Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Future of Finance

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>> MIKE: Hey, Im Mike Henry, and with my partner, Steve Arthur, we oversee Google teams that work

with the largest financial services brands across the US: banking, brokerage, insurance, tax, and payments.

We partner with those companies to help them drive digital transformation.

Im really excited to share some of what weve learned this past year and also how all of us can

work together to be ready for whats next.

In financial services, weve seen some really notable changes over the past year as more consumers turned

to digital to address their needs: 3 consumer trends really broke through.

First, consumers want to do more things on their own.

Across the globe, weve seen a 400% year-on-year increase in searches for mutual fund app.

Not surprising since more than a quarter of Americans with investments wish they could manage more online.

Second, consumers are using mobile more than ever. We saw a 500% year-on-year increase in searches for

banking mobile.

And third, and I think this one is most interesting, consumer trust in financial providers is changing.

Our research shows that consumers believe digital-first providers care about making their

financial lives easier.

So its no surprise that 78% of financial decision-makers in the US already use a disruptor brand.

It used to be that consumers were most trusting of the financial institutions with the biggest balance

sheets and the tallest skyscrapers, but thats changing fast.

During the pandemic, 25% of consumers globally tried paying bills online for the first time.

And its not only consumers who are changing.

Businesses also have to adapt.

Automakers have had to enable online test-drives and digital purchases.

Retailers have had to shift to digital payments to enable a massive wave of e-commerce.

And we think many of these shifts will be permanent.

So what does this mean? Well, to be ready for this moment and whatever comes next, all businesses have

to embrace digital transformation.

Im talking about building an engine of change within your organization that drives profitable

growth thats sustainable over time.

When we looked at businesses that did well last year, we saw 3 key themes around how they used

digital to survive, thrive, even grow.

First, by being insights led, by really understanding changing consumer needs.

Second, by being agile, by acting on insights in real time.

And third, through data-driven measurement and a privacy-first approach to consumer data.

So lets talk about being insights led.

As consumers engage more on digital through sites and apps, you gain all sorts of new first-party data.

But data is one thing. True insight is something else.

Given how complicated the financial services journey has become, with more ways than ever for consumers

to discover, purchase, and experience your services, you really cant discern consumer

intent from just the last click.

Let me give you an example.

Current is a challenger in the banking space.

In the face of so much uncertainty, this new brand could have retreated. Instead, Current used data

and automation to accelerate growth.

Partnering with Google, Current leveraged their first-party data in combination with Googles

automated bidding to get the right offers in front of consumers, many of whom are underserved by other banks.

Current doubled its member base in just 6 months!

And while being insights led is the first step, you also need to be agile by activating those insights.

That means youve got to break down product and organizational silos so you can fuel Googles

automation and machine learning tools with accurate data in real time to maximize your ROI.

Last year, the largest bank in the US, Chase, put insights into action.

It broke down silos and then partnered with Droga5, Accenture, and Google to launch their first Video

campaign using YouTubes Director Mix to showcase their Freedom Card.

I know its tempting to think that automation and creativity are at odds.

But Chase combined both to reach consumers with custom messages aligned to their passion

points all across YouTube.

The result was that Chase doubled their lift in ad recall and cut their cost per lifted user in half.

Finally, you need to do all of this and also measure the impact of your marketing in a way

that respects consumer privacy.

Its the right thing to do, and its also what the law requires.

Square is a leader when it comes to measurement, privacy, and data-driven decision-making.

Square uses data and insights, automated bidding, and a combination of media mix and multi-touch

attribution models to maximize marketing ROI and drive profitable growth.

With this strategy, Square helped their customers through a very difficult year

and, in the process, increased sign-ups from Google marketing campaigns by 15% in 2020.

So with the right insights, an agile approach, and authentic commitment to responsible use of data,

we can all be ready for whatever comes next.

So lets hear directly from Lauren Weinberg, Head of Global Marketing for Square.

Shes going to share more about how Square is helping businesses and driving growth in a challenging year.

Lauren, its great to have you here.

>> LAUREN: Mike, its a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

>> MIKE: Of course. I want to talk about Squares remarkable growth over this past year, but first,

can you share a little bit about what you found when you arrived at Square 4 years ago and the digital

journey that you were on even before 2020 came along?

>> LAUREN: Absolutely. So Square focuses relentlessly on how we can enable access and level the playing field

for business owners by providing tools and solutions that help them start, run, and grow their businesses.

More than anything, it was the mission that attracted me to the company, initially.

On the marketing front, Square had a well-oiled customer acquisition flywheel that was in place

well before I got to the company; however, I did see some opportunities where I thought

we could further accelerate growth.

