frontline sales experience, so we have recruited folks with relevant experience.”
Nippon Life India AMC focuses on product training, advanced SEO, neuro-marketing, data science, regulatory compliance, calendarized creative-development, and multi-agency pitches for festival calendars.
FIA Global develops messaging that resonates with the target audience and identifies opportunities to differentiate FIA from competitors.
Digital marketing helps companies to keep up with the latest digital marketing techniques, tools, and platforms and can help marketing teams improve skills in areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing.
Aiswarya further added: “Analytics and reporting along with sales training helps with sales enablement and understanding the sales processes and how to create content and materials that support the sales team. We also focus on some amounts of soft skills training and customer experience that focuses on understanding the customer journey and building customer loyalty.”
Part 9: Tech Licensing & Human Intelligence in focus
Marketing experts share the details about the marketing investments in recent years:
In the past 3 years, there has been a noteworthy improvement in marketing technologies. The covid-19 pandemic led to a decline in traditional marketing methods and a surge in digital marketing channels. In the future, businesses are likely to continue investing in customer relationship management systems, analytical tools, and AI-powered technologies.
Sreekanth C K says: “With technology advancing rapidly, companies should be prepared to embrace change and make substantial investments in digital marketing technologies.”
Increase in Investments
Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in investments in marketing technologies, marketing skills, and marketing operations. Fintechs have invested in marketing automation platforms, CRM software and data analytics tools to improve their marketing efforts. These technologies have allowed companies to collect and analyze customer data more effectively, personalize their marketing messages, and automate various marketing processes, such as lead nurturing and email campaigns.
In terms of marketing skills, there has been a growing demand for digital marketing skills such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and content marketing. Marketers are also expected to have a good understanding of data analytics, customer behaviour, and marketing technology tools. Marketing operations, which include the processes and technologies that enable marketing teams to operate efficiently, have also been a focus for many companies. This includes the implementation of agile methodologies, project management tools, and collaboration software to improve team communication and productivity.
Aiswarya believes that these trends to continue and possibly accelerate. With the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in marketing technology, there will likely be even more investment in these areas. Additionally, as consumer behaviors continue to evolve with new technologies and channels, marketers will need to keep up with new trends and adapt their strategies accordingly. This may require investments in new marketing skills and operational processes.
Shriram Finance has seen a significant increase in investments by entities in developing skills, technologies, and marketing operations over the last 3 years. Financial institutions are exploring technology, such as data analytics, marketing automation, and artificial intelligence to enhance customer optimization, personalization, and marketing effectiveness. HR teams are rolling out training programs and providing access to educational resources to ensure that the marketing teams have the skills needed to succeed in today’s rapidly changing marketing environment.
Diana shares the details: “In terms of marketing operations, we’ve observed a rise in collaboration and integration among marketing, IT, sales, analytics, finance, MIS, and other departments within financial institutions. As a result, marketing activities are more efficient and better aligned with overall business goals.”
She adds: “We expect financial institutions to continue their investments in a bid to provide personalized and relevant experiences to their customers while meeting regulatory requirements regarding data privacy and security. However, as new technologies and customer preferences emerge, the specific focus of investments may shift over time.”
Investment in Human Intel
Federal Bank will invest more in human intelligence and make technologies the fuel for success. M V S Murthy reveals: “I don’t see the need to be smitten by every new technology but plug in only what works for us. Over the years I have realized that good tech is like a diet program where less is more. The goal is to be lean and fit and not a cost center that drags the P&L. You can’t eat all, so take what suits your palette and execute the plan with rigor and finesse.”
As per Sandeep, more resources are being deployed in tech licensing, implementation, and short-term-focused activities like performance marketing. Very little spend is being done on brand research, brand communication, and long-term brand building. I see organizations learning that brand strength and equity is paramount and a balance emerging between performance and brand marketing.
Fino Payment Bank’s investment in marktech tools has more than doubled in the last 12 months. The bank foresees a significant increase over the next few years. Anand reveals more: “It is an investment which pays rich dividends. Concerning skills, it’s an investment in time and effort of the marketing leadership team to build capability. Structured (and customized) programs are hard to find and the one size fits all approach does not work.”
Part 10: Top Medium: Social Commerce & Omnichannel
Finance companies have a special budget for marketing operations:
There has also been a growing recognition of the importance of investing in marketing skills, as companies seek to develop talent that can effectively leverage new technologies, adapt to changing market conditions, and stay ahead of the competition. This has led to increased investment in training programs, mentorship, and other initiatives aimed at developing the skills and capabilities of marketing teams.
StoxBox will invest in marketing automation for the next 2 -3 years. UV Vamsi shares: “Work that takes a little, longer time, like video production, may see some improvement with the help of upgrades in editing software. However, mundane activities like digital marketing, campaign creation, lead management, customer calls, and related workflows will be fully automated.”
There has been a growing focus on streamlining and optimizing processes to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase the impact of marketing initiatives. This has led to investments in tools and technologies such as marketing automation, data management, and analytics, as well as a greater emphasis on cross-functional collaboration and alignment between marketing and other business functions.
UV Vamsi says: “Looking ahead, it is likely that investments in marketing technologies, skills, and operations will continue to be a priority for companies as they seek to navigate an increasingly complex and competitive business environment. However, the specific nature and scope of these investments will depend on a range of factors, including the nature of the business, the competitive landscape, and the evolving needs and preferences of customers.”
Aabhinna has seen a significant trend in investments in marketing technologies, marketing skills, and marketing operations over the last 3 years. There has been a greater focus on optimizing marketing operations and processes, including better collaboration between marketing and sales teams, improving lead generation, and nurturing, and streamlining workflows. This trend is driven by the need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing activities.
Investment in Media
In recent years the mix between media has changed, and one of the significant changes is the increasing need to invest in paid media. With the need for social media platforms to monetize their platforms and the deliberate restriction of organic reach by the platforms, pay-to-play in social media is expected to rise.
Seema reveals: “Across the world, leading social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, and LinkedIn remain the most prominent platforms. However, their growth rates are declining, and engagement levels are falling due to a lack of novelty and fear of privacy. While they are unlikely to be eclipsed by new competitors, other relatively new networks, such as BE Real and Supernova, are growing in importance.”
Digital marketing is core to many businesses’ strategies, and the technology that supports these efforts is continually evolving. Some trends will continue, including the growing importance of long-form educational content, chatbots and live chat, and voice search. New emerging trends include Google’s push for a cookie-less future. “While many marketing principles remain the same each year, businesses’ tools to achieve marketing success vary significantly over time. Newspaper advertising was once commonplace. Now, digital advertising and artificial intelligence play critical roles in the marketing tactics of businesses.”, adds Seema.
Pankaj forecasts: “AI, Extended reality (XR), Web3, metaverse, big data and analytics, amongst others will be the technologies, companies will be leveraging in 2023 and beyond. Additionally, social commerce and omnichannel marketing uphold their position as the top medium for marketing and advertising.”
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