Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

82) #ExponentialInsights: Financial Calculators: Essential Tools, Not Just a Box to Check ft. Chase Neinken and Matthew Covi

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Every day, some 2 million people search online for financial calculators.

These tools unlock enormous potential for marketing, data and personalization.

So, why are they so often seen as a mere box to check?

Chase Neinken, Co-founder and CRO and Matthew Covi, Co-founder and CEO at Signal Intent, see financial calculators differently. They joined me in the latest episode to explain why financial calculators should play a key role in any successful marketing strategy.

What we talked about:

- The power of financial calculators (and why most financial brands aren’t harnessing them fully)

- How financial calculators can unlock first-party data and prepare you for the coming cookie-pocalypse

- The trouble with building calculators in-house

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

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.
 

...the Amazons and the Netflix of the world have changed expectations, and so things have to work. But they have to work fast. They have to be easy to use. They have to be simple to understand and connected to all the other systems. So what we're headed is the convenience. Sarah. People need things to work. They need to be connected, and they're willing to sacrifice their data in some of their privacy to make it happen in a personalized way. Mhm. 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 series, where James Robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders, sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show Greetings and hello, I am James Robert Ley and welcome to the 82nd episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the Exponential Insight series, and I'm excited to welcome Chase Nikon and Matthew Cov to the show chasing matter. Co founders of signal intent with a very simple mission. Really a very important mission which is to build the next generation of financial calculators. And I look forward to getting into why this is important with you guys today. Welcome to the show, guys. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us on. Absolutely. You know, when we get started with this conversation, I'm curious to know what is one thing right now you're working on when it comes to fulfilling this mission of simplifying and building the next generation of financial calculators. What's one thing you're working on right now that you're really excited about? Yeah. So I think, you know, we're really bullish on what we're calling the connected calculator.

So throughout history, calculators have kind of sat in isolation. May be buried on a resource page. We're trying to figure out how can we extend that journey? How can we make the calculator actually connected to your ecosystem? So with that, we're launching a calculator. Answer. Would you? And that's going to essentially provide a new implementation. Right? So you know what a chat bot is in a website like intercom or hubspot, for example, it's going to give that capability to banks to essentially target, Let's say, a mortgage calculator on all of their mortgage articles. So it's really just rethinking the implementation and how you can roll it out. So it's not just kind of buried in one place, but it actually connects the journey so your customers can engage with it from the first session, too. Converting into the application man, that's fascinating. And I think it's really smart because it's really it becomes more of conversational marketing. There was a question that I had actually from a financial brand I'm advising. And they were. They were curious. Like, how do we connect and bridge the human experience with the digital experience and some concerns, And and rightfully so? And I paused and I reflected on that. And then I asked, you know the answer. Their question with another question said, What's the very first thing that would happen to me if I were to walk into one of your physical branches? And she kind of chuckle and laugh? She was like, Well, it's been about a year that since that's happened, so there's a bit of an irony in that and I think I think she saw that. I said, Okay, find prick over what would have happened, she said. We would have greeted you by name, and we would have asked you how we could help you. And I like this idea of what you're talking about, because it's it's really just asking questions. If I'm not mistaken, is that correct? That's it, you know, all handed over to chase to talk about the content side. But you know, when you have an article and it's it's...

...answering one specific question about a mortgage, put the decision tool at that point of research. I think too often we see banks that the calculator just not part of the journey, and our objective is connecting that journey and making sure there's answers at your fingertips wherever you are. I want to talk about that, you know? Why is it why is it that calculators there often one of the last things financial brand marketers think about when it comes to this growth strategy because even though like 90% of banking websites have calculators, it's there. Just this forgotten utility gets thrown in some random corner of the website, some random corner of the Internet that never really sees any traffic or the light of day. Why has this been the case? Historically, Yeah, it's a great question. And I think outside of calculator is one of the things that we've realized in seeing firsthand is that the number one reason why companies and marketers don't like working with technology vendors is because they don't believe that vendors understand their challenges or they understand their problems. And the reality is, in most cases, they're not wrong, Right? We have conversations with marketers every day who are looking for new ways to win customers. New ways to provide interactive and personalized experiences at scale and calculators are essentially sitting in the land that time forgot. Right your point. They represent an incredible opportunity just hiding in plain sight. And the reason why that happened is because I think there are a few different eras of digital marketing across the financial services landscape. And years ago it was really what I like to call the functional era. So this is when everyone launched the websites. They needed tools that just worked. They didn't care about the UX, the UI, the customer journey, the customer experience. They needed a website. Maybe they needed a social media profile. But it was all about function, not quite about form. And then recently we've been in sort of what we like to call the Amazon era right. Banks and...

