Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

60) #ExponentialInsights: Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage w/ Matt Monge


Physical or digital? Human or bot? Technology or customer experience? These questions pose a dangerous false dichotomy for financial institutions.

A sustainable competitive advantage over time emerges from people — human beings — who can pull together a technologically-driven solution drawn from disparate sources.

In this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I talk with Matt Monge, the brand and marketing agency director for On the Mark Strategies. Matt helps financial brands be more human, particularly in the post-COVID digital world.

We talked about:

  • The difference between employee experience and employee engagement
  • Where people are getting stuck in digital transformation
  • How to create a competitive advantage for your financial brand

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Digital is going to have to involve the human element. It absolutely is going to. The better I get at one, the better the other is going to get, and vice versa. You're listening to banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight Siri's, where James Robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales, and Fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toe exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings in Hello, I Am James Robert Ley and welcome to the 60th episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight, Siri's and I'm excited to welcome Mat Mongie to the show. Matt is the brand and marketing agency director for on the Mark Strategies, and I've known Matt for years. I trust the insights he shares, and I love the fact how he is helping financial brands to be more human, particularly in this post Covic digital world mats. Mission is simple because he wants to help organizations differentiate and he wants to help people to make a difference. Hello, Matt. And welcome to the show. Hello, my friend. It is good to see you. It is good to see with you. It is good to be with you. And I always like to start on this point here, particularly as we are in a new a new year. Ondas. We reflect back on that great century of 2020 and look ahead to 2021. What do you most excited about right now? Whether that just be personal or professionally speaking, Most excited. Oh yeah, man, there's just there's a lot to be optimistic about right now, I think whether it's you know, personally, we have we have kids doing well in school. I hate to say in spite of everything that's going on, but there's certainly a lot of obstacles out there, but I think our kids, whether it's mine, other people's, what are the kids are doing fine right there, there, chomping at the bit and they are rolling with punches. I think you would bring up an interesting point, though, with that in the fact that kids have a much higher a cue or an adaptability quotient. Then we do say as adults, business leaders, professionals at financial brands. And I know that this goes back to a conversation you had years and years ago. Why do we lose the ability or why do we lose our adaptability? The older that we get? Boy, I don't know, man. We were just talking before we turned on the thing about teaching. And whatever some of it is, we unlearn. Ah, lot of stuff, right? We unlearn creativity. We unlearn that little bit of fearlessness coupled with playfulness. I was just reading what was the name of the book essays and something that Einstein wrote where he talked about how important playfulness was You being creative as an adult. But kids, man, they haven't learned how to be that yet. So they're still able Thio take stuff. And sure, they may be disappointed, but they get over and they pushed through. And I think some of us sometimes could certainly take a cue from that and be more resilient, B'more, adaptable and flexible. And what have you you know? Yeah, it's one of those things. I've done this exercise, you know, probably a couple 100 times. Now do what we take some spaghetti and we build a tower with marshmallows. And really, it's all about what what we would call agile or rapid prototype development. Failing fast learning, quick failures, the...

