Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

54) #DigitalGrowthJourneys: Leaving the Cave of Complacency w/ Kara Yaquinta

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We saw five years of progress during the last eight months of 2020 as an industry. We didn't mean to, but it happened anyway. What do you need to make that kind of progress in your own personal digital journey?

On this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I chatted with Kara Yaquinta, content strategist at Tropical Financial Credit Union. We discussed her remarkable digital journey and how she's helping lead her institution forward.

Kara and I talk about:

  • Getting the right message to the right people at the right time
  • Why financial coaching is the next big thing for brands
  • The role culture plays on the digital growth journey

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

How can you be a leader of a digital, especially a digital first community? When you don't understand the first thing about humans? You're listening to Banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley Ah, 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 digital growth Journeys Siri's, where James Robert uncovers and Explorers some of the industry's biggest digital marketing and sales stories of success. Let's get into the show Greetings in Hello, I Am James Robert Ley and Welcome to the 54th episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the digital growth journey. Siri's and I'm Excited to welcome Keira Iaquinta to the show. Care is the content strategist at Tropical Financial, and she really has such a great story to tell one that I know will inspire you, just as it has inspired me because I personally have watched care agro quarter after quarter year after year, as she has been a member in the digital growth program for the past. It was three years now. Is that right? Cara. Yes, a little over three years time has flown. So thank you so much for joining me today. No, no, no, no. Thank you for having it feels so good to be a guest on someone's podcast. Absolutely. When you when you reflect back on this great century of 2020 and you look ahead into 2021 what are you most excited about? And energize when you think about just the the progress that you've made along your own journey over the last three years? I think what I'm most excited about is that I feel like Okay, so we have all been at home for I mean, at this point, it's December. So what about nine, 8, 10 months somewhere in there. So we've all had to really rely now on digital communication more than we have in the past. And to be honest, I feel like that's here to stay. So the excited part of that is I'm excited to bring new tactics, and I'm excited to keep seeing where it can go, because, of course, everything grows. Everything continues. Nothing just stops. So I am really I'm intrigued to see how this digital first play kind of keeps evolving exactly. And it's one that, you know, we've seen five years of progress in about eight months, 9, 10 months of time. And when we look back, it is it really is to see how fast this this has has evolved. And when you look back on your own journey, what have been some of the biggest roadblocks,...

...the challenges that you've had to be aware of you've had to overcome to move forward and make progress along just your own digital growth journey. Specifically, when it comes to, say, content and content marketing, Um oh, that's a kind of a loaded question, but I would say a couple of the biggest challenges. Of course, there's always going to be buying that. I feel like that's always going to be a challenge. If you're not in something that it's solely based on technology, of course, e think. Another challenge is there's always something new, and what I mean by something new is there's always a new rule. There's always a new thing to go by, so you really have to do your best on keeping a steady mind and keeping up with the industry because if you're not one day you could be doing something and then to the next it's totally it's irrelevant. So I think that has been a challenge, especially when you get wrapped up in everything on your day to day basis. So you kind of have to be smart about how you spend your time and how you learn things and where you get your information from. And then sometimes I think another E guess challenges sometimes yourself, because you get stuck in doing things your way. And I think the roadblock there is getting out of your comfort zone. I think that's a roadblock for a lot of people. And the one thing last year it was a turning point is I read that book of Who Moved My Cheese and now every time I noticed myself reverting back to old ways. I always sit there, and I think about that book and which mouse I wanna be. It's a great it's a great book. It's a great great analogy, great story, great narrative, and I want to talk about that because I think you're hitting on something that's very key right now, when we look at this idea and the journey of digital growth and some of the changes that must happen as an individual. And it's not just the individual than it's the team, and and teams make up the organization, which are made up of teams which are made of individual. So it's transformation happening at all different scales, and and we're taking this journey in all different speeds for you personally. When you look at your own personal growth in your own personal transformations, you've had to maximize digital growth. How have you continue to move forward so that you don't get stuck in what I call the cave of Complacency? Oh, first hand, you you've experienced this with me. I have really just had to take a look at myself and my working style. I think the most I've learned, where am I most effective and where am I not so that I know at the...

