How to Successfully Navigate a Digital Marketing Transformation
Melissa Power, Director of Digital Marketing and Branding at SouthState, has more than 30 years of experience in Marketing and Communications, with a concentration in financial marketing at SouthState for the last 17 years. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she received a degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Melissa is also a graduate of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management and has been recognized for her achievements in Advertising, Branding and Public Relations.
Today, for businesses to not only thrive, but survive, they must learn to be innovative, data-driven, and forward-thinking. Over the last two years, SouthState Bank has invested time and resources to digital transformation.
What started as a website redesign uncovered the need to create a deeper, customercentric experience, driven through personalized experiences and data-driven decisions. Evolving to digital-first marketing is a critical first step in connecting with the right people, with the right message, at the right time and place. While doing so may seem like a huge undertaking, it will allow your organization to be fast, flexible, and efficient with your overall marketing investment. Here’s how to get started.
Get Enterprise-Level Buy-In
Before you begin any monumental change within your bank, you’re going to need total support from leadership. While your team might be on board, transforming the way your company is connecting with customers is going to require time, money and resources. Consider coordinating a Digital Steering Committee; they will campaign in favor of your shift to digital marketing and work to ensure the benefits of the transition are understood.
Build a Team Committed to Your Digital Transformation
Your team is the supporting structure of all marketing efforts for the bank; delegating essential roles and responsibilities is vital to the success of your digital marketing goals. The size of your team should be scalable with the size of your company. Here are a few key roles to consider.
• Digital Marketing Manager – This individual develops the overall strategic roadmap, including campaign development and performance management. They should stay current on marketing technology, industry trends, and competitive analysis.
• Digital Marketing Specialist – Think of a digital marketing specialist as your day-to-day technical guru. This person should know your marketing automation platform inside and out, implement digital marketing campaigns and work with various lines of business to assist with their marketing needs.
• Webmaster – The webmaster on your team should be fluent in the Content Management System (CMS) your company uses and a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. They’re responsible for keyword strategy, content updates and general site maintenance.
Form a Strategic Partnership with a Digital Marketing Agency
Hiring the right digital partner will be critical to your success; they can help guide you in the direction you want to go. Here are key considerations.
• Capabilities – The over-arching capabilities of the agency need to align with the goals of your business. If your goal is to grow, ensure they are prepared to grow with you. The agency should provide your organization with a strategic partnership and offer full-service digital marketing capabilities.
“Change is inevitable – whether it’s your customers’ needs, new technology, or your company’s priorities. Embracing this change and continuing to stay innovative, datadriven, and forward thinking will result in mutually beneficial relationships between your bank and your customers”
• Experience – When looking for a strategic partner, it’s important they have experience in the financial industry. Additionally, you may require experience with a specific platform or technology. Ask to see case studies where they’ve helped other brands expand their digital capabilities and how they measured success
• Collaboration – Choose a partnership that will be most efficient for both teams. Although virtual meetings are the way of the world, your team might benefit from in-person collaboration. Consider a partner within reasonable proximity and in your time zone. Also, consider your future growth and choose a partner that can grow with you.
Implement Best-In-Class Technology
Over the last decade, the growth of Marketing Technology has been exponential. As you begin to think about choosing the right technology for your company, we recommend you take a crawl, walk, run approach. It’s helpful to create a roadmap and define goals, ownership, and expected completion times for the next 2-3 years. Here’s the technology we’ve found to be most revolutionary to our transition thus far.
• Content Management System (CMS) - Your website is often the first impression as person has of your business and helps define a customer’s experience. When creating your site, focus your efforts on creating solution-based content, attracting new visitors, and driving conversions. Your website is a digital hub and should be scalable as the bank grows, while flexible to adapt with the needs and expectations of your customers.
• Marketing Automation Marketing automation leverages technology to automate marketing tasks, allowing you to work more efficiently across multiple channels. It can enable you to provide personalized, relevant experiences to customers and prospects across your digital ecosystem. This can become especially relevant in the marketing to sales handoff and deepening relationships with existing clients. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform - One of the most crucial components of any business is the relationship with the customer. Think of a CRM as a central vault of customer data, where everyone in the organization has a holistic view of the customer and can contribute to enhancing their journey. This includes tracking how individuals engage with your content, campaign metrics, and the return on your investment (ROI).
By implementing the right technology and data collection, our organization was able to track the impact of our marketing investment and tie it back to true business results and revenue for our bank. Being able to track what is working, make datadriven decisions and pivot have proven to make us a more agile team that can propel growth for the business.
Once you’ve built your team, found the right digital agency, and invested in best-in-class marketing technology, you’ll be well on your way to a digital marketing transformation. But just know, the journey will never be fully complete. Change is inevitable – whether it’s your customers’ needs, new technology, or your company’s priorities. Embracing this change and continuing to stay innovative, data-driven, and forward thinking will result in mutually beneficial relationships between your bank and your customers.