Easy Customer Engagement - A Driving Force For Increased Revenue

Aug 26, 2021 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

The C-suite often wants to know they’re investing wisely and not spending money on vanity metrics and buzz. With that expectation comes the worry for marketing professionals. On the one hand, there’s the struggle to reach the right customer with the right message in real-time. And on the other hand, there’s the internal pain of communicating the revenue benefits of customer engagement.

Indeed, customers’ engagement investments are bound to improve customer attention, increase sales, and increase revenue per customer, but many companies are leveraging it. What does it take, and how do you choose the right tools and ensure your efforts deliver the brand promise to customers?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Doug Bailey, Director of Digital Marketing at America First Credit Union; Rick Helmick, Senior Director, Digital at Sirius Computer Solutions; and Christopher Young, Director, Financial Services Industry Strategy at Adobe. They discuss the struggles marketers face trying to improve customer engagement as a revenue driver, the tools and personnel requirements, and the business case for customer experience investments.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • How do you find and engage the right customers?
  • The pain of finding the perfect tool for engaging customers
  • What’s the best time to deliver your message?
  • Challenges of changing an engagement model
  • Best practices to improve customer engagement with your ads
  • Understanding customer segmentation
  • How to assess your customer engagement tools and efforts
  • The staffing model for engaging customers effectively
  • Making the business case for investment in the customer experience
  • Getting closer to the customer through analytics
  • Discovering the best way to communicate your brand promise to customers
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Event Partners


Adobe Experience Cloud is the most comprehensive suite of customer experience management tools on the market. With solutions for data, content delivery, commerce, personalization, and more, this marketing stack is created with the world’s first platform designed specifically to create engaging customer experiences. Each product has built-in artificial intelligence and works seamlessly with other Adobe products. And they integrate with your existing technology and future innovations, so you can consistently deliver the right experience every time.

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Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Christopher Young LinkedIn

Director, Industry Strategy and Marketing at Adobe

Christopher Young is the Director of Industry Strategy and Marketing at Adobe. In this role, he leads a team of industry specialists who work with Adobe’s financial services clients to help them develop best-in-class digital marketing strategies. Christopher has an extensive background in cross-channel marketing, brand management, and creative development, previously serving as the Vice President of Brokerage Marketing for E*TRADE and the Vice President and Advertising Manager for JPMorgan Chase.  

Rick Helmick

Senior Director, Digital at Sirius Computer Solutions

Rick Helmick is the Senior Director, Digital at Sirius Computer Solutions, a national integrator of technology-based business solutions that span the enterprise, including the data center and lines of business. With his years of experience in marketing, design, UX (user experience), development and launching of new products, and rebranding efforts, Rick helps companies create exceptional experiences for their customers.

Doug Bailey

Director of Digital Marketing at America First Credit Union

Doug Bailey is the Director of Digital Marketing at America First Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in the nation founded back in 1939. He is also an Adobe marketing cloud professional with experience in Analytics, Data Workbench, Target, Campaign, and Search and Promote.

Brandon Buckner

Software Development Manager - Customer Support & Client Account Services at Cambridge Investment Advisors

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Christopher Young LinkedIn

Director, Industry Strategy and Marketing at Adobe

Christopher Young is the Director of Industry Strategy and Marketing at Adobe. In this role, he leads a team of industry specialists who work with Adobe’s financial services clients to help them develop best-in-class digital marketing strategies. Christopher has an extensive background in cross-channel marketing, brand management, and creative development, previously serving as the Vice President of Brokerage Marketing for E*TRADE and the Vice President and Advertising Manager for JPMorgan Chase.  

Rick Helmick

Senior Director, Digital at Sirius Computer Solutions

Rick Helmick is the Senior Director, Digital at Sirius Computer Solutions, a national integrator of technology-based business solutions that span the enterprise, including the data center and lines of business. With his years of experience in marketing, design, UX (user experience), development and launching of new products, and rebranding efforts, Rick helps companies create exceptional experiences for their customers.

Doug Bailey

Director of Digital Marketing at America First Credit Union

Doug Bailey is the Director of Digital Marketing at America First Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in the nation founded back in 1939. He is also an Adobe marketing cloud professional with experience in Analytics, Data Workbench, Target, Campaign, and Search and Promote.

Brandon Buckner

Software Development Manager - Customer Support & Client Account Services at Cambridge Investment Advisors

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-Founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of organizations that do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping digital. That means right now we've touched just about every vertical that's out there right now, including, obviously, the financial services, healthcare law. So you know, CPG, and all that it's just, it's a crazy time right now, for digital. I connect with 30 to 40 organizations a week. And when the same topics come up over and over again, we put together an event like this, we'll do close to 300 of these virtual events this year, and probably close to, I don't know, 30 in person events, by the end of the year, unless the Delta variant decides to change the landscape. Again, a couple housekeeping items, as we get started, we're kicking this off at three to four minutes after the hour, just you know, we're going to wrap it up with three to four minutes in the hour to go as well. So right around, I guess, 3:56 3:57 eastern time, just know, we're gonna wrap this all up, give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing we do want to get as many questions answered today, as possible, you have any questions whatsoever, don't hesitate to drop into the questions portion, they're the go to webinar tab. Or you can always email them to me Aaron Aaron@BWGConnect.com. I will feel those real time during the call. That includes an hour afterwards, though, tomorrow, next week, you have a question in the digital space, don't hesitate to reach out tons of people in the network 1000s of organizations now, probably somebody out there that knows the answer when connected to them. So with that being said, I'm going to kind of kick off this conversation, a customer engagement has come up over and over again. And this is a lot of it's come up in two areas. One is on the healthcare side. We've done a lot on that. And the other is on the financial services side, this whole new way of doing business and how do you engage. And so we just had enough, you know, questions from the network as a whole decided to put together this this little webinar here. And we've got some great friends, partners and supporters of the network for a long time now. And so we just kind of asked them to jump on and kind of have this candid conversation as a whole. So to kind of kick it off, we can do a kind of a quick Roundtable. Doug to get over to you want to do a brief intro on yourself and the organization that we can go to Rick and then we can go to Chris and yeah, it'll be it'll be good. Let's kick it off that way.

