The role of the marketer in getting through crises

The role of the marketer in getting through crises
Published: 2 June 2020

Marketers have had to adapt quickly as some of the channels they use for engagement have disappeared. Events and face to face activity is no longer possible and putting all your eggs in a virtual digital basket won’t work either.

I spoke with Elizabeth Basten, who is Chief Marketing Officer at one of the Wealth Tech 100s world’s most innovative Fintechs, award winning, Warwickshire based fintech company Wealth Wizards. The company’s purpose is to make financial wellbeing affordable and accessible to everyone Wealth Wizards have created a platform to ‘digitise’ the financial advice and guidance process and this is utilised as a white label solution by many FS businesses. They showcase this technology in their own-branded AI based financial wellbeing solution, the digital personality of ‘MyEva’ offered to the UK mass employed via their employer, as a financial wellbeing employee benefit. MyEva won the Schroders award for best workplace innovation four months after launch and Elizabeth has been named in the ‘Women in Fintech Power-list’ as a result of her marketing and communications work to date. We spoke about what a channel shift means for scaling brands whose business model is based on customer acquisition and how to adapt as the audience changes.

Marketing won’t change…

The overarching principal of marketing is to make a connection with your target audience and the brand. “The fundamentals won’t change, however the way in which we build these connections will”. In previous downturns, consumers have showed they’re prepared to come back if the price is low enough, whereas this time brands are going to be remembered for how they behave.

It’s possible that this period changes purchasing behaviour and marketers need to be mindful of that. Liz explained the importance of being clear on the company’s purpose and how you demonstrate those values and behaviours will make a difference to your audience, whether its internal or external. However, she warned that those failing to adapt their tone to the current situation will position their brand as being naïve. “It’s essential to listen to your community. What are they saying? What problems are they facing now? As marketers we need to build trust by responding to what the audience is experiencing” and react in a transparent and appropriate way.

...but your audience may

In the financial services space, change was traditionally dictated by the large corporates and in many instances, this was slow. New incumbents with customer focused digital platforms like Starling Bank and mortgage broker Habito have grown by attracting younger audiences used to technology and wanting a slicker, self-serve experience.  

Wealth Wizards’ platform was built from the customer inwards as they recognised that their audience wanted to receive advice in all ways, not just via the traditional channels. The days of booking an evening appointment with an advisor or ‘popping in’ to a local branch doesn’t suit how we want to purchase now, or can purchase at the moment, even if we wanted to! Commenting on how isolation and social distancing is changing the way we interact, Liz commented that “we can’t be complacent that our audience will remain the same”. As an example, the over 50s are now using video chat as part of their everyday lives and whilst in the past, this may not have been their preferred channel of communication, they’ve had to become comfortable with it – it’s a way to keep connected with the world from the safety and comfort of home. Comfort has turned to convenience and suddenly there’s a new audience we can engage with and this can drive new growth.

Crisis creates opportunity

Building community is one thing but ultimately marketers have the responsibility of creating an allegiance to the brand which translates into revenue. For some, this will mean broadening the product offering, for others evolving the customer experience as expectations change.

This means that every principle of marketing from brand building to selecting the most appropriate channels and being easy to do with business with remain. What will continue to change is where budgets are invested and skills allocated and developed in line with it, meaning that marketers must continue to be versatile and commercially astute.

For more information, please contact Kathryn Gallan,  a Consultant in our IT & Digital Leadership Practice.

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