In episode 28 we sit down to discuss digital transformation in financial services with Jeremy Floyd (@jfloyd), CMO of BPV Capital Management and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In our discussion we explore how social, mobile and digital technologies are changing client expectations, brand development and inbound marketing.
We also touch briefly on some of our earlier influences including the Cluetrain Manifesto that is required reading in Jeremy’s class. Check out their website at www.cluetrainmanifesto.com.
Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @RonnyKerr using hashtag #HSonAir.
Last week we participated in the first Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit held in New York. Although the organization has held successful events in Canada, this was the first time it had brought the Summit to the U.S. as well as the first time that Hearsay Social participated as a sponsor.
The two-day event focused on challenges, opportunities and trends facing marketing professionals in financial services. Attendees representing wealth management, asset management, banking and insurance heard from industry thought leaders, influencers, and their peers in a number of sessions covering everything from 2015 trends to social media to gamification. Zeroing in on the marketer’s experience, the Summit brought to light the value of digital technologies to promote the brand and build awareness. Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, I found the conversations and themes more macro and strategic than tactical and field oriented.
Here were some of the main themes from the Summit:
The key word of 2014 and this summit was disruption. It’s become clear to marketers today that the increased volume of potential marketing channels is challenging the way brands position their products and services to address their market. With the increasing number of mediums, cutting through the clutter of white noise is getting more and more difficult, and attracting consumer attention is requiring more creative approaches.
In his presentation, “Blending Heritage and Innovation,” Bryan VanDyke (Executive Director, Head of Digital Strategy, Morgan Stanley) shared that digital disruption shows no sign of slowing, affecting everything from how we buy travel and pay our bills to how we consume media (newspapers, music, movies, and television). The financial services industry will not be immune to these digital disruptions and are being challenged to adapt. He suggested that firms consider adjusting by providing the following:
Global presence: Be everywhere, always on, on all devices, service all needs.
Be personal: Be relevant, actionable, and clear respective of your audience.
Be insightful: Be thoughtful, holistic, visual and easy to grasp.
Digital is not just about technology
Digital is not just about technology because it’s more importantly about building connections with your customers. Firms getting caught up in technology challenges are overlooking the value in establishing a strong strategy first and then proceeding with a methodical approach that’s aimed at strengthening relationships.
In his presentation, “Strategy Considerations for Digital Marketing Transformation and Innovation in Financial Services,” Bill Barrett (Managing Director and Global Head of Digital Marketing, BNY Mellon) challenged participants to be disciplined in their digital adoption, and suggested 10 tips to follow:
Develop an achievable strategy
Ensure executive sponsorship
Socialize with key internal stakeholders
Seek out advocates in all areas of the company
Listen to your audience
Start from scratch if necessary
Avoid “design by committee”
Don’t believe everything you hear
Don’t take on too much at once
In essence, Bill provided a blueprint for the process marketing teams should follow when carefully adopting digital strategy: note, for example, that he specifically says in step one to develop an achievable strategy, taking into account the challenges an organization may have at the onset wanting to tackle too much at once.
Bill also reinforced how marketing teams must be mindful that their strategy needs to be flexible and nimble in order to adapt to changes recommended by consumers and internal stakeholders. If your brand is everywhere, especially in the minds of your consumers, you might as well take advantage of that by listening to their feedback and experimenting.
The buyer journey
Consumer buying behaviors are changing, and the products and services they buy are being influenced more and more by marketing and front of the funnel activities. In her presentation, “Content Marketing for Financial Brands as Publishers,” Alicianne Rand (VP Marketing, NewsCred, @aliciannerand) shared how content is core to who we are and how we live our lives. On average, we are exposed to 5,000 marketing messages every day, and we are being conditioned to tune out the noise. When you consider that only 0.01% of banner ads are ever clicked and 85% of TV ads go unwatched, how can you compete for the attention of consumers?
The fact is we choose what matters and is relevant to our lives, and today 70% of B2C and B2B purchase decisions are made before a buyer even speaks with a sales representative, according to Alicianne. As a result marketing departments are taking on more responsibility and accountability in the buying journey than ever before.
To cut through the noise, marketing departments must modify their approach with social media and other scalable digital technologies to personalize the experience and make the content more relevant to the individual consumer. Alicianne suggested that we challenge the old way of doing things with a new approach:
From brand-led to value-driven: It’s all about consumers’ needs and the value proposition the brand can provide. Don’t constantly talk about who your company is and why it matters; instead position your products and services around the challenges they solve and the time or money it saves.