...fertile seeds from which new growth springs new. And it's funny because the study has been done, you know, hundreds of thousands of times that millions of times in multiple different industries. And I forget who was the architect of the study. But what they had found when they quantified it was that kindergarteners higher structures than the best MBAs or business leaders do. And it's all because the kindergartener isn't afraid to build it, break it, learn from it and do it again. Even that much better. Yeah, that doesn't surprise me. Yeah, not even a little bit. Let's talk about this because, you know, one of the biggest lessons. And I know you do a lot in around the areas of of culture, of brand of experience and one of the biggest lessons that I've learned reflecting on 2020 and have been doing a lot of writing around because I think through my writing, I typically right around 2000 maybe 3000 words per day, more or less is that financial brands have done a tremendous job focusing on the digital Experience Cove. It has forced that. So we're making some progress there. But there are two opportunities that I would like to talk about with you, which is around number one, humanizing the digital experience and the number two. Really, How will humanizing the digital experience on Lee come when we focus on improving the employee experience? Because from the research that we're doing here, there's typically a lack of humanity in the digital experience for financial brands, which is rooted deeper in a lack of clarity, awareness and buy in for the employees, Which is why 60 to 80% of digital transformations projects failed to begin with in the first place. So, yeah, what is the difference between employees experience and employees? Engagement? Let's start there. Well, that's one of those dangerous questions, right, because it can be that you ask several people and you'll get 18 different answers on it. But it really is one of those deals where, um, when if you if you want to engage your team, you would do things like you do things like you, you coach them mawr and you'd do things around learning, development, leadership, development. You would improve other things, but all of those things play into how they experience their environment. But when you're talking about holistic employee experience, now you're talking about, well, literally, everything. They're experiencing their entire life cycle. So, like birth thio, forgive the morbidity. But birth to death employees, life cycle, all the touchpoints, all the senses, everything that's happening, everything they're sensing and experiencing. So when we're looking at that, it becomes way more holistic in nature than you know. I'm doing big air quotes that no one will see but, like just employee engagement, so employee engagement can have an effect on the overall employee experience. But it's a little bit more limited in scope. Yeah, when when we look at the importance of employee experience, particularly through the context of digital growth, where are the biggest gaps or the misunderstanding of just digital? Because I see even now postcode, there's a lot of fear, particularly for those who maybe are on the front lines or those that have been in this industry for, you know, 2030 40 years, and they built their entire career around the world of brick and mortar. Where are people getting stuck? Still, you know e hate to paint with a broad brush. I think it's gonna vary from person to person, but you see things... false dichotomy. False dilemma, right? That too very similar logical fallacies. But it's it's one of those things where it's an either or right, so either we can be physical or we can be digital. Either we can be human or we could be digital. Either we could be really good at member service in a branch, or we can focus our efforts on digital. Well, that's a false dilemma that you're you're kind of propping up in your mind, and it's subconscious and it's often accidental, doesn't make you a bad person and doesn't make you dumb makes you a human being who's struggling with the complex issue strategically, right? So it's almost like you have to get it, that presupposition that you're holding onto, you realize that's what it is and think. Okay, what if I can clear that out for a second and start from both of these things can and do coexist Now what do I do? How doe I wrestle with that seeming paradox that I have and realize that all of this is going to stay very vague and messy except that they both are gonna be very riel strategies that I have to address and be very good at and then move forward. Digital is going to have to involve the human element. It absolutely is going Thio. The better I get at one, the better the other is going to get, and vice versa. So if you could start all the way back there, get those presuppositions that you have those mental models, right? It's systems. Thinking at work is what it is. But if you can understand those types of things in the very beginning, then work towards strategy, then then you're gonna be way better off if you're talking about like, executive level kind of stuff. Yeah, so started once again. I mean, it's starting with the end in mind versus just starting and trying. And I know one of the things that you've written about is this idea of a nem ploy, e experience, strategy and the reason I'm wanting to talk more about this is, I feel that all of the massive changes that were brought on by co vid put people in a very uncomfortable situation. It put people in. What I write about is the circle of chaos, where they feel confused, frustrated and overwhelmed. And that keeps them trapped in a new model that I've been thinking right about called The Cave of Complacency. I know you and I have been having a conversation before hit record about that, the elements of story and narrative. So I've written a lot about the digital consumer journey, but you're actually writing about the employees experience journey and and this is I love the perspective. So can you unpack this idea of the employee experience journey and how the employee experience journey might help someone a escape, the circle of chaos as an employee or a team member, or be help them to come out of their cave of complacency with courage and confidence? Yeah, you know, part of it is again, it's just it's a holistic thing, right? So we can't even think about an employee experience journey without understanding how connected it is strategically to everything else that the organization is doing so organizations leadership has to be thinking through. Okay, I'm so worried right now about what our members are going to say. Credit means what a member is gonna be doing. Or Community Bank, for example, What are what our customers we're gonna be doing right now? Because the pandemic we need to make sure we keep making making that dollar. So that has to be on point. We're gonna be taking a look at it. Make sure digital is this and this and this and whatever. And it's not wrong. It's it's critical. Just as critical, though, is making sure that that employee experience is nailed down with Justus. Much specificity, right? What are all those? Touchpoints? What are all those portions of those journeys? What are all the stopgaps? What are all the things that they're? They're happening there mapping that out in the exact same way. So when that happens, those folks you can expect you can expect one or two things, right? Because if they are ignored, you would...

