Institutional Marketers in Demand

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Growing demand for financial information services has spurred demand for experienced institutional marketing executives at companies that are shifting from product-based to market-based selling strategies, according to Jeff Zwiff of New York search firm Thorndike Deland.

Based on requests for searches placed with his firm, Zwiff expects to see a 20 percent to 25 percent rise in marketing hires in the next year by companies trying to sell the same financial data as Bloomberg, McGraw-Hill and Dun & Bradstreet. The Web has created more competition in the distribution of financial information to investment houses and forced providers to become more targeted in their sales approach.

While companies that sell financial information services will look within the institutional investment community first, the lack of marketing expertise in those circles will cause them to seek additional marketing expertise from other service industries. Marketers who know how to market to institutions rather than individuals are expected to be in high demand.

"Marketing is not a seasoned discipline in this industry, it is still very much a sales proposition,'' Zwiff said. "They are going to have to dip into other areas to bring new, fresh thinking in. They are going to need the marketing skills spawned in other areas."

Marketers from sophisticated financial service institutions or service institutions in general would be considered good candidates. Zwiff cited American Express, Citibank and Fidelity as examples. He warned, however, but financial information services providers retain a bias for business to business over consumer marketers.

These marketers would hone in on companies that need instant access to information for research and business purposes such as advertising agencies or day traders.

"[The market] is not a mass audience yet,'' Zwiff said. "It's targeted, but the strategy and execution has not been the best. It probably has to be targeted better. It has to involve more research and more open dialogue with the customer to build what they need.''

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