John McWilliams

June 21, 2018

In May, I had the pleasure of attending the Financial Brand Forum, an event which brings together over 1,700 senior level marketing execs from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions from around the country to exchange big ideas, innovations and inspiration in financial marketing. Key Note speaker, Guy Kawasaki kicked the forum off with an informative and entertaining talk on lessons he learned from his time working with Steve Jobs.

I want to share a few things that encapsulate the spirit of the forum from the perspective of a data guy from a big data company.

  • Marketing = Unique Value

It is a marketer’s job to present the unique value that their company, products and/or services brings to the customer. Therefore it is critical to thoroughly understand the direction of the market and anticipate their customers’ wants and needs.

  • Define Yourself – Aim High

Have a worthy goal. Your company is not just about selling your products. It’s about being a part of something bigger. For example, Guy brought up how Kodak wasn’t really a chemical company or a film company, they were a “building memories” company. A mission statement like that allows a company to understand, react, and survive changing market conditions (like a shift in technology from celluloid to digital image processing). Of course, the company needs to recognize the changing market conditions and adapt. But if you are a part of something bigger, then your perspective may broaden and allow you to recognize change more quickly. Don’t be afraid of the big idea.

  • Some things need to be believed to be seen.

Made popular by the film, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come,” is a philosophy many hope to live by, but few do. While it sounds risky, it really isn’t. It comes down to understanding your customer.

In order for a company to create and maintain a long-term relationship with their customer, they must understand why their unique value proposition works, why their goal is worthy, and why belief in your approach is justified. The challenge for the marketer is to understand and leverage this insight.

Marketers strive to get the most complete understanding of their customer. For quite some time, marketers were only relying on internally acquired behavioral data like recency, frequency, monetary (RFM) measures along with channel engagement measurements. RFM tells how well you are doing but not necessary why. This concept has extended into the online channel where a bevy of new metrics and insights on customer behavior can be gleaned. However, the view of the customer is not complete because you are only focusing on the behaviors of your client in regards to their relationship with you. How does the customer “behave” in other facets of their life? Leveraging external data aimed at understanding the micro and macro market conditions help provide the context for their behaviors and bring you closer to the one-to-one relationship with all of your customers.

Implementing Guy’s Lessons

Are you currently implementing any of these lessons? Taking a look at my company, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where we believe in the power of data and advanced analytics for better risk management. It’s a competitive and fragmented industry. Differentiation is critical to success.

When is a data company more than a data company? LexisNexis Risk Solutions leverages its database to help companies reduce their risk exposure and offer more affordable financial products to consumers. However, we don’t see ourselves as providers of data. While we do in fact, provide data, it’s our mission to use our data to promote global financial inclusion and transparency. Our real focus is in helping the underserved and unbanked consumer gain access to affordable financial services.

Now, you may be wondering,” how can a company whose core value proposition steeped in credit risk, fraud detection, identity verification and financial crimes and compliance services be of any value to a marketer?” Well, we found that our data not only helps to increase your loan portfolio performance but it also provides a view of the consumer through a lens that marketers, especially financial marketers, struggle to get a clear focus. In addition to loan decisions, our data is shown to be relevant for response and propensity modeling, profiling and segmenting during prospecting. We believed it could be possible and sure enough, it is.

Taken separately, Guy’s lessons may seem a bit risky. However, when your belief is rooted in a commitment to a worthy goal then the risk makes sense. A worthy goal stems from a more complete understanding of your target audience and makes your actions quite reasonable. In turn, your actions are now supported by a unique value proposition that provides a much deeper connection with your customers.

About the author: John has a dual role consulting on using alternative data for marketing data analytics and consumer credit risk decisioning at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. These roles intersect at many points throughout the customer lifecycle starting with marketing strategy (branding, acquisition, cross-sell/upsell, customer service and retention) through credit underwriting and account management. The goal is to help companies increase organizational efficiencies and effectiveness using a pragmatic, empirical data-driven approach that allows for measuring, refining, and scaling customer insights across the enterprise.