...expect a fall off on the customer or the member side from members working toward like that. Well, imagine what is happening right now on employee side especially given what 2020 is. It's gonna be magnifying that thing. So then it becomes you will see that folks who have been doing the hard work on the culture employees and experienced side prior to 2020 have employees who are locked in adapting their autonomous and they're pushing forward. Whereas others now they're having to figure it out on the fly. And you have folks who are just internally wired that way, then they're able to push through others. Now we're having to figure out Oh my gosh, how do we help these folks along? And it's been, you know, a significantly more difficult struggle. Yeah, that's why I think of the formulaic approach of a Q plus e que, particularly in the age of AI, is gonna be far greater than I. Q. Because I look at Cove, it is. This is just the preview. This is just the things have yet to come of all of the massive changes that we're going to live through, an experience both at a macro and the micro level, and as leaders, I think we need to create an environment where people feel safe. We need to empower them to educate, to provide clarity into what that role transformation might be for them. Because otherwise to your point and and maybe you could impact a little bit further. A lot of talk has been made over the past. I would say 2 to 3 years around. C X customer experience. That's great. That's fine. That's dandy. But I'm predicting in 2021 going into 2023 2024. I think E X is going to be the next big thing that we start focusing on at organizations because E x informs the C X and I got another model. But I wanna how do those two play hand in hand together? Well, who's providing the C X right or who's designing the U X? It's one of those things that I'm. This is where I get in a little bit of trouble because some people don't know me as well. I'm saying some of this with tongue firmly planted in cheek. So please, please don't misunderstand the tone. But like who do we suspect is providing the customer and or member service? Who do we suspect is trying to design the user experience? If we're starting to get into the world of, you know, into the digital space with APS and the website on the Web design and all that stuff. These are still human beings. So the degree to which we invest in those humans and invest in understanding how humans work and consumer psych and all that stuff. That's the degree to which we will get the member experience right or the customer experience, right? We can do all the maps we want to, but if we don't understand the humans who are navigating those things, we're done like we won't get it. We'll build these pretty little things, but it just won't matter because you'll have miserable people trying to navigate them. They won't perform as well. Technology has transformed our world, and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have thio because James Robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey. Visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book, Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy right Now for you and your team from Amazon.

Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show. Things might sound a little paradoxical, but I've never said this before, but the thought just came to me. Do it. A competitive advantage for a financial brand or any brand, for that matter, in the world of Ai automation is to double down and invest mawr in your people, whether that be through training and education, to provide clarity in the unknown so that that they can overcome those fears or to provide some hope as well to up skill them and just to say, Hey, you know what? Just because automation and AI is coming on the scene doesn't mean that you're irrelevant. It actually probably means you're even 10 times more relevant because we're gonna use automation and AI to take away the mundane task that you're having to do day in and day out so that you can spend more time creating more value for even more people. Oh, you're 1000% right. People who are adaptable, who can look at situations with a member or a customer and actually possess the ability to on the spot, be creative in a real way with what they see on that screen and be analytical and put together. Solutions from disparate sources actually possess that ability because they've been in a culture that is a safe space to try things like that, not get pummeled over the head because they didn't take the cookie cutter solution that's always been presented. That's where you see the real impact of it, because that creates revenue over and over and over again. But that doesn't happen on accident. That is an intentional context that's been created for those people in intentional experience and culture. That is a sustainable competitive advantage over time. That's a big, big deal, but it's also very rare. Well, I can't help but just think you said something that was key give. Our people are, and particularly those on the frontline, whether the front line and I think the idea of the front line has to transform beyond that someone at the in the branch. No, that could also be a digital cells person, a digital service person. But the context of how they're delivering that sells or service experience is gonna be vastly different than doing it in a face to face context. So when you think about giving someone empowering them to make those on the on the spot decisions, I cannot help but think. And the world lost a great mind way too early. Tony Shea, who was the CEO of Zappos for the longest time. And, you know, it was all about humanizing, really. I mean, he was so far ahead he was humanizing the digital experience before, like, that was even a thought with the whole perspective of, and there was a video that had shared recently where he talked about if we could get someone on the phone or toe, help them just not to sell them, but to help them, And if we can help them we're gonna find other places that can help them. We have a higher propensity. And he gave a certain percentage. It was pretty high of converting them. If not now, then down the road. Is this kind of what you're thinking here? Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I was Who was I talking? Thio, I alluded to him is Well, when that that example, Man, I'm stumbling over everything here. I'm having a very human moment where he was talking about the example with the call center and how some of their metrics are so wonky when put next to everyone else is. But one of the things they brag about is...