Doug Bailey 2:46

Perfect. Thanks, Aaron. So I'm Doug Bailey. And I work for America First Credit Union. We are one of the largest credit unions in the nation. We were founded back in 1939. It's a great place to work, we're housed out of Salt Lake City, Utah, Ogden, Utah, just a little bit north of Salt Lake. And I've been here for six years I come from the computer science industry actually become and help them work on their digital marketing side. And so I'm the Director of Digital Marketing, they're in America first. That's honestly how I came to know the folks that serious my first project here in the organization before I even knew the data sets or anything else day one was pull out our digital marketing and create a new program immediately. So it was quite an eye opening experience. And that's where we got to know some of these folks at Adobe and Sirius.

Aaron Conant 3:43

Awesome, Rick. Okay, it over to you.

Rick Helmick 3:46

Just a little first project there, Doug. Right. Just

Doug Bailey 3:49

Just a small thing. Yeah.

Rick Helmick 3:54

My name is Rick Helmick. I'm a portfolio director here at Sirius. And, you know, we've been helping customers for 1015 years, do these kinds of projects that Doug's talking about where, you know, we're involved with really, how do we find customers? How do we drive revenue? How do we create experiences, look at the data and really understand how the markets moving and how we can meet customers and, you know, exceed their expectations really. And so that that's my role here at Sirius is how helping customers with those types of projects and really implementing solutions that are going to make a difference to our customers customers.

Aaron Conant 4:35

Awesome. like Chris.

Christopher Young 4:37

Yeah, Christopher Young director of industry strategy marketing for Financial Services and Adobe. My role is to work with our large customers across the spectrum in financial services, from banks, to regional banks, to credit unions to the insurance industry, wealth, etc. And it's great to be here right because it's a great triangulation of speakers between customers like America first credit union partners like Sirius that implement our technologies and the representative of the software itself. In many cases, you know, the least important of the three. So I'm really eager to have the discussion and get these different perspectives.

Aaron Conant 5:20

Awesome. So as we kind of kick it off here, a quick reminder, for those who have just kind of joined us, if you have any questions at all, just drop into the Questions tab there, email them to me, Aaron Aaron@BWGConnect.com. And we'll get as many of those answered as possible. So, you know, Rick, if you want to kind of jump in, I know, we have just a few slides to go through here. And then we're probably gonna have close to, you know, 45 minutes of open conversation and taking q&a. But if you want to jump in, that'd be great.

Rick Helmick 5:49

Yeah, I think just sort of level setting the discussion, right, is, you know, the topics that sort of come into play around these customer engagement type of projects is really, you know, obviously, the first part of that is the customer, right? How do we find and engage with those customers in a way that's meaningful? How do we manage the content delivery to those customers, right, you know, delivering the right message at the right time. So we want to talk a little bit about that, obviously, that ties in to really understanding those customers and what their needs are. And analytics drives that that journey, right, of being able to adapt that messaging and provide them the right information at the right time. And then really connecting with those customers, once we've identified them. And we've created the tools that we have, and really connecting and delivering on the brand promise itself. So the next slide is really just a quicker one after this is just a quick sort of, you know, I'm sure everybody probably knows, knows Adobe, I certainly have been using Adobe products for about 20. Some years, I've stated myself, but you know, the, the Adobe tools are really the foundation that help us build these experiences. And it's serious, we're a big believer in in the Adobe platform and the things that we can accomplish with it, right. So we're, we're a national systems integrator that goes out helps customer build these experiences, find the right tools to deliver on, on what they need to be successful. And so, you know, the the Adobe platform really lets us drive that business to the next level. And then on the next slide, just Doug already covered a little bit there, you know, just a little bit about who America first is, but you know, we've done a lot of projects together over the years that really helped set that customer engagement up for success, right. So the first thing that, like Doug mentioned, you know, was coming in and sort of taking on a big replatform and redesign and really starting to put all these tools together. So implementing the Adobe Experience manager platform on that site, building out propensity scoring, and attribution using the analytics and using data workbench. So we can actually understand those customers back through the understanding customers through those analytics, including marketing automation based on that information and delivering campaigns right message right time, personalizing that content using things like Adobe target. And even within not just on their on the website, but within the banking platforms, because we really were, the goal was to create that 360 degree view of the customer, so we knew what was going on there. So that just wanted to sort of level set, you know, the types of projects were built to create this engagement. And then, you know, really just sort of talk a little bit about what the customer engagement means and how we've been accomplishing that. And, Doug, I don't know if you want to sort of add on to that is to get us started there on on what your goals were when you first started this?

