The Financial Services Industry and the Customer Engagement Suite w/ Jordan Leo

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Financial Services Industry and the Customer Engagement Suite w/ Jordan Leo. The summary for this episode is: <p class="p1">In this week’s episode we’re chatting with Jordan Leo, Senior Solutions Consultant at Cheetah Digital. We’ll discuss how the Cheetah CES is helping to re-imagine the options around digital communications for highly regulated and longstanding brands within the Financial Services Industry, such as Banking and Insurance.</p>
Cheetah Experiences for brands in highly regulated verticals
01:37 MIN

Julian: Let's kick off then, on how the Customer Engagement Suite is helping to reimagine highly regulated long- standing industries, such as banking and insurance, and how the teams internally have used the Customer Engagement Suite, used its proposition, and then turn that into a shiny example for people to go," Ooh, I like that." Jordan, take it away.

Jordan: Sure. I've been at Cheetah for about three and a half years now. So I was very much in the email service provider world and the cross channel messaging before all these acquisitions of seller loyalty and weigh- in happened. And then eventually, with those acquisitions, we got the Customer Engagement Suite. And as a solutions consultant, it's been pretty interesting to figure out how, where we were traditionally thought of as a cross channel messaging provider, an email service provider, now we have this variety of products that we can start using to help solve problems for prospects and clients. So, as I was saying, as a solutions consultant, it's been pretty fun to take the Customer Engagement Suite and apply it in much more creative ways than we really were able to with the cross- channel messaging solution.

Julian: A whole set of toys that you didn't have before.

Jordan: Yes.

Julian: Before they tried to box you in one place. And now you've been unleashed. Jordan, Solcomm, our solutions consultants have had to, this is probably the fun part of the job, have actually had to take these different components, what we had before, the messaging capabilities, the loyalty that was added, experiences collecting first and third- party data. And then on top of that, be able to plug all this into an engagement data platform. How do these things even work with each other?

Jordan: Again, traditionally, like not only myself as a solution consultant, working at Cheetah, but also I think our prospects and clients thought of us as more of a messaging execution partner, really thinking about and being able to bring experiences to the table and say," Hey, I know you guys are just coming to us because you need a cross channel messaging partner. Now we have this experiences tool where not only can we make sure we can help you execute and be really good about personalization and targeting and segmentation and all those kind of traditional things that come with a cross channel messaging partner. But now we can also bring you an acquisition tool." And as soon as you start talking about that and you start coupling problems that they're trying to solve with nurturing existing client relationships and say," We can actually bring you a tool to get even more customers into that database," which is now called our engagement data platform, for really highly personalized emails and push notifications and text messages, et cetera, it becomes a really compelling story. And it's been rewarding as a solutions consultant to be able to bring more solutions to the table and really open people's eyes to what else the Customer Engagement Suite can do for them.

Julian: The acid test of showing you how interesting and shiny will these new toys are, industries, brands, and potential clients that traditionally might not get a chance to be fun or to re- imagine how to do things, because there might be a perception that they have to be stuck in their ways, like insurers or people who are in the insurance industry more broadly, banking sector. And we won't cover too much today on all the monetary side of things. There are other providers who can handle the dollar bills, including Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge is diving off of a board. Do you remember he dives into a pile of gold at the end of the opening credits?

Jordan: Yes.

Julian: Wouldn't that hurt even a duck? You would think.

Jordan: For sure. For sure.

Julian: All right. I just needed to air that. Do not jump into a pile of money unless it's notes.

Jordan: Yes. That's right.

Julian: I can't even remember how we got onto that tangent?

