Your Marketing Team Needs New Skills to Succeed Today. Here’s How to Implement Them

New technologies are forcing marketing practices to evolve. The importance of incorporating skills including working with Gen AI, data sourcing and analysis are now vital areas of expertise for connecting banks with potential customers. Here's why bank marketers should focus on implementing these skills within their teams — and why conventional hiring practices may not fit the bill.

It’s no surprise that new technology is pushing marketing practices to evolve. And with rapid innovation comes a need for bank marketing teams to implement key skills among their staff.

With the emergence of generative artificial intelligence and harnessing data to personalize the customer experience, banks may need to hire new talent to meet this transformative moment. Marketing teams will likely need to think outside the box to incorporate the necessary skills to succeed — and innovate — in this brave new world.

Gen AI and Data Analysis: The Future of Marketing?

Gen AI is no doubt the hot topic across the marketing world. One could argue that banks have historically been slow to adapt with some previous technologies. “I know a lot of bank presidents who can’t use AI or ChatGPT,” says Neal Reynolds, president of in Atlanta. “Those are the same people who said four years ago that they’d never be on social media.”

The tool is crucial when it comes to generating ideas and making marketing practices more efficient. “AI will change everything about marketing,” Reynolds says. Think how it might streamline social media posting, for example: “Let’s say AI gives you ten ideas. Five of them are great, and you ask it to write a Facebook post on one of those ideas. It will write the post and even give you the hashtags.”

To be sure, banks cannot simply ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to incorporating AI into marketing practices. Despite its potential as a tool, AI isn’t ready to be a dependable copy writer on its own. “The output is largely determined by the user, and people have different degrees of ability,” says Brian Reilly, managing director of BankBound in Newtown, Pa. “It’s a tool. You need to get good at using it. It can augment your work, but it can’t take over for a person.”

That’s particularly important now that Google and other platforms are working to refine their content offerings. “Mediums are really scrutinizing content because there’s so much of it,” Reilly says. “Google will tell you that your new content isn’t good enough if it has no expert insight and they’re not sure how reliable it is. They might not bother indexing your content or making it available to find. It’s ironic that this is just in time for AI to produce lower-quality content.”

Banks also have an enormous amount of data already in-house, the result of know-your-customer laws and records of untold numbers of loans and financial transactions. Additional data is easily available for purchase. All that data is a potential gold mine for a marketing department, which could use it to send relevant offers to current and prospective customers who need the products and services the bank offers.

A combination of internal bank data and external data (from Google, for instance) can tell bank marketers who is visiting the bank’s website, as well as what proportion of new website visitors open and fund an account on that or a subsequent visit. That information — and more like it — could help marketing teams discern whether their efforts are working.

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Unfortunately, bank technology stacks don’t always let users share in-house data. “Sometimes we have data to back up a marketing campaign and sometimes we don’t,” Reilly says. “When we do have that information, who knows where it is. It creates internal distrust for people who aren’t really sure where the marketing budget is going, plus the marketing people are working in the dark.”

Banks need to invest in analytics-friendly technology. They must also seek to hire people and work with outside partners who can help them make sense of and configure data in ways that support actionable marketing plans and measure the results of those plans. “Great marketing is measurable marketing,” Reilly says.

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Hiring to Meet the Moment

A critical component of successfully working with data and Gen AI may be missing among most bank marketing teams: People. That’s where hiring comes in. Given the recent advent of the technology, it’s unlikely that most traditional marketing hires are well versed in AI specifically. This is where thinking outside the box regarding hiring practices — and emphasizing skills-based hiring — might help.

Recent Gartner data show that more than half of banks (52%) are seeking to hire Gen AI staff or experts this year. Notably, they’re looking to bring in data scientists and engineers, prompt engineers and general AI experts to meet this need. Bank executives should get comfortable with evaluating prospective marketing hires with different professional backgrounds. In some cases, banks have poached talent from Big Tech companies. Roughly 68% of leaders say they are hiring for general AI expert roles, Gartner research found. The next highest role they’re hiring for is data scientists (57%).

“AI will change everything about marketing. Let’s say AI gives you ten ideas. Five of them are great, and you ask it to write a Facebook post on one of those ideas. It will write the post and even give you the hashtags.”

— Neal Reynolds,

That said, banks seeking to recruit top tech talent — especially when aiming to poach from Big Tech companies like Amazon or Facebook — need to incorporate competitive perks found at tech firms including flexible work schedules and comprehensive benefits packages. “Talent doesn’t see financial institutions as fast movers,” Anna Kooi, national financial services practice leader at the consulting firm Wipfli, recently told The Financial Brand. “Historically, the pace of change has not been anywhere near the pace of change on the technology side.”

Furthermore, there are many ways that emerging technology has served as an equalizer. While banks, like many businesses, often evaluate a prospective hire’s educational background, they may be missing out on talent that can actively harness and incorporate these skills into the marketing practice. According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 30% of working tech professionals don’t have degrees.

Gene De Libero, principal at Digital Mindshare LLC, a New York-based strategy and marketing consultancy writes in an opinion piece for Martech: “[Hiring] requirements should focus on the hard and soft skills needed for the role and the company’s unique challenges. While a degree may check a historical standard box, skills predict job performance,” he says.

A business can also greatly expand its pool of potential job candidates while also making their workforces more diverse, as people of color and those from underserved communities are less likely to attend college than more traditional hires, says Francisca Williams-Oni, senior director of client services at Grads of Life, a Boston-based group that advocates for skills-based hiring.

Moving past elitist hiring practices can also boost banks’ potential to create and or nurture in-house talent development pipelines. “As you think about advancement and how you promote people, think hard about whether someone needs a degree. Can you provide on-the-job training or development training you can acquire on the job? Managers can be deliberate about helping people get to the next role,” says Williams-Oni. “You’re not lowering the bar. You’re widening the gate.”

Ingrid Case is an award-winning journalist and ghostwriter based in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Bloomberg Markets, Money, Financial Planning, and other outlets.

Madeleine “Maddy” Perkins (she/her) is the managing editor for The Financial Brand. Her award-winning work has appeared in American Banker, Financial Planning, MarketWatch and more. She is based in Hoboken, NJ and holds an M.A. in journalism with an emphasis on business and economic reporting from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Follow Maddy on X @perkedit.

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