To begin with, nearly all of our spend was performance oriented, and we had a very one-size-fits-all approach

to how we acquire customers, which really centered around our free credit card reader.

We also had multi-touch attribution that didnt account for views because we only included click touchpoints.

We were probably only leveraging a fraction of digital channels because our tracking was leading

us to believe that channels like social, display, and video didnt perform well.

So my initial focus was on building a stronger foundation with data and a more sophisticated

approach to measurement.

Secondly, I turned my focus to awareness because our marketing focused primarily on our most well-known

product, but Square had spent years building a robust ecosystem of solutions for business owners.

They just didnt know about them.

So when our foundation was strong with measurement, we were really able to test our way into proving

that awareness could be a really effective growth lever for Square.

Weve been on this journey for the past 4 years of really growing our investment and awareness,

more top-of-funnel tactics. And it felt like everything got called into question again last year when COVID hit.

>> MIKE: So what did COVID mean in terms of how you thought about your mission and your strategy?

>> LAUREN: Well, we had a multiphase approach to how we thought about COVID. To begin with, we had to adjust

our go-to-market strategy. 2020 had been the year we were supposed to run our first big brand campaign.

We were just 2 weeks away from launching when the pandemic hit. The messaging we had planned would

not have been right for the moment, so we pulled down a lot of our planned spend.

There was a desire to retreat back to what we did in the past, which was run performance marketing only,

but we put ourselves in our customers shoes and we knew that they needed more.

First, we knew that they needed relief with so many businesses being forced to close.

So we took a portion of our marketing investment and redirected it to provide refunds and free

software to our customers. Secondly, we knew businesses would be looking for ways to adapt how they operated,

and we had the tools to help them do that.

We wanted them to know, so we ran awareness campaigns that featured the solutions that businesses would need

most like contactless payments, online store, curbside pickup, delivery, and also access to PPP loans.

We accelerated awareness of products, and we were able to invest in awareness building campaigns,

precisely because wed already built that robust measurement foundation that enabled us to understand

the impact of those higher-funnel marketing tactics. Once those components were in place, we also wanted

to create a sense of connection and community. Last year was so hard for the small business community,

and we wanted to do something to acknowledge their strength and resilience. Thats when we decided to

do our brand campaign, but in a different way than we initially planned.

>> MIKE: So, Lauren, what did that revised brand campaign look like for 2020?

>> LAUREN: 2020 became the year of listening to our customers to get real insight into their challenges

and needs and then helping them be agile. As I mentioned before, this time was a really hard

time for small businesses. A lot of them were closing, and we were hearing heartbreaking stories of owners

just trying to stay open.

This is where seller stories came from. It started as an organic idea, where sellers would call in and

talk to Square about their business, their struggles, and also about resilience and seizing the moment to innovate.

We took that organic idea and invested our own marketing funds to deliver a sense of community

and hope by celebrating those stories. Id love to share one of those for you now.

>> LAUREN STOVALL: Hot Sams is 99 years old. We embody that deep-rooted history within our city.

It took this pandemic for us to get uncomfortable, to pivot, but weve risen to the occasion.

I love to say that we have survived the Great Depression. We have survived the recession. And we are survivors.

[This year, running a business is a different story.]

>> MIKE: Wow. So real, so powerful. Why is storytelling so important?

>> LAUREN: Well, in the world of financial services, its very easy to get caught up in the utility of

the products that we offer, but at the end of the day, money and running your own business are both very

personal things. Small business owners are people who want to connect with other people. With video, were

able to tell those human stories, and through YouTube, were able to reach merchants who are craving

inspiration and ideas on how to survive and thrive.

We see YouTube as a big opportunity for Square going forward, and were excited to really create a strong

content strategy, build out that content, and then leverage the scale and personalization of the

platform to make merchants aware of all the ways that Square can help.

>> MIKE: So, Lauren, whats the role of marketing leaders moving forward?

>> LAUREN: Well, I think the goal of every brand and marketing leader is to be the brand and the

category that their customers think of as a partner, and a partner thats there for them when they need them most.

In financial services in particular, theres a tremendous opportunity for brands to fill this space.

The industry has focused on utility, competing on price and functionality for so long.

But at the end of the day, leaning into the human side of finance is going to win the

hearts and minds of our customers.

So whats the role of marketing leaders moving forward? Its to articulate our mission and purpose to connect

with people on an emotional level. And for Square, we just need to show the side of our self thats so

present in the DNA of the company. Well continue to focus on content and storytelling tactics that

communicate our mission, and then well use technology and digital to make that connection with the right

consumers in the right places at the right time.