Jordan: We were talking about highly regulated industries and applying the Customer Engagement Suite to that. I recently had a couple scenarios where prospects and clients came to me and said," Hey, we are trying to help support the customer journey within our industries." And they came to us thinking that we were an email execution partner or vendor. And what we quickly started to uncover was that Cheetah Experiences could be really interesting for them. For one client and the banking industry, they had a problem with the marketing team just not having a whole lot of data to enable them because there was some corporate overhead saying," This is really sensitive information." Using it in marketing, using it emails for personalization or targeting just wasn't something that was super accessible to the marketing team. So one thing we started talking to them about, or really just formulating ideas around internally was, is there anything that we could use experiences for because Cheetah Experiences is really a solution that enables very permission to data to be used in marketing. So that has been really interesting to go to clients who are like," Look, I have no data or I have really limited amounts of data to personalize my campaigns." As a marketer, I know that I should be doing that. But what do I do? Experiences has been a really interesting solution for them in that way to give them a little bit more power there.

Julian: They can. With these particular industries that are tricky to work with because of the highly sensitive nature of the information they collect, finance and medical. We're not saying here that we will be trying to collect that or to manage that sort of information. It's working with Experiences in this case, basically just telling people things that they might not have known about all the people who they frankly might even have as customers. There are also insurance examples that we've worked with, with brands who have basically just try to understand about where people are in their stage of life. Do they have any kids at this point? Is their income as spending more on holidays or improving the home?

Jordan: Yeah. And I think what's really interesting about including Experiences in what Cheetah has to offer is the seamless integration between getting that data and then making it accessible and usable in your execution to your customers within a number of different channels, supported by the messaging component of the Customer Engagement Suite. So the fact that you can go out and use Experiences to acquire either new customers or new data on existing customers, ingest that into a data platform that's connected to the messaging capabilities, now all of a sudden, you have really usable data for the marketing team as well. So step further than just collecting data, it's making it usable too.

Julian: If we look at those two things you just said there, Jordan, which is taking the data and putting it somewhere, which can be then used and actioned, one of those actions being messaging and either communicating with people through email, these services, it does make sense to consider things like SMS and other channels. Could you just elaborate a little bit more? You can pick one first, either the information where it lives and then what we can do with it or the messaging section. Could you talk around that a bit more?

Jordan: So engagement data platform is really the centralized hub of the Customer Engagement Suite. It creates a common data layer that really goes across experiences, messaging and loyalty. So if you think about it, Experiences, Julian talked a little bit about before, that's a vehicle to really acquire new data. It's stored directly in the engagement data platform. Messaging, if you think about messaging and its core functionality, it's about sending campaigns and communication out to customers. But if you imagine, a lot of responses are happening to those messages. So open, click and just general responses to your communication are then also collected and sent back into the engagement data platform. So same thing with a loyalty product, right? So now you have all of this data in engagement data platform. That's going to help inform segmentation strategies in both messaging and loyalty. So now you're creating really targeted rewards and challenges to be engaged with by your customers on the loyalty side of things. And just like with messaging, any responses to that is again, coming back into the engagement data platform. So now you have this centralized component of your Customer Engagement Suite that is centralizing every component of data that is being acquired throughout every communication and every solution you're putting out there to nurture your customers, from acquisition to nurturing and then to creating advocacy with the loyalty product. So that engagement data platform is just huge in enabling just a centralized hub that becomes this place where the marketer can really understand what's happening with the customer throughout the entire life cycle. I think one other thing to point out about the engagement data platform is there are visualization capabilities and analytics capabilities to really give a marketer the capability to see all of this data, use all of this data and even make it actionable. And there's a component of it as well that enables machine learning as well. So really taking this data and applying machine learning to it, to understand propensities, to understand personas, to understand just a lot about what's happening with the customer to then use those models for the segmentation in both messaging and loyalty becomes really powerful.

Julian: I don't want to sort of brush past this because I keep mentioning these types of data that we're handling here. Because we're talking about banking and insurance and those kinds of financial services industry, what would the kind of data be that they are putting into their data platform, which is managed by Cheetah? This will be separate perhaps to yes, the highly sensitive stuff, which is living elsewhere, but actionable data for marketers.