...credit unions are no longer competing with other banks and credit unions for customers' attention, and their expectations have shifted. Right. Marketers are competing with Finn, Tex and Nerdwallet and Bankrate, and you know, the Amazons and the Netflix of the world have changed expectations, and so things have to work. But they have to work fast. They have to be easy to use. They have to be simple to understand and connected to all the other systems. So where we're headed is the convenience. Sarah. People need things to work. They need to be connected, and they're willing to sacrifice their data in some of their privacy to make it happen in a personalized way. So calculators are notoriously difficult to build, especially when you think about the volume and over time that's caused them to continuously lose their seat at the table. So with no innovation that hasn't gotten any easier for them to build and so most banks haven't developed a strategy around them, and we believe the time has come now to provide personalized answers at scale. And calculators are something that nine out of 10 people have. So let's make the opportunity of reality. I like what you just said provide personalized answers at scale, and that's the outcome of a calculator. And it really fits so well with the mantra. We teach help first, sell second and you're right. Let's go back to the land of Lost time. You know that idea of just functionality gets something out. We weren't thinking about the UI, the u X. If there's one lesson that I could, you know, encourage the dear listener to take away from this conversation of the costs of poor UI and UX, just go Google the lesson that Citibank learned when they got a $500 million lesson from an error in the UI and UX of not an external facing system but an internal phasing system that caused caused some confusion which ultimately led to this massive costs. So when we think about...

...this massive cost of of poor you, I pour you x particular when it comes to financial calculators. What are some of those opportunities to transform the what we call the lowly calculator into what I see is the biggest one of the biggest opportunities for for a legion engine for financial brands. Yeah, So I think, you know, we're thinking about this in a couple different ways, and I think Chase kind of spoke to the technology, right? If it doesn't evolve, if it doesn't innovate, people don't care and it just loses its seat at the table. It's not part of the strategy. So I think you know, the first perception we're trying to shift is that in order to work, they have to be part of your strategy, right? If they just sit there and hiding in plain sight, it's not gonna work out. You need to run campaigns to them. You need to think about the journey and how they're going to play that role. But I really think, you know, and other than the journey, I think the next place that we've seen the biggest miss for banks is the ability to capture data, right? So we're already capturing millions of data points every month on what consumers are looking for right and you hear about the end of the third party cookie and ad blockers. Kind of making adds much more difficult, but we really see this as a huge play to get first party data where now you have a lens in your customer's mind, like what are they looking for? How can you connect that data to your CRM? How can you connect it to other decision making personalized the website based on that? So just the amount of data that were already capturing We see this really is the future for us. You know one good example that we always talk about a smart asset. So smart Outset has built their brand around calculators, right? They built calculators to get people in the door. They get more traffic, they built a great experience. They're capturing all that data. They're building a profile around you, and at the end of the day, they're selling that lead back to the bank. Right, so...

...we're kind of trying to fill that gap. So how do we build that system for a bank where it's more traffic, more data? And then, as a result of that data, it's a more personalized, more connected experience about that consumer has you bring up a really good point, the coming cookie Apocalypse, where third party cookies are going to go away. It's going to transform the digital ad game, so that then leaves us a few opportunities. And first party data is going to be really, really critical. And it might be unidentified first party data, but you have intent. You have intent data that you could then go and use to repurpose re serve content. And if the cookie apocalypse is going to come and ad blockers, another area of growth and really fits nicely with calculators is what are people searching for in the first place. So without getting too technical for the dear listener, what's the problem with the vast majority of financial brand calculator implementations? And how might they negatively be impacting seo or search engine optimization? Because is this what people are searching for to begin with to gain that personalized insight framed her on their unique situation? Yeah, I mean, I spent about 10 years in in the S e o realm, so this has been, uh, calculators. We know a huge opportunity. About two million people every day search for some form of financial calculator. They're looking for answers around financial questions and final financial decisions. They have to make really the two things that we've seen. And this was a lot of the basis of how we built the initial product was the use of I frames. So we know I frames and Google do not get along. Google essentially sees just a gap in your website, right? They don't know it's there. So we see a lot of competitors that have strictly used I frames, and as a result, we really haven't seen...

