Friday 22 November 2019

Marketing people: Fintan Lonergan

Chief Marketing Officer, Deloitte

Fintan Lonergan
Fintan Lonergan

John McGee

With over 2,800 staff, Deloitte is the second-largest of the big multinational professional consultancy groups in Ireland and it is also the fastest growing. It operates across multiple sectors and supplies a broad range of services, ranging from traditional taxation and audit, right through to corporate finance and digital marketing. The firm’s chief marketing officer, Fintan Lonergan, talked to John McGee about his marketing challenges

Describe your role as CMO?

I lead a team of over 30 experienced professionals working across brand positioning, marketing communications, PR, CRM, business development, bid management, thought leadership, digital engagement, internal communications, events and sponsorship. Ultimately, my role is to help the market understand the value we can bring and why Deloitte is unique in its breadth and depth of offering.

What challenges do you face?

Our clients are running successful businesses at home and abroad. They are extremely busy people and in order to support them we need to focus on the most important ‘stay awake’ issues.

The key marketing challenge is to create meaningful dialogue with this audience and communicate how Deloitte can solve their most critical problems. Most marketing by professional services firms leaves a lot to be desired and struggles to differentiate their approach. My main challenge is to do justice to the quality of the work we delivers.

How do you overcome these challenges?

Nothing you can do can communicate what you do as well as doing it. So ideally all marketing leads to client interaction.

We invest significantly in thought leadership, events and engagement to share our views and expertise on critical issues such as innovation, M&A trends, the future of work, Brexit and cyber risk. The marketing function has been expanded and re-oriented to support this across the breadth of our service areas and industry groups. Thought leadership and our viewpoint on critical issues and trends are shared digitally via videos, articles or face to face at events. This helps our clients recognise our expertise and insight.

How competitive is the marketplace?

It’s extremely competitive when you are operating at the high end of any market. We listen carefully to what our clients say they need from us and we respond quickly. We are also looking at the future challenges businesses will face so we can help our clients stay ahead of the curve. For example, we have invested heavily to integrate digital analytics to enhance our audit quality and deliver value that goes far beyond a traditional financial statement audit.

Deloitte has made significant moves into non-traditional sectors like marketing/technology, etc: how has this worked out?

Marketing has become increasingly driven by data and technology. Our Deloitte Digital offering allows us to connect our deep background in business strategy and enterprise technology with digital expertise and customer-led thinking.

Globally, Deloitte has acquired several creative agencies and this brings new creative expertise into our global network at a time when clients are increasingly looking for a partner with multidisciplinary skills. This year has already seen us open our Blockchain Hub in Dublin. This new bespoke designed lab builds on Deloitte’s global fintech and innovation practice.

Blockchain is an evolving technology which has the capacity to change the way digital services are provided globally in all sectors of business not just fintech. Our Deloitte Digital offering continues to grow and we’re investing in domains such as robotics, AI and analytics giving us a proposition that is truly unique in the Irish market.

What specific marketing initiatives are under way

One of our largest marketing programmes is heading into its 10th year — The Deloitte Best Managed Companies awards programme in association with Bank of Ireland. This is a unique coaching and award programme as it recognises the overall success of a company, including management strength, ability to innovate, strategic initiatives and financial performance.

People are our most important resource and we are investing in developing our talent brand. I believe it’s important for marketing professionals in all sectors to recognise that their brand work will have a direct impact on attracting talent. Everyone wants to work for the best brand in the marketplace.

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