Towards a Single Source of Truth in FinServ Marketing

Marketing dashboards enable marketers to track performance in real-time and report ROI. Can FinServ marketers make them a reality?

September 3, 2021

Towards a Single Source of Truth in FinServ Marketing illustration

Monthly or quarterly reports may have worked for FinServ marketers in the past. But we live in a different world now. With intense competition, a squeeze on budgets, and rapidly evolving consumer behavior, marketing teams need to track and demonstrate their impact in real-time, to prove return on investment (ROI), and optimize fast-moving campaigns. And as technology has advanced, marketing dashboards have emerged as the most effective way of enabling visibility and responsiveness. 

Drawing on a range of analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs), a marketing dashboard uses data visualization to show how the marketing function is performing at any given time. Marketers today have mountains of data at their disposal, but most struggle to connect the dots. A dashboard pulls in data from a range of sources and channels to show how strategy and tactics are driving leads, sales, revenues, and ultimately, feeding into business objectives. 

But for FinServ marketers, taking the marketing dashboard from concept to reality can be a daunting process, involving challenges with legacy technology, organizational siloes, data protection rules, and other regulation. How can marketers overcome these barriers, and finally get full transparency over their data and performance? 

Start With a Measurement Strategy

For many organizations, dashboards fail to deliver because they aren’t sure what they should be tracking, and how – and over what time period. Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) should come before everything, spanning both specific activity goals and overall objectives, short and long-term, and at different levels of granularity.

“The mar-tech market is mature, so we’ve got all the tools, but we have to get down to the root of what are we measuring and what data are we using,” explained Hilda Tingle, Global Head of Digital Marketing at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “What are your primary and secondary performance indicators? Figure out your goals first and then your KPIs become more obvious.” 

A measurement strategy shouldn’t be developed in a vacuum, but involve stakeholders from across the business, to give a full picture of what success looks like, break down siloes, and gain buy-in from everybody involved. Working through the entire customer journey enables you to define the key touchpoints and see how each one links back to business objectives, and what you want to show. 

“It is all about customer centricity,” said David McCarthy Advertising Solutions Lead, EMEA at Sprinklr, a provider of enterprise software for unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM). “Customer centricity should be the backbone of your measurement strategy. It’s important to focus on customer journey mapping and understanding all those different points that can influence the outcome that you’re looking for, whether that’s brand awareness or delighting customers post-sale.”

Ensure Everything Is Auditable

Another major challenge is accessing the right data to feed into a marketing dashboard. Measurement is often an after-thought, but McCarthy stressed the importance of putting this front and center as part of the planning process and ensuring that everything is auditable.  

“A lot of the outputs of measurement can be delivered by looking primarily at the inputs”, he said. “Looking at how you’re building campaigns, how you’re structuring and formatting that data, how you’re setting up consistently across markets, or even how you’re tracking consistently.” 

Every organization, and marketing team, has its tried and tested ways of measuring campaigns and ROI, but marketers should think outside-the-box in how they source insights, drawing on both internal and external sources. Tingle advised working across departments and with external experts to understand what is possible, within industry limitations.

“Look at different ways of gaining your insights,” she said. “There are different techniques and methodologies, so work with your partners on this. Benchmarking, focus groups, usability and UX testing are all important. All of those things add to the mix of getting really good insights.”

Involve Key Stakeholders Early 

The nature of FinServ means that regulatory issues are ever-present and creating a marketing dashboard inevitably throws up questions around data protection and security.

Compliance teams should therefore be looped in right at the beginning, so that they can flag any potential challenges and parameters. 

“There is a counter-intuitive idea that good governance, risk management, and data management slow an organization down, but people who spend time on these issues often have the most clarity,” McCarthy explained. “Being aware of where your guardrails are and being able to design that into the technology gives teams certainty over what their role is and how they can use data.” 

It’s a similar situation with technology, which involves numerous decisions around potential technology providers, solutions, how they integrate with an organization’s existing systems, and ensuring the whole ecosystem is secure. Involving tech specialists early is critical to avoiding any pitfalls. 

“IT is much more involved in the security of the data,” Tingle said. “You have the actual solution to consider; is it private cloud or public cloud, and what kind of data it is? This adds an extra dimension to the challenge and how you approach it.”

Done well, marketing dashboards should be clear and simple, capturing at-a-glance the value that marketing is delivering, and thereby aiding decision-making, visibility, and accountability across the whole organization. But to achieve this clarity is a people challenge as well as a data, technology, and compliance challenge, requiring alignment and collaboration with stakeholders about the role of marketing, the objectives of the business, and its responsibilities to customers. Get those elements right, and everything else should fall into place.

To read more about how marketers can bring fresh thinking to FinServ, check out our guide to Marketing Without Compromise. Also, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog to keep up with the latest trends in FinServ marketing.