On the Move: Taking Financial Services Marketing Data Governance Upstream
Financial services is already one of the most regulated industries in the world—and given this year’s banking turbulence, companies can likely expect even more pressure to improve the management of their processes and data.
To learn more about this unique challenge, I recently sat down with one of LeapPoint’s Managing Directors, Don McAdang. He shared the biggest data governance trends he is seeing in financial services, and the top five things he thinks all marketers can do to stay ahead.
Don McAdang is a leading marketing and technology advisor to the biggest institutions in financial services, helping brands drive growth and ROI by maximizing how people, process and technology come together to create more transparency, collaboration, accountability, and employee satisfaction.
Let’s start big picture. In your opinion, what is the biggest transformation happening for marketers in financial services right now?
Don: The biggest shift I’m seeing right now is bringing work processes further upstream to ensure more checks and balances from the start, even on basic things like defining: what is the work?
In the past, when marketing began any product promotion, they would determine the artifacts they needed, usher them through the normal creative processes, and receive formal compliance approval at the end when the promotional material was nearly completed. Now, by inserting more checks and balances further upstream in the process, marketers can consider all the parameters for building, approving, and promoting a campaign before the actual creative work even commences.
That is a huge change that saves time, money, and reduces overall compliance risk. The clients we’re working with that are doing this are seeing tremendous impact and their employees have a greater sense of confidence in the approval of marketing content across every demographic, region, and stage of the customer experience.
You spent a lot of time before coming to LeapPoint working as a marketer in financial services. What would you say is the number one thing organizations need to make sure they get right?
Don: At the end of the day, it boils down to compliance processes and oversight. Marketers manage a staggering number of moving pieces. But it is incredibly important that they promote products in a very fair and balanced way and stay on top of regulatory disclosures across state lines and other jurisdictions, for every product offered.
Given this complexity, proper checks and balances need to be in place so that once you understand the parameters of what you are promoting and to whom, you have the right list of applicable compliance disclosures identified, as well as the items you don’t need to worry about.
Regulators, whether internal or external, require clear traceability for collecting information and they want to see who was involved in the decision-making process to approve and move the work forward.
Where do you think technology can have the most impact?
Don: I can’t tell you how many times I see major financial institutions that have multiple teams managing end-to-end processes across dozens of siloed legacy systems, with manual emails as the main method for collaboration between stakeholders.
This kind of legacy “master of your own domain” structure disconnects people, processes, and technology. At LeapPoint, we call it “enterprise chaos.”
When you work in silos—with older systems that were designed to only work in silos—it becomes nearly impossible to collaborate, move quickly, remain competitive, and meet the checks and balances needed from a regulatory standpoint today.
We’ve seen our clients experience the biggest “aha!” transformations when they transition to a centralized orchestration layer with a single source of operational truth for their marketing work. Flexible work management solutions like Adobe Workfront are incredibly sophisticated and intuitive. They can help organizations streamline their processes and adapt to the different types of workflows each line of business may need now and into the future—all with the regulatory benefit of traceability and automation.
Last question, Don. If you could offer five tips for marketing leaders working in Financial Services, what would they be?
- Assess Your Work Process Reality: Enlist a strategic consulting partner to examine how your organization functions today, including all the complications associated with your way of working across systems, stakeholders, and data. It is very difficult for a company to objectively do this on their own for many reasons. A trusted partner can conduct an honest and thorough discovery to identify the areas for improvement and help build a better way to work.
- Make a Gameplan: Together with your partner, develop a strategic plan and roadmap for the short term, mid-term and long-term to streamline approvals, automate data, extend your technology capabilities, better integrate data across systems, and start connecting to the organization’s more long-term data strategies.
- Get Leadership Aligned: When there is no clear leadership and accountability for how groups will reconcile their differences across functional stakeholder teams, success is difficult. Make sure the senior executive team is explicit about the core team members responsible for redefining processes for content marketing, compliance, client experience, submissions, IT, etc. and then commit to aligning on the best path forward to enable the gameplan.
- Avoid the Lift and Shift: Do your homework to prevent carrying bad processes forward that will not provide the data governance, confidence, and traceability you need. If your data is not clean and normalized across all systems it will slow everything, and everyone, down. Take the time to make sure the data and work processes are right before you move to a new system.
- Use Agile Implementation to Target Pain Points: Change management is complex and requires stakeholder engagement at every phase to target and correct pain points. By implementing solutions like Adobe Workfront in an agile, flexible way, you can design and configure in sprints, getting critical feedback from team members before you get to the final design validation and sign off to overcome the pain points and ensure they will not happen again in the future.