...those clients of theirs performed from national perspective. So that's a huge missed opportunity. The other opportunity that we've seen kind of, you know, not capitalized on is duplicate content, right? So there's There's a few providers that are just just about everywhere on financial website site, say, thousands of sites. But if that content is exactly the same across those websites, you're not going to stand out for Google. For ASIO being unique, having content that's unique to your brand, this is what we're trying to push right? I think s a is a huge way to get people in the door and give you more access points for people to get on the website. So with our product, we've really made a focus. JavaScript implementation all of that content index able and then making all of the calculator copy customizable right so you can stand out. You can make it your own. It's not going to be the same thing that's on 1000 other websites. It's really you know, we give you the tools to make that your own version of that calculator. I really think that those are probably the two biggest things that we've seen just from an issue standpoint that really cut off that opportunity for a lot of brands. Yeah, and and and coming back to SC. Oh, you know, a lot of there's been a lot of talk about content and content marketing calculators. I see a play into this content marketing strategy. You mentioned the article and then serving up this proactive experience, and that's a key that's that. That just that one word being proactive in a consumers buying journey not reacted. That's a whole cultural transformation. I'm seeing financial brands and really, that's where I've been guiding financial brands to transform their thinking. It's like we can lean into a person's buying journey. I always talk about my. One of my very first job was working at Old Navy when Old Navy came into Houston, and it's a great experience. It was the second round of hires. Our store grew into the number one selling Old Navy in the entire country for three years in a row. We had the best cells training. It was so...

...simple when someone walked through the door of Old Navy. You got your little blue bag and you walked up and you're greeted them. How can I help you? And you'd offer to walk them around the store, literally personal shopping back in the day, and we went and took that training to other old Navy's as they open. That same idea can can be used with a calculator, right? That's that is like probably one of the most important tools, because when you think about content, you've got articles. Pretty passive requires a lot of mental thinking to process that you've got video, maybe a little bit more engaging. But the calculator it's interactive, sticky. Can you compare and contrast some of this thinking and where calculators fit into a larger content marketing strategy as a whole. Yeah, absolutely. I can take that one. So when you think about the customer journey, it's really just a series of questions that need to be answered, right? And so that plugs directly into the customer experience, which is something that is really the total sum of every touch point someone has with their brand, right? And so when you think about content marketing, which is where you spent the last decade is, folks are trying to create content that establishes a connection, right? And when you think about an asset, an asset is typically something that you own that accrues value over time. So calculators provide answers to many different people in a single tool. So think about the 25 year old that's looking for their first mortgage or the 60 year old that's looking to refinance. If you had an unlimited budget, you could create articles to all of these different people with very, very unique financial situations and instances. But the issue is you don't have an unlimited budget, and content marketing is really difficult to do at scale, but the opportunity that calculator presents is that you cannot provide answers to thousands of different people every single day tailored to their unique situation. And you do that...

...in one tool and a rule of thumb I always like to recommend is that the amount of time and energy you spend creating a piece of content should be directly proportionate to the value that those people get out of that piece of content. So a white paper should be really valuable in terms of the lead generation and the amount of time that someone spends with it. But as an industry, we sort of got caught up in this old adage, and a term that we sort of like to use as an industry is we're still stuck in this era. Where we're thinking of marketing is old white papers for old white people, and there's a better way for us to think about interactive experiences that we can provide that will be valuable to thousands of people at scale. In one tool 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 to 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. You're talking about this idea of cost investment value creation. I want to put my CEO hat on here for a moment because I I connect with you. I...