...time that I'm not most effective. What can I dio Thio fix those alleviate those issues because it all does come down to the wire of like, for example, your day I do content do social media at U. S. C. O. And all those things do interlock with each other. But sometimes there's technical portions. Sometimes there's creative portions. So it's where can you maximize your time so that it's best spent in creating something special for the consumer? Mhm. Yeah, you know, there's there's really three ways toe Look at your days, for if you had the bonus you've you've got your what? What I call your growth days and those were the days where you dive deep. You get deep work done, great book, by the way that I highly recommend. Then, leading up to that, you have what are called your bumper days, meaning that that's where you should be taking your your meetings and your calls and answering emails because I think so much of time gets garbled in the middle. And these were some lessons that I learned from from Dan Sullivan when when he was talking about the entrepreneurial time system, and I'm looking at this from or of, ah, of a digital growth time system. And then we look at we have our me days, and these were the days that they should just be for us, because I think in this digital world, it's so easy to be on 24 7 and we're gonna come back to the point here in a moment. But me days, bumper days, growth days, it all comes down to intentionality, right? And when you think about this idea of growth on the flip side of the spectrum in, in in, in addition to the roadblocks that you've had toe be aware of and overcome what have been some of the opportunities, the winds that you've experienced along the way, there have been a lot of opportunities that have come into play with just reorganizing the way that I do things. One of the biggest ways that we've grown digitally is we have really capitalized on maximized on personalization and our audiences and getting the right information to the right people. So a lot of that has come through the form of retargeting. It's come through the form of of using audiences to the best their capabilities. So, like we use a I, of course, and that has really helped us be able to create content that is more purposeful. And that means more to people because before you know, you would just put out a piece of content. But now we're able to put out a piece of content that is curated. Teoh. A certain person. Yeah, and I want to...

...talk about that idea on two sides. One. You talked about getting the right message to the right people at the right time. And then you also talked about this idea of being more purposeful with your content. So first, let's talk about right message right time because I know that that has been a really big recent win for you because it's all about what value are we creating through our content? Can we prove that value? Can we show that value? Can we quantify that value? And one of the very simple winds that you were able to deploy was, to your point, retargeting retargeting people who have started an application or who have taken some type of behavior. And it wasn't it wasn't massive change. It wasn't massive transformation. It was a little win that led to massive results, right? Honestly, yes, and I so back thio kind of the roadblocks. I'm was hesitant. For whatever reason. Teoh do that for a long time. But when I I took myself out of the box and I took myself out of the comfort zone. And I figured, you know, this is another way to capitalize on opportunities. We did it and it worked. And it works so well that now we're moving on and we're doing it in other areas. And we're now doing it for more than just one thing, though it's not just okay. We see people have interacted and let's just do this. It's we've seen people have interacted. So let's do this. Oh, but we've also seen they've interacted and they don't have this. So let's go here. So it kind of takes a puzzle and it's putting the pieces together to really form something that is a whole yeah, and this is really where the idea of digital consumer journey mapping comes into play and one of the key elements to make digital consumer journey mapping successful requires content, but also the context of that content in the different stages of their buying journey, which you said AI and AI, informing personas and personas are allowing you to be more purposeful with your content. I wanna come back to this idea of purpose because I believe that purpose is really the foundation for any financial brands future digital growth to maximize their digital growth potential purpose provides guidance that provides direction. It provides inspiration both for internal and external stakeholders. And when we think about this idea of purpose, what's your bigger purpose? And what's the bigger purpose that you're working towards as an organization? The bigger purpose being a financial institution and that we cater to everybody is honestly just creating a peaceful and successful financial...

