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Learnings from a marketer: adapting strategy throughout a downturn



Lucy Hinton, SVP Client Success EMEA at Flashtaking by Mediaocean

Globally, inflation has been on the rise. Recent, geopolitical events are causing the cost of living to skyrocket, with food and energy prices hitting record highs. Understandably, consumers (and subsequently businesses) are becoming more cautious with their spending and some experts are even predicting the start of another recession. With this potential new reality at our doorstep, the effective and wise marketer will be taking proactive steps now and considering new strategies to minimise exposure to risk. The truth is, no two recessions are the same, so let’s consider the best strategy to adopt today…

2022: a year like no other

Each downturn is unique in the events leading up to it. A recession in 2022 would be no different, namely with regard to the current state of the UK labour market.

In most recessions, economic output and employment decline simultaneously. Losses in revenue often force businesses to cut down on staff and higher levels of unemployment lead to reduced consumer spending. As an example, in the 2007-2009 downturn – colloquially known as ‘The Great Recession’ – the Conference Board’s U.S. Consumer Confidence Index sank in 2009 to the lowest level since tracking started in 1967. Unsurprisingly, this created challenges for marketers, both through the downturn and in the ‘recovery period’.

Lucy Hinton

In 2022, in contrast with other years, the UK labour market (by many accounts) is thriving. Though employment is still below pre-pandemic levels, there are currently a record number of job vacancies on offer.

This is important to consider in the context of “recession psychology”. Ultimately, purchasing power depends on several factors – including consumers’ having disposable income, consumer confidence and the idea that people subscribe to a consumption lifestyle. This more buoyant job market gives consumers access, theoretically, to more income and subsequently puts marketers in a different position to 2007-2009.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite the unique iterations of each one, certain patterns in consumer behaviour have emerged from previous downturns. Marketers can learn from these trends and adapt strategies accordingly.

The audience may change and so might priorities

Both consumer and B2B customers fall into several categories. It’s therefore important for marketers to revaluate and understand where their audience sits in a downturn. During and post-recession, it’s key to appreciate that your demographic, and the customers which fall into each category, may shift as the change in state of play impacts organisations.

Whichever customer group they fall into, all purchasing decisions will fit into one of four categories – based on the type of product or service being provided:

  • Essentials are necessary for survival or perceived as central to well-being.
  • Treats are indulgences whose immediate purchase is considered justifiable.
  • Postponables are needed or desired items whose purchase can be reasonably put off.
  • Expendables are perceived as unnecessary or unjustifiable.

The essential products and services are the easiest to predict, as they will differ the least. However, what falls into the remaining three categories may vary hugely between customers. Throughout a downturn, it’s understandable that consumption priorities may shift. For example, what previously fell into essentials may be moved into postponables or expendables. Whereas other items may be eliminated completely.

What does this mean for marketers? Whatever the downturn looks like, it’s clear that the business landscape will change dramatically. As a result, marketers need to be innovative, proactive, and agile to stay ahead of any challenges- starting with two key factors…

C-Suite superheroes can save the day

Over the past two years, the C-Suite have gone above and beyond to keep things moving within their organisations. CMOs and CFOs in particular, have faced the most abrupt areas of change. For marketers, adapting to the needs of consumers who had their lives turned upside down has required real, rapid innovation. On the finance front, the shifting economic sands have needed faster analysis of better data than ever to manage.

It is this power pairing, of the CMO and CFO, that companies need to encourage and embrace. A strategically aligned C-suite can help drive digital transformation and expand growth opportunity. In fact, leaders of digitally advanced companies credit their greater gains to higher levels of synergy between finance and marketing teams.

A strong relationship between marketing and finance ensures company leadership is on the same page about important business objectives like demand forecasting, lead generation, and investment allocation—all of which accelerate digital transformation strategies.

Organisations which already have a deep collaboration between CMO and CFO are on the front foot. For companies which haven’t yet built those lines of collaboration, now is the perfect time.

Smart investments in technology

The second conversation that marketers need to be having is around tech investments. Growing data availability has made it possible to target consumers more precisely and reactively. Insights gained from looking at the data can help marketers to figure out what’s working well and what’s not in their media spend.

