Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 3 months ago

186) #GameChangers - In-House Marketing: Spring Cleaning Your Data

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Marketing can be a messy business.

With mountains of customer data at our fingertips, keeping it tidy can be a chore - especially when it’s outsourced to a third party.

But by keeping marketing in-house, financial institutions can ensure personalized service to their customers.

I recently spent time with Laura Byers, Chief Digital Banking Officer at Coastal Community Bank, and talked about her experience with helping bring her company’s marketing ventures back into the fold.

With 17 years in banking under her belt, Laura also shares her valuable insight into the importance of leadership and culture in banking.

In this episode, explore the potential that in-house marketing has for digital growth.

Join us as we discuss:

- The advantages of keeping marketing within the walls of your institution

- Our common retail experience and its value in customer service

- How communication and transparency affect leadership

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Laura Byers

- Email Laura at lbyers@coastalbank.com

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.

It's taking that first step in learning new things and being open to the possibility that that maybe the way you're doing something isn't the best way to do it. You're listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Laigh, who believes it is possible for you and your financial brand to harness data and build customers for life. That's why today's episode is part of the Game Changer series brought to you by total expert, a purpose built crm and customer engagement platform that creates growth and increases loyalty for modern lenders and financial brands. Greetings and hello. I am James Robert Laigh and welcome to the one hundred and eighty six episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the Game Changer series brought to you by total expert, and I'm excited to welcome Laura buyers to the show. Laura is a game changer who started her banking career as a teller and she has an unending love for how banking and customer interactions continue to transform and evolve. Now Laura is the chief digital officer at Coastal Community Bank and I look forward to sharing her story to educate, to empower, to inspire you, as Laura has navigated the complexities of change with courage and confidence to maximize coastal communities banks digital growth potential. Welcome to the show, Laura. It is so good to share time with you today. Thank you. I'm really looking forward to a teams Robert, and it's an exciting opportunity for me to talk about myself and coastal. Well, before we get into that, because you are a game change. Or what has been good for you to begin with that, to start the year personally or professionally, it is always your pick to get started here on a positive note. Well, I'll tell you a little bit with something that's been really good that I cannot go into fully, but we're developing a really different kind of marketing...

...platform to help cross market and share the information that all of our vintext in our banking is service platform are offering in a new and unique way, and so that has been really good and really exciting and I can't wait to tell you about it when I can talk about well, that is exciting and we're I'm already going to tell you if you're open to it, once we can talk about that. Let's get you back on because I think it's an area that I see a lot of growth and opportunity to bring all of these different systems, banking as a service, Fintech, to really start to communicate so that we can use that date to communicate even that much better than what we were doing before. Speaking about before, I want to go back and tie what got you in banking to begin with in the first place, because you started as a teller. Take me back to that time and life and what was life like for you back then when you were a teller? What got me into banking? Thanking was I was working retail. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the customer interactions, but he didn't like the hours. I didn't like having to work weekends and evenings, and banking seemed very similar. But you didn't have to hang up clothes and clean up dressing rooms and you still got to interact with customers, and so I that's what got me into banking and I found that, although I wasn't a particularly great teller, I loved banking. I loved that it's always changing, but there's always something new to learn, that there's always a way to take your career in a different direct to learn new things. Back when I started in banking was pretty open banking, you know. We all offered the same product at the same rate and it was really about service. So it's been fun to watch it change and that's how I got into it. Well, you're taking me back in my own mind, because one of my very first jobs was in retail as well. When old navy was coming into the Houston market. I was one...