Doug Bailey 8:56

Well, I think one of the most valuable things that we did in the beginning, you know, lots of companies come out of the gate and they start looking at solutions. Right? And, and in my case, it was very easy to do that because we had a solution in house. It was very disjointed It was very nothing was connected. But it was working kind of for the time being. We started looking at features of different chunks of software we started looking at Okay, this has a social component. This one has a email component, this one has this and we started checking off the box as well. Okay, this one does that is when we just had this massive checklist. And then what happened is we interface with serious they brought in a team and we threw everything away and started over and they said no, what do you want to accomplish? What are your goals? How do you want to reach out to these people and then we'll start looking at platform solutions that match that and so we it sounds kind of ridiculous but it is so easy to get stuck into Features of different platforms, and the sales pitches on things. And, you know, you talk to one company that says does this, you know, oh yeah, we integrate with this, we do this, we and they'll all say that they do the same thing. But what we had to do is take that step back and Sirius helped us do that we took three days, they just put ourselves in a conference room with whiteboards and just wrote everything all over the walls, got everything put down. And then we came back and found the solution that was right for us. And that ultimately ended up being the Adobe stack. So honestly, from the beginning, I think that was the most important thing is taking a step back and looking at really what you want to do and accomplish.

Rick Helmick 10:43

Yeah, we always refer to that, as you know, the business outcomes, right? What is the end goal, it is easy to get lost into? Well, this software is really cool, or this thing does that one thing. But once you at the end of the day, what you got to be able to report back up is, hey, we spent this much money, and we accomplished these things. And we drove this kind of revenue, right? So that ability to really focus on business outcome, I think is a crucial part of that. Yeah. And I mean, do you guys then go back and measure those outcomes over time and really look at because obviously, there's always one goal when you start, right. But then once you're up and running those goals, then your management keeps moving the ball on those goals, right?

Doug Bailey 11:24

Yeah, absolutely. No. And the exciting thing here was that we were actually able to change some of our KPIs slightly. You know, as an organization, we have things that we followed closely at the time that we started this project, and things that we had hoped to see in the future. And what we were excited to see is that as analytics started to play a bigger role and attribution models that we set up. All the sudden, we did we start to see actual ROI, on not just various tactics that we were taking inside Adobe, but the actual spend of the Adobe platform itself, we were able to see, okay, this went out the door X amount of dollars went out the door, and we're bringing this back in, and it's it's working, we're seeing that needle move. And that attribution is a real thing. And so with our KPIs, they kind of shifted slightly because we were able to see things that we couldn't see before, through this kind of connected ecosystem that we have.

Aaron Conant 12:28

How often are you, you know, reviewing your analytics? How often are you? You know, adapting your strategy over time? Right, is it? Is it a monthly is it weekly? Is it I mean, the things you run into the digital space as you get real time data? Yeah, right. But that doesn't mean you should always act in real time.

Doug Bailey 12:49

Sure, sure. So I can kind of embarrassed to say this a little bit, maybe, but I'm kind of a nerd sometimes come from the computer science background. So I love the coding, I love, you know, the sequel side of things. I have a screen here in my office that I continually run data workbench on. And that's, that's kind of an old, you know, it reminds me of Vi in the Linux world. And so I love running that. And I have that constantly going as well as workspace. I think if you ever see my machine, I've always got at least one tab open with workspace running something on it. And then, of course, campaign is always running. We have monthly reporting that we send up to upper management. And they take that and they'll look at, again, these KPIs that we've defined over the last several years. And as we see that, I mean, the pandemic has really been kind of eye opening for us on that front, because everything was pushed digital. And when that first happened, and we're talking, you know, back in May of last year, we saw this massive influx into these digital channels, and we were, we were on top of it, that was the nice things, we were able to see these things happening in real time, we were able to respond to them. And with the marriage of aim and target, we were able to put things out there at a moment's notice. Where before it would have taken us days to get things pushed to the website. So I think that marriage between am and target really allowed us to be super nimble.

Aaron Conant 14:32

You know, Chris, I think something over to you. Like, what do you see is the biggest challenges as a whole industry mind now there's drop questions in the Questions tab, and we'll get them answered as well. When you're talking about at the end of the day, customer engagement, people trying to solve for it, but it's about revenue as well. Right. And so, you know, data analytics, timeliness, you know, how often are you looking at it, but there's the other side, like what are those challenges that you've seen? people deal with as they try to shift to, you know, a different type of engagement model. Like I was saying that since COVID cat, I mean, we're all living in this space together.

Christopher Young 15:11

Yeah, I? That's a good question I do want to go back to the point that Doug was making is that, first of all, I appreciate everything he's saying about some of our applications, but the the investments that you made, you know, heading into like, even before this pandemic, really paid off, right, in terms of your ability to respond and react and measure. So a lot of the things that you were building towards your journey, you know, really unfortunately, culminated in this pandemic environment. Yeah, like, you know, in terms of customer engagement, you know, when we look at our own survey data, we we said, we asked, what were the primary goals of customers experience investments, one was improved customer attention, 48% increase sales, and another 48% increase revenue per customer 43%, you think these are really meaty things? This isn't like frivolous type stuff. So core to the business quarter revenue. And I don't think retention, the fact that retention is one isn't, you know, shouldn't be a coincidence, right? I mean, I think one of the challenges the fact that you as a consumer may buy a new product, financial product or service for three to five years. So on the one hand, you know, not every engagement can and should be revenue producing. And then you have to set that x patient expectation internally, right, that you can't solicit your customers with marketing each and every single time they interact with you. So the focus really should be on meaningful outcomes, right? Like, how can I help customers achieve something which could be sales related, could be service related, and that will help drive preference. And then the challenges, right is the ability to pinpoint and identify that financial need one, it requires a new product, and not some other institution is doing business with your same member or customer. So you know, there's a big reason why in financial services, they use this term lifetime value, it's because like, that's really what it's going to take right to really have a meaningful relationship with a customer and ultimately have a profitable revenue generating relationship is if you're there in those moments that matter for them.

