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Retail recruits bring insight to marketing

Financial services is seeing an influx of marketers from retail backgrounds, breathing fresh air into the stagnant world of increasingly regulated financial advertising, according to industry experts.

Headhunting firm Hunter-Miller Executive Search draws parallels to a similar trend in the grocery sector 10 years ago when that industry also moved from pure product selling to consumer insight-based product development.

But cchm:ping chairman Lucian Camp says there is as much traffic moving in the opposite direction, warning that a retail background does not guarantee success in fin- ancial services. He says treating financial services as a separate entity within the marketing economy does no longer apply though.

He says: “It is very much a two-way street. There is a huge amount of abstraction and a lack of consistency of products that simply is not an issue for grocery or retail. A retail background does not guarantee success. Financial services has become integrated into the mainstream marketing economy and we are seeing successful migration between the two areas – financial and not.”

Hunter-Miller managing director Lindsay Leslie-Miller says the shift has come about due to the saturation of the financial services market. Leslie-Miller says: “When a market gets saturated, the only way for businesses to attract customers is to pinch it from the competition, so marketers have to be much more attuned to their customers’ needs. Now products are being developed by insight teams rather than actuaries, which are far more suitable for the consumer.”

Egg head of strategic marketing Dean Van Leeuwen says: “Financial services has become fairly high profile as a sector and brings a lot of budget although increasing regulation adds to the frustrations of those with FMCG backgrounds who are not used to dealing with the levels of compliance and restrictions that exist.”

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