What if you had advance knowledge of what people were thinking and could predict their behavior? We’ve seen the sci-fi version of this in Stephen Spielberg’s The Minority Report.
In this prescient 2002 movie, a special “pre-crime” unit of the Washington, DC police force in 2054 apprehends criminals before they actually commit the crime based on the insights of psychic “precogs.” The “precogs” know in advance what people are going to do (based on reading minds) before they actually take action.
This isn’t far from today’s reality. Companies are increasingly relying on customer data to influence their own actions. A 2014 article from McKinsey and Company recommended integrating data into the decision mix. By doing so, McKinsey predicts that companies can “free up some 15-20 percent of marketing spending in support of the customer journey.” This provides companies with more ammunition to drive growth while improving Marketing’s ROI.
But the drive to engaging customers requires going beyond data – designing the ecosystem that not only delights clients but also reinforces the brand. This is an increasing imperative in today’s environment where asset manager’s brands become slimmer and slimmer in the consumer’s minds.
In a recent interview with Asia Insurance Review, Na Jia, CEO of ReMark International challenges insurers that a changing industry requires greater emphasis on creating an engagement ecosystem to attract and keep customers. How will engagement be sustained? Ms. Jia recommends companies provide “meaningful outcomes – meaning holistic and contextual insights distilled from their aggregated data.”
Laura Varas, CEO and Founder of Hearts & Wallets, underscores the need to stay relevant with clients. The emergence of asset allocation strategies is crowding out individual brand recognition to the detriment of some mutual fund companies. Specifically, ”awareness of investment products among the coveted Late Career (ages 53 to 64) Baby Boomers continues to decline, falling to 68% in 2017 from 84% in 2010, as asset allocation and goals-based wealth management approaches have replaced branded mutual funds.” Varas argues that, ultimately, this is a ”board-level issue for money managers.”
If staying relevant is dependent upon designing the ecosystem for clients, what’s getting in the way? Jenifer Kern’s recent article, “The CMO Mess & How We Can Clean It Up”, summarizes the challenges for today’s organization. There are different types of CMOs with a wide range of specialties – from MarComm to digital marketers to brand junkies complicating the solve.
Perhaps CMO’s are hampered by their own individual expertise which gets in the way of thinking more holistically. How do we get to the endgame? For starters, CMOs need to:
- Be confident the strategic intent of the firm is understood by the marketing team
- Build a marketing department integrating hard and soft specialties (from data to brand)
- Ensure the firm’s brand is authentic to the mission
- Design a client journey that reinforces the brand
- Conduct an audit to determine what customer data is available and what’s missing
- Assess what the data is telling them about client preferences
- Leverage the marketing toolkit to reinforce the journey
- Have the appropriate metrics in place to measure progress
What does the future look like? It’s an educated guess. Here’s how the producers of The Minority Report envision it:
In the end, the design is in our hands. The data will drive the context, informing the experience and ensuring relevance. The customer ecosystem is our responsibility and highest priority.