Shane Closser on the truth about digital technology in financial services – MAF194

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This week I chat to Shane Closser, and expert in strategy and digital technology in financial services.

Shane shares some home truths about how we use digital technology to engage with our customers and why we might need to go back to basics.

Welcome to episode 194 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast

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What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why not having a strategy can be a problem
  • Why marketers should go back to basics
  • The impact technology will have on financial services
  • Why marketers should understand the online customer journey
  • The changing face of local financial services branches
  • Why organisations need to change their marketing focus

Who is Shane Closser?

Shane has worked as either a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) throughout his career in IT and software. He worked at Ascenture and many other large companies. He now works as General Manager for Yext, focusing on product and strategy for financial services.Yext is a digital knowledge management platform, which looks at the questions people have around a business brand. This includes where the company is located, information about the products and services advisers provide, and monitoring search results for individual businesses

They manage the overall online presence of a company, including via apps, and recently added voice search support.

Summary of our chat

Shane says that marketers haven’t adapted their processes to the changes taking place with customers’ demographics and how they do business. They think in terms of campaigns which focus on only one channel and don’t create engagement. Marketing budgets are wasted by not communicating effectively and efficiently.

Marketers need to get the basics right and using technology doesn’t solve the problem. Shane says instead they need to understand their customer and identifying their traits. Looking at customer data and knowing who spends the most money with the business is a great way to understand the customer journey.

Shane says the role of humans in marketing has changed, but financial advisers aren’t going to be replaced by robots. Customers want to talk to real people. However, advisers who use technology will put those who don’t out of business. It’s important to know what role AI and automation plays the industry.

Marketers need to think differently about how they approach things. We have connected cars and homes, and people use voice interface to talk to them. Buyers have less time than ever and millennials particularly have more of their customer journey online. We have to leverage technology to improve processes and the customer experience.

While many local outlets have closed, there has been an increase in micro-branches providing fewer, more specific services and using digital technology. There are also lifestyle branches offering refreshments as well as financial support. Local, physical venues are a differentiator for large organisations trying to take a share of the market.

The biggest challenge to change in the industry comes from compliance concerns within organisations. Marketing departments don’t think about the customer experience enough and need to communicate better with other teams. They should also focus on improving internal processes to help the customer more and make them the priority.

One big take away

Shane would recommend marketers go back to basics and think in terms of ‘crawl, walk, run.’ Marketers need to start to map out what they can do to drive a higher bottom line and increase revenue.

Come up with a long list of potential projects and assess which ones are doable and will give quick wins. Tasks that will take longer can be done in smaller sprints. Give consideration to new technologies too, such as using voice search.

When you’re making big investments, think about where the market will be in a few years’ time, rather than where it is now. Otherwise, you won’t get the ROI you hoped for. Break big projects into smaller pieces and leverage your digital knowledge.

A marketing campaign or product which grabbed Shane’s attention

Progressive Insurance created a parody advert, making fun of the challenges of raising a child in the digital age. However, it also highlights all the places financial services could be, such as virtual reality and games. It uses humour and empathises around quite a sensitive topic.

Recommended business book

Shane says he’s reading a lot around technology, and would recommend Unscaled by Hemant Taneja and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

He says if you’re not thinking about AI these days, you should be. In the US, and especially in Silicon Valley, it’s one of the fastest-growing industries with a lot of job opportunities. Reading The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos will help.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Shane Closser on the truth about digital technology in financial services – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Gwen Merz on Fiery Millennials, financial independence and saving $200k by age 30 – MAF193

On the show this week, I chat to Gwen, the founder of Fiery Millennials, a blog side dedicated to making sense of finances for young people.

We talk about how Gwen saved $200,000 whilst in her twenties  and how she built her blog to help others achieve financial independence.

Welcome to episode 193 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Gwen Merz on Fiery Millennials, financial independence and saving $200 by age 30 - MAF193

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Gwen saved rather than spent her money
  • Why Gwen set up the Fiery Millennials blog
  • How she built her website by not following “the rules”
  • Making financial advice less complicated
  • How to make financial services an enticing career option
  • Gwen’s advice to millennials seeking financial independence

Who is Gwen Merz?

Gwen started her blog three and a half years ago after finding a ‘Financially Independent Retiring Early’ (FIRE) community during college. While it provided value, there was no-one young, female and starting out on their financial journey to relate to.

Realising that most bloggers were at a different life stage, Gwen created the blog she wanted to read. It helps her make connections, find new ideas and understand how others live. She worked for a large, globally recognised corporation and intended to retire at 35. By age 27 she’d saved $200,000, which over the next 30 years will compound to $1.5m without additional contributions.

Summary of our chat

Gwen prioritised saving over spending, always putting that first. She divided her paycheck into tax deferred accounts first and she spent the remainder. Gwen graduated debt-free and went straight into a well-paying job. She disliked working and not having freedom to do what she wanted, so did everything possible to get out of office life.

Creating Fiery Millennials to help others achieve what she has, Gwen now finds her story is inspiring people. The blog shows the steps Gwen’s taken and gives her audience ideas for entrepreneurial adventures.