Jordan: Yeah. So that's a great question. So it really depends. We're totally flexible in terms of what data we can ingest into the system. So I'm talking a whole lot about the native data that we can store and collect through our solutions. But absolutely, we can integrate with data warehouses, with CRMs. Wherever customers are storing data, we can ingest that data into our platform for use in inputs in machine learning models or for use in segmentation. It really just depends on the business requirements and really what the customer wants to do with this data. So for example, the insurance company that we were talking to recently, they create some of their own scoring on their side that they actually use a whole lot in direct mail campaigns because direct mail is a huge component of some of these industries that we're talking about. So they create this scoring and they use it for direct mail, but ultimately, we thought it could be really interesting to take those scores that they traditionally use to segment and send out mail pieces to you and ingest it into a Cheetah. And that could be a really valuable piece of information for carrying that over into other channels, like email and whatever other channels they might use us for to execute. So that's also something that our services teams, our implementation teams, are really good at helping customers understand what data is available to them and making sure we map it into the platform in a way that makes it usable for them.

Kayla: Jordan, the engagement suite is just ginormous, right? There's so many different pieces that people can take advantage of and it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when you first start trying to explore all the opportunities. It'd be really interesting to hear, just from your experience with our clients, prospects, or just as you've been learning in general, what are some of the top things, functionalities or attributes, that are the most impactful for marketers to be experiencing or looking at?

Jordan: That's a good question. So I think a lot of times, clients will come to us, or prospects will come to us, with a specific goal in mind, or actually, I should rephrase that. Clients come to us, prospect come to us and say," I need an email platform." And what I think has been really interesting is to kind of pull that back and say," Okay, what are your goals as a marketing organization?" And I think that helps to really illuminate what other pieces of the Customer Engagement Suite we can bring to the table for them.

Julian: People, they don't know what they don't know. So they often are turning up with a problem which they're hoping you can solve. And then someone like yourself, Jordan, will show them a whole other world.

Jordan: Yeah. So I think that's really interesting. So for example, we had a client or prospect come to us who read some marketing materials, came to our event signals. I don't even know what month it is now, but I think that was in September.

Julian: During these days, time doesn't exist. There are clocks on the wall.

Jordan: Could be Sunday.

Doc: That word again, heavy. Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?

Marty: What?

Jordan: Anyway, so we had a client come to us, or prospect come to us, they had been to signals, saw some marketing materials, were interested in just what we had to offer. And their goal was they had really nothing. They didn't have a customer database, it was a client who's in CBG, but they also have free standalone stores where they have franchises. We have no customer database right now. We have big goals to start marketing to them, to start communicating to them. And we're interested in what you have to offer. So we worked with them to really think through a unique solution that involves every piece of the Customer Engagement Suite. The Experiences solution gave them what they needed to build a customer database, right? So that was what was going to allow them to collect customer email addresses, phone numbers, what have you, to really start building up this database for them to start analyzing and understanding even who their customers were. So that was the first piece that we proposed to them is use Experiences, start acquiring customers or subscribers into a database. The database then is the engagement data platform. So that's where we centralize these customer profiles, we give them a really easy way to understand and look at who their customers are. And then from there, that's connected right into our messaging platform, which gives them a way to create a promotional cadence for these customers. So it gives them a way to finally start to collect these customers, analyze them, use the data that they're collecting through the experience and create personalized communications. And the last piece, so Kayla, this kind of goes back to your question around, it can be overwhelming, how do you right- size it for clients? We kind of just stepped our toe into what could be a much broader loyalty program and said it could be really interesting to also enable mobile wallet.

Julian: Jordan, what is a mobile wallet for people who may not be familiar with a mobile wallet? Is it a wallet that sort of follows you loyally, like a drone?

Jordan: Kind of. We all have it. I'm sure everybody's used it. So oftentimes you buy a plane ticket, for example, and you have the option to download it to your mobile wallet and that becomes a pass within your wallet on your phone.

Julian: Ah, yes. So it's a way of accessing tickets or payment options. I got it, I'm with you now.

Jordan: Yes.

Julian: Directly in your portable black mirror rather than having to have an old- school wallet. When was the last time anyone used cash in this time anyways? Filthy, filthy money.

Jordan: Yeah.

Julian: Go wireless. You was saying though, you suggested to them a mobile wallet.

