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Marketing Begins and Ends with the Consumer

By Roger Adams, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, USAA

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Roger Adams, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, USAA

Identification and Facilitation of Customer Needs
There are many unique ways to connect with consumers (members in our case) today as media has proliferated in the digital era. The good news is that reaching a specific type of consumer in their channel of choice builds relevance and interest.  The bad news is there are lots of choices with varying degrees of efficiency.  But the explosion of digital offerings also provides the opportunity to track and evaluate efficiency by tactic, channel and in some cases consumer.

At USAA, we have a very sophisticated Marketing Mix Optimization model (MMO) that we use to predict a likely response to a given marketing tactic as well as cost per activation.  We use this model to calculate ROI for all marketing tactics, and to inform choices about which channel to use.

More importantly, at USAA we are focused on helping facilitate our members’ needs for financial security, and that is where we start.  We help our members identify their greatest needs, and then what are the most efficient ways to satisfy those needs. The end result is to help facilitate their financial security. And through greater relevance, help build trust and consideration.

Growth Potential through Consumer Insights
Ensuring connections between the "art" and the "science" of our marketing is more important than ever - especially given all the data and technology solutions available to marketers to help drive business outcomes. Marketing used to be more about mass creative solutions and efficient management of resources. However, today we must operate closer to real time to ensure scalability and relevance derived from deep consumer insights. Relevance has become a cost of entry to marketing effectively. With the availability of data, we must make it a priority to both manage and leverage it more effectively through Digital Management Platforms (DMPs) and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), as examples. This will require new muscles for some marketers, but it leads to exciting growth potential for years to come. It also creates a bridge to essential partnerships with the CIO community.

"Today we must operate closer to real time to ensure scalability and relevance derived from deep consumer insights"

Importance of a team that understands modern marketing

I would say they need to understand that everything in marketing should begin and end with the consumer. Marketing is about making a relevant connection and building Brand trust over time. The three most important areas to develop a marketing program include:

1. Understand consumer needs at the lowest level possible
2. Leverage all forms of information to create the best possible solution     
3. Surprise and delight your consumers with your relevance in their channel of choice.

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