Communicating with clients so that you are addressing their needs enhances brand trust and ultimately leads to more business. Bridie Smith, Global Head of Customer Relationship Marketing at OFX, explains how her company has kept marketing personal during COVID volatility.
One of the toughest jobs in marketing is talking to customers in a way that speaks to their individual experiences and actually helps them. During this year’s uncertainty and volatility, that job has only gotten harder. But if you can manage deep personalisation well, as we have at OFX, it’s well worth it.
As a global money transfers company, OFX knows better than most just how diverse customers can be. We don't just segment based on geography or business size, we look at what stage they are at in the customer lifecycle and what we know of their needs, such as the type of currencies they commonly exchange. We have to talk to different types of customers, in different time zones, with different needs.
Layered on top of this personalisation challenge is another: communicating in a timely fashion. The gold standard we try to reach is talking to the customer before they’re even aware a need has arisen. We aren’t alone in this challenge – the Salesforce State of Marketing report found that ‘engaging customers in real time’ was the number one challenge worldwide.
But if you succeed at both personalisation and timeliness, it’s powerful. At OFX, we find it builds brand trust, keeps customers transferring with us and not our competitors.
Managing this might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It begins with a solid foundation.
There’s a lot that goes into a foundation, but a few of the basics that you want to get right are:
OFX spent a lot of time working towards the first of these. We now have a robust process for producing marketing content and a portfolio of pre-approved images ready to go. Staying on-brand should be effortless – it makes sure approvals are very quick and the person actually on the technology platform doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time an email is sent to customers.
We also have a clear idea of the key moments in our different customer journeys where our communications add the most value to their experience.
To make sure strategy works, it is best to automate as much of your lifecycle marketing as possible. So, for technology, we rely on Salesforce to power what we do. Using Journey Builder we have created several journeys that seamlessly guide customers through some of the most crucial moments in their experience with our brand and our products.
One of those crucial moments is initial contact, we have a journey that communicates with customers who have signed up to make transfers through next steps, based on their subsequent interactions. For example, a lot of customers sign up and for a variety of reasons don’t follow through. We automatically send those ‘unconverted’ customers a friendly email that serves useful content on the legal requirements of international transfers, and lets them know they can get in touch with us if they need help getting to the next step.
Most customer interactions should be based on what the data says works for your business. And, as your business continues to grow, it’s best to continue to automate as much of your customer communications as possible to get the benefits of scale and efficiency. Ideally you want 80% of your marketing to be programmatic, as this frees you up to spend the remaining 20% chasing golden opportunities.
When looking for opportunities, you need a bit of marketing discipline to make sure they are worthwhile – that they aren't just exciting but also aligned to customer needs and your business’s long-term strategy. You also need to make sure that:
To do that you need the right data. The State of Marketing report found that the top three most popular customer data sources are (in order) transactional data, declared interests/preferences, and known digital identities.
Because of financial regulations, OFX verifies the identity of every client or business prior to their first transfer of funds to another currency.
Knowing which currency the client is exchanging (AUD to USD for example) is both necessary for the transaction, and strategically useful so we can provide a personalised experience. This just one of the many ways we segment our clients to ensure personalised, relevant and timely communications.
During COVID, this data has allowed us to make informed decisions on how we use the 20% of our precious resources allocated to golden opportunities. More importantly, it means that we’re still talking to clients in a personalised way that helps build trust. There are a lot of external factors that affect currency markets, causing volatility, so we need an ability to quickly communicate helpful content to the right customers, advising of the potential changes to watch and how OFX is available to help provide support.
Thanks to Journey Builder, this global effort is streamlined. It’s jarring for clients to see you’ve emailed them at 3am – it suggests you’re not local and around to help them in their own time zone – so we’ve created a template so that all our clients receive communications appropriate to their time zones and when we’re most likely to get the strongest engagement.
With locations around the world, we are able to offer our customers 24/7 support with our ‘follow the sun’ model. For example, when you need support at midnight in Australia, our team in the UK is available and ready to help. This is a key differentiator for OFX, and a core part of our customer value proposition – all our communications reinforce this benefit as a way we help local businesses scale to operate globally.
Australian business HOLOS Luxury Knitwear, for example, has a network of wool processing suppliers in Italy that allows the company to live up to its tagline ‘Grown in Australia, Made in Italy’. While making a 2am transfer to one of those suppliers, HOLOS Founder and CEO Margie Moroney accidentally sent funds to the wrong supplier. Since it was quite a large amount of money, she was rightly anxious. But, thanks to our marketing, she knew we would be available to help her immediately. She called us, and we retrieved the payment from the wrong recipient and quickly set up the transaction with the correct recipient.
Moroney was surprised at what she saw as us going above and beyond (and we’ve used her story in our marketing!) but for us, this is just a start.
We’ve dabbled with improving email timing with Salesforce Einstein Send Time Optimisation and we’re currently integrating even more of our business on Salesforce. It’s part of our goal of focusing relentlessly on the customer experience, which is ultimately vital to the success of any company. Wth a solid foundation underneath us we can be there for our customers so that they are there for us.
Discover more about personalisation and marketing during volatility with Bridie Smith at an exclusive webinar on 25 November – sign up now.
To find out more about the trends driving change in global marketing, read the 6th State of Marketing Report.