>> MIKE: Lauren, thank you for sharing Squares story and your perspective on the opportunities for our industry.

Up next, youll hear from Mary Hines, US Chief Marketing Officer of Citi. She will give her

perspective on the future of financial services.

[Will digital adoption continue to accelerate?]

>> MARY: Yes, the move to digital is here to stay, and it is accelerating. So it has never been more important

for organizations to continue to educate consumers on how to seamlessly interact in these channels.

At Citi, at the onset of the pandemic, we developed how-to videos to help increase the comfort and

confidence of our customers who didnt traditionally interact with us digitally.

The videos were devoured by consumers, with a video on mobile check deposits garnering over 20,000 views

in 24 hours and driving a 65% year-over-year increase in mobile check deposits.

That said, weve also seen that branches are still important to clients to discuss more

complex financial needs.

Regardless of channel, consumers are looking for best-in-class interactions at every point.

If the process isnt seamless or it feels too complex, consumers will not come back.

[What new product stands out and how will it change consumer behavior?]

Point-of-sale lending is one of the newest offerings that I am excited about. When seamlessly integrated

into the checkout process, it can be used to buy something as small as a t-shirt or as big as the

post-pandemic trip many of us are planning.

But whats really interesting is how its already changing the consumer mindset.

Point-of-sale lending helps consumers feel financially responsible because they see the full road ahead to

when they will have paid off the purchase fully. These types of offerings are skyrocketing in popularity.

At Citi, we launched Flex Pay, which allows cardmembers to take an individual credit card

purchase and pay it off over a set timeline with fixed payments and a fixed APR.

As of Q1, we saw a 60% increase in year-over-year usage with incredibly strong adoption in categories

such as home improvement.

And we expect that this trend will become even more prevalent in the year ahead.

Id also be remiss if I didnt mention our collaboration with Google, which will evolve

digital banking and empower consumers with a simple, convenient, and personal banking experience.

Its exciting for us to bring together the best of digital banking and Googles UX expertise.

[How will the industry continue to focus on privacy?]

The industrys focus on privacy is nothing new.

Citi has been deeply focused on having the right privacy infrastructure and policies in place for years.

Now, privacy in marketing is on the verge of a big change sparked by the end of third-party cookies in 2022.

This is a new opportunity for the industry and partners to come together and solve how we identify consumers

outside of our owned and operated properties so we can provide the best personalized services regardless

of digital touchpoint or channel.

According to a Deloitte survey, over 80% of consumers are clear that they want brands to use their personal

data in some way to provide better service and personalization, so we dont want to leave

our customers in the dark.

One way we can increase transparency is by letting our customers know about the things we can share if

they opt in. When we do this, they often change their preferences or continue to opt in to our marketing.

After all, consumers crave communications that are hyper-relevant to them.

[Whats the future of brand loyalty?]

We are entering the next era of loyalty in financial services. With an extremely crowded digital landscape

and all of our consumers inboxes already full, how do you break through with people in a meaningful way?

Well, you break through by not staying on the sidelines.

Now more than ever, consumers look to brands to stand up for issues that matter.

In fact, a recent Harris Poll found that more than 2/3 of customers believe that business leaders need to help

address racial and other inequities in our society.

And at Citi, weve been doing just that.

From our transparency on pay equity and representation (we were the first US company to publish our unadjusted

or raw pay gap for women and US minorities) to using our corporate voices to drive racial

justice and advocate for LGBTQ+ equality,

the bank has stood up for issues that matter.

So brand loyalty is much more than monetary rewards.

It truly does revolve around brands taking a stand and doing what is right for consumers and their communities.

[Whats the biggest opportunity for Chief Marketing Officers in financial services?]

Today, CMOs have a bigger role to play than ever before in driving business performance.

Over recent years, marketing has evolved from providing collateral materials to playing a leading

role in crafting and executing business strategy.

Never was this more apparent than during the pandemic, when marketers across the globe had to drive forward

changes to business plans to meet the needs of our customers and deliver the right results.

At Citi, this included everything from rethinking marketing materials in flight to ensure that they

had the appropriate tone and content to changing offer strategies to reflect the new reality.

We also had to keep our customers informed on how we could serve and assist them during this

unprecedented time, distributing over 90 rounds of COVID-19 customer communications detailing

assistance programs, Paycheck Protection Program, and launching our digital adoption education videos.

CMOs will continue to play a larger role in the business, partnering with the business owners

to put the customer front and center and creating genuine value today and tomorrow.

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