From ad campaigns to always-on brand newsrooms: The 24/7 digital cycle is forcing brands to let go of traditional campaigns and instead leave the digital door open at all times. This is especially true for global brands that have consumers in every time zone. Social is always on, so having a presence isn’t enough if you don’t have the resources to support the ongoing conversation that is taking place. Airlines have been some of the fastest to adapt to their global customer needs both in availability and support in real-time
From demographics and target audiences to the individual: Access to big data and insight data is making it easy for the brand message to be personalized to the individual needs of consumers as opposed to the general messaging to a single demographic. Targeted digital advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads has made this process much easier leveraging the data users provide to provide a more laser-focused delivery.
To conclude, we are undergoing a digital transformation that is affecting how we market and position the value that brands add to the market and to individual consumers. This is forcing brands to question their traditional methods and embrace the opportunities that digital technologies provide to connect with the right customer, at the right time, with the right message.
The Gramercy Institute, a network of senior marketers from the world’s leading financial institutions, this week celebrated 20 up-and-coming leaders in the financial services marketing industry.
The people listed below run the gamut: some are responsible for traditional activities like brand strategy and advertising while others are driving rapidly evolving projects like digital marketing and social media content strategy.
Jared Barchus, Marketing & Brand Strategy, Morgan Stanley
Kimberly Bindra, Director, Duff & Phelps
Wendy Buzzeo, Director, Digital Marketing, MetLife
Tricia Conboy, Director of Advertising, Sun Life Financial
They’re each crucial not only to their respective organizations, but also to driving new success and innovation in the financial services industry. Congratulations to all of you who made the list!
Twitter just announced a major design revision that will start rolling out to users over the coming weeks. As part of the overall revision, brand pages will be receiving a special update destined to be a boon for social media marketers.
As the most comprehensive enterprise social media platform, Hearsay Social supports the new Twitter from day one, just as we supported Google+ brand pages from day one.
For brand marketers seeking to bolster their social presence, the newly designed Twitter will be a welcome addition to the social media marketing toolkit.
In a nutshell, the Twitter redesign grants social media marketers the kind of brand control they probably already know from Facebook Pages and Google+ Pages. With more space for brand visuals and messaging and more options for guiding the user through their page, brands on Twitter can truly offer their visitors a holistic experience tailored to the brand’s social media mission.
Whether their pages are designed for customer service, community engagement, idea collaboration, fan rewarding, or any combination thereof, page owners will now be able to more effectively carry out these goals on Twitter.
One big question marketers might have about the Twitter news is this: does it change where brands should be spending their time on social media?
The answer, for the most part, remains unchanged. Since there are over 800 million users on Facebook, over 100 million on Twitter, and over 130 million on LinkedIn, Facebook is still the best option for marketers trying to reach a mass audience.
Beyond blunt statistics, however, Twitter has always been a unique option among the social networking giants for numerous reasons. First of all, Twitter users, by default, publish more content publicly than they do on Facebook. Secondly, tweets are still limited to 140 characters. Finally, Twitter users tend to tune into the “now,” as in “what’s happening right now.”
Marketers must keep all of the above in mind when weighing their options between brand pages on different networks.
(For a comprehensive analysis on the advantages and disadvantages of brand pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, check out the “three-way brand page shootout” in this CNET article.)
While Twitter has so far only launched its new brand pages with a select group of partners, including Pepsi, American Express, and Best Buy, the enhancements will slowly roll out to other brands over the coming months. When the pages are more widely available, Hearsay Social customers will be the first ones to hear about it.
Google+ is, without a doubt, one of the most important social networks next to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Today, only four months after its limited beta launch, Google reports that the Google+ community has grown to 40 million users.
After only its first week, the infant service had everybody talking about how its late but bombastic entrance would affect the social networking space. Even more astonishing, many had already began discussing how Google+ could be used for businesses, in spite of the fact that it had hardly opened to individual users at that stage. Brand successes on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter had trained the most social media savvy among us to naturally think forward to the day when businesses would be able to take advantage of Google+.
Well, the wait is over.
Yesterday, Google announced the international rollout of Google+ Pages, with brands like Angry Birds, Pepsi, and Toyota among the handful of launch partners already using the service.