I see what you're saying. But why can't I just build these myself? I mean, it's a calculator. How hard could it be? Right? It's I can just hire a Web team. Can't they do it? And my flawed in that thinking? Is it too complex? Yeah, it's It's a common question, right? And the and the short answer, Why can't you get yourself? Is cost not just overall cost but opportunity. Cost Engineering, a highly technical product requires dozens, potentially hundreds of hours of development tinkering with complex financial formulas, a deep knowledge and skill set in UX design and a whole lot of patients. I like to say, if you're gonna buy it, if you're going to try to build your own financial calculator, you need two things deep pockets and a sense of humor. As the project owner, right, you're not only spending countless hours organizing this project, working with your design and development firm, doing the QA and testing, but you need to factor in the overall project and development costs. But then again, the opportunity and the strategy cost. What else could you be working on as a marketer that is going to allow you to see even greater results from project managing a build and the truth is, building financial calculators and complex technology is expensive. It's expensive for whoever does it. But technology vendors like signal intent were able to gain efficiencies because we can do this across a wide customer base and because we only focus on calculators were able to offset the expensive engineering design and maintenance costs, and we pass all those on to our customers. So although even the biggest and fastest organizations struggle to build them, it really can really creates an opportunity of what else you can look towards, what else you can focus on and how much more you can be doing for your business, where you let experts build the technology. That's complicated. I think what you just said and I really cute in on more than anything was your...

...doing this at scale, and you're learning across the patterns of millions and millions of interactions to where, if a financial brand were to build this internally, they're losing that knowledge. And when you look at digital growth, it's it's really at the center of marketing and sales activities technology being on the Western front because it's the Wild West. But where we forget about a lot of this, it's human behavior, it's studying, and it's making these micro iterations that can only come from a study at scale. So a follow up to this, if we're talking about costs, is and it's really what I see is the billion dollar question. How much are poorly designed, poorly implemented into this point? Right here. Poorly optimized calculators costing financial brands today? Yeah, it really is the billion dollar question or the tens of million dollar question. Right? So we like to think about it this way, Whether it's auto loans and credit union mortgages, credit or savings account. The number one challenge that financial institutions today face is getting more qualified prospects to your site and finding ways to convert them to open accounts or applications. And we've seen calculators at north of 100 applications a month with really basic updates. So when it comes to the numbers, Jim Travel, I'll ask you as the expert, What would 100 applications a month for a mortgage for a bank or credit union do for most marketers when they go in to talk with their boss? Well, I mean, like, let's play a game. So I get 100 extra mortgage applications and that's converted, and so I'm just gonna put a value. Let's just say low end, 3000 higher end 5000. And obviously this is going to differ...

...between region. So I'm getting an extra 3000 to potentially $500,000 worth of net interest income from this calculator. This optimized calculator experience that to me, and then you multiply that out over 12. Well, that's that's over half a million dollars in lost opportunity because of a poorly designed calculator experience that is living like it's 1999. And when you can make these micro updates and optimizations, you will see and we see it from like when we conduct digital secret shopping studies. One of the very first things people want to know is that calculator question, and they want to frame that around their unique situation because it provides objective insight without having to call anyone. And that objective insight helps to build their level of courage, to commit to then move forward to the next step on that journey with confidence. I want to ask, you know what is one thing? One very specific recommendation Small behavior change, small small wind that you could recommend to financial brands when it comes to their thinking about the financial calculator as probably one of the biggest opportunities for digital growth within the months and really kind of I see even the years to come as digital shopping behavior is just going to continue to increase over time. What's one action item recommendation you can make? Yeah, I can definitely chime in on that. I want to go back really quick to the build verse by, and this is not me speaking as the co founder of Signal Intent. But my recommendation, if I were running a team, is take the time back. There's so many little things you don't think about it. I was on a pretty large regional bank site the other day, and the the default mortgage rate was 5.5%.

