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“Useful Engines” and Delighting Financial Service Customers

Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the financial industry’s best and brightest at NetFinance in Miami to discuss the challenges faced by today’s digital marketers.

Whether you’re a giant bank or a small credit union, one thing that everyone had in common was the desire to mitigate risk online while creating a positive experience for their customers. Simple in theory–though maybe not so much in execution.

But since we praise the message of simplicity here at IgnitionOne, I thought it was important to point out one common question among all of these marketers: How do we create delight in our customers over the course of their lives?

Andres Wolberg-Stok, Global Mobile and Tablet Banking Director at Citibank, talked a lot about the intersection of usefulness (commonality) and delight associated with the mobile space. He went on to say that creating the right balance here can make all the difference in adoption or abandonment.
In this sense I agree with him and the hundreds of other financial marketers trying to create lifelong relationships with customers from their first checking account in college to the mortgage on their first homes.

So while the math and code that goes into any technical solution may be vastly complex, the push toward simplicity should be the polestar that guides everyone who uses technology to get them what they need or where they want to go: from the first steam engine to the model T ford to Moven’s disruptive mobile banking model.

I mean, isn’t this our job as a technology company? Isn’t seamless automation and simplicity synonymous with delight and usefulness?  Whether it’s the simple UI of the iPhone or the seamless workflow of our DMP product; isn’t ease of use what we’re all looking for good technology to do?

So how does this apply to media and advertising? I think the answer is also simple.

Now granted, my first experiences with direct response technology stemmed from iterating 10 digit permutations on a device patented in 1846 by Alexander Graham Bell, but over the years I’ve learned a few things about how to find delight in the seemingly mundane. Whether I was selling chimney sweep services to people without chimneys over the phone or writing logical analyses for the GMAT and GRE,  on the days I approached my work without ego or irritation, my work went faster and my conversations well…more delightful.

All this to say, while it’s easy to lose one’s spirit not only in the dense regulatory requirements leveraged by the finance industry, but also in the pedabytes of data, cookies, keywords, and channels that make even the daily management of our online programs so time exhaustive, it’s important to remember the opportunity we have in front of us as marketers and makers to delight and engage.

While my son has outgrown Thomas the Tank Engine…I loved that he watched the show because of the simple message of what technology should be:  useful. Call me crazy, but I think if more of us strove to be “useful engines” every day, the easier it would be to delight folks with the unique value each of us brings to the marketplace in any industry.

So while I know that the prospect of elating someone with a dynamic ad served from our own Marketing Automation solution may seem like a daunting task, the fact is that all it takes is one “dunk in the dark” moment to change the way your brand is experienced online. This is possible whether you’re a community manager responding to a banking mishap on twitter or a media manager writing AdWords copy. For us: at IgnitionOne we strive every day to be useful by making life easier for marketers.

Complex in execution, but simple in theory. What can be more delightful than that?

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