The future of marketing depends upon two critical functions, according to Broadridge Financial Solutions’ Global CMO Dipti Kachru.
“You’ve got to obsess over your data strategy and your tech stack to be able to optimize and automate,” she told Chief Marketer this week. “That foundation is what’s going to help you deliver value, help you measure and prove that value add, and help you know what’s working and what’s not working.”
In addition to that, it’s important for companies—particularly those with brand marketing stories that are less obvious—to harness the power of storytelling. “We’re spending a lot of time with the team on how to break through the complexity of our business and make it more intuitive to people—because we have a significant role in driving the markets, but most people don’t realize that,” Kachru said. “We’ve got to work a little bit harder to be able to define how and why we are relevant, not just to the people buying our products, but to the industry at large.”
The former J.P. Morgan Chase CMO discusses her strategy for growth since joining the company seven months ago, the marketing tactics and investments CMOs should be prioritizing amid economic headwinds, how the democratization of investing is influencing the firm’s insights and solutions, and more.
Chief Marketer: Who do you count as your customers, and where are you looking to expand?
Dipti Kachru, Global CMO of Broadridge Financial Solutions: We’re a global fintech that provides technology infrastructure and communication solutions, so we primarily sell our solutions to asset managers, wealth managers, capital markets, firms, hedge funds. We’re talking to technologists, to operations and to the front office, because of our range of products, [which are] technology solutions as well as data and insights to help make better decisions around business strategy distribution. We’re also doing a lot of innovation on the client communication side and now talking to CXOs, chief digital officers and marketing leaders to think about how essential, critical communications, or even regulatory communications, can be leveraged as touchpoints to add value with our customers. We’re also doing a lot of work in healthcare now from a communications perspective.
CM: How are you are approaching brand marketing? What are the challenges there?
DK: A lot of people know us from being a premier player in the corporate governance space. We’re reframing the brand to be relevant to some of the newer audiences we’ve been talking about. It’s not this big brand effort that you expect to see in B2C, but rather a very surgical effort to continue to refine how we talk about ourselves, how we tell the stories around what we do and how we do it.
CM: Can you provide an example of that fine-tuning?
DK: Our wealth management business has multiple facets, where front-to-back platform providers help broker dealers and financial advisors operate in their roles. In the broker dealer ecosystem, what an advisor needs on their dashboard to help serve clients and how that connects through the processing and the back end is something we’re a market leader in. We’re being very specific in how we showcase what we do to that audience. It’s not just, “these are the set of products we offer.” It’s to help visualize what benefit that brings to market and to see it from the point of view of the user. In this case, our products are helping the financial advisor engage in more personalized ways with their client and use data to make better decisions to how they’re spending their time. The visualization of that is part of our journey of storytelling.
The other place where we’re starting to make a lot of inroads is in our insights business and how we’re using thought leadership specifically to bring through the intellectual capital that resides within the firm, given our unique vantage point within the industry and the amount of data we see through the clients we interact with. How we package those insights to then reach out to the audience is another way we’ve continued to harness the power of the firm.
CM: How does that thought leadership come through?
DK: It’s multichannel. You clearly find it on our website. We’re partnering with our PR firms to make sure that we develop the intellectual capital and it is being distributed in the right way. Social is a big strategy for us, which is something we’re building more muscle around, to distribute our content both from an organic as well as a paid perspective. The last thing is, we’re really building out our martech stack and our data capabilities to be able to understand both interest and intent from our customers to deliver more personalized communications to them, whether it’s relevant insights, news about what we’re doing or case studies we can share.
CM: How does sustainability factor into your messaging and the products that you offer?
DK: It’s a large part of it, as we play a significant role in the investor empowerment process. With the democratization of investing, more and more investors are coming into the market and want to know what they’re investing in. They’re very actively engaged around ESG topics. So, we are creating both solutions as well as insights for our clients. Whether it’s issuers or asset managers, we’re designing new products to understand what some of those critical data points are, what investors care about and how you deliver on those.
CM: What are the marketing tactics and investments CMOs should be prioritizing amid economic headwinds?
DK: I’ve been in the marketing business for 20 years, and there’s always ups and downs. Here’s the three things I think CMOs need to focus on. One is to have the ability to optimize and really understand marketing performance. It gives you the capability of being surgical when you need to pull back, and you need to know what’s working, what’s not working and be very aware about the strategic priorities of the moment. You’re not making sweeping changes; you’re being very specific.
The second is being agile as a marketing organization—being very planful in how we go to market, but building in the agility to be able to pivot and turn when you need to so you can capture both the moment as well as the opportunity, whether it’s to lean in or pull back.