Jordan: Yes. Yep. And so, plane tickets is one really kind of relatable example of a wallet pass, but there are so many other ways you can use a wallet pass. You can use it as a standalone coupon or offer. You can use it as a member identification or a pass for a loyalty program. You can use it for event tickets, which is more in line with the plane ticket example. But just so many ways you can use mobile wallet. And we thought about using that wallet pass as away to serve up offers. And all of a sudden, a wallet pass also enables geolocation capabilities as well. So if you're walking past a store, you can actually enable something a push notification or an alert.

Julian: Could it be time- based as well? Because I'm thinking from a financial point of view, end of the month, that's when people are paying all their bills or they're getting paid themselves from a company. Unfortunately, I'm not wise enough in the industry of what alert you had sent, but that could be a timely piece.

Jordan: That's a great idea. You should join the solutions consultant.

Julian: I've already hopped from two departments since my Cheetah career. If I make a hat trick, I'll probably be out the door. This section, which has been highly illuminating. We'd started off the whole setup of this was how our Customer Engagement Suite helping what we class as that old school traditional- esque brands that have been around for a long time, who are very core to everyone's life like insurers or banking and industries and brands, and how we're actually letting some of these really old- school ones reimagine what they're doing. And almost compete with the young upstarts in the fintech world who are coming up with all new ways of doing things. Combining that old school with our own old school at Cheetah, which is messaging and email, I just wondered, what have you seen, when brands in these areas turn up with their email requests or their email pitch, which then you do an excellent job of saying" We're more than that and you should consider this whole package," just being really narrow- minded for the minute and knowing that we've got the whole suite, what are people after and how do they use messaging in this world? I know we have a lot of very successful clients in finance particularly, who are using messaging. And this is a little bit for me just to learn some more.

Jordan: I think what we've done a really good job of with our existing financial, highly regulated clients, are we create really unique solutions for each of them. So we touched on, a bit earlier, about how data restrictions is something that nearly all of our existing, long standing clients in those industries face. And we've been able to come up with, and I should give a shout out to our solution architects, they're really the team that's involved in making sure we set them up for success in terms of enabling a messaging platform that allows for the most real- time personalized capabilities they could possibly have, knowing that they have limited access to data at times. So we've been able to create really interesting and unique ways to stand up data models and schemas that are giving them the most real- time access to executing really strategic email campaigns. I can think of examples, for example, like a lot of times there are multiple business units, for example, in these types of industries, like different types of insurance, where there might be different teams handling different components of those programs and needing to have a centralized view of that data while also making sure and maintaining separation amongst those different business units within one overall organization. So we enable some smart ways to silo data while maintaining some bit of centralization for a corporate point of view over the entire program.

Julian: And on top of that, you would layer your creative messaging for that. And we won't cover it today, but we've got lots of nice tools that make emails unique with creative services and other approaches. So with that, you can basically layer on something that's quite specific to people, which being something as complicated as a financial service, there's lots of different products, lots of different sets of peoples. That makes a lot of sense, actually. You've got all these different pools of people who are being controlled often by a centralized marketing team who have the task of managing all these portfolios. Using us, not only can we send very creative stuff, but we can make it easy for them to push the right things to the right places with confidence. We also hit, we've got the enterprise scale of what we can send. I know we're quite secure because otherwise they wouldn't be with us. And that includes things like having audit trails, I'm sure as well, for what people are being sent. I mention that because I'm just trying to keep us on track. I put my financial hat on today. Kayla, before we wrap, is there anything else you want to ask Jordan?

Kayla: We're obviously in interesting times right now with COVID and I just would love to understand your perspective in terms of what's the most valuable thing that marketers should be thinking about right now?

