“Data alone rarely leads us anywhere worthwhile,” insists Aditi Gokhale, chief marketing officer at Northwestern Mutual. “Without a heavy dose of human insights, you only get one piece of the picture.

“What is missing from the data picture are the human stories that illuminate the truths in the world. Marketers need to marry compelling data and human insights and bring them together in a fresh perspective.”

For years, the Milwaukee-based financial-services enterprise was known as “The Quiet Company” (“Where Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” the sub-themeline read), which attracted business often by the force of its understated, but AAA, reputation.

But “quiet” no longer may be a powerful argument for consumer engagement, as evidenced by “four key industry trends” that Gokhale shared with delegates at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data and Measurement Conference:

  • Evolving expectations: “Consumers have the same expectations with financial planning as they do with Amazon Prime.”
  • Financial brand differentiation: “People don't see the difference between [financial] companies and brands” as their messaging is often similar.
  • Trust and relevancy: “Both 2008 and 2009 were really tough years for consumers, and, ever since, there has been a growing mistrust with large financial institutions and speaking to their financial advisors.”
  • New entrants: Disruptors in the financial marketplace are promising simplicity, affordability, and immediacy.