The last thing I’d say—and we tend to do less of this, especially in headwinds—is to lean in to places where we can better deliver on the customer sentiment at the moment. So, by keeping your ear to the ground, very close to the consumer, whether it’s through individual interviews with clients, which we often do with pulse surveys, or just spending more time with the sales force. You start to understand how your clients or your customers are feeling and the role the brand can play that’s associated with their values, and being more empathetic versus being tone deaf. Also, when other brands and your competitors are pulling back, it creates white space for you to go in and establish or reestablish a connection with your most critical audiences.
CM: How are data and analytics reshaping the customer experience? And what role does privacy play?
DK: Data is critical to driving an improved customer experience. What we do with our clients, especially on the communications side, is about helping them harness the power of data to make the communications more relevant and engaging. Going the direction of more privacy-oriented rules is not in conflict with that. I think it actually gives organizations an opportunity to engage with the customer in a more authentic fashion. It creates greater trust when it’s the customer that’s giving you access to information. It reinforces that data belongs to the end user versus the organization. And by acknowledging that, it opens a channel of communication with the customer where, by earning their trust, you are on the hook for delivering value. And that drives more connectivity, and if you can deliver on it, certainly more loyalty. It’s a great opportunity for firms to continue to use data to better serve clients in more personalized ways.
CM: From your perspective, how has the pandemic has reshaped the B2B2C customer journey?
DK: The pandemic has been horrific for a lot of people. But as a marketer, one of the silver linings I’ve seen is the acceleration in digitization and digital adoption. In my current role, I see that happen everyday; we send about seven billion touchpoints of communication in a year. We’re seeing that migration from print to digital. It’s something we’re actively helping our clients through. Our data also reinforces that people are willing to go digital as long as it’s not just a replication of the print experience. You need to be able to rewire that experience to make it more engaging and add more value. There’s an acceleration in organizations investing in the transformation of their stacks, their data architecture, to be able to deliver that quality of engagement.
CM: You were recently CMO of J.P. Morgan’s Wealth Management division. What have you taken from that experience that you’re applying to your current role?
DK: I’m a big believer that marketing is a driver of growth for the firm. If you think about traditional B2B, that hasn’t always been the central driving reason that people fund a marketing organization. But my experience at J.P. Morgan only reinforced and strengthened that. I had a great privilege of leading marketing teams in the wealth space, the asset management space and in the consumer banking space, where we could take a lot of B2C principles on how you use data and automation to deliver value to the customer through the sales cycle and apply that to B2B.
A lot of what I spend time on with the team now is how are we building our data strategy and our technology to be able to facilitate the right outcomes in partnership with our sales teams. A large part of my focus is building that deeper bridge with the sales organization, not just philosophically aligned and in the trenches together and understanding what customers need, but importantly, does our technology work together? Are we able to power them with critical signals and beacons that help them be more effective at their jobs? And can we capture critical signals that they’re capturing as part of the sales process to make our marketing better?
The second one is the brand storytelling side. As a B2B brand, and a very complex one that serves many different clients with many different solutions, how are we strengthening our storytelling and going beyond just the words of what we do to better showcase what we do, whether it’s in video, whether it’s in the demonstration of our capabilities, whether it’s product demos. The third is bringing a sharper lens on the activation of digital strategies across the firm and how we go to market. There’s a strong foundation with incredible work that’s been done, but as we’ve grown and gotten more complex, we’re on a journey of marketing maturity as well.
CM: What are your goals for the company in terms of growth?
DK: We’ve got some work to do in building out our measurement infrastructure to be a little bit more predictive in the value we add. We look at performance as a marketing organization across three different areas. There’s work we’re doing on the brand side to drive perception of various critical segments that we are newer in. Are we engaging with certain customers more? Are they engaging with us through our content and our intellectual capital? Are we showing up with the right share of voice compared to our competitive sets?
The second one is enabling demand generation. We’ve got a demand generation ecosystem and we’re trying to light that up even more by understanding the connectivity of where the demand is being driven and how the demand is being converted so we can start to optimize. The third one is defining the scorecard around the sales nurture process. Marketing can help make the sales cycle more efficient by delivering relevant communications to complement the sales organization.
CM: Lastly, what are the trends that financial marketers should be following right now?
DK: It’s an evergreen trend you’ve got to obsess over: Will your data strategy and your tech stack be able to optimize and automate? Those are the two critical functions and the way I think about the future of marketing. That foundation is what’s going to be able to help you deliver value, help you measure and prove that value add, and help you know what’s working and what’s not working.
Second, while I’m obsessing over our segmentation strategy, targeting and tech stack to be able to get smarter and more effective, I also love the storytelling side of it. We’re spending a lot of time with the team on how to break through the complexity of our business and make it more intuitive to people—because we have a significant role in driving the markets, but most people don’t realize that. We’ve got to work a little bit harder to be able to define how and why we are relevant, not just to the people buying our products, but to the industry at large.