Aaron Conant 17:12

But the tough part is identifying that moment, right? So perfect example, a great question that comes in, I think it's really applicable. We're about ready to launch Google search ads, what do you feel are the best landing page strategies for engagement? Right, banking services versus landing? Like, where do you initiate that engagement? as a whole? What works? What doesn't? Like? Are you, you know, solving for that? Is that back to back to me in terms of B Doug, or, you know,

Christopher Young 17:43

dogs better suited to answer that question in terms of landing page, right, but, but I do want to say, right, a lot of that has to do with your command of data to pinpoint those needs, you have either need where they're like explicitly telling you like, well, he's, he's spending a lot of time on our landing pages, like that's an indicator, right? You know, the CRM information that you have around product ownership, that's another indicator. And then we have scenarios where, you know, we're looking at, you know, opportunities for collaboration, if you have a co branded car with an airline, how can you look at overlapping segments to gain more insights about people that might be your top customers and those that might be their best frequent fliers, you know, like, these are relevant connections, where you can be more precise in terms of determined, but sorry,

Doug Bailey 18:30

no, I would echo that, honestly, it comes down to your data and your and your audiences. And that's what we're finding that the more time and effort you put into personas, and building those out, the happier you're going to be with your your outcomes, and the more. Yeah, and not just from an ROI standpoint, but from you know, getting the right message for the right person. You know, the credit union philosophy is people helping people. And so when we look at things, yes, there's an ROI tied to it, but we're really doing it for almost kind of the warm fuzzy, like, we're trying to help you, when I'm using target when I'm personalizing an experience, it's not necessarily because I'm saying, I got you, I want you to get this product. It's because I feel like I can get you to the content you're looking for faster, and more efficiently and save you some time and some money in the time and the you know, in the interim. So, you know, there's that there's, there's the retention side of things, there's the, you know, again, on our sides, people helping people and, and so we kind of use it in that philosophy. And then the side effect of that for us is that ROI because of the product adoption and things like that, but it comes back to data.

Aaron Conant 19:47

If we get into were going through it, I put back up the topics, right? It's literally delivering the right message at the right time. But in order to do that, you have to understand the customer. So it's like bullet points three and four. So I'd love to hear your thoughts. there

Rick Helmick 20:00

as well. And I think that's super important what both Chris and Doug touched on there as he's doing that m&a work, just like Doug talked about earlier, what's the business outcomes? Well, once you know those, then then how do you? How do you understand your customers and those user personas are really important to that, but also the customer journey. the lifetime value comment Chris made, right? those customers, if they're a lifetime customer with you at one point, they're, you know, they're looking for a home loan. And other point, I got a kid going to college, I need a HELOC or you know, whatever those things might be, understanding those customers and changing them in those different journey points, is really important. And using you know, things like journey analytics and stuff to follow that and drive that business is really what's going to help you understand what the best tactics are to deliver that message at the right time.

Aaron Conant 20:49

So how are you developing the customer segmentation as a whole?

Doug Bailey 20:56

From my side, customer segmentation comes from a lot of different sources.

Aaron Conant 21:01

You know, really quick another question that comes in, is there a tool specifically that you're using for so?

Doug Bailey 21:07

Yeah, the nice thing is, is that we're kind of using the Adobe ecosystem. Okay. And I'll explain that really quickly. So one of the things about our industry or our America first credit union is being established in 1939, you can imagine that we've gone through many different systems, post systems, core systems, we've collected data from different things that honestly, businesses are, you know, they're not even in business anymore. Okay. And so lots of varying data sets, which presents a challenge, right? How do you get this old database here to talk to this old one here with the new stuff, and that becomes problematic, what we're able to do is kind of create a, not necessarily a data lake, but but a central point where all of that data is ingested in to the Adobe system. And then this is where we get to what system I actually use to create those, I'm able to go into data workbench, if I want to do some kind of statistical modeling, and propensity scoring, and pull out people that, you know, maybe maybe they're acting in a particular way, and I'm saying they're most likely to want to, for instance, I get an auto loan there there in the market are looking. So there's propensity scoring, that happens in data workbench, I can export that out to people core services, that allows me then to ingest that into target, I can take that audience and put that audience into campaign, which allows me to send emails, text messages, create offers those kind of things. And, and the other places that I can go to is I can very quickly go into analytics and create audiences there based on web traffic. So if I noticed somebody is hanging out on our auto loan page, and they're just not quite sure, I can export that audience out to campaign as well send out an email, send a text to them. And then the last place, of course, is right inside campaign, we can create audiences and export them there. So I have three different places that I can go depending on you know, what pieces of data I like to do, I would like to get probably the most common is kind of a combination of data workbench and analytics that I'm using. So

Aaron Conant 23:35

yeah, Chris, okay. So are you are there like tool sets that you see like, are used more than others, or or underutilized mean, that I think happens a lot on teams as well is, it's a big enough tools, there's enough tool sets there different ones, that some get underutilized. And it's like, hey, if you just tweak this and ramp it up, you know, you can get, you know, two fold increase and impressions or reactions, or whatever it might be.