She’s experimented with property management, selling printable downloads, freelance writing and stained-glass making.

Gwen didn’t do any market research before launching Fiery Millennials, because there wasn’t anyone creating what she was looking for. She created her blog to talk about her career, her life and to share tips on what not to do. The blog has attracted an audience of engaged, like-minded people she feels strongly connected to.

Financial advisers need to make their products easier to understand, which is what Gwen does for her audience. This takes away the mystery and overwhelm and encourages them to try things themselves. She offers clear steps to follow and avoids using the confusing jargon that traditional advisers use.

Gwen isn’t trained in classic financial services, but says there’s a level of mistrust around the industry and an assumption advisers promote things they make money from. It needs to be a more attractive career option. Reframing it as a way to help people rather than about raking in commissions would be a positive. Gwen recommends tracking your spending to monitor your finances. Doing this helps you find places where you can make savings in your daily life. Decide what kind of budget would suit you and prioritise saving. Putting money aside first and then spending allows you to hit your goals.

A marketing campaign or product which grabbed Gwen’s attention

Gwen says Amazon have done an amazing job of promoting Amazon Prime Day. Although she has no intention of participating in it, she knows when it is because she’s bombarded with adverts everywhere on the internet.

Recommended business book

Gwen recommends Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr Carol Dweck, saying it will help you to change your mindset into a growth mindset.

 

 

 

 

 

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Gwen Merz on Fiery Millennials, financial independence and saving $200 by age 30 – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Simone Vincenzi on business purpose strategy and running live events – MAF192

On the show this week, I talk to Simone Vincenzi.

We chat about playing the didgeridoo, putting together a business purpose strategy and using live events to grow your business.

Welcome to episode 192 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Simone Vincenzi on business purpose strategy and running live events - MAF192

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Simone believes a strategy is important
  • What a business purpose strategist does
  • Ways public speaking can help you grow your business
  • How Simone runs live events to find clients
  • The methods Simone uses to market his events
  • What encourages people to attend his sessions

Who is Simone Vincenzi?

Simone describes himself as a business purpose strategist. He loves music and plays the didgeridoo, the hanger drum and plays basketball professionally.

Simone speaks at over 200 events a year, including those he hosts himself. He believes that to create a connection with someone, we need more than just the business knowledge they share. We need to know who they are and what’s influenced their lives. That’s why when we watch a documentary, we’re interested in seeing the behind the scenes of the entrepreneur or celebrity’s life.

Summary of our chat

A lot of people want to just get on and take action without thinking about the overall purpose of what they’re doing. But tactics only offer short-term success. We need to look at how the entire business functions.

A consultant who doesn’t help clients with a strategy is doing them a disservice. Simone says that without knowing your ‘why’ you can’t complete your strategy. You need to know the purpose of your business, what you do and your personal and professional goals. Without this understanding, you’re playing a reactive game and chasing shiny objects. The ‘why’ gives you a solid foundation to design your business.

Speaking in front of audiences and being in the right places is a great way to grow a business. Converting people online is a slow process. Being onstage creates human connection, which beats any other kind of marketing. It makes an impact on people and raises brand awareness.

Simone uses his live events to give potential clients a taster of what it’s like to work with him. For B2B companies, he hosts a free event and then offers a three-day advanced course to build on the event. This leads to a three-day conference and subsequent opportunities to work with him. Simone recommends using a range of marketing tools to promote events: speak at other people’s events, ideally those about your topic and with your target market attending. He also suggests joint ventures with other promoters, who have a database of ideal customers.

You can’t rely solely on those relationships, so use paid advertising, and tapping into your business network. The event content varies depending on what the clients want and each day covers a different subject. Sometimes sessions help them find their why. Others are focused on helping people with public speaking. Or developing a strategy. Or how they can make money from events. Simone filters his clients to ensure they get the right training.

One big takeaway

Simone says it’s important to remember that everything you do will take three times longer and cost three times more than you expect. If you want 100 people in the room, aim for 300 and you might get 50. Have a contingency plan, consider your expectations, and understand whatever it is you want to do before you do it. You can’t do everything yourself, so get people to help you and save you time.

A marketing campaign or product which grabbed Simone’s attention

Simone gives an example from a brewery local to him in London. Many of the local businesses are advertising ‘the number one beer’ or ‘the number one coffee in Bermondsey’, but this brewery takes a different approach. Their advertising board reads: “We are not the best, but we promise to get you drunk!” It’s a genius message because at the end of the day people want to have a good time, so they’ll go in.

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Recommended business book

The last business book Simone read was The New One Minute Manager. He says he doesn’t enjoy managing people, but as his company has taken on new staff, he needed to develop his skills. Looking for recommendations on how to do this led him to the book. He describes it as one of the best, simplest, books he’s ever read, particularly on management. It’s simple, effective and he loves it.

Links and contact details

  • Follow Simone on Twitter
  • You can find Simone’s website right here. There is a checklist available there which teaches people how to create events that sell. It includes what to say and when to do each step. There is also an application form for people who want more information about working with Simone, how he can create an event for you or help you improve your professional speaking.

If you enjoyed – Simone Vincenzi on business purpose strategy and running live events – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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