All I did is I changed it to their current offer, and the home affordability went up from, I think, like $300,000 to about $500,000. So when you think about all the things that go and do we think about things big and small, these little things they actually make a big difference, and my one recommendation is to try to think you're going to have a team thinking about all these different components and make them work in concert. It's just a It's a big challenge. So just have to say that going back on the building for Spike on them. But that's a great example. And once again, that's another hidden cost. I don't think that we think about because if if the default mortgage rate on the calculator is showing 5.5 6% and it hasn't been changed in years since it was installed and it's not being optimized or updated in real time, or at least monthly, you know, there's so many ways you can look at that and we know where the where the rates are today. That gives me, like, Why would I want? And as a consumer, I'm not thinking about that because I'm not aware and I just see I'm shopping, not necessarily rate. I'm shopping monthly payment, and I'm like $2000 a month. Why would I do that? Whenever I can go to, I go to Google and I'm getting like five offers with their calculator, and it's showing me 12 50 a month because it's the real time rate. That's a really good point right there. Small thing that's so easy to overlook but actually has major and massive cost to not only the prospective account holder, but more so the financial brand. So what would that one thing be getting really, really practical? Is it just going in and doing an audit? What would you recommend? Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, this is something that we're trying to do every day, and this isn't maybe a micro thing. But it is one...

...thing, I think, shifting the perception about what calculators can actually do for your business and really simply maybe that first step is, let's think about our digital strategy and how these play a role. I think we've kind of We've talked about it a lot, but people think of them as a check of the box. If they just sit there, that's fine as long as we have them. But if you shift that perception just a little bit to say, Well, how can these actually play a key role in our strategy? How can we help our consumers make faster decisions? How can we answer their questions in a dynamic way? It's one thing But, you know, I think there's gonna be a cascading effect of people's perception of how they can play a role in the consumer journey. And then ultimately, like I said, we see ourselves as a data company. The amount of data we're capturing is massive. So one simple thing. I think we'll kind of set folks down this path of How do we change the perception of what these tools can actually do for our brand, for our data, for our customers and really bring it all together? Let me provide some perspective to that idea of of the transformation of perception, because when we lack of clarity, clarity, we just simply don't know what we don't know. And there's no harm. No foul in that is that's just the reality of what we're seeing in this digital space. Take the calculator and there's so many ways that this could be deployed beyond just being a little text hyperlink off of a product page. We integrate that into the rate shopping experience. We can integrate that into the product page. So, for example, step one you know, you compare the rates step to you. Calculate the payment. Step three What documentation do you need? Step four apply Going back to the mortgage. Example. Someone hits the website. There's the articles. You know that the S e o. Strategy. That organic seo strategy tying that calculator experience proactive insights around that product. Someone downloads, for...

...example, a mortgage buying guide or an auto buying guide. And then you can use that calculator is part of a automation nurture workflow series to where, you know, as that person's knowledge increases well, the next thing is run the numbers and you can keep coming back to you know, I feel confident about your next steps. Run the numbers and if you have questions, let's talk about that. So those are just, I think, very practical ways of looking at the calculators. A multi multifunctional, proactive, insight driven, data driven solution that creates value first and foremost for perspective, account holders and account holders. And as a result, it will create value for the financial brands, increasing the confidence of these people. Chase Matt. This has been a fantastic conversation, really appreciate the knowledge and the insights that I appreciate the work that you're doing the mission once again, you know, very, very important, which is to build the next general financial calculators to continue to empower these financial brands. If anyone wants to continue to continue the conversation in the discussion with with you, what's the best way for them to reach out and connect to say hello? Yeah, so you can come straight to our website signal intent dot com. There's plenty of opportunities there to just schedule a demo or even start a free trial. And one of the things we realized that we wanted to do is we aim to democratize. The financial calculator is that we hear from every person that seems to have been in the industry for a while, that financial calculators need to be difficult for whatever reason, they seem that they are requirement that they're difficult. And so we say, Look, we've made it really easy. We've made it easy for you to launch. We've made it easy for you to customize and get on your site. So we took it in the next step, which is giving a free trial right and have an opportunity for folks to get in and see for themselves and customize a calculator. Put your own colors on there. Put your own CTS on there and imagine what that could look like in...

...your own environment. And so we give that opportunity for you to not only go and do that with self service, but then schedule the demo and we're happy to obviously walk you through that process as well. Chase. That's excellent. I love that democratizing the calculator. Great job. Keep up the important work. Keep up the meaningful work and thank you so much for joining me on another episode of banking on digital growth. Appreciate all the good work you're doing. We love listening, and we're big fans. So absolutely thanks a lot, 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 podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there. To get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts 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 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.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (195)