Age of Renaissance Marketers: Death to Digital Marketers

If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving. And if you tell me that you need a digital marketer, I’m leaving.

I consistently hear there’s a lack of digital talent in financial services, specifically in asset management. In broad strokes, senior marketers in the investment industry haven’t had the experience or training in digital marketing. The need for digital resources has trailed other industries; one reason being the slow adoption of digital channels by advisors but the rally for a digital experience is upon us and the need for subject matter experts to implement digital strategies into marketing plans is prevalent.

But, you don’t need a digital marketer:

Hire or train renaissance marketers
Whether it be an overall marketing plan or individual campaign, multi-channel marketing is complicated in it’s own right. Attempting to do this with a team where individuals focus solely on a specific channel presents an additional level of challenges that is avoidable. Specialists, like digital marketers, are a stop-gap to the actual need. The renaissance marketer can navigate through all channels to build and own an all-inclusive plan, rather than having multiple experts who need to inform the strategy.

It’s an omni-channel world
I think we can all agree that marketing plans need to be integrated across a broad spectrum of channels. To take this a step further, the experience needs to be omni-channel. This shiny new buzzword borrows a page from ecommerce, delivering a consistent experience from introduction to brand/product to making the sale. In the investment management world, this gets more complicated by the layers of intermediaries. But, the foundation of this experience should be embedded within the holistic strategy of any marketing plan. If you want a unified marketing plan, then you can’t build a team by channels. It creates silos.

Leave the “specialists” to agencies or central resources
You will have specialized needs in digital channels, focused on the build and/or the run (e.g. social media, analytics, or web). When possible, have this role live within central resources or hire an agency. A good digital marketer could manage these specific needs, but the blocking and tackling associated with these responsibilities is time-consuming and keeps individuals stuck in the current state. With specialists sitting outside of brand teams, renaissance marketers can digest the feedback loop of analytics and keep their perspective focused on finding new ways to yield value.

Hiring a digital marketer for a strategic role will temporarily fix gaps in your team, but long-term, you open yourself up to continuity, role clarity, and redundancy concerns. The lack of digital experience is a near-term pain point. Having an integrated background will eventually be a table stake requirement for marketers. Providing digital training for your current team or seeking new team members that are fully versed in tradition and digital channels will provide the opportunity to create foundationally seamless plans with a team focused on learning and fine-tuning marketing to build your advisor base. It also positions your team ahead of the talent curve.

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