Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

41) #DigitalGrowthJourneys: Digital Growth Means the Courage to Act on New Information w/ Mia Perez


One thing I’ve learned over the years is that people want two things in their personal financial journey:

They want help and hope. And more often than not, hope has to come before help.

But if your digital marketing consists of only saying you can offer a loan at X%. What hope are you offering?

That’s something my guest today, Mia Perez, Chief Administrative Officer at Louisiana Federal Credit Union, learned on her digital growth journey.

And unlike others, she had the courage to act on the information.

On today’s show, Mia goes over:

  • Why you should have the courage to change what you know isn’t working
  • The importance of taking risks to try new things
  • Why we should admit when we don’t know everything about something new

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

Hey, guys, it's James. Robert and Ilook forward to sharing me oppresses digital growths Journey story with youToday me is the chief admin officer for Louisiana FC you. And as you'll hear ina moment, Mia's journey began five years ago when she called me becauseshe was considering sending a few of her team members to our Digital GrowthUniversity. She was hoping to gain some clarity into the unknown and reallylearn about the untapped opportunities that were available for them to createher capture. And and since that time, me and her team have taken what I callthe predictable journey is the newfound clarity that they gained through theuniversity led them to commit to move forward and take the next steps withcourage as they gained a digital growth blueprint. And as a result, over thepast five years, me and her team have continued to increase their confidenceby that Onley establishing and optimizing digital marketing and selfsystems. They've also developed the habits that have created a tremendousamount of quantifiable value across the entire organization, including thegeneration of tens of thousands of digital leads that have gone on toconvert into new loans and deposits. Enjoy the episode. Mhmm. You're listening to banking on DigitalGrowth with James Robert Ley Ah, podcast that empowers financial brandmarketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growthpotential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode ispart of the digital growth Journeys, Siri's where James Robert uncovers andexplores some of the industry's biggest digital marketing and sales stories ofsuccess. Let's get into the show. Greetings in Hello, I Am James RobertLey and Welcome to the 41st episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast.Today's episode is part of the digital growth journey, Siri's and I'm Excitedto Welcome Me, a Perez to the show Who is the chief admin officer at LouisianaFC. You welcome, Mia. Hey, how's it going? I've been so impressed with you,your team, all the progress that you guys have made really over the lastfive years because I vividly remember getting a phone call, right? Aziz,you're considering sending two of your team members to one of our digitalgrowth training programs in Houston, and you had a lot of I would say tough,but really good questions at the time. So think back to that point and whereyou because I to me, that's like that's the beginning of this journey thatyou've been taking now over the last five years. What was life like for youback then? Well, I remember that. James. Robert, I remember calling you andsaying Listen, I'm gonna be perfectly honest, and I know nothing about whatwe should be doing here with digital strategies. What I do know is thatwe're probably behind the curve a little bit and we need Thio. We need tofast forward and get ourselves in the running. And we I think we're probablymuch like many credit unions. Even, unfortunately, some credit becausethey're still in stuck in that In that space, they're still where we were 35years ago. I see it. I see it in materials and marketing, and I also seeit through conversations with some of my colleagues. But we were just really at a stage where werecognized that we needed to do something. But we didn't know what wedidn't know. We didn't have anyone on staff. That was a digital expert. Youknow, the breath of my responsibility cover so many areas that I couldn't bethe ones in the weeds, uh, in the tactical pieces of the strategy. And soI really needed somebody to come in and make that happen. Force. I mean, I evenwent as far as calling one of our local...