...of the second round of hires at one of the very first stores and learn to tremendous amount about cells, about service, about people, and to me that is the most beautiful part of it all. And speaking about change, the change that you've seen, you've been with coastal commuter bank for over seventeen years. You've seen an immense amount of change, of transformation. Let's stow take this back in your mind, maybe two to three years. What did marketing digital marketing cells? What did that look like for you and for your team back then? Can you set the stage for us here? Three years ago we were already well down the path of our three punct strategy around banking is a service, building the Community Bank and looking for a digital bank platform to launch. Our Marketing Department was consisted of two people besides myself. We outsourced a fair amount of our digital marketing. We had started doing some digital marketing, Geo targeting, Geo fencing, that kind of thing. The three years ago we were fairly good at it, but our website was templating, not very search optimized. There were a lot of things three years ago that we really needed to do. Yeah, and when you think about that moment and time to where you're at today, two to three years later, what is transformed for you the most? What how have you changed the game over this period of time? What have you done? That's hard to know even where to start. We now have over four hundred employees in twenty five states. Wow, we are doing banking as a service for a variety of fintext we went down the path of Google plex and the Google plex program didn't launch, but we learned a great deal from that. We've hired, we brought marketing in house so that we have an SEO expert, a digital expert, we have a marketing manager. Just a lot has transformed and it's been through...

...being curious and looking to see what opportunities there were and also taking advantage of opportunities. I don't know that I would have had the marketing people that I have today have there not been an opportunity to hire a great team, and we took it. I appreciate this perspective and, as a curious person myself, I want to unpack this a little bit further. Bringing Marketing in house. It's something that I've been advocating financial brands do, because I feel there's just so much more value to be created. What have you done when it comes to bringing marketing in house? Maybe? What were some of the road blocks or some of the challenges that inspired you to take some action, to take this step, to bring marketing and house, to build this expertise within to change the game? The real roadblock for me was around data. We weren't getting regular, consistent and timely data around our marketing. And yes, we got a monthly report that showed us how many people click through, and you know, we did and be testing and all of those kinds of things, but we couldn't respond to be really nimble about it. So we couldn't put out, you know, a search word without using somebody else and then waiting to hear how it was going. Yeah, we wanted to bring that in house and have the capability to do that, which is one of the reasons we're excited about working with total expert and have being able to send emails and manage it and see what kind of responses we get. It's that bead. It's the ability to be nimble, it's the ability to be quick, it's the ability to, I would say, respond and not just react, but to take a proactive stance, utilizing data to power that experience. There, and you touched on this, to on the flip side of road blocks, would have been some of the opportunities that you've been able to create our capture through data or even through working with total expert. We're just launching total experts, so it will it's early days yet, but we've used data around...

PPP and understanding who those clients were, where they were coming from, being able to reach out and turn them into we did PPP for anybody who asked. We and they didn't have to be a client, and we used a software called enumerated to do that, and that was another response. was to see an opportunity with PPP and jump on it and put our whole company a hundred percent into it. It. In fact, we had marketing folks working on PPP. Everybody was working on it, and so it's just seeing a moment and finding a way to do it being creative about it. I think that's an important lesson right there. It's taking these early winds. Like you mentioned, it's early days, but it's also creating value early and often so that that gives some momentum, put some wind in the cells to keep things moving forward. When you think back on this journey that you've taken over the last two years or so, what have maybe been some of the guess lessons that you've learned to help transform the way that you think? Maybe it's your team, maybe it's your organization at large, to transform the way that you think about marketing and cells. What would have been some of those lessons there? It's interesting that you ask that question because I think that three years ago I would have told you it's all about customer journeys and where are they in the life cycle and you know what's next best product and the I think the lesson that we've learned, and some of it was through the Google interaction, but it's just in getting to understand our customers better. It's really about customization. It's really about being able to use data to identify what the customer needs, where what's happening in their life, and offering them up products and services that meet their needs and self problems, as opposed to just they got a mortgage loan, the next thing is an equitty. So turning that data,...

...turning that insight into action, going beyond the traditional thinking of the journey. But really it comes down to personalization. It comes down to this is about an individual because I think a lot of times when you think about data, you think about ones and zeroes, you think about account numbers, but behind those account numbers are real people, you know, either real problems, real questions, real concerns, on the flip side, real hopes, real dreams. If you could go back and do something differently now with this knowledge, and I think a lot of times it really that's what this is all about. It's about growing. It's continuous growth, being better than what we were before. It's that that what we before was anything negative, it's just that we now have clarity, we now have awareness and looking at things a little bit differently. If we could go back and do something different. What would that one thing be? If you could get a do over, what would you do differently? That's such an easy answer. I would clean up our data in our core banking system. I would make sure that we had consistency in it. I would make sure that we kept up on top of things like officer codes and branch codes and how we linked customers and how we built households. And it's much easier to do when you're smaller bank. As you get bigger, that becomes a bigger and bigger project and dirty data make, yes, difficult for you to do things, and so so clean up the data early, clean up the data often, because it's technology is an exponential multiplier. It's going to scale clarity, but it's also going to scale confusion as well. And and data. If we look at data as the oil of what I call the digital growth engine, it makes the machine runs smoothly and efficiently and we can go even faster with that. We do have to make sure that data is clean, because otherwise it will add complexity and the gears will begin to grind a little bit. You know, being a game...