For example, forecasts from media agency Zenith, expect global advertising spend on social media to rise to $177bn in 2022 – putting it, for the first time, ahead of TV spend, which will sit at $174bn. Though social media’s influence can’t be denied, there’s a risk to seeing it as a singly, monolithic channel among media. In fact, no channel happens in a vacuum. It only takes looking at our own experiences as consumers to realise media is media, and we want the flexibility and choice to watch what we want when, where, and how.

This means that data and analysis is key to understanding the effectiveness of media spend, content and tools. In turn, this creates two clear benefits for marketers. The first, marketers can see what needs to change and where the focus should be rather than having to reduce budget. Secondly, and most critically, this sort of analysis provides the opportunity to create a flexible omnichannel strategy and approach where marketers can influence across a variety of channels and devices while still allocating more resources to channels proving most influential at the same time as not over allocating to what’s trending at the expense of proven media formats and creative.

We can’t control the state of the economy or stop the UK from heading towards a recession. But if marketers remain proactive and agile in their mindset and approach, they can move forward into this (potentially) uncertain period, knowing they’re armed with the necessary tools and practices to succeed and future-proof their plans.


BioCatch Strengthens Collaboration with Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services




Collaboration Delivers End-to-End Intelligent Banking Cloud Platform with Online Fraud Detection Powered by Next-Generation Behavioural Biometrics

BioCatch, a global leader in fraud detection, today announced the global expansion of its behavioural biometric intelligence solutions in collaboration with Microsoft and is now available as an offering for Microsoft’s Cloud for Financial Services (FSI Cloud).

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services provides capabilities to deliver differentiated experiences, empower employees, and combat financial crime while facilitating security, compliance, and interoperability.

Working with Microsoft since 2011, BioCatch provides effective and comprehensive anti-fraud support, and through Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, BioCatch can extend further protections for banks transitioning to cloud-based operations for a protected, frictionless digital experience for consumers.

BioCatch and Microsoft reliably enable consumer protections against fraud through BioCatch’s behavioural biometrics software and Azure’s intelligent banking platform, underscoring the impact the solution alignment has had with financial institutions for over a decade.

“BioCatch and Microsoft have been great partners for us in our mission to protect M&T banking customers from harmful fraud attacks,” says Aaron Steinitz, Director of Enterprise Fraud Policy and Governance, M&T. “The visibility we get into the data by leveraging BioCatch’s technology via Microsoft Azure enables our fraud teams to swiftly address complex fraud attacks and reduce manual reviews, giving our customers better protection and an improved experience.”

“We are excited to continue working with Microsoft to provide behavioural biometric cloud-based fraud protection solutions for financial institutions looking to reduce risk for their cloud operations,” said Eyran Blumberg, BioCatch COO. “As banks and fintech businesses take their operations to the cloud, threat actors looking to exploit cloud vulnerabilities and scam the consumer become a larger problem. BioCatch is proud to provide the necessary and effective solutions for financial institutions to continue growing in the right direction, with the important understanding that their consumer accounts are kept safe.”

One of the key elements of BioCatch’s technology now being available for Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services is the ability for financial services organisations to purchase BioCatch’s solutions through Azure Marketplace. This accessibility enables them to seamlessly combine their transition to cloud-based financial operations with a proven behavioural biometrics solution that can analyse billions of sessions per month for its users. Through this, Azure provides enhanced risk management and protection for customers through a seamless user experience.

“We’re pleased that BioCatch is tapping into the power of Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services to help financial institutions unlock business value and deepen customer relationships,” said Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Financial Services, at Microsoft. “We look forward to the enhanced opportunities this will bring to our joint customers, helping empower fraud and risk teams with behavioural biometric intelligence to act quickly while also giving consumers a safer and frictionless digital banking experience.”

BioCatch’s fraud prevention solution also keeps financial business operations in compliance with protection measures and digital safety requirements. With this, BioCatch’s behavioural biometrics solution enables financial institutions that use Azure to streamline fraud detection capabilities with global cloud scaling, keeping pace with the needs and demands of any cloud strategy financial institutions seek to deploy in Azure.

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One year until EMIR Refit: how can firms prepare? 




Leo Labeis, CEO at REGnosys, discusses everything that financial institutions need to know about EMIR Refit and how they can prepare with Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR)

There is now less than a year until the implementation date for the much-anticipated changes to the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The amendments, which are set to go live on 29 April 2024, represent an important landmark in establishing a more globally harmonised approach to trade reporting.