...universities here in New Orleans andsaid, If I wanna hire someone to own my digital marketing strategies, whatdegree program should I be looking at? And everyone that I spoke to said, Youknow, that's a great question. And I said, Oh, well, that's not good newsbecause it really just It wasn't a thing. It wasn't a thing. So it waslike, You have to teach them, get you teach the talent while you were workingon the moving car, right? Yeah, you know, you're building the airplane isyou're trying to get it off the runway and and and fly it. And even to thisday, five years later, to your point about like the university I go and Iguess lecture at different universities and let me tell you the curriculum atthe university and it's no harm, no foul. It's just like quickly the worldis changing. I mean, I just did an interview with a publication a coupleof weeks ago about what's happening with Google and the Google Apocalypse.The Cookie Apocalypse is what they're calling it to. Where that that's justgonna change the entire game once again. So you mentioned something I think thatwas critical. And just some of the conversations that we've been havingbefore is that you are trying to start in the middle. What? What do you mean by that? BecauseBecause I see that with so many financial brands, even today, we on again, this goes back to wedidn't know what we didn't know. So I'm I'm really gonna lay out some dirtylaundry, probably in this conversation, but that's okay. I feel like I'm alittle bit of a right now. We recognize that we were a lot like other financialinstitutions when it came to their digital marketing. And even when Ireflect back on even some of our traditional marketing, we wereimplementing some of those same strategies just in the traditionalfashion, whatever. What I mean by that is we were like everybody else. We said,Hey, we have the car loan. We've got the rate at X percent. Get a car loanthrough us. And if we listen, it worked. It still works in some audiences. Insome situations, you know where we specialize or we create campaigns onrates and we do some teaser things. I'm not saying that's not that's not bad,but the member doesn't care about the rate. How many times does a consumer gointo the dealership and say, You know, I really want this kind of rate. I mean,you have some folks that that will because they're they know that veryplus paper. But people want to know, Can I get in that new car at a paymentthat I can afford? And so there's a whole dialogue of conversation thatreally has to be had at the forefront of that consumer buying journey. And wewere really guilty of just saying Hey, member, here's a postcard and we couldmake a loan for you that's so boring. It's not sexy. And so we we were seeingsome success but realized we were really kind of doing it all wrong. Youknow, I hear I hear you and I see that One of the things that I'm a bigproponent of teaching is people want two things in their own personalfinancial journey. They want help, and they want hope. But hope more oftenthan not, actually has to come before help. And that is the greatestopportunity that I see. For financial brands today is the first offer. Hopethen offer help. And after that, now maybe the rate and the commoditizationcomes into play. But that's how we break free from all of this noise. Allof this commoditization brought to us, thanks in part by digital by Google,etcetera. And I think one of the big things that you've shared I've heard acouple interviews that you've talked about another other podcasts is a verypainful experience, and and only you can say this and I have toe. I have twoprecious this when I'm talking with other people in telling the story thatthese were Mia's direct words so way. One of the things that we did is weactually secret, shopped on. We continue to do this year over Year iswe've been secret shopping, your... experiences, which I find quitefascinating because it's ah it's ah, it's a study in human behavior, bothquantitatively and more so important qualitatively in the book, banking onDigital growth. We've in some of the research that we did leading up to that.We've even found that around 85 I think 90% of financial brands have never doneany digital secret shopping studies before. But But when they raise theirhand and say, Oh, yeah, we're doing the branch, there's a There's a huge gap.So what was that? That initial reaction When when you got those results? Yeah.So let me tell the story, okay? So your listeners can understand what we weredealing with. I thought, you know, while we had an awareness that weneeded to step up the digital game or even really, actually say create adigital framework for our organization, you way didn't think we were doing sobad. We had a decent website. Listen, we were winning awards for thosewebsites and and for our activity and traffic, and we had some really goodresults. So here we go. We engage in this user testing and I walk into theroom super confident. As a matter of fact, without seeing any of the resultsupfront. I invited my management team. We talked to the board about it andwhen we witnessed the user experience testing in the feedback, not fromcrediting and marketers, not from colleague Piers. I'm talking about therial people who are buying our product, the average consumers who werestruggling day to day. We witnessed their feedback. I felt like I say this.It felt like a full body west. I'm sitting there and I'm thinking theseresults are going to be fantastic. I'm so proud of my my my entire team isgonna hear all the raves about all the things that my teams are doing thatwere seen and and first place quality. And here we're sitting, listening tothe consumer say, I wouldn't do business with this crediting andbecause you know what? I don't know what a P y means. I don't know what keylock means. So no, and they click off our screen. And I just felt like I lostthe puppy. I was really embarrassed, but it was eye opening because, youknow, we'd like to think we're somewhat humble and we said, You know, wethought we were doing it great. Clearly, we're doing it wrong and we calledinaudible. We had no intentions of reworking Are Way, Way took that downso fast. We worked, I think, in a matter of nine months from re scripting,refrain working and launching that bad boy. And it's been It's been wonderfulever since. And you know, you called that audible. And I think the thingthat I see out of that and I don't see this with many financial brand leadersis they get that knowledge. They get that insight, but they fail to takeaction on it, for one reason or another. It's like, Nope, we have these planswere gonna follow these plans, but you guys took a different approach, he said.Oh, this is new information. This is new insight that we did it. It's likeyou said before. We just don't know what we don't know. No harm, no foul.But now you know and you have a choice in a decision. How are we going toe?Apply this thinking going forward and that's like the most important thing isthe application, because yeah, within. I think it was 6 to 9 months. You knowyou're rolling out. Not a glorified online brochure, but a website thatsells. And that was like and And not only did you guys were crazy becausenot only did you watch you launch online banking, so your marketing teamis like sending out all of this communication, and it's like you justrip the band, do you rip the band Aid off? We're gonna gonna leave That way.I Listen at that moment I said, this this this is gonna go one of two ways.Either I'm gonna have to freshen up my resume or we're gonna be superstars,you know, on this marketing team. And there were many late nights I rememberwith your crew, late night began work where we were readjusting, uh, languageon the website links. We were doing all this testing in collaboration with there launch of a new online banking...