Christopher Young 24:02

Yeah, I don't think the issue is necessarily with technology, right? A lot of it to Rick's point before. It's like how it's implemented. And it does point how it's connected. But really, it gets down to, you know, investing in the people in terms of training them in terms of how to use it, the change management from going from an old tool and how it operates and to how this new tool operates, and really expanding on the capabilities to really engage employees in this process to actively communicate and get an energized around kind of some of these digital transformation type activities. But yeah, I'd say you know, what, our direct to consumer customers are really good at or what they take advantage of is the measurement, like the starting point is analytics and measuring. You know, what people are doing and how they're behaving. And there should be a really close approximation to people that are measuring things to those that are optimizing things, you pull those two groups too far. apart, right, you've got people that are saying things. And people are doing things without actually saying what the customer is doing and how they're behaving. So a really tight knit group between people that are measuring and looking at pathing and user behavior. And, you know, you know, Doug mentioned Adobe target like that is a quick way to get a lot of low hanging fruit, you know, in terms of improving how people interact with you either, you know, using, you know, target to deliver personalization to those segments and personas that you created, or simply just testing and optimizing really key pages on your website that, hey, if I just moved to half a percent on this online application, that's a big number at the end of that funnel. So it's really looking at where the, you know, obviously, as I said before, the measurement, the optimization, but like, where do you also get the biggest bang for your buck, you don't want to test some tertiary page that people rarely go to the homepage as one application pages or another. And then if you have segments and personas, which are your, you know, the top customers or top customer segments that are really valuable if you increase their engagement.

Aaron Conant 26:11

Awesome, love it. And for those who have joined kind of halfway through just remind, do you have any questions in this space whatsoever? Drop in the question section there, just email them to me, Aaron, Aaron@BWGConnect.com we'll keep getting them answered. You know, Rick, I just saw you kind of like nod your head there. We'd love to have you know, your thoughts on that space as a whole. And then we can tackle a couple more questions that have come in over email.

Rick Helmick 26:36

Yeah, I mean, we really do have sort of tool overload in the space. There's actually a graphic that gets updated every year, the marketing technology, landscape graphic, and it's just out of control, right. And I think people sometimes get wrapped up, like I said, earlier in the technology, and let's pick the cool new thing. But what Chris said there, though, that was really important is, you know, you have different people looking at different things, but they need to be communicating, you need to be making those decisions, not in a vacuum, you need to be testing, you need to be reviewing, and then you need to be adjusting constantly to make these tools successful. And that's one of the things I really stress is don't get hung up so much on the tools, again, what are you trying to accomplish, and what's gonna get you to that point. And then like I said, make sure you have a plan a roadmap to get there, and that you're measuring those and you're adjusting over time, a lot of times, customers will, you know, put up some piece of technology or, you know, and puts roll something out, essentially, but then it's sort of, you know, fire and forget, right, and you that works with some of the automated solutions, you can do some stuff there, but you really do need to be looking at those constantly, maybe not to Doug's level of having it on a screen every day. But that is certainly what it takes to really stay in touch with customers. And we live in a world where customers have a really high expectation now of, you know, you knowing them, and reaching out to them and hitting them at the right points and giving them the right information at the right time. But keep saying that, but I mean, it's such a such a key component of this. So while there's lots of tools, I wouldn't get hung up on that I would very much make sure you have a plan to measure that and use the right tools to accomplish what your goals are.

Aaron Conant 28:24

So if you're going to do you know, a quick like, audit or something, right, so you may you know, Doug for the first time, what are the first three things or four things that you know, people on the line today, you can go back and do like a self assessment on what are those first things that you guys do a deep dive that you arrive at? I never thought about doing that. But it's super important, important Is there like a key like, here's three things, there's five things that we kind of do as an assessment. I'm just saying, you know, people today are thinking like, yeah, I've got, you know, a million in one tech stacks, and I get offered a new tech, you know, technology every single day, people are hitting me on LinkedIn, you know, what is that little self assessment? Like am doing good? Or, you know, big room for improvement?

Rick Helmick 29:10

Right? Well, no matter how good you're doing, there's always room for improvement. Right? And I do think, you know, the, the pandemic certainly brought a lot of these digital touch points to the forefront when when they were only touchpoints. at that spot. So so what we typically do early in a discussion, so in different customers or different places, right? So sometimes we might come in and be talking to a customer who have bought a dozen different marketing tools and have them all up and running in that that customer I would say, do you need 15 the dozen tools? So the first thing we usually do, there is sort of a martech assessment of you know, how can we really look at the landscape and see, are you getting the value out of the tools you purchased, right? Or and we see this all the time customers buy all these tools and then some of these tools all do the same thing. They have overlapping skills and they're paying all these fees for, for all these SaaS based solutions that have similar skills. So how do we, how do we consolidate that and make the tools toolset lean and mean? Right. But that has to be driven back to like what Doug was talking about when we first showed up. You know, we spent three days in a conference and really going through, what are you trying to accomplish? Right? What are the goals for the next year? What are the goals for the next three years? What are what do you need to get to those goals? What are your stumbling blocks today? And, and sometimes it's hard for customers to really an outside perspective sometimes helps evaluate that in a non biased way, right? Because you have people I've been here eight years, and I made all these decisions. So in one of those meetings, they're trying to justify those decisions. So you really have to take an honest look at what you're trying to accomplish. And make sure that you're meeting those needs. So So evaluating the technology, you've already invested in making sure you have clear defined business goals and the KPIs that support those. And then a solid marketing strategy, not just from a technology standpoint, what's, what's the messaging? What are the customer personas, what's the journey that drives all that, and then the technology is the tool that makes all that happen?