Any local business, brand, or other organization can create their page here. Here’s the Hearsay Social Google+ Page. And here’s an example of a Google+ Page from one of Google’s launch partners:
“For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you,” writes Vic Gundotra, SVP of Engineering, in the announcement. “Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face. All you need to do is start sharing, and you’ll soon find the super fans and loyal customers that want to say hello.”
Gundotra hints at some possible use cases for Google+, which won’t exactly mirror what we’ve already seen on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but he doesn’t really go into too much detail. Here I’ve outlined the top five things that the biggest brands must be doing on Google+ once they’ve set up their Pages.
Customer service: Airline customers will always need to complain, clothing retail shoppers will always want to hear about new trends, and insurance company clients will always be looking for the best rates… and social media has cemented its role as the number one media for individuals to express those needs.
It’s for all these reasons and many more that Google+ will rival Twitter as a nexus for big brands and businesses to respond to the customer’s voice, whether it takes the form of lofty praise or an emotional complaint. Not just a generic hub for customer service, however, the highly engaged community of Google+ will naturally lend itself to a more advanced form of customer service, which leads us to…
Customer collaboration: Think of this as customer service 2.0. Why only engage with customers and fans reactively when it’s now so simple to communicate with them proactively? The Dallas Cowboys are already doing this on their Google+ page, asking fans what they think of the football team’s new running back. Anderson Cooper 360 also delivered a call to action to his audience by asking for opinions on the just-issued Conrad Murray verdict.
Even those examples are just scratching the surface of what’s possible here. Maybe Ford could host regular Hangouts (live video conferences) with fans, as they did back in July, to talk candidly about their feedback on the design changes coming to next year’s electric vehicles.
Rewards program: Digging deeper into the customer base, businesses could make circles for the most important customers, like brand evangelists or frequent buyers. There’s really nothing more magical to a marketer than a brand evangelist (like @VaBeachKevin for Adobe) who promotes a product or service simply because they love it. If Adobe were to create a circle including its evangelists like @VaBeachKevin, then it could strategically opt to share exciting upcoming announcements or new features. Or they could gain access to exclusive promotions and discounts.
The same obviously applies to frequent buyers. A business could create one catch-all circle called “VIPs” or “MVPs” with the best repeat buyers, making it a breeze to share promotions with that select group of individuals. The possibilities here are really endless: think of an airline creating a series of circles (Platinum/Gold/Silver, AAA/AA/A classes, etc.) to enable multiple tiers of promotions depending on the customer’s value to the organization.
Market segmentation: Then there’s the basic biographical information like gender, hometown, employment, and education, the bare bones stuff that marketers and advertisers already enjoy having access to on Facebook (for users who choose to share that info). On Google+, though, Circles could go a long way. Imagine a beer brand like Corona blasting out two different campaigns, one for the male demographic and one for the female demographic.
Internal social network: Perhaps the biggest way businesses could use Google+ is as an internal social network. For example, if I were to add all of my company’s employees to a circle called “Hearsay Social,” it would be a breeze sharing internal information with them and only them. While some enterprise users might already be using internal collaboration platforms like Yammer or Chatter (by Salesforce), Google Apps users could easily opt to use Google+ as their official inside network instead.
At the end of the day, businesses are like individuals: different social networks will appeal to them for different reasons. One might want to use Facebook for sales leads, Twitter for customer service, and Google+ for internal networking, while another might want to use all three for everything. Yet another might decide it only needs Facebook and LinkedIn, the one for customer outreach and the other for hiring.
We’ve all heard before that there’s no one-size-fits-all social media strategy, and the same will apply now that Google+ business profiles have rolled out.
We’re very excited that organizations now have yet another social network to tap into. If and when the Google+ API for Business Pages becomes available, we’ll make sure our customers will be able to leverage the service. Again, please circle the Hearsay Social Google+ Page and we’ll be sure to circle you back!
Last week, I had the honor of leading a webinar, “5 Steps to Hitting a Home Run on Facebook,” taped live from Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. I’m told this is the first time a non-Facebook employee had been invited to do so, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.
