Financial Services: Impact Of Financial Crisis Could Cause Dramatic Shift In Digital Marketing

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A Lack of Measurement and Experimentation with Digital Marketing Hampering Full Integration into Marketing Mix, Finds New MarketBridge Study

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These findings show that the foundation is in place for marketers, but they are not shifting budgets fast enough to fully understand the value and impact of these new tools and platforms. We expect the impact of the financial crisis to see a huge opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage by becoming more aggressive in the use of new digital platforms

While financial services marketers have a reasonable grasp of digital marketing and are currently using "tried and true" digital tools, they are implemented mainly on a campaign-by-campaign basis with little experimentation into more "emerging" digital techniques. So says findings from "Digital Marketing in Financial Services," a survey fielded by MarketBridge and SourceMedia gauging the depth and breadth of digital marketing deployment within the industry. Click on the following link to access the report: http://www.market-bridge.com/Forms2/FS_Survey_FinalReport.html.

MarketBridge is a marketing and sales professional services firm to the Fortune 500 and leading global companies. SourceMedia is a top source of financial services information and publisher of American Banker, National Mortgage News, The Bond Buyer, and more.

As digital marketing--the use of email, blogs, search, online ads, social networks and more--becomes more prevalent across industries, MarketBridge and SourceMedia partnered to find out just how prevalent it is in financial services. Fielded in Q3 2008, the study drew nearly 250 respondents across a variety of titles and functions within financial services. Nearly 40% had executive-level titles and close to 20% had marketing budgets of $100 million or more.

"Given the challenges now faced within financial services, it's crucial that companies rethink and adjust the way they acquire new customers and retain current ones," said Tim Furey, CEO of MarketBridge. "Digital marketing can help financial institutions develop stronger relationships with customers. Web 2.0 is about consumers selling to consumers, banks and insurance companies need to be thinking about how they are creating brand advocates within the customer base."

Among the key findings:
A Good Digital Foundation: More than 60% of respondents said they had a "reasonable" to "very good" understanding of digital marketing. When asked how organized their companies were to plan and implement digital marketing strategies, more than half said they were "adequately" to "well organized."

Setting and Owning the Direction: Over 90% of the respondents said Marketing was the key influence in driving the Digital Strategy, nearly two-thirds of the group said that a Centralized Marketing organization owned the strategy and nearly that many said Marketing owned execution.

Experience, ROI Measurement Top Concerns: Respondents top concerns were their lack of experience with new digital marketing platforms, and the inability to prove ROI with them--interesting since with many digital marketing tools and techniques, it's easier to measure ROI. Interestingly, only 35% cited regulatory issues as a top concern.

What Works and What Doesn't: Not surprisingly, respondents cite search engine marketing and organic search as their most effective digital vehicles. Blogs and virtual networks were deemed least effective. Interestingly, social networks, considered promising within the industry, were deemed relatively ineffective.

Budget Issues: The Digital Revolution has yet to hit financial services in a big way….while they do use digital marketing channels, half of the respondents say they spend 0-10% of their budget on digital. The majority of respondents (65%) are spending the most on what they are familiar with, mainly their own Web sites. Relatively few (15%) are spending toward "Web 2.0" vehicles like blogs, social networks, video, etc.

Higher Impact: Nearly half of the respondents expect digital marketing to be an integral part of the marketing mix within the next two years.

"These findings show that the foundation is in place for marketers, but they are not shifting budgets fast enough to fully understand the value and impact of these new tools and platforms. We expect the impact of the financial crisis to see a huge opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage by becoming more aggressive in the use of new digital platforms," said Scott Gillum, MarketBridge Senior Vice President and Financial Services Practice Leader. "The next step is moving beyond one-off digital campaigns, increasing experimentation with other digital tools such as social networks, viral video, and blogs, and moving towards relationship marketing activities that build and maintain long customer relationships--and this requires investment."

Gillum will further interpret the survey results in the "Digital Marketing in Financial Services" Webcast, to be held on Thursday, Nov. 13. Click here to register: http://www.market-bridge.com/Forms2/FS_Webcast_registration.html

About MarketBridge
MarketBridge (http://www.market-bridge.com) is a global professional services firm focused on sales and marketing effectiveness. Founded in 1992, MarketBridge leads go-to-market strategies, operational transformations and managed in-market programs for the Fortune 500 and other leading global companies. Through a combination of deep expertise, analytic rigor and industry focus, MarketBridge solves the toughest sales and marketing challenges, helping CEOs, CMOs and CSOs improve performance and effectively integrate sales and marketing operations. MarketBridge is headquartered in Washington DC, with offices in San Francisco, London, Seattle, and Toronto.

About SourceMedia
SourceMedia (http://www.sourcemedia.com) is the leading provider of authoritative information, analysis and insight for the financial services, investment, insurance, accounting and related technology industries. Guided by a team of innovative, expert professionals, SourceMedia publications, seminars, conferences, data applications and custom marketing services offer our network of more than 2.5 million subscribers, attendees, exhibitors and advertisers the resources they need to excel in their markets.

Contact:
Scott Van Camp
Communications Manager
MarketBridge
svancamp @ market-bridge.com
240-752-1885

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