Doug Bailey 31:18

Rick, I think there's one other thing too, that, that we talked about, pretty heavily in the beginning, and that was resources of the site of the company, you know, you go through all of this, and then you say, Okay, now what's it going to be required, and are we willing to put that much resource there those resources aside to do that, in my case, I've got five people on my team, it's pretty small, lean and mean team. And they're very busy people, it does require a lot of thought, it requires a lot of time to like, again, keeping the analytics, front of, you know, right front center. But I think that's another thing to keep in mind. It's just what resources you're going to need to use to run these platforms, because it's not a set and forget digital marketing. I mean, we're competing with Uber, you know, we're a financial institution, we're competing with Amazon, we're competing with, you know, Apple card came out and changed our world, you know, the way they did that. So it's, it's really you're competing with every experience there is out there. And you've got to have a team mindset to look for those to continually improve, and to watch the data and point at those experiences that you need to improve and that the members or visitors want you to improve. So,

Rick Helmick 32:39

then you have to not be afraid to change, right to realize something's not working and abandon it. A lot of times, you've invested a lot of time and resources, as you say, into a thing. But if it's not working, you need to be willing to abandon that and pivot, because your competition is going to, and like you said, all these born digital players are changing the ballgame for a lot of the traditional people, and customers have come to expect certain levels of service and ease of use. And when you don't have that same sort of thing, even though it's like a complete set Amazon's totally different business. In some ways. They're buying everything. But you know, you have to compete with that expectation. And that's, that's really the challenge. Exactly.

Aaron Conant 33:27

So a couple things that I want to kind of kick this one over to Chris like that, what do you see, because you guys deal with so many different companies as a whole? What is that staffing model look like? That you've seen? Like, people have to hire six more people. And we can kick this over to Rick as well. And I mean, Doug, where you're at number five? What? What should you be thinking about because it's more than just, you know, rolling out a new, you know, tech stack, it's, you know, people have to run it right everybody, you know, jokes about like AI and self driving cars are fantastic until you approach the 35 mile per hour sine curve. And some kids spray painted the three into an eight, and you accelerate going over the edge, right? You have to put people on it. What do you see happening?

Christopher Young 34:17

Yeah, there's a lot there. One is a lot of our customers are focusing on training, re skilling and basically, like universities, like accommodation for digital skill sets. And the reality is, is that there's a demand for it by the employees as well, like this makes them more marketable. This makes them more valuable because they have these skill sets. Um, so So yeah, that's part of it. Part of it is not necessarily aren't a whole bunch of people. You know, we have customers that work with with Companies like Sirius, that helped them run those capabilities for them as they ramp up their standards. But those that are really going to be successful ultimately have to start doing these things independently in many cases. And part of that is taking existing employees that really deeply want to do these things, and get them involved in these types of digital capabilities. When I've seen something like more innovative, and these companies actually are there, they're more traditional companies, but they're thinking in innovative ways, because of the types of people that they go out and hire. So they're not looking for people, I do have a lot of a experience that they're like, are you more entrepreneurial? Are you more curious about these sorts of things? Are you you know, you know, into, you know, these types of challenges, you know, you know, do you have like a test and learn mindset. So they're looking for characteristics and personnel, knowing full well that they can train these people on these types of capabilities. One last thing I'll say also is, you know, there's a lot of talk of like, agile ways of working, and, you know, a huge rise in that kind of model within marketing. But for me, I think what is old is new sometimes, and you need some of these centers of excellence, these people that are experts in a small number of them, right, that really can enable larger groups of individuals to do things more independently, and then come in over the top one that you know, that really serious skill sets needed. So, I know there's a lot there. But a lot of again, a lot of things I'm talking about her like training organizational structures, rethinking change management, that's what I

Aaron Conant 36:34

mean, if we pull it like agile thread and change management, a lot of it is in communication. Right? And so there are some companies that are like, they're at a point where they know that they need to change. And there's other ones that have an executive team, it's like, hey, do we really need to write and so you know, that what was your experience? there? Was it? Were you at the point where it was breaking? You need to do it and everybody was on board? Or was it something that you realize, as a resident expert, this isn't working? There's something new and better out there? You know, and what did that, you know, what did that communication upwards look like? Because there's an investment, right? And then, how do you? How do you show KPIs return on investment?

Doug Bailey 37:18

You know, what does that look like? Well, and so, my situation was a little bit different, because I kind of consider myself as part of that investment. They brought me in that they had seen some of the disconnect. That was that was occurring already. And this was this was many years ago. And they brought me in, to kind of help bootstrap that and make the decision and kind of go forward with with building this department. And when I came in, there was only one person that was on an email platform, and they would kind of hit the button every now and then and send out an email blast to everybody kind of a deal. Not a lot of segmentation, there's a little bit. But so I was I was kind of a part of that. The nice thing about it was, the senior management here at this organization was very forward thinking at that time, still are and was looking forward to point out, they realize that, that this transformation needed to happen, that there was only going to get more and more intensive as time goes on. And change is happening quicker and quicker. And so we needed to get ahead of that curve. So they brought me in to kind of help with that. And you know, now quite honestly, that change used to be kind of a, it was a fast change that was happening in the industry, but now it's exponential. And so trying to get things to market faster, what is you know, what does digital marketing 3.0 and 4.0 and 5.0 look like at this point. And to what Chris was saying before, as well, you know, you look at these platforms that we're on, and we really are just kind of scratching the surface on a lot of there's so much more we can do. Again, it kind of kind of comes back to resources, you know, if we had five people running email, for instance, or campaign, our communications out to our members, could we do more? You know, there'll be more segmentation that happens get down a little bit finer grain on some of those personas and segments? And the answer is yes, you know, sky's the limit when it comes to this stuff. It's just a matter of where your goals, where do your members or visitors or customers want to be communicated to? And kind of reaching out to them at that point. So

Aaron Conant 39:40

how do you then under, you know, getting back to like the bullet point here, understanding customers through analytics, you said you have the dashboard up, like all the time, like, how are you doing that? Like, you know, step wise for people that are or, you know, want to take it to the next level?