...future for people. Too many people get caught up in the stigma of it's not okay to talk about finances. And for the better part of three years I have spent talking about finances and to be honest, talking about them has made them so much better than they were for myself personally. So it's kind of like when you go to a therapist and you're like, I don't want to speak to a therapist like who are they to tell me what to do with my life? Well, when they've been through it and they've also gone through that and they've had certain trainings. Yes, it does make a difference in being able to rely on that person for advice, for tips for tricks, So I will say that that in a in a nutshell has honestly really helped. And it's made so much of the difference, seeing that bigger purpose come through all areas within our financial institution. I think as an industry we've gone from, you know, putting the need and the highlight financial education or financial literacy, which I just I abhor that word financial literacy. Because you're basically saying that, Well, you're illiterate in this particular area. So my next big thing that I'm seeing is it zits, not financial education. I even advocacy ITT's financial empowerment, its financial coaching, its financial well being, which I know you guys are really committed to with the get beyond money program. And that's something that you piloted. But it's becoming a much larger part of the organization is becoming a much larger part of the of the brand, for that matter. Can you speak to that for a moment? Yes, The first thing that I want to say about it is it's who we are. It's so much more, though, than who we are. It's our community, were based in South Florida and south Florida. They're not a financial financial literate, and put that in quotations. The type of people they don't want to sit down. They don't want to talk like they don't wanna talk about it. They don't. They want to do what they want to do. And they want to know quick winds, which is totally fine because the whole purpose is we're not going to judge you, Thio be where you wanna be. It's about financial empowerment. So whatever it is that you want to do, we wanna help you get there. We wanna help you get beyond stress. We wanna help you get beyond whatever it is that's keeping you from getting there and help you achieve your goals. Everyone's goals are different. Everyone's what everyone does with their money is different. But at the end of the day, it's we wanna be able to give you confidence and security in what you want to dio. I wanna I wanna dive into this perspective because it's one that I think we need to be having a lot more conversations around as organizations, really, as a culture to it was something that been shopping and...

I were talking about. Ben is the founder and CEO at startup called Unify Money. and we're talking very similar things. He was an episode number 52 when we look at this idea of people want instant wins, they want instant gratification. That's why, for example, there's a lot of dopamine hits that we get when we buy something. And big tech knows this. Like Z, the cards are stacked against us. What are the opportunities, though? To help someone see beyond the here and now, where they're wanting that dopamine hit, we've all become addicted to toe. Help them look, you know, 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, 30 years down the road, and maybe make simple behavior changes that you guide them down that journey because it's very hard to do this as an individual. It ISS so I guess I want to share something personal. My biggest personal thing that I can kind of give people is my experience. So working in a financial institution was my first serious job out of college. I'm giving away my age here, but I got my first big job and I was like, Oh yeah, I'm making so much money like I was living at my mom's house so like I don't really read today. I was like, I'm going to spend my money because that's what I want to dio I thought, Let me buy work outfits. Let me by the most random things to Sometimes I would buy like trinkets for my bedroom, like just dumb things that I didn't need. But because I could buy them. I did right, and it got me into a little bit of a sticky situation. Not a bad one. But it got to a point where I identified there was a clear problem. How am I going to fix it? And I myself went through or get beyond money program and my behavioral changes came in the form of reorganization. It was looking at things differently and seeing where I could shift not even my spending but what I'm doing with my money, For example, with an auto loan. If you know that you're already paying a lot with your auto loan, the simple fact of why don't you see if you can do a refinance that extra money with that extra money, take it to something like if you have debt, put that towards a credit card payment. It's an extra. It could be up thio an extra $150 a month. It really could. Or if you have a lease or if you're buying a car, checking your auto agreement sometimes gap coverage. You don't even know what you purchase it through a dealership, and then you also have it on your insurance. So it's looking at little things like that that could save you 203 $100 a...

