As the Co-Founder of a digital marketing technology company, I spend most of my days thinking about the largest challenges and questions facing our industry. What is the future of digital marketing? Is Vine a trend or long-term strategy for brands? How do I capture a consumers attention? The list goes on and on.
I frequently have the privilege to talk with other leaders and innovators in the space to discuss with them these important questions as well as others.
Here are the six questions (and her answers) I asked Kathy Klingler, Chief Marketing Officer at Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign Bank) which has more than 9,500 employees and more than $77 billion in assets:
What makes an innovative brand leader?
An innovative brand leader is someone who has a clear vision for the brand and has the ability to build it both internally as well as externally. I strongly believe great brands are built from the "inside out". If your employees are passionate about the brand and how to "live it every day" then magic happens.
I also think innovative brand leaders never stop listening, learning and adapting. It is important to always listen to the voice of the customer but to also act on this knowledge. It is not about a research report or data but about how you take this information and learn from it to be a better organization.
How do you try to keep a large, financial services marketing team to act nimble and entrepreneurial?
I believe it's important to encourage people to break down any silos that stop creativity or the ability to act quickly on good ideas. Being inclusive with all members of the team on the vision and strategy to build the brand and drive business growth enables everyone to have ownership towards the goals.
I also think it is important to encourage creativity and "out of the box" thinking. Not every idea has to be big or costly as some of the smallest and most creative ideas can take off and drive great results. A "test and learn" philosophy without the fear of failure encourages entrepreneurial spirit.
One insight of how your team makes you a better CMO?
A diverse group of talent makes me and the team better. Then you need to listen and be open to new ideas. Have your teams challenge you and not be afraid to speak their mind.
How does your organization test new technologies and platforms? What is your approach?
We assess new technologies and platforms against our goals and objectives. We do not believe that you need to try new things just for the novelty factor. If there is new technology that can make the customer experience better, improve our delivery, or help us achieve our goals faster, than we will certainly consider it. We start with a sizeable test and then expand it to a larger audience if the results are successful. We believe it's important to test new things to make sure that we can deliver a flawless product.
What is the one platform/channel that is reaping an unexpected ROI for financial services companies like Santander?
Social platforms have been very successful for us to connect with our customers. It is a mirror you look in every day to learn something new and act upon to become better.
Before launching the Santander brand in October 2013, we were not present in social media but since our launch we have been able to improve our customer experience and connect more with consumers about our brand. We have seen negative comments turn into positive sentiments. Some of our customers have even become brand ambassadors for Santander. Every comment is a good one-- a gift.
What is the one platform/channel you are looking to cut?
The Santander Group is a well-known global bank, but as relatively new brand in the U.S. we are still leveraging a range of channels to promote our brand and grow business. But we continually "test and learn" to improve our ROI and find ways to more effectively reach consumers.