Doug Bailey 39:57

Sure, sure. No, Really what we're focusing on at this point is journey orchestration. You know, we're going through, like Chris was saying, homepage, membership application is probably the biggest one, I think every organization has that application that, that form that kind of gets them and turns them into a customer, right? And starts their journey with you. And as an organization, here, it's our membership application, it's our front door. So, you know, we look at, I have that thing up all the time looking at, okay, how's our fall our rates, look, as we go through this, or, you know, and, and visualizing, okay, they're getting to a certain page, and they're bouncing out to look for more information. And so we're figuring out ways, we can do it quickly with target to be able to put content on that page. If it's a it's an immediate fix, or we're going back and doing some AV testing, and saying, okay, we're a great example is, in our membership application, one question that we ask is, do you want to check in your account along with your membership. And we noticed a lot of people were bouncing out to the checking account page, and getting lost once they leave that application, very hard to get them back into that that flow. So what we did is we started putting in some some tips on the on the membership application page, talking about checking account some of the basic information, and that was able to kind of plug that hole. So when he's talking about following members through analytics, that's a primary way that we do that is through some of those flow charts and journey orchestration

Aaron Conant 41:42

Chris a similar thing. Are there other, you know, thoughts in that space?

Christopher Young 41:48

In terms of setting up analytics, and

Aaron Conant 41:49

yeah, yeah, understand them using them to, you know, understand the customer as a whole?

Christopher Young 41:57

Yeah. I think a couple things, right. One is that a very basic level is just how is traffic just consuming my digital properties? You know, that's the place to start. It's like, I've got these I've got the will application. I've got the website. You know, generally speaking, how are my members consuming this? And then you'll find some natural points of improvement, some insights. And then I think when you start pulling things apart, right, it is like, what are the differences between different customer types prospects versus existing customers? What are the behaviors? How do they change? If you start applying segments and personas to your measurement capabilities, you can see like, okay, here's how maybe younger audiences use my website, how, you know, existing long term customers have businesses versus consumers. So I think, you know, there's a way that you can migrate from starting from scratch to getting some real, deeper insights about customers and how they're using consuming your digital properties.

Aaron Conant 43:06

As you know, Rick, Okay, this one I review, or they're like key things that you thought would come up today in the discussion that that didn't, you know, that people didn't send in questions on it. I mean, they've been some great ones. But those are something you guys get asked routinely. And we didn't pop up today.

Rick Helmick 43:27

Yeah, I think I think one of the biggest chat like, every customer is different, right. But I think one of the biggest challenges that we often see is starting at the wrong end of the process, right? I went out, I knew I needed to do a thing. So I bought a thing to do that. And I think it's important to really plan out the mission. Right. I think we've talked a little bit about that. But what a lot of people don't always think about is, and the analytics part of that certainly helps Doug is pointed that out a little bit. But you know, what are really those sort of top three ways that you need to connect with your customer? Who is your customer, and where do they live? Because a lot of times, it may not even be just that you're doing stuff on your site. Right? You need to think about all of those touch points that people often don't, you know, that could be in Doug's example, right? There's the branch. There's the customer service, you know that the CSR is that people dial into, there's the online touch points, both when you're logged in, and when you're anonymous, and thinking about how to tie all of those things together. And stitch that view is really an important aspect of this and then being able to deliver that information back to all those channels so that if somebody was doing something online, Doug's perfectly aware of that and they walk into a branch and maybe this isn't the case because Doug and team have actually done a good job of stitching all this together, but then they walk into the branch and that person's telling us different story or doesn't have the right offer for them that they saw online. So you got to really think about not just your digital channels, even though those touch points are what you're actively doing, you need to plan out that whole journey across all of your touchpoints, not just digital, and then digital will reinforce that and maybe make it as more successful both in the real world and in the digital world. And I think that's something a lot of customers don't think about.

Aaron Conant 45:26

Yeah, I mean, I love it. Because you know, the last bullet point here connecting with customers and delivering on your brand promise for, you know, the finance industry, the number one, it seems to be trust, right, you're, you have it, and I agree, like, if I get one story in a flyer, and another one in a text, and another one in an email, and then I come into the branch, and somebody tells me different story. Now, I'm just frustrated, right? And there's that that level, I mean, who like it, love to hear your thoughts there? How do you deliver on the brand promise, you know, while connecting all those different dots?

Doug Bailey 46:02

Well, I think that's what you need to strive for is a connected ecosystem. Right? Your your ATMs need to be talking to the same place as your call center. And your call center needs to be talking to the same place as anything that we're doing on the digital marketing side. billboards need to be in sync everything, right. And, you know, some of that, honestly, like we've talked about is structural, it's organizational. You know, you've got to you can't operate Well, in a siloed environment with things like this. And I think, you know, I'm grateful that America first is able to break down a lot of those silos, and, and be able to kind of see beyond that. So I think for us, one of the big things is communicating in a real time, way back to branches and call centers, especially the communications that we're sending out through email and text and those things. So that's, that was kind of an easy win for us to be able to push that out. Before I came into the organization, they didn't have that. And so you'd have frustrated members calling into the call center saying, Hey, I got this weird email, what does it mean? And call center rep is just throwing their hands up here saying, I don't know, I haven't seen that I hadn't heard anything from marketing. And so they had no, no idea. So I that is of the utmost importance, when you're talking about trust, to have that consistent message across the board. It's got to be there.

