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Driving the Modernization of Financial Services in Asia

shutterstock_344562560Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to Hong Kong, where I am from originally, to officially open our Asia headquarters. Along with Jason Suen, founding Managing Partner of Hearsay Social Asia, I met with leaders of local and regional private banks and carriers to discuss their business challenges, growth opportunities, and how Hearsay Social can support them.
After many conversations, one thing was clear: Banks and agencies in Asia must modernize their field organizations in order to survive. Take insurance, for example. The high-churn, part-time agent model is unsustainable. And bancassurance, despite its allure from a margin and seeming turnkey perspective, threatens to disintermediate carriers from the all-important customer relationship.
Firms know they must help their agents professionalize, modernize, and digitize their field organizations to ensure continued growth and relevancy. Knowing that nearly every customer decision journey in Asia today starts with a Google search to validate not only the firm but the specific relationship manager’s education, experience, and qualifications, firms must enable each agent, private banker, and intermediary to be findable and reachable with a branded website, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook business page. 
All of the data points to Asian consumers as the most active and advanced users of social and mobile: More than 90 percent of online adults in Asia are on social media, and 97 percent of active social media users in Asia access their networks on their mobile devices. And yet banks and insurers have minimal digital presence. 
The opportunity to bridge this gap is enormous. This is why we have decided to set up shop in Asia and today, I’m excited to announce we’ve added three marquee customers – Manulife Asia, AXA Hong Kong, and MetLife Hong Kong – as well as the expansion of our Predictive Omnichannel Suite into the region. You can view the press announcement here.
All three firms understand that in addition to investing in corporate digital programs and initiatives, it’s critical to empower agents on digital so they can 1) build more productive, lasting relationships with today’s always-connected, social, mobile consumer, 2) establish a trusted, professional online presence that’s easily findable by Web-savvy prospects, and 3) confidently grow their networks without the risk of infringing company policy or guidelines.
I’m proud that our deep relationships with these global companies are – and will continue to be – a critical driver of our international growth in not just Asia, but Europe, North America, and beyond. We now have more than 130,000 advisors and agents using our products in more than 20 countries. The Hearsay Enterprise Platform, too, is evolving rapidly to provide expanded language support and other features to serve our international customers.
Thanks to the global Hearsay Social team for tirelessly supporting our customers, and to our customers for their continued partnership and belief in us. I look forward to many more milestones together.
Our Asia expansion was covered in the following daily newspapers:

董事Jason Suen一起會見了一些本地以及地區性私人銀行的領導。我們討論了他們
的在業務中存在的挑戰,發展機遇以及Hearsay Social能帶來怎麼樣的幫助。

上被搜索到,無論是通過LinkedIn Profile(領英個人資料)還是Facebook(臉書
感謝我們Hearsay Social全球組對於我們用戶不畏疲倦的支持,感謝我們用戶對於

Congratulations to JFAM's "20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing"

Over the past year, the financial services industry has made big strides in how it approaches sales and marketing, reinventing itself in an increasingly social, mobile, and digital world.
That’s why we’re proud to see The Gramercy Institute and JFAM (The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing), which specialize in financial services marketing, honoring 20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing, including some of our customers. From social media directors to CMOs to brand marketers and more, every marketing role has been tasked with adapting to transformations in the digital world.
Thank you to JFAM and the Gramercy Institute for acknowledging the achievements of the best marketers across some of the top insurance and financial services companies in the world. We hope these financial marketing “Rising Stars” will set an example for their peers across the industry.
The Gramercy Institute’s 20 Rising Stars:

