Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Fidelity Investments' CMO James Speros spoke to eMarketer about how his firm’s campaigns lead with digital and why marketing in general is particularly important in a down economy.
eMarketer: How has Fidelity marketing and the media mix changed since you took over as CMO in 2008?
James Speros: The complexity and velocity of change with technology and the need to just ensure that we stay on top of trends and the digital space has increased dramatically.
Our media mix has evolved considerably. When I joined here in 2008 15% of our marketing dollars were going into digital. Today we spend 40% in the digital space. We believe it’s crucial to stay on top of that space in all of its manifestations.
eMarketer: Can you talk a bit about some of the complexities and challenges of being in a regulated industry and how that affects what you do?
Speros: 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.
eMarketer: In that context who’s doing most of the sharing—a sophisticated investor, a Wall Street executive or a layperson?
Speros: We have a range of investors. One of the things we publish regularly is “Viewpoints,” a Fidelity publication for investors, which has a tremendous following and is shared extensively. There’s something in there for everyone—we have people who need guidance all the way up to the very sophisticated investors and active traders who want the latest and greatest thoughts on where the market is going.
In March we launched our “Thinking Big campaign,” which is about sharing our analysts’ insights on mega trends in society—whether it’s personalized medicine, synthetic biology or the future of water. Our traditional advertising is largely used to drive people to a landing zone so that they can watch these incredibly compelling videos [online]. We’re getting a great response on those, with almost 600,000 views already.
eMarketer: How is your “Thinking Big” campaign different from what you’ve done before?
Speros: It’s quite interesting for us because it leads with digital rather than leading with traditional. It’s online, it’s in print, and we have events and seminars connected to this. A current topic is personalized medicine … you can meet the analysts and you’ll see we have links to other sites that connect to the concept. This is also shareable on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. The 600,000 views it’s received are from start to finish [and not just clicks].
[We didn’t have estimates going in] but we knew we were onto a big idea with the thought leadership concept. It’s a great way to showcase the intellectual capital of the company and the analysts. We’re targeting a fairly sophisticated, well-educated group of people. It’s running in places like the New York Times, The Atlantic website, Hulu, The Economist.
eMarketer: About a year ago you said that advertising really pays off during an economic downturn. Why is that the case and with another downturn potentially coming up are you making plans to increase your ad spend?
Speros: 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.
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.
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