The Forum Buzz: welcome back and happy new year

David Cowan

Managing Director

The Financial Services Forum

With the first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine rolled out this morning, we are hoping that 2021 will be full of many more celebratory moments.

Over the past year, members of our community have been working under exceptionally difficult circumstances – and no doubt will continue to do so for some time yet. The marketing department have long been the champions of customer within businesses, and in a crisis that is perhaps the most ‘human’ crisis of our generation, understanding the customer has never been more important.

For this reason, the pandemic has unequivocally emphasised the importance of marketing within businesses; both in terms of product innovation and customer service, and also crisis communications and building brand trust. It’s been hugely challenging. But for some, also hugely rewarding – and will continue to be.

To enable us to support our membership in serving and understanding a customer base with changing needs and attitudes, the Forum has also been required to continuously adapt and evolve over the past ten months.

At a CMO Surgery last year, during a discussion about changing consumer behaviour, panellist David Smith, Founder of Global Futures and Foresight, stated that in many instances the pandemic has simply accelerated (digital) behaviours that were already on an upward trajectory.

This has also been true of the Member behaviour we have observed from March onwards, with many stating that whilst face-to-face interaction is of course sorely missed, our digital webinar and conference programme is inclusive of those based outside of London, easy to access and allows for greater participation from more team members.

You may remember that I mentioned the imminent appointment of an Editor in my communication at the start of December. We are currently in the recruitment process, and I’m looking forward to updating you further in the coming weeks. We strongly believe that an Editor will help us to build the Forum’s brand and voice within the financial services marketing community, both by providing an original and appropriate editorial voice and point of view, and also identifying topics and formats that will add value for marketers in the sector.

Our continued investment into the Forum will see the unveiling of a new website in time for Spring 2021. The vision for our improved site is to create an interactive online hub for you and your team to utilise on a weekly, or hopefully even daily (!), basis, enabling you to connect digitally with our vibrant community of senior marketers.  And, of course, our full video repository of webinars will continue to be available on demand, should you wish to refresh your memory on a topic, tutorial or discussion.

Finally, I am sure that, with the U.K.’s departure from the European Union falling over the festive period, many of you have perhaps not had quite as much rest as you may have hoped for. But, I do hope that you have managed to enjoy a few days of quality time with family and friends.

I look forward to seeing you ‘virtually’. And, as the vaccine rolls out, at face to face events later in the year.


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