...month. $600 if you buy it in bulk like it's just things like that where no, we're not taught about those things, but we want to make it. We want to make the community aware that there are things that you could do that could probably save you upwards to e Don't know. A few $100 almost 1000 maybe a month 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, and I think what you're talking to it's helping first and foremost help the unaware become aware off what the opportunities are to stop losing money. And the reason I use that stop losing money is because people are more likely to make some of these modifications and their behavior and their thinking because their their behaviors are informed by their thoughts, which are informed by their beliefs. And we could go down a whole rabbit hole with that. But we're not right now, but it all starts with awareness and then acceptance and then third action and then fourth is accountability. And what you're speaking to, to me, is very special. Because one it's it's your own story. And it's your own experience with this to you work at a financial brand. And I think there's a misconception is that just because you work at a financial brand, you don't struggle with this? No, we all straight. I wonder how many others listening right now either feel that same struggle and that same personal conflict themselves. And if that's you, it's okay, right? Like we're all working through this together. And there are ways toe like your get beyond Money program. You're bringing that internally to your team members. And then, really, the 3rd 12 is I think there's a major misconception, and this is what Ben and I were talking about when he's over. Unified money is is for the professionals. Many people think professionals, they make a lot of money, they don't have money problems, and that's absolutely incorrect. I agree with you. I always wonder, you know,...

...even even celebrities you're celebrities go bankrupt. Sometimes I myself, I I think you're always going to have financial not struggles, but you're also you're always gonna run into some obstacle financially, no matter what I guess. Like criteria you're at Whether you know, whether you are making, ah, minimal amount of money or whether you're a millionaire. They all come with their set of problems. We all do the life Well, I mean, biggie, Biggie Smalls. You know, notorious B i g. He hit the nail on the head years and years ago. When when he said more money. More problems, right? E mean, yeah. I mean, sometimes you might have the financial problem of people trying to take your money, or you might have the financial problem of not being able to afford rent. But whatever your wherever you're at doesn't matter. Our goal is to just make you feel more comfortable and you take away the stigma. Yes, and I think it's it's finding, you know what system works for you, E said. I reorganized my finances. That doesn't mean that they all went away overnight. It took a lot of work, but it's finding a system that works because people also forget you live a day to day life. You know what I mean and I think it is unfair. A lot of times when people expect you to stop doing everything you're doing. E. I don't think you should stop living just thio, you know, pay bills. But of course it's becoming a little bit more responsible. And that way you can have a healthy balance. You know, you talked about, you wanna make people feel more comfortable. You mentioned the words judgment free before e. I think that's what a lot of particularly community financial institutions, they strive, and they and they may have an inward perception. Well, that's what what we do. The challenges is there's an external gapen, external perception or an external positioning gap, like if we don't actually are intentional with the words that we communicate, people are gonna think money is already stressful because there's a natural cognitive load tied to it. And so are we. Either a helping to reduce that cognitive load, reduce that mental stress or be are we inadvertently adding to it on a variety of factors, particularly digitally. So when when you look at making people feel more comfortable, reduce the stigma, reduce the judgment judgment free. What are you doing on the content front because I know, for example, you are in the community as well because that's really what this is all about. It's about bringing people together. Toe, have a conversation. What are you doing? Because you mentioned podcasts. And if you got podcast, you've also did something recently is well, that I thought was pretty neat. It was more of just a unopened form. A round table discussion. Yes, we have a round table...

