"Remember, digital marketing is simply tactics.”  -James Robert Lay

Financial executives are always on the lookout for fresh ways to inject enthusiasm for digital growth into their struggling teams. Here are the most compelling questions we've heard lately, plus insightful answers you can put to good use at your financial brand or fintech.

What’s the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Digital Growth?

Digital marketing is a subset of digital growth. Sure, it includes things like digital ads and emails, but it also includes social media, websites, content, marketing automation, A/B testing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation, lead nurturing, and so much more.

Digital marketing is simply tactics. These tactics exist under the larger umbrella of a digital growth strategy, which sometimes overwhelms people because it’s such a broad topic.

Related Content: Digital Growth is Not a Marketing Strategy

When your team members are feeling confused or overwhelmed, they’re at risk of dabbling in digital, which involves unproductive, small-scale thinking that creates roadblocks to meaningful transformation.

The Digital Growth Institute uses a systematic process based on the modern consumer journey that unites marketing, sales, operations, and IT teams around 3 key goals. 

  • Increase website traffic.
  • Generate and nurture leads.
  • Convert leads into loans and deposits.

This comprises the “what” of digital growth, but not the “why.” Your organization needs to find its why, then go a step further and find its how

If your financial brand is struggling with this idea, here are two questions to take back to your team:

  • How much opportunity are we losing because we lack a common language of digital growth?
  • What does our brand’s future look like if we continue down the same path, lacking a cohesive understanding?

Take time to examine what your brand is missing from a strategic point of view. Do you lack unity? Clarity? Focus? An ability to maximize future growth potential? Questions like these make it easier to see where there is ample room for digital growth.

Is Digital Replacing Traditional Advertising, Marketing, and Branding?

Experts are seeing upward swings in digital spending gobbling up 60% to 90% of marketing budgets. As companies redefine digital growth to be a systematic process centered around the modern customer journey, it often makes sense to channel big money into digital spending.

Of course, this is only sensible if you’re doing it strategically. Your digital marketing dollars must be addressing the core goals of increasing website awareness, generating traffic, nurturing leads, and converting leads into loans and deposits.

In terms of digital ads, there’s a period of flux happening right now. Data privacy is changing how business is done. Third-party cookies are going away due to new restrictions by browsers and governments. Tracking consumer internet use is about to be harder than ever.

Related Content: Third-Party Data: A Future Without Cookies

Plus, the social media ship is sinking when it comes to organic reach, which is all but dead on most channels. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have already felt these effects, and James Robert predicts that LinkedIn and TikTok will feel the effects imminently.

Instead of viewing all of this as a limitation, view it as an opportunity. Branch managers, lenders, and financial leaders have the option to become micro-influencers in the communities they serve. Connect with people who are stressed about money and want your help.

James Robert predicts the rise of SMAGs, or social media advocacy groups. These are groups of employees who band together and create exponentially more value than the corporate brand is capable of generating on its own. This is just one example of adapting to the shifting sands in digital growth.

Although the tactics are changing over time, the core marketing principles haven’t changed. You still need to create awareness, connect with customers, and take them on a journey. The concepts behind the marketing campaigns you did in 2010 are still relevant, but the digital growth tactics it takes to get there have changed.

How Do You Get Your Team to Move Forward Together?

Moving forward isn’t possible until there’s alignment. The entire organization must be aligned with the concept of digital transformation.

Some financial brands affiliated with the Banking on Digital Growth program have been engaging with the program for 5 to 7 years. They’ve made good progress, have seen some success, and are feeling the positive effects of big wins. 

Related Content: The 5 P’s of Digital Growth & Transformation

Yet many brands still run up against the same internal challenges over and over again. Conflict creates friction, friction turns into frustration, and the company enters a cycle of chaos. 

Other brands are avoiding the chaos by bringing larger internal teams on board - teams that are diverse with representatives from operations, marketing sales, service, IT, and compliance. This cross-section of talent starts by building a common language, then leverages their diversity to build bigger ideas and accomplish bigger things.

This is why it’s so important to remember 4 levels of transformation:

  1. You must transform the self before you transform the team.
  2. You must transform the team before you transform the organization.
  3. You must transform the organization before you transform the community.
  4. Now you can transform the lives of people in the communities you serve.

Do you have a question about digital growth? If so, please text it to 415-579-3004. James Robert’s team will answer for you on an upcoming podcast episode.