This webinar highlights the most recent features, trends, and use cases by businesses on Facebook to attract and retain customers. During the first half, I walk through the 5 steps for business success. In the second half, I moderate a Q&A panel featuring James Peregrino (Farmers Insurance Agency Owner) and Amit Shah (Director of Online Marketing, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM). They provide a nice diversity of perspectives on the business value of Facebook for organizations large and small.
The recorded webinar is available here as well as on the Facebook Live channel.
From Oreo publicizing social media goals that it could not meet to Nestle’s Facebook rant against environmentalists, examples of corporate social media mishaps are everywhere. These incidents teach us that more social media may be the only way to combat social media fiascos. And without properly crafted responses, companies lose out on an opportunity to engage with customers on a human level.
Today, Chrysler took the cake when it tweeted to 7,000+ followers, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.” A few followers managed to retweet it before the post was deleted.
Chrysler’s social media mishap follows on the heels of February’s ubiquitous Red Cross drunken tweet in which the social media manager mistook the corporate account for her personal one and posted, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”
Whether companies realize it or not, consumers are contrasting the follow-up responses to these incidents and drawing conclusions about the companies’ brands based on the tone and words they employ for damage control. Compare the responses:
Which response resonates with you? For me, the answer is simple: With the Red Cross, I hear the candid, self-deprecating, and lighthearted voice of a real employee representing the brand. I want to learn more about this person, how she made such a mistake, and how an international humanitarian organization came to hire a hardworking young woman who occasionally enjoys a few beers after work. Translation: I’m engaged.
With Chrysler, I imagine a team of stoic compliance officers, marketing executives, and lawyers being called to an emergency meeting, only to come up with a generic and vague response when they put their heads together. Their response, at best, prevents me from searching for more info on the incident and, at worst, makes me think twice about a Chrysler for my next car purchase. Translation: You’ve lost me.
Regardless of the company’s response, Hearsay Social prevents your company from dropping f-bombs, and will help you catch them if you do. Learn how by contacting email@example.com.
Franchise organizations need to think about how brand compliance fits with the decentralized nature of social media.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Franchising World – by Clara Shih (Author, The Facebook Era), Ben Smith (Interactive Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Donuts), and Chris Andrew (Customer Success Manager, Hearsay) How are Facebook and Twitter affecting your brand? In the world of social media, suddenly everyone from customers to franchisees has a voice. What they say can have a tremendous impact on your brand and the customer experience. Where we are today with social media is like where we were fifteen years ago with the Internet. Yes there are challenges, but there is also a wealth of opportunity. The answer is not to cringe and ignore. With over 500 million active users spending billions of minutes each day on the site, Facebook is here to stay. The good news is that franchisors have an unprecedented opportunity to harness the local market knowledge, reach, and direct customer connection through the local social graphs of franchisees. Although specific tactics will vary by company and industry, just about every franchise organization needs to think about how brand compliance fits with the decentralized nature of social media. In this article, we will explore these challenges and opportunities, as well as share best practices from the franchise world. Social media presents corporate marketing departments with a new set of risks and challenges, especially when it comes to brand monitoring, compliance, and consistency.Many franchisors initially feel frustrated when they realize social network pages (such as Facebook Places, Yelp profiles, and Google Place Pages) are being auto-created for each franchisee location, or that franchisees themselves are creating their own Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts. The big question for corporate marketers is how to take inventory of and monitor on an ongoing basis the universe of Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, and other social media assets out there representing the brand. Here are a few recommended best practices from Dunkin’ Donuts and Hearsay:
Develop clear social media guidelines. Likely, you already have offline brand guidelines for franchisees. Update these to include new capabilities and use cases on social media.For example, you may wish to suggest a standardized Facebook Page naming convention. Your brand is your most important asset and it’s critical to ensure that a unified brand image is being presented across your brand’s various local social media presences.
Periodically perform a social media brand audit. Using the search functionality on Facebook and Twitter, search for any brand mentions, Facebook Pages, and Twitter accounts that have been created using your brand name. We recommend taking the time to do this in-house so you can stay close to the voice of the customer, versus outsourcing this particular function to a PR or digital agency. With many local presences there is a risk that certain pages which were created are now unattended.Gaining oversight of the local pages in your organizations helps to ensure that customers are responded to promptly and there are no negative effects on your brand.
Quickly address spam or inappropriate content. Spam and the occasional inappropriate remark are inevitable on the open web. It is imperative that franchisors be able to monitor, flag, and remove or otherwise address any inappropriate content including confidential information, profanity, non-approved marketing, competitor names, or negative comments.