Jordan: Yeah. So I think right now, we're just in a place where what's going to speak to consumers is just sensitivity and compassion. So I think any piece of that, that they can start to inject into their programs and communications, is really important and can stand out. One thing that I think is really interesting too, is also to maintain some element of fun because while this is a really challenging situation for everyone in the world right now, I do really appreciate when people are really strategic about also injecting some fun into things that they're doing. I have noticed, and I don't know if this is something that goes directly in line with COVID or if it's something that they've deployed prior to this, but I have noticed that Urban Outfitters, specifically Anthropologie, has been doing appy hours, as they call it. So it's just a point in time where people can log into their apps and get really deeply discounted jumpsuits, for example.

Julian: More jumpsuits need to be worn by everyone. I want that and I want parachute pants and I want them now. I want them in completely ludicrous colors. So they put these appy hours eh?

Jordan: Yes.

Julian: Which sounds like an nice evening out in West end of London.

Jordan: It just feels so appropriate too because while COVID has really hurt everyone's social lives, I feel like I've never had more happy hours in my life. So maybe they're playing off of that. These Zoom happy hours have been very popular.

Speaker 6: (singing)

Julian: Are there any things that entertain you in terms of readings that you've got, things that you've been watching that you think you should share with us or anything that, if you're a big music head?

Jordan: Yeah. So I have been tricked into watching a lot of American Idol clips on Facebook lately. So I found myself watching them and I was like," You know what? I'm just going to watch American Idol for the first time in years."

Julian: Wow. That's a big get.

Jordan: I am watching American Idol, this season of American Idol. I cannot wait for Sunday. I'm sure it's not a popular sentiment. I haven't met a lot of people that are still watching American Idol.

Julian: No, they are. They just keep it to themselves. It's on in this household. Actually, no, what's the other one I really like? The Got Talent one.

Jordan: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Julian: Where you've got dogs dancing on cats, dancing on humans in sort of Human Centipede, but not in that kind of way.

Jordan: Yeah.

Julian: Don't watch that by the way.

Jordan: I also really liked the judges. I didn't know that I liked Katy Perry until I started watching her. She is so funny and she's also very kind.

Julian: Yeah.

Jordan: I really appreciate the judges. I'm really rooting for Just Sam, if you guys start watching, and also Arthur Gunn, they're my two favorites.

Julian: Good. And where are we at, with the phase in terms of American Idol? Is it, do they go away to bootcamp? What are they are doing now because they're all locked away?

Jordan: Yeah. So they pre- filmed. So they did all the auditions, which those always start to get a little bit slow. I'm like, all right, come on let's start.

Julian: Yeah, how many sad stories can we hear?

Jordan: Yeah, exactly.

Julian: Oh, you missed your bus.

Kayla: Empathy, Julian. Empathy.

Julian: Oh yeah. Sorry. I'm meant to be preaching that now.

Kayla: We're practicing empathy.

Julian: And Jordan, on that, seamlessly, does not mean that you have a particular music style or an album or set of songs of choice that you've been going through recently?

Jordan: I actually really don't. I'm not a big music person, really. I like music, but it's hard for me to say that I've got any very near and dear to my heart singers.

Julian: Absolutely. Well apart from Just Sam.

Jordan: She actually used to sing on New York subways and she is so kind and works so hard, and I just hope she wins.

Julian: You know what? Considering that she's double hit because New York, no one's on the subway and that's a dangerous place to work when there's viruses going around. It's bad enough just to commute. I'm now rooting for her and I'm pretty sure we're going to tune in this Sunday. So I'm going for Just Sam.

Just Sam: I trust myself and my ability. I trust that I will impress the judges.( singing)


0:50 to 3:32 - Jordan talks about the changes she’s seen since working at Cheetah, from just having a cross-channel messaging platform to now having a whole host of tools at her disposal. 

4:47 to 13:09 - How highly regulated industries can apply the Customer Engagement Suite today.

13:10 to 18:56 - Jordan picks those functionalities and attributes that are the most impactful for marketers she’s helping. 

19:12 to 23:23 - Why digital marketers working for Financial Service brands continue to Cheetah Messaging and the professional services we offer.

23:26 to 25:28 - What’s the most valuable thing that marketers should be thinking about right now, during COVID-19?

25:15 to 28:42 - A Solution Consultant muses on American Idol 2020.