How to make a customer-based marketing strategy with Lynn Teo from Northwestern Mutual

Editorial CMO

Editorial CMO

Key words: Insurance, investment products, marketing ethos, customer-centricity, bigger story, art and science, data-driven, measurement-focused strategies,, lockstep, co-creation, defining values

First of all

Lynn Teo is a seasoned executive with nearly 24 years of experience serving as a CMO, Chief Experience Officer, and digital transformation leader. Lynn, originally from Singapore and having lived and worked in diverse regions including the US (New York), Europe (London), and APAC/ANZ, brings a rich international perspective to her leadership roles. Her expertise spans performance marketing, predictive analytics in sales and marketing, full funnel marketing, and demand/revenue generation. Her track record includes driving transformation initiatives and effecting organizational change across a wide spectrum of industries, including advertising, publishing, education, retail, finance, travel, and healthcare. 
Northwestern Mutual is a prominent financial services company known for its commitment to helping clients achieve financial security. With a strong reputation and a history spanning over 160 years, Northwestern Mutual provides various financial solutions, including life insurance, investment, and advisory services, to assist individuals and businesses in planning for a secure future. 

Key moments:

The value of planning [00:00:55] Lynn Teo discusses Northwestern Mutual’s unique value proposition of planning and their mission to free Americans from financial anxiety.
Marketing leadership and ethos [00:01:46] Lynn Teo talks about the importance of marketing leaders operating from a belief system and aligning personal values with company values.
Customer-centric marketing [00:04:05] Lynn Teo emphasizes the importance of customer centricity in marketing and how brands should focus on being of service to their customers.
The science part of marketing [00:10:16] The speaker discusses the data-driven and measurement-focused aspect of marketing, including the importance of ROI and having a business conversation.
Customer lifetime value in financial services [00:11:44] The speaker talks about the long-term relationship with customers in the financial services industry and the need for financial advisors to continually demonstrate value.
Partnership between marketing and distribution [00:14:01] The speaker emphasizes the partnership and alignment between marketing and the distribution (sales) team, highlighting the importance of co-creation and involving financial advisors in marketing conversations.

Powerful ideas

Lynn Teo underscores the significance of ensuring that marketing efforts align closely with the core values of the company. This alignment isn’t merely a surface-level exercise but should be deeply ingrained in the company’s belief system. It means that every member of the organization, not just the marketing department, should embody these values. This approach ensures that marketing campaigns and actions towards the public are not only consistent but also genuinely reflect the brand’s identity. It’s about creating an authentic and resonant brand that genuinely connects with its audience on a fundamental level.
Also, Lynn Teo acknowledges the evolving nature of marketing, which combines creativity with data-driven strategies. This fusion of art and science is at the heart of modern marketing. Creativity sparks innovative campaigns and engaging content, while data-driven strategies provide the insights needed to measure the effectiveness of marketing programs. Lynn Teo emphasis on measurement underscores the importance of tracking how marketing efforts contribute to brand building and demand generation. It’s about finding the balance between creative storytelling and using data to refine and optimize campaigns for maximum impact.
In the financial services sector, where trust and stability are paramount, Leena highlights the critical role of customer retention. Northwestern Mutual’s high persistency rate serves as evidence of the brand’s ability to add consistent value and maintain enduring relationships with clients over generations. This emphasis on long-term relationships isn’t limited to the financial sector; it’s a valuable lesson for businesses across industries. Building trust and fostering loyalty should be central to any company’s marketing strategy, as it leads to sustainable growth and a strong reputation.