How to reposition the Marketing Team in the eyes of the organisation

At a recent meeting with the Marketing team of a large financial organisation talking about lifting the function’s capabilities to deliver the important role that Marketing needs to play, my client challenged me. “How can we do this when we are not clear on the role we need to play, let alone have the buy-in of the board and others into letting us play a bigger role? We can’t be the voice of customers – because we don’t talk to customers often. We are seen as the colouring-in department”. Does this sound familiar?

Financial Service companies generate most of their revenue and profit from areas outside Marketing. Product development and sales and technology departments are seen as more valuable than marketing – because they’re the ones who “bring the money in”. The remit of marketing is often confined to communication. It’s a source of frustration to many marketers and, with customer experience being increasingly important for CEOs, it may well be a source of frustration for business leaders. What could marketers do to reposition themselves and create a more strategic growth-driving role?

It can be a vicious circle

When teams don’t leverage their full passion and potential, they become demotivated and wait passively for the “business brief”. Their confidence erodes which makes them less likely to push and challenge their agencies… which, in turn, delivers average outputs leading to average commercial impact. 

What's the way out?

Here are some considerations companies need to think about to help them get out of this trap:

1. If you don’t want to be seen as the colouring-in department, bring more than your “crayons” to the meetings. Make marketing the conduit of the outside

By changing marketers’ behaviours to better connect what the business is trying to achieve with insights into their customers, competitors, future trends, and the products and business purpose, marketers can play a strategic role in delivering the business goals. They can be the custodians of the customers, bringing together different business units from wealth & private banking all the way to retail.

2. Marketers can leverage their natural aptitude to balance “art” and “science”

In an environment where things are changing all the time, trust has never been so rare, customers are demanding more, faster, cheaper products; marketers are in a unique position to bring creative thinking. I don’t mean artistic creativity, but the ability to bring different pieces of the puzzle together in different ways, getting local developed product and brand assets and applying local insights to generate impact – balanced with a very good understanding of data, foresights to help them define the financial service customer of the future and deliver what they need.

3. Marketers need to bring other functions together to deliver a common purpose…. Deliver unique customer experiences

In this short video, Sarah Warby, Marketing Director for Sainsbury’s talks about the ability to frame everything you do with ‘why is this a good idea for the customer’, and get other functions in the habit of doing the same.

In our recent report, “Join Up to Stand Apart”, we showcase what and how marketers need to help break silos and join up to win at customer experience. We have to recognise that marketing has moved way beyond pushing product messaging and deep into the realms of the entire customer experience. We need to divert attention and investment into delivering genuine value at each and every touch point in order to deliver a service-based equity around our brands.

4. Marketers need to be able to paint a picture of the future, that is better than today’s

Marketers job is to inspire a customer experience movement, bringing together team to invent differentiated customer experiences and continuously improve the micro-moments using data-driven insights.

5. Marketers need to move from a victim role to a growth-driver role

It’s very common for marketing functions in Financial Services to blame the bureaucracy, red tapes from regulators and risk pressures, and get paralysed. Instead, marketers need to embrace these constraints and learn how to work with them; engaging stakeholders and functions to drive for the customer agenda as a team. A big part of this requires marketers to flex their style, their language and gravitas to be able to inspire their colleagues and get things done.

6. Marketers are natural storytellers... let’s tell more stories!!

According to Paul Davies, Microsoft’s CMO, neuroscience now confirms what many marketers have been hedging their bets on for decades: emotional storytelling is the answer to cutting through the noise. It resonates with people inside and outside the organisation in a way that improves recall, advocacy and referral. It’s the art and science of storytelling that sparks imagination. Let’s celebrate the two in tandem, and not one at the expense of the other. After all, isn’t that the secret of a happy marriage?

So, it’s not easy, it will not happen overnight… but it’s in your hands to make it happen!

If you’d like to find out more about how to structure your organisation and teams to enable joined-up ways of working work that drive customer-centred growth, please get in touch.


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