Marketing in The New American Century

We need to continue to stay focused on learning more about anyone who engages with us and get as much insight as possible into this audience—whether that’s on our corporate site or social platforms.
Collecting and analyzing this data is cross-department task depending on the campaign. The Marketing and Communications teams work with Digital on projects involving social media, for example, to better target ads toward the most desirable audiences. When we start looking at basic client demographics—to build a Lookalike Audience, for instance—we reach out to our Retail team to get a better sense of the kinds of people who have been attracted to our services in the past.

Q: What metrics do you currently track:

A: It all depends on the campaign, but in some cases, we’ll be looking at engagement; in other instances, it’ll be time spent watching a video, or the number of leads generated from a landing page.
It could be something as lofty as incremental growth of assets under management (AUM), or perhaps the level of recognition of our brand within the market.
That’s going to be on a case-by-case basis. We’re looking very critically at each campaign we run and whether we met/exceeded not only our goals, but also our standards for excellence.
How aligned is the CEO and other execs around the role of marketing?
He’s delighted by our approach. For the first time, we have truly data- and metric-driven marketing and communications departments—aligned in our goals, and working shoulder-to-shoulder to meet them.

Q: Have you found any inefficiencies, and how did you tackle it?
A: We have. For example, a video commercial production in mid-2016 cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, took six months to produce, and in the end did not deliver on the ROI it should have. I initiated a new video early this year for $22k that took 6 weeks from start to finish. After running in-market on television, Facebook and Instagram, we saw a nearly 50 percent increase in unaided brand recognition in the city where it ran. The post-campaign metrics from the audience survey were astonishing and blew away what we saw with the expensive ad from a year ago.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles that you face in achieving success?
A: My team has had to change its entire mindset. For example, a few of them enthusiastically brought me a sponsorship opportunity not long ago. It was a cool, high-profile event. But I asked everyone to sit back and look at it from the “How will this make a difference to us, from an ROI standpoint?” It was an obvious question, but it’s not one that might have been asked a year ago. Afterwards, they realized that “cool” does not always result in meaningful results.

Q: What does a typical month look like for you?
A: It can get pretty manic, especially at the end of each quarter. Since my arrival in June 2016, we’ve made high-quality video production a priority. That includes interviews with our portfolio managers, who are located in New York, Kansas City and the Bay Area. We travel to them to grab an hour of their precious time to get their thoughts on the past quarter, and what they expect to encounter from the markets in the next three months. The finished product lives on our website, as well as our YouTube channel and Facebook page. That thought leadership is so crucial to raising our profile in the asset management industry.

Q: What advice do you have for other newly appointed CMOs marketing and communications executives?
A: Use your most precious asset: your fresh eyes. You’ll never have another opportunity to really scrutinize your operation to determine what works, what doesn’t, and what you should ditch entirely.

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