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Martin Häring

Chief Marketing Officer

Finastra is the third-largest financial software player in the world and has developed a platform that enables open innovation in the financial services industry. With nearly 25 years of marketing experience at IT companies, CMO Martin Häring explains that, in order for financial organizations to truly tap into the power of customer engagement, they need to be able to convert their customer data into action – providing personalized recommendations and predictions for next-best offers. He believes that companies who are able to do this and who truly begin to focus on experience-based marketing, as opposed to marketing their products and services, will succeed in the long term.

What digital developments and innovations are most impacting the value, differentiation and performance of your brand(s)?

There are a multitude of developments we are undertaking that I believe are impacting our brand value. From a tools perspective, I would point to the utilization of AI. AI brings scale to the highly personalized yet extremely limiting manual marketing and communications performed by humans. While chatbots and other automated processes increasingly rule the day in brand communications activities, they can be potentially detrimental to a brand if the value of the human touch is forgotten. Instead of using AI to replace the human touch, communicators must recognize its value in delivering personalization to the masses at just the right time and place.

In addition to that, social listening and social channels are also playing a huge role. For example, leveraging tools like Hootsuite enables us to track what is going on across our social channels. This is a great way of understanding the perception and the experience of customers. When it comes to all of these channels, if you’re not using them, you’re missing a trick.

Many B2C companies are already utilizing these channels to increase their customer experience and the customer service levels but in B2B this is not yet there. Indeed, I would say this is especially true when it comes to banks. Social listening as a new innovation tool is very important to measure customer experience moving forward.

How are consumers using digital channels to either enhance or diminish your brand’s appeal, equity and/or relevance?

Social media can pose certain threats due to the level of transparency it enables. People can bash a brand or love a brand on social. If your brand isn’t well received, the information is immediately available for others to see.

That said, these are incredibly valuable channels. They open your brand to direct communication with customers and support greater engagement.

Which marketing technologies/solutions are now essential to how you acquire, engage, retain and grow customer relationships?

Moving forward, I see great potential in the use of chatbots and video when it comes to enhancing customer engagement efforts. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, up to 85 percent of customer interactions will be handled without human interaction – revealing a huge change in the way communications will be managed.

Chatbots are becoming far more intelligent than we initially thought possible, and I think that will lead to a major change in customer communication. We can expect more app-based, Twitter-style communications that occur in real time. And when it comes to the type of content we’ll be using, we’re seeing a big rise in the use of video. People are much more interested in viewing a two or three minute clip as opposed to reading a 10 page white paper.

These changes in how customers prefer to engage certainly present challenges, but they also represent a great deal of opportunity for organizations that are willing to take steps toward creating a more robust omni-channel experience. However, this requires an intense focus on turning customer data into action.

Do you have a system for tracking and quantifying the contributions that digital innovation and transformation is having on the financial value, or equity, of your brand? If so, please elaborate.  If not, why not?

Absolutely! Finastra does a yearly brand perception survey to measure how our brand is perceived by our customers, by our partners, and by our prospects. This is done through a neutral vendor. We ask 10 questions, which are completely aligned to Finastra’s internal customer health index, so we are able to see if the internal perception of the customer experience and customer health status match what customers really experience.

On top of this, our social listening tools enable us to track brand value based on the perceptions we see on social channels.

We also do a customer survey every six months. This, together with our internal customer health index (which measures the ‘health’ of our customers right across their life cycle with us) and the social listening, gives us a good reflection of where we are currently with our brand perception in the market.

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