Despite the fast-approaching deadline, concerns are growing around the industry’s preparedness, with a recent survey from Novatus Advisory finding that 40% of UK firms have no plans in place for the changes, for instance.

Much of the focus in 2022 was on implementation efforts for the rewrite of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s swaps reporting requirements (CFTC Rewrite), which went live on 5 December. Both the CFTC Rewrite and EMIR Refit are part of the same drive to standardise trade reporting globally. While EMIR Refit was originally anticipated to roll out first, implementation suffered from repeated delays to its technical specifications, in particular the new ISO 20022 format. The ISO 20022 mandate was eventually excluded from the first phase of the CFTC Rewrite, hence the earlier go-live date.

In parallel, the Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR) programme has emerged as a key driving force in helping firms adapt to continually evolving reporting requirements. Having participated in the DRR build-up for their CFTC Rewrite preparations, how can firms leverage these efforts to comply with EMIR Refit in 2024?

The drive to standardise post-trade

Leo Labeis

To understand the new EMIR requirements, it is important to first look at the two main pillars in the global push to greater reporting harmonisation.

The first is the Committee on Payments & Market Infrastructures and International Organization of Securities Commission’s (CPMI-IOSCO) Critical Data Elements (CDE), which were first published in 2018 to work alongside other common standards including the Unique Product Identifier (UPI) and Unique Trade Identifier (UTI). These provide harmonised definitions of data elements for authorities to use when monitoring over the counter (OTC) derivative transactions, allowing for improved transparency on the contents of the transaction and greater scope for the interchange of data across jurisdictions.

The second is the mandating of ISO 20022 as the internationally recognised format for reporting transaction data. Historically, trade repositories required firms to submit data in a specific format that they determined, before applying their own data transformation for consumption by the regulators. The adoption of ISO 20022 under the new EMIR requirements changes that process by shifting the responsibility from trade repositories to the reporting firm, with the aim of enhancing data quality and consistency by reducing the need for data processing.

Preparing for the new requirements with DRR

DRR is an industry-wide initiative to enable firms to interpret and implement reporting rules consistently and cost-effectively. Under the current process, reporting firms create their own reporting solution, inevitably resulting in inconsistencies and duplication of costs. DRR changes this by allowing market participants to work together to develop a standardised interpretation of the regulation and store it in a digital, openly accessible format.

Importantly, firms which are using the rewritten CFTC rules which have been encoded in DRR will not have to build EMIR Refit from scratch. ISDA estimates that 70% of the requirements are identical across both regulations, meaning firms can leverage their work in each area and adopt a truly global strategy. DRR has already developed a library of CDE rules for the CFTC Rewrite, which can be directly re-applied to EMIR Refit. Even when those rules are applied differently between regimes, the jurisdiction-specific requirements can be encoded as variations on top of the existing CDE rule rather than in silo.

Notably the UPI, having been excluded from the first phase of the CFTC Rewrite roll-out, is mandated for the second phase due in January 2024. DRR will integrate this requirement, as well as others such as ISO 20022, and develop a common solution that can be applied across the CFTC Rewrite and EMIR Refit.

As firms begin their own build, the industry should work together in reviewing, testing and implementing the DRR model. Maintaining the commitment of all DRR participants will strengthen the community-driven approach to building this reporting ‘best practice’ and serve as a template for future collaborative efforts.

Planning for the long-term 

Although the recent CFTC Rewrite and next year’s EMIR Refit are centre of focus for many firms, several more G20 regulatory reporting reforms are expected over the next few years. These include rewrites to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) derivatives reporting regimes, amongst others.

Firms should therefore plan for the entire global regulatory reform agenda rather than prepare for each reform separately. Every dollar invested in reporting and data management will go further precisely because it is going to be spread across jurisdictions, easing budget constraints.

Looking ahead, financial institutions should establish a broad and long-term plan is to learn from their CFTC Rewrite preparation and how DRR can be positioned in their implementation. For example, firms should ask themselves which approach to testing and implementing DRR works best: via their own internal systems or through a third-party? Firms should review what worked well in their CFTC Rewrite implementation and apply successful methods to EMIR Refit. Doing so will enable firms to have a strong foundation for future updates in the years to come.

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