...changer is, I see, is one who takes change with stride and I'm curious, as a leader yourself, how do you handle the complexity of exponential change, because we have experienced a lot of that over the past couple of years, personally professionally, but how do you do this yourself as a leader? It's about communication and transparency and communicating often and frequently, about why you're changing, what your goals are, what it means and, most importantly, is a leader, I think you have to communicate oneonone what the opportunities are for individuals. It's easy to go out and broadcasts were changing everything, and this is why we're doing it. It's good for the bank and it's good for the industry and it's the right thing to do. But then you have to sit down and do your individual one on one's with your direct reports and make sure they understand what opportunity there is for them, what the changes mean for them and how they can participate and how, a year from now they might be doing something totally different than they're doing today, but it might be really fun. Yes, and that's a great point. You talk about sitting down one on one to communicate, not necessarily what we're doing to begin with, but more importantly, why we're doing this, like, what's the purpose? What happens if we miss that step? What you know, because I see it and I hear a lot of financial brands internally, they communicate, you know when it comes to technology or when it comes to data, this is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it, but they skip this is why we're doing it to begin within the first place. What happens when we skip that step? In the abstence of information, people will create information, they will speculate, they will try and come...

...up with alternatives and they start to question themselves, they start to question their role, they start to question their value, and so you really have to be communicative, and I think that goes to marketing in general. You have to know what your brand is, what your purpose is, why you're here, and communicate that and stick true to that and be purposeful about it. Total expert beliefs empowering financial brands and lenders to have a human first connection with their customers will create a financially healthier world, and there is no better way for you to create a human first connection than through total expert, named the number one crm by stratmore group this at www dot total expertcom to learn how you can build an even better customer experience through deeper insights and meaningful engagements. I like this idea that you're touching and around purpose, because purpose is at the center of what we call the digital growth blue print, because purpose is the North Star. It informs everything else, the technology, the strategy. What is the purpose guiding you and the work that you're doing at the bank today? It depends on which division you're talking about. Ah, if you're talking about coastal community bank, the Community Bank itself, our purpose is to meet the needs of small businesses, to help small businesses fight to win. Is is what we say. So we're all about small business. We're about being their champion, giving them the tools they need and focusing on them. If you're talking about the digital bank, that is a more complex challenge for us. We really believe that in order to launch a successful digital bank, you need a core purpose and you need to build a community around it. You know, I think of some of the Finn Text that have done it...

...well, like elvest and aspiration. Yes, I'm not sure that we have yet identified the best purpose. Just going on and building out a digital bank and saying coastal now has a digital bank. It's not a build it and they will come. You have to have a meaningful purpose for you digital bank and we're still working to identify that. We have some ideas. We're headed there. I think it's part of the journey and I think it's one of just continuous self discovery of it's almost the five why exercise. Why do we exist? Answer the question. Why is that answer the question and it's almost once again, it's like being that curious kindergartener. My wife and I we have four kids and they always are asking what. They're asking why, and I think it's through the asking of why that we gain the clarity that really helps us to continue to move forward. I want to come back in touching a point that you mentioned here around communicating, around communicating the why internally to help others understand, whether it's on your team or other teams within the organization, when it comes to being a game changer, what role has culture played in the progress that you've made as an organization, the progress that's that you've made, even just in marketing? What role do is culture playing all of this? We really believe that we have built a culture around a little book. We have came why we're here. We have pore values. We talked about them constantly. Our CEO lives them. You know, one of the fun ones is beyond banking, will we? You won't see ties, you won't say suits. I'm in the office and I'm wearing jeans. We really feel like our culture is the number one most important thing. We hire for culture. We hire for someone who will understand and be flexible and be cure so it informs everything we do. Is that I if culture is, once...