Social Media is part of the marketing mix. While social media marketing should be treated as another channel in your local marketing mix, steer clear of blatant marketing messages (e.g., “Buy now!”).Focus on communications that provide rich and educational experiences about your Franchise, like local promotions, community involvement, or crediting a crewmember for exceptional customer service.
Develop a “Code of Conduct”.Having a “code of conduct” for your social media sites will help your employees and customers understand what’s appropriate to discuss on your social media channels.Every company will occasionally have users who violate their established code of conduct on their social media channels and having a clear set of guidelines allows them to be removed without too much disruption to the overall customer experience.
Be prepared for constructive criticism. Similar to the in-store experience, not all customers that visit your social media channels will be happy ones. When dealing with customer feedback online, listen and learn before interacting.Accept the feedback for what it is and take it as an opportunity to improve parts of your business, or credit a crew-member for a job well done.
Know when it’s appropriate to respond to customer inquiries online. Local franchises should answer questions from their local customers and keep their responses related to their specific business and not the overall brand. If you’re being asked a question that you cannot or should not answer, you should direct it to your corporate office, who can determine the appropriate individual to respond.
Address legal and compliance issues before they happen.In some industries such as banking and insurance, there is an added layer of regulatory compliance. For example, FINRA requires financial services organizations to archive any communications with clients or prospects for seven years in case of an audit event. For other industries, message archiving is just a matter of good corporate governance.
Given there is little which can be done to prevent or ban these local presences, the most important thing for franchisors is to recognize that localized content actually results in substantially higher consumer engagement, a huge net positive for the brand.While consumers identify with national or global brands, the actual customer experience happens at the local level through the physical locations they frequent and now check-in to via Foursquare or Facebook Places.
It then becomes a question of how franchisors can empower franchisees with the right tools, training, and messages. As you have likely experienced first-hand, franchisees and local establishments are eager to get involved with social media but they often don’t know what to say after they’ve created a Facebook Page or Twitter account.Worse yet, some locations say all the wrong things — eg, they are too salesy, they use profane language, or their posts contain misspellings — all of which can damage your brand. Some locations hit the ground running, pushing out top-notch content for two weeks and then it ends abruptly.A local page gone stagnant reflects poorly on the global brand.
The right solution requires a combination of business policy, tools, and training. Hearsay Inc., a Facebook Certified Partner, has developed a franchisor social media management tool to monitor franchisee pages, enforce a consistent brand experience across these pages, and measure the results. Ultimately it’s about recognizing that as a franchise, your brand is local. Just as you empower franchisees today with offline tools, materials and training, it is imperative to start thinking about how to empower them with online tools, materials and training. By putting the right policy, processes, and tools in place, franchise companies can control brand image and still benefit from the power of an effective local presence. As your organization begins to institute social media policies, keep in mind monitoring, compliance and consistency.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be part of this amazing company. I come from a consumer background, having run marketing organizations at companies like Amazon.com and OpenTable . Why did I come to Hearsay, which focuses on business customers? Because I love the team – led by social media pioneer Clara Shih – and because the consumer and business worlds collide when it comes to social media.
I’ve been watching the social media landscape for some time. Companies have historically communicated with prospects in one-way fashion, like through advertising and email. But the ability to have meaningful conversations and interactions with customers has caused a stampede toward social media.
Think of bankers, insurance agents, and realtors as well as your local coffee, hotel or restaurant chain. They want to have engaging conversations and connect on a human level. After all, businesses are made up of people.
Companies need to be where customers are, but it’s not as simple as setting up a LinkedIn profile or Facebook Page. There are branding, operational, legal, and compliance issues which need to be addressed before you can take advantage of the tremendous sales and marketing opportunity afforded by social media. Corporate/local companies in particular face a unique set of challenges. On the one hand, you need to protect the brand. On the other hand, social media demands that you support and empower your local reps and branches to express a unique, authentic voice.
Working with some of the largest and most interesting brands in the world, Hearsay Social addresses the three most crucial areas needed for corporate/local success on social media: compliance, content, and analytics.
Time and again, we hear customers express concern about how to achieve the balance between brand and local. Judging from the media coverage we saw the day we launched, the market is hungry for a solution like Hearsay Social. Take a look at just a few of the articles that appeared: