EY's Toni Clayton-Hine Proclaims "Display is Dead. Long Live Display."

Toni Clayton-Hine, Chief Marketing Officer, Americas, at EY was the featured speaker at the FCS Spotlight luncheon held at the New York Yacht Club on April 7th. Her remarks focused on the power of storytelling in B2B marketing, balanced with the need to provide marketing effectiveness metrics, KPIs (key performance indicators) and ROI (return-on-investment) measures. These metrics are often needed by CMOs to help justify their marketing budgets with senior management, including CEOs and CFOs.

Toni observed that the push towards the measurement of marketing has often overtaken true brand engagement efforts in B2B marketing. She observed “Digital marketing gave us a way to answer the key question – what’s the ROI?” But in her role as CMO at EY Americas, Toni has circled back to embrace the importance of storytelling. EY Americas marketing has been inspired by short form content in social media outlets like Tik Tok and longer-form (20–30-minute video) learning venues like Master Class.

She advocated for creating the human connection that comes from content to entertain, inform, and engage your audience. However, Toni went on to say this ability to connect should be balanced with digital marketing metrics. A great slide in her presentation showed a side-by-side comparison of the advantages of storytelling over typical straight-up B2B marketing messages (like digital display ads) in a “from > to” construct, including:

  • Singular Message > Story
  • Consumption > Participation
  • Taking to Audience > Community Engagement
  • Ads> Content.

Toni provided examples of EY Americas marketing that employs this dual storytelling / marketing metrics approach. They include the EY “Leadership in Action” master class series featuring prominent CEOs highlighting the decisive moments where bold decision-making had made a material impact on their company and career. The power of this content to connect with new audiences was then demonstrated by Toni with a half dozen engagement, relevance, and consideration marketing metrics. She revealed a perfect match of engaging storytelling backed by sound marketing performance metrics.

Toni also shared how B2B customers with a high “brand connection” resulting from exposure to engaging, relevant content are more likely to conduct lower-funnel activities. These include actions such as “consider the brand in the future”; “purchase the brand in the next six months”; and “more likely to pay a higher price for the brand.” Creating powerful “brand advocates” was seen as a benefit of highly connected customers as well.

Toni cited the EY and Thomson Reuters alliance, which provides timely and topical “ask the experts” content along with sound-bite news – content that reflects current marketplace events. Another venue showing EY’s deep expertise has been created in collaboration with CNBC’s Brand Studio via paid posts including the “Business Interrupted” series, featuring “Insights on the New Now.” This series tells stories using real people and helps EY find different ways to drive to the larger conversation and build its business in the process.

This event was another example of the work the FCS does to help foster and share best practices for financial services sector marketing communications professionals.

 

This story was written by FCS member Christopher Abelt who works on business strategy at the Edinburgh, Scotland based full-service agency Always Be Content.

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