...again, there's another word that you said or you'd repeated, a curiosity, and I'm seeing this coming out in our conversation here, being curious, a curious about what the future opportunities could be. A lot of times it's fear. It's fear that holds us back from even being curious, fear of the unknown, fear of change, and even when it comes to things, conversations around data and technology, it's changing so rapidly, it's changing so quickly. What are ways? And maybe we can speak to the dear listener here who might be struggling with this themselves personally. Or maybe it's others on their team. How might they be able to overcome some of that fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failure? What's your take there? That's a really good question. I think you have to develop a culture where trying things and failing is okay and that you feel fast. Yes, you'll trials, try something and if it's not working, you're willing to pull the plug on it. But I also think you have to just start. You have to start with something, and even if it's researching an area that's of interest to you or talking to your customers and understanding maybe what some of their pain points are and looking for ways to solve that. It's taking that first step in learning new things and being open to the possibility that maybe the way you're doing something isn't the best way to do it. And there's I think that's one of the things that we've done a really good job of, and we've done it from the start. We've always led with people, yes, and so when we bring in New People, we bring in new ideas, new experience, new expertise, and we listen to that and and I don't like...

...someone who says we've never done it. That way. But a couple of things that I want to dive deeper into. Was this. You mentioned learning. Learning is one of the four what we call exponential growth environments, because you must spend time and each one of these environments you can be learning, you can be thinking, you can be doing, you can be reviewing, but oftentimes is through reviewing what we have done or just gaining that outside perspective that's how we learn. What's your take with how do you, as a game changer, continuously learn gain new inside? Because if we go back over your entire career, starting in retail, that being a bank teller, what have you learned along the way, and where do you gain this knowledge? And just for yourself, you learn by listening M and not feeling like you have to have a deep knowledge about something. You learn by surrounding you with people who have expertise and maybe you're smarter than you about some things. You know, the team that is building this marketing platform talks and language that I don't understand, and I mean we're even discussing the metaverse and trying to understand where the metaverse will come into play, and I'm not afraid to say I don't understand that and just to listen to what they're saying, and Google's your friend. Is once I hear something I don't understand. The first time I went to Fintech Conference, I was taking notes about terms that I didn't know what they meant right and then I came back and research them and learned about them and try to develop some basic knowledge of those things. And so I think that's what you have to do, and it's finding the people who do know. It's it's talking to people like you and listening to podcasts and going to conferences and just immersing yourself in the things that you're most afraid of. Oh, I like that. Immersing yourselves and the things that you're most afraid...

...of. It's leaning into that. It takes some courage to do that. It takes some courage to admit that I'm I don't know at all and and what I have found from my own experience, and I appreciate the vulnerability in the transparency here, it's the more that I know, the more that I can cover, the more that I realize that I don't know and there's just so much more to learn. And it's this idea of being a lifelong student. That is what makes game changing possibilities possible and it's surrounding yourself, of with others who bring that knowledge and it. We don't have to have that deep level knowledge, but if we can have a conversation around them, I think that's where the transformational opportunities come from. Right. Oh, I absolutely agree on that. It's it's listening to other people who have that expertise and you don't have to be the expert about everything, and that's a change in banking. It used to be that you, if you were a leader, you needed to understand absolutely everything about how the bank was run and and sure you still need those things, but you also need really good folks who have that expertise and and are subject matter experts. You know, we're too complex for me to understand what we're doing around BSA. We're too complex for me to fully understand how our banking is a service division works, but I can have an over overarching knowledge of it and I can know who the people are that understand it, that I can go to when I have questions. This is a really good point because once again it reinforces some of the things you shared about curiosity, about learning about culture about team. This is not something that you can do alone. You must have a team to go down this journey with. I'm curious, when it comes to activities like data or even, you know, bringing total expert in, how did you work to gain that alignment, that buying, that support from others on your team so that you could all make a commitment, because that's probably the hardest thing to do,...

