How CMOs Can Attract & Retain Creative Data Experts

I’ve been making the case here for a while that the role of the CMO is changing in the financial services industry. Increasingly, CMOs are expected to both mastermind creative projects and optimize data-focused conversions. The CMOs most likely to succeed at these wildly different tasks are those who have teams that are both data literate and creative.

So how can you build that kind of unicorn-like team, when “right-brain” and “left-brain” thinkers sometimes have trouble even getting along with each other in work environments?

These three strategies will help.

1. Define What You Want and Need

Today’s CMOs rank having the right talent as the single most important factor in driving future organic growth of their organization. And while they consider creativity the single most important characteristic they look for when hiring, 47.8 percent of them note that the reason they don’t use analytics to make marketing decisions is that they don’t have someone on their team who can make sense of the numbers.

This is clearly a numbers problem. Data is the energy source that allows for the humanization of marketing materials at scale; without the ability to identify and use insights from data, financial services CMOs won’t be able to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer expectations.

To solve for this, consider writing a job description, whether or not you’re actively seeking to grow your team. And if you aren’t in a position to bring on new team members to fill your skills gap, consider the alternatives: training existing team members in data analysis, partnering with other company leaders to use resources from their teams and even tapping freelancers or contractors for specific tasks.

When you are ready to hire, having your team’s needs clearly defined will help streamline the process.

2. Invest in the Tools Necessary for Success

Thanks to the robust employment market right now, American workers have been quitting their jobs at rates we haven’t seen since 2001. In other words, people are confident they can find work, so if they’re unhappy in their current role, they aren’t likely to stick around.

CMOs hoping to build and maintain a team of creative data hounds need to pay attention to these numbers.

For today’s financial services marketers, success requires being able to:
  • Gather data from customers at scale.
  • Translate that data into actionable insights.
  • Quickly create and iterate messaging and communication based on those insights, including creative design.
  • Leverage intelligent automation to create humanized experiences at scale.
  • Rinse and repeat.

In other words, marketing success in today’s hyper-competitive financial services industry requires a Marketing Operating System (MOS). If your company hasn’t yet invested in an MOS, you’ll find that you’re losing the best and brightest marketing stars to organizations that offer the ability to create, measure and adjust quickly.

3. Train for Retention

As owners of the customer or member experience, CMOs are used to thinking for the long term: not just how to win new customers or members, but how to keep them for life.

To retain a top-performing marketing team, apply the same mindset to your employees – especially those who are both creative and data-minded and those who collaborate well with opposite-brained colleagues. That means investing in training and development opportunities that will let them learn, grow and advance without leaving your organization.

How important is this? Fully 87 percent of millennial workers consider “professional and career growth or development opportunities” important when considering a job – and almost 70 percent of non-millennials agree.

The good news is that CMO spending on training and development is at its highest level in five years, suggesting marketers recognize the importance of hanging on to their best employees.

To make sure you’re spending those training dollars wisely, check in regularly with your rockstar performers. Ask what they’re interested in learning and discuss their growth path at your company. This will help prevent unexpected turnover.

Embrace a Longevity Mindset

Financial services has always been a relationships industry. Financial brands that truly value long, meaningful relationships will find that both their customers or members and employees stick around, which comes with major financial benefits.

By embracing a mindset that prioritizes durable relationships, financial services CMOs lay the groundwork for both attracting and retaining top talent and cultivating an atmosphere where customers or members feel welcomed and respected. This requires upfront and ongoing investment, but its dividends will pay out indefinitely.