Christopher Young 47:36

For me, it's interesting, when you say like frustration about like things that you receive, for me, I would say that the true frustration comes from issues with service. So if you don't, you know, managing an account, you know, something goes wrong with the bill, the feed for something necessarily like that could be relationship ending. But the marketing thing is a little tricky, right? Because if you start you know, having messaging of either products already owned, etc, you get more of like a silent unsubscribe, like you're sending me emails, you've got the messaging on your website, but they know that they don't know you, and therefore it's ignored. And what that does is it opens you up, it makes you vulnerable, right? Because your customers are likely having multiple relationships with financial institutions, younger generations, and far more than let's say, the boomers, right? And it just opens the door for someone who's figured this stuff out. And it's not like, wow, all right, well, you seem to know me more, in fact, you know, and that's the attrition risk or, you know, again, they might just start paying their bills somewhere else, or they might start using this card instead of that one. And in many cases, you don't know it. So you know, I think you just leave yourself vulnerable in many cases versus turning your customer off.

Rick Helmick 48:54

There's nothing like getting a credit card application in the mail. And in the same mailbox as the bill for the same exact credit card you already have with the company. Yeah. And you're just like so. They don't really understand they don't they don't know me they don't even know what they're doing internally, right. And it is a it's a trust issue. Now well,

Christopher Young 49:14

that's just I'm just gonna ignore it like you don't know me You're spamming me and therefore I'm just gonna ignore you I'm gonna go on and wasted money. And you're just not a shareholder. So you wasted my money now.

Aaron Conant 49:31

We laugh a little bit but it is completely true. Right? The if you don't know me, then we don't have a relationship. Right? It's just transactional or transactional at that point in time. I can leave at any point in time and there's there's nothing keeping me there. Maybe the next best offer that comes along I jump ship. I move kind of we got about three minutes left here. I want to kind of go like, Round Robin is key takeaways. Doug I'll go you and then Chris and then Rick, and then we can kind of wrap this thing up. Does that sound good like key takeaways. You know, for people who dialed in today, you know, thoughts for them as we kind of wrap it up, maybe things they can write down?

Doug Bailey 50:08

Sure. From my perspective, I think one of the things that we're working really hard on right now is it's all about experience, you know, how do you how do you provide the right experience, and like we were just talking about, show your customers, your members, whatever you call them, that you know who they are, that you care about them, and honestly, that you're put together well enough to be able to service them when they need it. But it's, for me, it's all about experience, you can have the best products out there and provide a terrible experience. And you'll go the way of the Walkman. That's just how you'll end up

Rick Helmick 50:47


Doug Bailey 50:50

I love my Walkman back in the day, that's how old I am. I love that thing. But the girls away love it. Because sexing Yeah, are you gonna go?

Aaron Conant 51:06

Everyone's gonna kick it to you for like key takeaways.

Christopher Young 51:09

Yeah, like one thing I want to say is like, let's now for something completely different. Some of you on this call may not have direct revenue generating activities like a retail financial services institution, there might not be a conversion that you can turn around and go say, hey, look, how many new accounts revenue, I guess the thing I want to leave you with is that you should find ways of proving value, even if it's directional, or there's downstream impact. The fact that if you're an asset management company, or you're the commercial division within a bank, or a life insurance company that sells through intermediaries, like your customers and businesses, and these companies are coming to your website, they're doing things that are meaningful, and you have to demonstrate that these activities do have meaning do have value that engaging these people in these digital channels that are coming to you, you know, and then align on what that value is with executives. And that's how you start driving your digital initiatives for like, for an asset management company, whoever worked with we said, hey, look, the more website traffic that we get, there is a clear correlation between an increase in Asset Management mass assets under management or inflows of cash that we receive executives like veal, that makes sense to me, and now internally, web traffic to their website matters. So like, that's the sort of thing you have to do if you don't have a quote unquote, traditional conversion.

Aaron Conant 52:33

Awesome, love it, Rick we're gonna kind of kick it over to you to wrap us up here.

Rick Helmick 52:38

Yeah, I mean, from from our standpoint, I think the important thing is to really take a hard objective look at what you're trying to accomplish and what you're doing every day. Like what Doug talks about, was looking at the analytics all the time, and constantly knowing you know, where those fall offs are happening, to be able to adjust quickly. You have to be willing to take a critical eye, and even admit when you're wrong and try something different experiment and see what's going to work. And don't be afraid to fail. But, you know, if you fail, throw it away and do the next thing.

Aaron Conant 53:11

Yeah, I agree. I mean, yeah, failure is an event, right? It's, you just gotta learn from it and move on. And ask them break things right now. I mean, I believe that, you know, the people that can test and learn and experiment, the fastest can get through the most iterations in the shortest amount of time, we're going to get to the best possible answer faster than anybody else, and they'll win. So anyway, say just a fantastic conversation today. Thanks for everybody who was able to join thanks for the great questions that came in. You know, Doug, Chris, Rick, thanks for your time today, if anybody wants to follow up connections across the board, you know, the team at Adobe and Sirius are great friends, partners, supporters of the network and a ton of different organizations and 100% worth a follow up conversation with them learn how to, you know, execute on any of the strategies we discussed today. And actually on the organizational side and the implementation more than happy to connect anybody with Doug as well. And with that, we're going to wrap it up. hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday. Great rest of the week. Everybody stay safe and look forward to having you on a future event. Look for a follow up email from us. We'll be in touch already. Thanks again. Thanks again, everybody.

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