...is first make the commitment to then move forward with courage and with confidence. What did you do to get some of this buy and around some of these areas that you've made progress in, around data and technology? Well, I'll be honest, quite often it's been someone else who was the champion of that change. Nice. So total expert, our new marketing manager, who's been here not quite a year, had experience with it, had seen how transformational it was for her past organization and really wanted us to use that, knowing what how we felt about data, knowing how we felt about the customer experience, and so it was easy for us to make that decision because she was passionate about it and was able to communicate those things to our retail team, to our executives, and make it real and an actionable. I think that's a key right there, is helping others become aware of the possibilities that exists, helping other see what they cannot see, because once you see something a little bit differently, from a different perspective, from a different point of view, you begin to think differently and that thinking, then it doesn't necessarily inspire new actions if first invokes new feelings and emotions. In this that feeling and emotion that leads to those future actions which then lead to future growth. I mean it's like the game changing journey, if you will, right there, and as we wrap up our conversation today, I want to first and foremost just congratulate you on all of the progress that you've made along your journey of growth. You really are a game changer and it is it's these traits, it's these really just the way of thinking that has helped to guide you, to guide your team, to guide your organization. But I want to get real practical here at the end, to empower the dear listeners so that...

...they can move forward, change the game at their organization on their own journey of growth. What is one specific action, something small, some step that they can take to continue to move forward on their own journey of growth when it comes to, say, things like marketing and the step that you've taken along the way. What is one simple thing that they can do next? I it's not as simple as as it sounds, but I think what you have to do is do some self reflection around what you're most passionate about. What thing within the bank, what thing within your career really makes you excited, really would make a difference if you could move it forward and then start learning about that and act on that. You know, I've been really fortunate to work with a great team of people at a great organization and and it for me to think of myself as a game change is surprising because I think our organization is a game change. In our organization is made up of people and we've done it all together. But part of it is because I am passionate about community banking. I am passionate about delivering a different kind of banking to my community, to my neighbors, and I can do that through marketing, communication, through building a better community bank, and so knowing what that is and being able to communicate about it is the simple thing you can do. You know, I think it comes down to what I call the three Tis of transformation that lead to exponential future growth. Number one, just simply telling the truth to yourself, telling the truth to your team, telling the truth to your organization about where you've been, where you're at and where you could go next. Number two, getting the training and the education to provide clearing into what that path could look like. And then number three, something that I've heard you you share today as well, just taking time to think,...

...to reflect, because it's so easy to get caught up in the doing of digital the thinking that goes into this as well as just as important. What do you do there personally, to ensure that you're just taking the time to think, to reflect, to grow? I try to take time to think about projects and initiatives after they're over and what did we learn from them. I try and do a debrief with the team after any major or even small project to understand what did we learn, what worked, what didn't work, what could we explore from this, and so I think it's being reflect and just pausing every once in a while to think about what's next and where we come from. Wow, wow, yeah, well, I want to look ahead a little bit for you into the future as we wrap up here. What are you most hopeful what do you most excited about, to bring the future into the present moment? If we could leap out three years from today, what is one thing that you feel is possible next for you, for your team, for your organization? What are you most hopeful and excited about? I'm most hopeful and excited about the opportunity to rebundle banking, to start cross selling and cross promoting some of the incredible services are fantech partners offer in a way that's different and unique. And we don't coastal doesn't have to do all of these initiatives. We have partners out there who are doing incredible things and wouldn't it be exciting if we could cross promote those and offer those in a way that's unique and different? Oh, I like that. I like I'm excited. I'm excited about the future that you just painted for me...

...and I wish you all the best as you continue to move forward. This has been a great conversation, Laura. If someone wants to continue the dialog in the discussion that we started today, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hello to you? Probably the best way to reach out is through Linkedin. It's Laura buyers at coastal community bank, or my email is l buyers at coastal bankcom. Connect with Laura, learn from Laura, grow with Laura. Laura, thank you so much for joining me on another episode of banking on digital growth. This has been a lot of fun. Today it's been fun. Thank you for the opportunity, James Robert, as always in until next time, be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Leigh, brought to you by total expert, who has built the world's leading CRM and customer engagement platform to create growth and loyalty for modern lenders and Financial Institutions. To learn more about how you can harness data and build customers for life, visit www dot total expertcom. Until next time, be well and do good.

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