...and we invited the community to come together toe honestly, Just talk with like minded people about their situations because you never know where an idea is going to spark or where a piece of useful information is going to come from. You know, some people find it from a fortune cookie. Some people find it for around people. You just you never know. But we started, you know, with the webinar format to we also have those going so that people can watch because some people are afraid to still talk to others. Which is okay if you want Thio watch, we have videos to watch. We have the webinars to watch. We also have quizzes for people. So you know, if you're someone who likes to swipe on your phone while you're watching Netflix. That one's a really good 12 We try to have that in mind. You know, a lot of people in today's day and age multitask e No, I'm one of those. Like I'm I'm a swiper while I watch Netflix so I don't I don't wanna have to sit there and like reading bulk unless I'm sitting in bed and I just want something Like we said, we like quick wins. That's just how people are nowadays. We want everything like this. That's why Amazon Prime has two day shipping. You know what I mean? So we do try Thio. Think of just people's times and just their lifestyles when we're creating content. So nothing too long we like to keep it to What are people going through What can relate to you? What are you just gonna find easy? Yeah. One of the things that I know of is this is taking some time. This is not something that happens. Like a traditional marketing campaign. You do X, we get why, once again, instant gratification. It's a commitment, and it's something that has required not just you but about a lot of others. Can you speak to the role that culture has played on the progress of your of your digital growth journey? Yes. So get beyond money has been a culture integration it. Like we said, it is who we are. It's finding buy in from other people to also believe it's who we are. I think sometimes you know, on a day to day when things air thrown at you and I know everybody in every organization gets that you're like, Why am I doing what I'm doing? Well, really like to challenge our employees and show them, you know, this is why you're doing what you're doing. So we've even gone to the extent of having our employees go through the programas Well, it's just educating them and, you know, telling them a swell like we don't judge you. If you want to be part of this, you are more than able to be part of it. It's creating them into ambassadors for getting on money, and it's simple things to like changing the way you answer the phone. Ah, lot of our employees, but they've picked up on on social media, which is really special is we have a hashtag. It's hashtag get...

...beyond money, and every time they share a post, we now see the pick up on that, and we're able to track it because you can click it. You contract to see who's using the HASHTAG a lot of when they're sharing a tropical and get beyond money content. They go in and they've learned, You know, that's the system because that's who we are. Yeah, a really good conversation with carryin on her podcast about employee marketing and internal marketing. She's the chief marketing officer over at J M and B Group Down in the Caribbean. And um, yeah, I I think that is one of the most greatest untapped opportunities for digital growth. Is toe look inwardly at our internal employees because they really should be our biggest brand ambassadors not only in the real world but also in the digital world because they have their own personal social networks. And if we as as marketing teams and content teams, can produce the content, we can use them to become the promoters of that content to get mawr eyeballs and not just for getting more eyeballs, but to really, truly help more people. When it comes toe working in this digital world, you know it can be 24 7. How important is it to take time to just stop to pause, to disconnect? Because I've seen a lot of damage being done. Post covert of everyone really being on 24. 7. It We're not robots yet, but what does it take for that? Whenever you're looking at this idea of like digital leadership, it's so funny. I was talking actually with my boss about this today. I think it's very important. So I think, Ah, lot of people are still stuck in the notion of if I'm not getting face time, they're not seeing me and seeing the importance of my work and the big one. Yeah, so if you want me to be absolutely candid, if you work for somebody like that, I don't think that's the place for you. If if you're honestly if you're Boston 2020 and you still expect somebody to be on 24 7 and not expect them to be working from home and have a baby crying in the back or like have to take two minutes off because their families talking to them You are crazy and you are expecting way too much of people, and you yourself, then don't understand humans. And how can you be a leader of a digital, especially a digital first community? When you don't understand the first thing about humans? I think, yeah, I think that's the big thing that I'm finding is the old world mentality. The legacy mentality of I Need to see you 9 to 5 in a chair is vastly different, and covert has forced a lot of this uncomfortable conversation toe have toe happen because there was some healthy tension, if you will. But if we look at what's happened, post Covic work from home is riel. Work from home is never...

