Named as one of the most influential people in banking and a top 5 financial services and artificial intelligence influencer to follow, Jim Marous is an internationally recognized industry futurist, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and the owner and publisher of the Digital Banking Report. As a sought-after speaker, author and recognized authority on disruption in the financial services industry, Marous has been featured by international press and has spoken to audiences worldwide. Jim has also advised the White House on banking policy and is followed by more than a quarter million people on Twitter and LinkedIn.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
I started my career as a banker out of college, and after 15 years I served as a strategic consultant for various direct and digital marketing agencies serving the banking industry. For the past 10 years, I have been writing about retail banking innovation, technology, marketing, customer experience and digital transformation.
What topic areas are you most passionate about?
At this time, I am most passionate about digital banking transformation and the need for leadership and culture to adjust to the new digital realities. Despite the needs for embracing technology, the biggest challenge today is not in finding digital solutions, but with having the leadership and culture needed to become a digital bank.
Which influencers influence you within those key topics?
There are literally dozens of retail banking influencers who impact my perspectives on the changes needed in retail banking. Some of the first people who caught my attention would include Ron Shevlin, Brett King, Chris Skinner, JP Nicols, Jeffry Pilcher and others who regularly write and speak about the banking industry.
Outside of your key topics who else influences you?
Because my focus today is as much about digital transformation as it is about the banking industry, I continually follow Brian Solis, Mike Walsh, Gary Vaynerchuk, the leaders at multiple consultancies as well as those at MIT Sloan.
What are your passions outside of work?
Most of my passions outside of work are related to the sports career of my son, who is a lacrosse player at the university level. Personally, I am focused on a wellness journey I began late in 2018, where I have adjusted many of my nutrition and physical behaviors. Part of this journey has been the focus on exercise that includes fitness classes and an increasing number of bike rides. I also focus on extending all of my visits to countries outside the US to include cultural emersion through tours and private events.
How would you describe your offline influence?
While there is a lot of attention paid to online social media influence, much of my impact is made through my regular writings for The Financial Brand and the research I conduct with the Digital Banking Report. I have also just introduced a new podcast series, Banking Transformed, where I interview global business leaders about the impact of digital transformation across all industries. Finally, I am fortunate enough to travel globally to meet with groups from 10 to 10,000, presenting on how digital technology is changing the way we do business and serve consumers. In 2019, I will have close to 50 of these meetings, where I dig deeper into the opportunities and challenges in the future.
If a brand wanted to work with you, what offline / online activities would you be most interested in?
Because of my ongoing writing and report publishing, I am somewhat limited as to outside engagements I can handle. That said, I enjoy the opportunity to engage through small and large meetings to impact the way companies, organizations and individuals can embrace change, take risks and disrupt themselves.
Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?
Provide a quote for content or news article.
Share / create a social post If mutually beneficial (often organizations seek to ‘ride my coattails’ as opposed to build a partnership.
Co-Create long form content (blogs, white papers, ebooks, research), Sponsored Digital Banking Reports
Speak at an event – I always have the desire to be a keynote speaker if I can add value to an event. I no longer have time to simply attend an event.
Participate in a podcast, webinar or online chat – often these are sponsored engagements.
Participate in video content.
What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?
There is no limit to the resources I use to build a story for The Financial Brand or complete a research initiative for the Digital Banking Report. My mission 10 years ago was to use primary and secondary sources to deliver the most up-to-date and accurate insights to the marketplace. Some of the most interesting insights I have been able to share have been from a combination of the global primary research we do for the Digital Banking Report combined with insights from marketplace leaders. Through our research of financial institutions, interviews of industry leaders, case studies shared by trade associations and insights from leading consultancies, I am able to provide perspectives not available elsewhere. The ability to share the insights I find as quickly as possible to the marketplace has been the foundation of my social media strategy, where individuals and organizations share my insights on various social channels, continuously growing my network influence.
What brands have you worked with?
Hundreds of brands over the past decade.