Nishtha Asthana
May 7, 2024

Richa Goswami on looking ‘beyond the transaction’ in financial-services marketing

The CMO at Fidelity delves into the role of a CMO in financial services, how a modern marketer should approach digital innovation for consumer-centricity, and successful strategies for talent retention.

Richa Goswami
Richa Goswami

Richa Goswami, the group chief marketing officer at Fidelity International, is a prolific marketer and a speaker at this year’s Campaign 360.

At the event, among the topics she will touch on are recruitment strategies and effective retention practices. Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific ahead of the event, Goswami shared the importance of diversity and inclusion in the recruitment processes. To her, diversity extends beyond gender to also mean experiences, industries, and geographies.

“I believe in making strategic investments in people, as they are our primary and most critical assets. I focus on understanding the commercial outcomes we aim to achieve and aligning our recruitment strategy accordingly”, she said.

Goswami also strongly advocates a proactive approach to recruitment: “Instead of just relying on HR, I write the details of the role and why it excites me. I also engage with agencies and partners like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to access diverse markets.

“I also prioritise candidates with industry accolades and speaking engagements, as these demonstrate expertise and credibility. This hands-on approach to recruitment allows me to personally invest time in finding the best talent for our team.”

Richa Goswami will be speaking at Campaign360 on May 14-15 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Click here for the full agenda and how to attend. 

On talent retention, Goswami felt that creating an environment where people feel valued and heard is important, regardless of the industry.

“In marketing, especially given the pace of change, staying ahead is crucial. Providing learning opportunities, like the training days I initiated at Johnson & Johnson, fosters a sense of investment in employees and boosts commitment,” she said.

The aligning of the marketing function with the entire business is another thing Goswami believes can make a difference. She explained: “There's joint ownership and recognition, ensuring that marketers are credited not just for creativity but also for achieving business objectives.”

Consumer-centric innovation 

As a customer-centric digital innovator in the realm of marketing, AI greatly excites Goswami.

“People don't just buy products; they buy into the stories and experiences brands offer. AI allows us to create bite-sized, contextually relevant content that resonates with different audience segments. It enables us to test ideas more scientifically, iterate faster, and ultimately, be more flexible in our approach”, said Goswami.

Goswami is also a believer in storytelling which when blended with performance marketing and data-driven strategies can be incredibly powerful. She sees immense potential to create a positive connection with users, through this approach. However, finding the right balance here is the key, shared Goswami.

“It's about creating content that is authentic and resonates on a human level, not just grabbing attention for a few seconds,” she said.

Another aspect that excites Goswami in the changing marketing landscape is the shift towards storytelling by real customers, rather than relying solely on big influencers. Nano and micro-influencers, with their smaller but more engaged audiences, are becoming key players in brand advocacy.

“This democratisation of influence is not only fascinating but also aligns with what modern customers are seeking: genuine, relatable experiences from real people, not just polished brand messaging”, she noted.

A CMO's role in the financial-services sector

A CMOs role in FMCG may be well-defined with the focus on bringing products to life through branding, PR, communications, creative media placement, and managing partnerships. However, in financial services, the role of a CMO is more nuanced. For Goswami, “it’s about being the voice of the customer in the boardroom and driving customer-centric and purpose-driven initiatives.”

As an example, she shared, “If in banking, an account opening process is cumbersome vis-a-vis the new digital startups then the CMO should not just highlight this issue but also drive change within the organisation to improve the customer experience. This requires a strategic approach of balancing commercials with creativity.”

Ultimately, being the voice of the customer while championing purpose-driven initiatives can open up creative opportunities and drive meaningful change in financial services marketing, according to Goswami.

In the financial services industry, it's crucial to remember that behind every product—whether it's a savings account, credit card, or mortgage—there's a deeply personal reason driving the customer's decision. While we may focus on APR rates and fine print, customers are thinking about their goals, dreams, and the people they care about.

Goswami believes in aligning purpose with performance as a marketer as that can lead to meaningful connections with customers and long-term success.

“As a leader, I always remind my teams to think beyond the transaction and consider the human aspect. Why does someone want a credit card or a savings account? Understanding these motivations allows us to be purpose-led in our approach. We have the responsibility to earn customers' trust with their finances, and that starts with recognising the deeply personal nature of money matters,” she said.

The role of localisation 

Financial decisions are deeply personal, and customers hold financial institutions to a higher standard of trust and authenticity, therefore branding in the financial sector is of paramount importance, according to Goswami.

“Brand trust is built on consistency. Aligning actions with brand promise is important,” she said.

Sharing her views on localisation, Goswami said, “The ‘why’ behind your brand should remain constant across regions. However, the ‘how’ you deliver this message should adapt to local nuances. This can be reflected in content, messaging, partnerships, and the people representing your brand.”

As a veteran marketer, she is also passionate about not overwhelming customers with sales messages. Providing informative content that helps customers make informed decisions is the approach preferred by her.  

Unsusprisingly, she is also an advocate of data. 

“This is where it gets scientific”, said Goswami. “It's about the staging of the marketing messaging, the roles that different platforms play, and the length of time that the content needs to be done. One size fits one."

Campaign Asia

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