  • Seema Alexander, Dir., Transformative Marketing, Retirement, Prudential Financial
  • Berta Aldrich, Head of Channel Marketing Strategy, Vanguard
  • Stefanie Boyk, Acquisition Marketing Manager, Vanguard
  • Abby Cohn, Vice President, Marketing and Advertising, CIT
  • Sueanne Comerford, Social Media Director, MetLife
  • Marty Dauer, Chief Marketing Officer, Duff & Phelps
  • John Davis, Exec. Dir., Corporate Svcs. & Retirement Solutions Marketing & Insights, UBS
  • Meredith Feiner, Associate, Social, Brand Marketing Group, Goldman Sachs
  • Linda Gharib, SVP, Digital Marketing, Head of Cross-Channel Initiatives, Citigroup
  • Kristine Giarrusso, Senior Marketing Manager, Columbia Management
  • Lisa Grossman, Head, Global Investments Mktg & Sales Support, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Ryan Hatfield, VP, Digital Marketing Manager, Chase
  • Michael Kazanjian, Head of Annuity and RPS Marketing, Lincoln Financial
  • Erin Meijer, Social Media Manager, Allianz Global Investors
  • Marc Quintavalle, Social Media Marketing Associate, Putnam Investments
  • Mark Rose, VP Mobile Strategy, Morgan Stanley
  • Kirti Srikant, AVP, Dir. of Brand Marketing & Advertising, OppenheimerFunds
  • Francie Staub, Director of Digital Advertising and eMarketing, TD Ameritrade
  • Michelle Smyth, Director, Social Media, Sun Life Financial
  • Philip Swisher, SVP & Head of Innovation, Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Derek Vest, SVP, Financial Advisor Marketing, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Lauren Walsh, Group Director, Strategy, Sullivan
  • Kathleen Wrynn, Content Strategist, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management

Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance: Recap from #FTF_SMAC

This post was co-authored by Yasmin Zarabi (Sr. Director of Legal, Hearsay Social) and Stephen Selby (Assistant Vice President, Social Media, LIMRA).

We’re still excited to have met so many curious people and led a session at last week’s Social Media and Compliance in Financial Services (#FTF_SMAC), an event hosted in New York by the Financial Technologies Forum (FTF).

Event attendees included leading financial firms (including New York Life Insurance, MetLife, and Prudential Financial), social media innovators (including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google), and influential third-party organizations and government (including the SEC and LIMRA).

In short, the conference was brimming with social media thought leaders from the financial services and social media industries.

We were delighted to lead a session, “Overview of Social Media Regulation in the Finance and Insurance Industries,” with two of the industry’s leading practitioners of social sales and marketing: Sueanne Comerford (Social Media Director, MetLife) and Kyle Marie Woods (Marketing Strategist, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans).

Here are a few of our key takeaways:

Social media creates an opportunity to combine marketing and compliance goals.

It’s commonly accepted among marketers that the holy grail is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. If you think about it, that’s not really at odds with the compliance team’s mission. In fact, as it relates to suitability, compliance teams are dedicated to empower marketing to do that safely and efficiently. In today’s highly connected, transparent world, technology that manages, monitors and enables this business process to align compliance and marketing is much more easily attainable.

The best sales relationships do one thing: sell people the right product.

Similar to the point above, it is ultimately the job of a salesperson to find the right product that fits their particular customer’s needs. If you sell the right product to the right people, then you will have happy repeat customers. Adding in the compliance perspective, selling the right thing to the right people should be equivalent to meeting your suitability obligations.

Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance. 

Here’s the big conclusion, drawing from both points above: One of the great, unintended consequences of social media is that it brings together formerly siloed areas of an organization, including sales, marketing, and compliance. When these groups work together, business results and productivity get unlocked. Take Thrivent, for example. The Fortune 500 financial firm realized early on that a compliance strategy based on screenshots would never be scalable. By implementing a social platform instead, the company experienced a 75% reduction in its effort to get pre-approved content to the field.

As a result of this implementation, Compliance is happy because they’re doing less work to keep track of everything. Marketing is happy because they’re controlling the message going out to the field. And Sales is happy because they don’t feel hampered or restricted by either Compliance or Marketing. The field can focus on what they do best: reaching customers and closing deals.

All in all, we found FTF’s event to be a huge success, and we look forward to the next!