...they have They look a call times entirely differently, right? It's not so much. Hey, we need to We need to keep those call times down so we can plow through as many people as possible. It's what did you do on that call? And they have, like, this Hall of fame where that one you know, one of those calls was 77 hours. Yeah, and but it was because they want to talk about everything, ordered that person pizza on the other line and whatever else and it's just an entirely different way of looking at it. But it's an entirely human way because it's all about that interaction building that relationship. I can't imagine what would happen if someone stayed in the lobby with a member. The same one for that long can. I mean, seriously, can you imagine what would happen? You know? Yeah, You know, as you're talking through that and this is a question for the dear listener. But when was the last time? And maybe, you know, if you're not in this direct role, you might need to go talk to someone else. When was the last time that you just had a conversation with one of your account holders Are perspective account holder, just to ask them how they want to grow. And and this is something that we teach around. But it's it's one of their goals. One of the roadblocks where the opportunities and just listen. I just had J Paultre on a couple episodes before, as we ended 2020 and he was talking about this idea of relationship and the need to just ask good questions, keep our mouths closed, and then listen. What are you seeing through the work that you're doing around that is there. Is there movement in that direction of asking good questions, listening and then to your point coming back and then taking action and providing guidance off of those insights? You know it candidly. It's it's really it's hit and miss My team gives me a playful hard time because and I and I deserve it and 10 times more, to be sure, because I am an oddball, proudly an oddball, with with certain things. But I believe in questions I really do that the Socratic method questions are so, so powerful and listening, of course, to the answers. But think about the potency behind pointed, specific questions like Do we know really? Really? Do we know what we want from members? What we want them to feel, think and do at all these points throughout the process of them interacting with us. But But really, can we answer that question like what we want them to feel, think and do when they first interact with us on the phone? Do we know that? Do we know what those gaps are? Do we know what they're probably feeling versus what we want them to. What's the gap? What? What that we do could bridge that gap. Do we have specific conversations like that? Are we gathering that data from them or we conducting ethnographic research? Usually, we just kind of assume we want them to feel good. What does that mean, Right? I have no clue. And it comes back to what you said before when to take this conversation. Almost full circle now is the difference between employees experience versus employee engagement. And you said, Well, you ask 18 people, you're gonna get 18. I think, particularly at an institution, there has to be a unified definition. That's one of the reasons, like the way we have a definition for digital growth. We have a definition for experience experience being nothing more than well defined systems and processes that have been defined, applied optimize over a period of time, resulting in one of two things. A positive emotion or negative emotion. And I love your question, which asked, How do you what people toe to think, to feel to do to answer that question, particularly from that of the lens of a financial brand leader,...

...whether they're being marketing sells the leadership team. We have to escape our own doing to create space and time to stop pause, review, reflect toe, learn to think to then apply that thinking to do even better, and then create that space and time to do it again. Because otherwise I see a lot of financial brands. They just get in that doing mode and we just keep where we I think it's a maybe you even use this word before it's intentionality. Yeah, it takes It takes constant humility and organizational self awareness. Mm. And this constant like organizational stance of we're never going to be there were always gonna be learning. We're always gonna be listening. We're always gonna be humble enough to say we want to just keep tweaking, keep learning. And every once in while, it's gonna take, like a violent adjustment when we discover Oh, man, this is a gaping hole we have here. Yeah, sometimes will be the student and sometimes will be the guide or the teacher. But I think we have to commit to playing both roles on the journeys that we're all taking as an individual, as a team, as an organization, because transformation of any type. Whether it be personally, professionally, digitally doesn't matter always begins with some type of training education to provide awareness and clarity into the unknown to help the unaware become aware of what those opportunities are to begin with in the first place. And and it's been such a great conversation. I wanna look ahead with you into this year of 2021. And what is If we could just focus in on one specific action item recommendation that you could give to financial brand marketing cells and leadership teams if they could just focus on one thing in 2021 to make this year even that much better? What would that one piece of advice be from you? I think it would be, too. Keep that same, that same urgency that we've had this year to look at everything, every possible way that we can grow and adapt and keep pressing forward with ways Thio to serve the people that were to serve that same level of urgency and passion and excitement that we had over these past several months to make that who we are now because that has produced something inside teams and groups and organizations that that we've not seen before and some speed and some agility that a lot of folks, I don't think, knew that they actually had. But it's been in there the whole time. That potential has been in there the whole time, so I'd love to see that continue. If I could frame that up, it would be Don't fall back on getting comfortable. Don't get comfortable being I should I say Don't get comfortable being uncomfortable because if you get comfortable, then you get strapped in the cave of complacency and you can look around at all the different corpses there from brands that we know in love, Blockbuster and Borders and Kodak. And the list goes on and on that have come out of this, this retail apocalypse that I think 2020 caught a lot of people. We all knew it was coming. We just didn't know it was gonna hit so hard and so fast and so talking with you today. I'm excited, encouraged and inspired about, you know, the months and years to come because I see the future is still brighten and I do Thank you for joining me for this conversation. If absolutely. If anyone wants toe to continue this conversation with you, what's the best way for them to connect and say hello? I'm on Social Media Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or Matt at mark arnold dot com. That's it, Matt at mark arnold dot com. Connect with Matt. Say hello to Matt. Learn from Matt, just as we all have today.

Thank you, Matt. As always. And until next time be well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like what you hear. Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even. Mawr Practical and proven Insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Banking on Digital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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