Customer Research To Drive Profitable Business Growth
Customer research—the first step
Strategic marketers need to be cautious of the “shiny object” syndrome generated by emerging technology, techniques and tactics. Quite simply, at Nationwide, we start with the customer. Specifically, we focus on the market segments that our research indicates will be most attracted to our On Your Side promise. The media plan is explicitly linked to these consumers through deep analysis to ensure our messages appear where, when, and to whom it's most relevant. Customer research is a critical first step that can empower smart marketers to make informed decisions, be more cost efficient, and drive more profitable business growth.
Localized digital marketing
Nationwide is a complex company that offers a variety of different products through a variety of distribution channels (including agents, online, over the phone, brokers and financial advisors). Given the level of complexity of our organization, we favor a "hub and spoke" model. There is a central Digital Marketing Center of Excellence with smaller teams located at major sub-brand or product/channel intersections to localize the digital marketing. This model allows for content to be tailored to specific target audiences while providing a level of consistency that is true to our brand voice and character. It also streamlines our ability to listen and engage in the conversation generated by our digital initiatives.
It's true that marketing is on a journey from art to science, for the most part. Yet marketing will always contain that creative element that synthesizes something new, even as the raw material is increasingly data driven. For their marketing program, I tell people three things. First, go very deep in the area you are most passionate about; become an expert. Second, find and develop a network of mentors and those who inspire you. And finally, never stop learning, voraciously.
CMO to be hand in glove with technology
The role of the CMO contains all the classic elements of creative, media plans, research, and so forth, but the trends of digital and data have made marketing, and thus the CMO more strategic and relevant to a company's competitiveness and success than at any time in the past. I’ve also found it critical to develop a collaborative partnership with the Chief Information Officer. As peers, we work closely together to leverage marketing insights and technology in way that brings Nationwide’s strategy to life and drives profitable business growth for our many businesses.
360 degree technology impact
Technology is pervasive in marketing today; from copy testing and media plans to search optimization for mobile, social, and content publishing by the company and our agency partners. Insurance has been affected not only in how we build awareness and how we distribute to our customers, but it has also affected underwriting, claims, customer service centers, and really all elements of the Nationwide Insurance business. A major implication of these changes is that we attract and develop the right talent so they have both a members-first orientation and a knowledge and comfort level with technology.
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