...going away. I think the next big thing Once, once things start to open up again, it's not gonna be work from home because I don't really think home is necessarily conducive on a long term scale. I think what it's gonna be is gonna be work from anywhere. I agree. And to be honest, as a young person and I don't know how like generations before me feel about that, I love it I love the opportunity of feeling like I can do my work wherever I need to do it, because it comes back to that work life balance. Like if I can do my job and do a few hours here a few hours there at a coffee shop in another state. My dad's in the military. If I could do it overseas and still have Internet access and still be doing impactful work, you know we have ways to measure it. I just don't understand the problem with that now I do understand FaceTime. Yes, it is to an extent important, because how are we ever going to expect to, you know, become leaders? Keep growing, get raises? You know, those are really things. They are really things that come part of a job. And I hate to say this, but unfortunately, you know we don't work for free, you know? So I do think the balance, But I do think the pressure of people working 24 7 that no, she needs to go away. That's just you didn't expect it before, and why do you expect it now? Just because someone's at home? I mean, people still like to log off and they like to be with their families. They like to unwind. They like to have a mental break. So that way they can come back refreshed. Reset, recharged. Well, I think I think, too. It's also indicative and predictive of. You know, I've said this many times before on this podcast, but we have moved beyond the commoditized product economy. Digital really sped that up. We're moving through the experience economy right now, but I'm predicting the next major economy we will have is what I'm calling the expertise or the knowledge economy, where what you know is far more valuable than, say, even what you do. Because the doing for many will be commoditized. Thanks, Thio ai and machine learning. And I'm not painting the picture of ah dystopian future. I look at that, you know, if we can have a robot or a nay, I pick up the repeated repetitive task and automate them. That gives us more time to really reflect on what's being done toe learn new things to think about that learning and how it applies to a unique situation. So therefore and this is personal experience, the mawr I step away intentionally, and I've taken...

...email off my phone. I've taken social media off my phone. I've taken my Internet browser off my phone. I have a smart, dumb phone because it is about creating that space and time, because whenever I come back, it's like something happens in the subconscious mind like new connections are being made and I'm not even thinking about it and I come back and I'm like, Wow, it's a whole literally It's a whole new world. You know what? Hearing you say that it's what you're not taking away is the want to do what you're doing. I think when you do something too much, you take the want out of wanting to be there. You know what I mean? Yeah, you consume yourself too much into it, and that's, uh to me. I don't think that's okay, because there comes a point where people break. It's just we're humans. We feed off of emotions. One thing that robots lack is emotion. They're still working on them. They're still not capitalizing on them. But humans were emotional things. We're emotional beings were emotional, but we're also communal, meaning we need the connection with other people, whether that be obviously in a digital community like we've been talking about, but also the community in the world world, because it's through that community. That's where we find collaborative opportunities, toe elevate each other, and we continue toe to reach our full potential. You know, this has been such a fantastic conversation, and I'm grateful for the time. I'm grateful for the insights and inspiration you share today, but I wanna look ahead into 2021 together with you and and here from, like, what is one very practical action recommendation that you could make to another financial brand marketing cells or leadership team member that wants to continue to move forward and make progress along their own digital growth journey? What would you recommend to them? Oh, wow, that's a really hard thing to answer on. Uh, what's a practical thing? To be honest, I think the one practical thing that has helped me is writing things down. Whether that's organizing a task list or writing an idea down, I feel like once I write it down, I am kind of like I'm married to it a little bit and it helps me push a lot of things through, and I do think that's a very practical and easy thing. Get yourself a notebook, get yourself a white board and just have that time because you can take it with yourself. You can refer back to it in team meetings. It's It's just gonna help you, especially being from home or working anywhere it just to stay on top of things and state organized. So analog tools help people to take action and commit to take that action in a digital world. I believe it 100%. Even in a digital world, there's nothing wrong with a little bit of pen and...

...paper. Absolutely not, because something magical happens when you take an idea from your head. It goes down your arm through the pin and you put it on paper. Something happens, and I've seen it time and time again for myself and for those that I've been coaching. So Carol, Hey, thank you so much for such a great conversation. If anyone is listening and they have questions, they want to continue this conversation with you. They want to connect with you. What's the best way for them to do that? Um you can find me on LinkedIn and on Instagram Cara Iaquinta I'm always available. Thio Chat Thio collaborate to bounce ideas off each other. I love connecting, so please feel free to reach out to me. All right, well, you heard it from Cara herself. Connect and collaborate with her and, as always, until next time be Well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you. 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 more practical in 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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