Product marketing managers, they are often quiet and overlooked but in any and every company are always the most critical foundational element of any marketing department. So in a position that is pulled between technical and creative while being the cog holding marketing, sales, and product together, how does one manage?
We asked the newest addition to the Nomis team and PMM extraordinaire Jeremy Fong just how he does it and what he sees coming in the near-future for fintech.
CA: You have extensive expertise in the financial industry. Tell me about it. What is it about this specific industry that draws you in and keeps you here?
JF: I started my marketing career at a local credit union in San Francisco where I promoted retail banking products and services. I learned a lot about personal finance on that job, especially at a financial institution with a philosophy of “people helping people.” Following that, I joined the marketing team at Moody’s Analytics to promote enterprise risk software to banks and other large companies, with a focus on credit risk management and regulatory reporting. Before coming to Nomis, I was at a small fintech that provided alternative credit data to help banks serve underbanked consumers in emerging markets where robust credit reporting is lacking.
In the financial services industry, there is so much going on that I am always learning something new while I’m on the job. It is eye-opening to understand how much of this impacts our normal day-to-day. Being in this ever-changing industry continues to help me grow as a marketing professional and it keeps the work interesting.
CA: Based on that experience and the current environment, any predictions on what you think banking and lending will look like in the next few years?
JF: The core purpose of banking can be categorized into four main utilities: to store money, to move money, to borrow money, and to invest money. In recent years, there has been a disintermediation of these types of financial services with the entrance of different fintech apps and platforms. In many ways, the current environment has been a catalyst for many of these financial technologies to thrive. We are seeing an increased adoption of contactless payment, digital accounts, money transfers, electronic signatures, robo-advisors, and many other use cases across the fintech gamut.
With the rapid advance in technology and vast amounts of data readily available, consumers will benefit from easy access to a wide range of financial services, products, and pricing that are available in the market. Traditional financial institutions will have to align operations from the back of the house to front office and digital channels to reduce friction and fulfill consumer expectations and demands, especially as newcomers and big technology come into the fintech space. I believe this competition will drive even more financial innovation to come.
CA: I know I had my specific “aha” moment when I knew marketing was it for me, how about you?
JF: I studied graphic design and communication while I was at UC Davis. While I love the creativity around graphic design, I also enjoy building strategies and applying theories around communication. I thought that becoming a marketer would be the perfect way to combine both of these skills. My first job out of college was in marketing at a credit union about 14 years ago. I’ve been in the marketing practice and the financial services industry ever since!
CA: What is it about Fintechs and specifically Nomis that interests you?
JF: I find the progression of all things fintech-related absolutely fascinating. When I first worked at the credit union, going into a branch and writing checks were the norm and online banking was at its infancy. Fintech has always been around in modern banking (think ATMs or credit card processors), but it has evolved exponentially over the past decade. This has also changed our way of life and how we manage our money. We can pay our bills, open an investment account, transfer money, or check our credit scores right at our fingertips. With that, consumer expectations have also changed, and banks and lenders will have to evolve to meet their needs and stay competitive in today’s market. I’ve enjoyed being a part of this ongoing journey as a consumer and as a professional in the industry.
Throughout my career, I have been in retail banking, commercial credit, and microfinance. Being at Nomis, I am interested in expanding my knowledge around pricing management and strategies behind pricing decisions. Additionally, I appreciate the collaborative culture here at Nomis and working closely with partner teams to create, drive, and iterate on creative marketing campaigns and to deliver value to our customers.
CA: Product marketers are a special breed. They have to have both the technical and creative side while also be masters of relationship management since they have to balance marketing, sales, and product teams….while still “staying the course”. Any advice for current and future PMMs on how to balance it all?
JF: For sure! As a product marketer, I always say that this role is 80% project management and 20% marketing execution. It’s important to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page when it comes to positioning, messaging, and the market fit for a product before any go-to-market. Gaining alignment among all of the teams can prove to be a challenging undertaking at times. It is important to bring the conversation back to understanding and addressing the needs of our customers and sharing research or data to support decision-making.
Being a product marketer, it is our job to be the voice-of-the-customer and an advocate for end-users when making key decisions on how to bring a product or solution to
life.This also means staying on top of industry trends and news in order to curate an informed perspective and best practices around the solution. At Nomis, this translates to understanding how our solutions tackle business challenges in pricing management and sharing ways on how to make this complex and dynamic process much more streamlined, effective, and pain-free for bankers and lenders.