Looking back on 2020…
How did your actions during the COVID crisis change the perception of marketing among the bank’s executives and your internal stakeholders?
There are 2 factors that drove a new perception of Marketing among our stakeholders. First, our involvement in the Payment Protection Program (PPP) to provide relief to businesses in the US. The B2B Marketing team created and managed the external client communications, from hosted webinars to digital communications outlining the program details. Secondly, and one of the best things we did, was to partner with our sales enablement team to manage all of the resources our RM teams would need to help their clients understand the PPP. Every other day we held town halls with the teams to arm them with information about PPP and the content to use in client conversations. Now, as round 2 rolls out, we’re gaining even more traction within our RM teams.
How we connected with customers during the crisis vaulted marketing to the front of the action. The last in-person event we held was the week of the COVID shut down. Our events team quickly pivoted and hosted weekly webinars with clients. These timely and topical events drew more than 9k viewers, double the attendance we would normally expect. Through proper cadence of events, we were able to keep our connection with customers vibrant. They felt like we were there for them. We even saw the results of our efforts in our Net Promoter Score (NPS). The PPP communications, RM collaboration and webinar programs made all the difference with our management, clients and other stakeholders.
What one thing are you most proud of that you and your team accomplished in 2020 that elevated that perception?
The way the team stepped up during PPP with the common goal - to help our clients. We were able to quickly accelerate how we reach out to our customers using cloud technology to facilitate our efforts in short order. The team truly went above and beyond.
Thinking back, what is the biggest change you observed in people behaviors in 2020?
The team’s agility, our ability to pivot quickly and abandon plans that were already laid out, and their single focus on our clients.
What will differ in your overall approach to marketing this year?
We’re not planning long term. What we learned in 2020 is that there’s no sense in planning beyond the quarter. So, in 2021 we’ll be doing a lot of “test and learn,” and to flex to make sure that what we’re doing is impactful and measured properly. Our new high profile has resulted in more work challenging us to be agile every day. Now, quarter-by-quarter, as we learn the objectives of our line of business partners, we can align and advise them on the high impact programs that will help them achieve those objectives.
At CFG, we believe that 2021 will be year of HYBRID MARKETING.
What will hybrid events look like this year?
The idea of hybrid sponsorship is questionable now as we saw poor results from the 2020 hybrid events. The proprietary model is the most impactful as it allows us to design our own content and experience strategy and put our brand behind it. We can’t see a strong ROI from large-scale conferences. So, while the industry continues to test new large-scale hybrid concepts, we will focus on our proprietary events.
What will be the biggest change to your content strategy?
Everything changed in 2020. In 2021, our content must be purpose-driven, and we must tell our story through our clients.
What data (and insights) will you depend on to create your hybrid marketing mix?
We have to look at different ways to measure returns in a hybrid model. That requires data and insights. I have someone on my team who manages strategy and planning, thus all of our data. Together with insights generated in our work with our segment marketers, we set the KPIs and go to market. At HSBC, everything we do has a KPI. We must show returns with the results define our marketing mix.
By what measure(s) will you account for success this year?
Our new revenue attribution model is key to our ongoing success. This tool proves that marketing is contributing to business growth. The model allows us to record and score every client and prospect touchpoint. We can then back into average revenue per client, connecting and extrapolating to refine the model. Our future goal is to connect the data dots between Sales, Marketing and Client/Prospect.
You’ve raised the bar pretty high for marketing…In your opinion, what will be your biggest challenge in continuing to prove marketing’s value?
We’ve proved the value of Marketing and now we have to maintain it by pushing out the right programs to show even more progress in connecting with customers and prospects. It’s my job as the team leader to make sure we have the capacity and people to create programs that are impactful enough to prove, through our model, that we are adding value.
Why did you choose financial marketing as a career?
I went to school to become a teacher. One summer I worked in the investment bank at J.P. Morgan Chase doing financial modeling. I learned that I loved banking but didn’t want to be a banker. So, I finished school and turned to marketing & PR for my master’s work. The rest is history.
In your opinion, what is the one thing that you learned along the way that has contributed to your success as a marketer?
As a marketer, you must understand the business goals and align with them to drive growth.
What is your biggest challenge in your role as leader of quite a big marketing team?
Personally, I want to get more tactically involved in our marketing programs, but I don’t have time. I like owning my own project and now always have one to keep me close to clients. When you lead a lot of people, you have to make the time and place to develop them. So, I try (not always successfully) to balance the two: owning my own marketing programs and helping my team develop.
When you coach younger marketers, what advice do you give them to advance their careers?
Dive into everything even if you don’t think it’s relevant to your marketing career. Very early in my career, I was so fortunate to act as a chief of staff to the head of marketing at a major bank. I managed everything from budgeting to HR to marketing programs to industry publications, often representing marketing in meetings with our senior executives. If I didn’t have that job, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Anything you can get involved in will help you in your future, so dive in.
What career advice would you give to the younger Kerry?
Always look for opportunities to develop professionally. Given the vast array of resources today, I would lean in on programs specific to data available through industry associations and academia. To survive today, you must understand the data within the context of the business you’re supporting.
Any other advice for your marketing peers?
Get a seat at the decision-maker’s table; it’s imperative. When you’re changing jobs, negotiate it into your terms.