Fidelity Investments presently allocates 40% of its entire marketing budget on digital campaigns hoping to find competitive leverage in technologies that exploded during the financial downturn. Jim Speros, Chief Marketing Officer of Fidelity Investments was recently interviewed by eMarketer regarding Fidelity's commitment to competitively leverage online and digital marketing which increased during the financial downturn. Speros stressed the importancies of staying on top of digital trends as well its complexities; fluctuating market changes and challenges within the regulated banking industry.
" There's a fundamental belief in marketing at Fidelity, and what all the research has shown over the years-and not just here, but within the advertising industry-is that marketers who maintain their marketing pressure during an economic downturn usually come out of it stronger than competitors. We've seen that in our own business."
Speros statement for marketers is very true. In an economic downturn organizations tend to become quite the opposite by cutting marketing budgets during times of crisis. By increasing marketing spend while competitors are withdrawn, the organization is able to rely on its resilience by increasing market shares, return on investments by leverage lower budget costs. And even despite bank regulations Fidelity Investments outlook is positive for social media.
" It affects us in the context of social media. The financial services category as a whole has not been a first mover. There are many more regulatory, legal and compliance issues in the social media space and that makes the medium less fluid in terms of immediacy and responsiveness. In 2008 15% of our marketing dollars were going into digital. Today we spend 40% in the digital space." Still, I think we've done a pretty good job. We've got over 100,000 fans and followers right now on Facebook and Twitter. We partly use social as a distribution vehicle to share our thought leadership with communities of interest, who then re-Tweet that information. "
Marketing can learn that developing new strategies for digital during tough economic times should be embraced where people look for leadership and value. Effective campaigns for example, like Fidelity Investments "Green Line" can benefit management's ability to profit for the organization.
Jim Speros discussed " During 2008 to 2009 when we saw a huge decline in the market, we stayed the course and invested in the Green Line campaign [a print and digital effort, called "green line" to mirror the green line indicating the correct route on a GPS device]. Marketers who maintain their marketing pressure during an economic downturn usually come out of it stronger than competitors. I think our message [with that campaign] was spot on because the whole idea was that it signified guidance and navigation. During that period in particular, people wanted guidance [on] what they should do with their money. That's what the Green Line stood for … just like a GPS system … we were their financial GPS system during this economic downturn. That really served us well, and while others were pulling back on their spends, we actually increased our spending during that period and did quite well."
I would agree. If you remain "bullish" during economic downturns ROI is optimistic and so is organizational rebalancing. An organization can also rely on its existing client or customer base for loyalty during such times. People seek out "thought leadership." For example, capitalizing on branding and awareness within an industry by executing campaigns centered around thought leadership, digital and social media, tradeshow and conference exhibitions, sponsoring and forming strategic alliances people likely return to those familiar brands they know and trust
There are numerous lessons that can be learned from economic downturns. Organizations should take note in understanding that managing a "successful" digital campaign has to be sustainable, fresh and able to provide long term value for the company. Going "long term" is crucial for success. Campaign objectives that survive for long-term and sustain momentum result in delivering proper competitive advantage.