...platform. We were really having theseconversations about whether or not our members would punch in the URL and theywould think that the credit because we flip the switch and nothing looked thesame. It was so much better. But of course, you know, we had to berealistic and just people were used to seeing the same thing for so long. Andnow it was so different, so beautiful and really created not for the member,but for the future member and not through the eyes of the practitioner.Because we know the lingo. We know the verb ege and the acronyms. We builtthis for that consumer that really wants to help. No one wants to beembarrassed when they talk about money. So we wanted to empower them, educatethem and put them at the front side of that consumer buying journey. And it'sbeen like I said, it's been very fruitful, So Well, Z, it's really, Ithink, an exercise and empathy number one, just like you've talked about. Wedon't know what we don't know. On the flip side, on the consumer side, whenit comes to financial services, there's Ah lot of lack of knowledge, lack ofawareness, and that's a big area of study for us, even more so now thanthan before when it comes to financial matters. But number two, that websitestarted creating value almost instantly because no longer do you just have,like a single call to action, apply for the loan. You mentioned the consumerjourney. You bridge some gaps with how people shop and buy like Well, theymight be midway down that journey, but they might have some questions. And sonow you're filling all of these different digital leads and thenurturing these leads and and you've built on that platform you've builtupon that foundation year over year, even like with marketing operations nolonger you having like, spend things up from the ground, your ableto pullthings off the shelf, like as needed. So, yeah, when you look at where you'vebeen, where you're at, where you're going next I get. For many financialbrand leaders, change is hard. That's why I'm a big believer. And like, putyour oxygen mask on first. Alright, How are you handling all of these changesaround you? Because they're they're not slowing down. They're not slowing down.And here's the thing. When you're trying to be on the leading edge, thatmeans you're gonna be doing things that are really unknown, that you don't havemuch support in terms of historical data. Thio, solidify your reasoning andyour argument when you're standing in front of the board and a leadershipteam and saying, I need you to invest, not spend and not an expense. Butinvest in what we're doing and this is why. And you have this much informationto do it on rather than 2030 years of boring get a shag carpet and brownpaneling. Marketing like this industry seems to do. Even now, you know it'stough. And so I I've got a fantastic team who has embraced the change, andit really comes down to saying, Listen, guys, if we even wanna survive in thisindustry, this is what we have to do and we're all in this together. We alldon't know what we really should educate ourselves. Let's learn, Let'sbe humble. Let's be realistic. And let's take the user experience testingthe heart. And let's not take it personal. Listen, I mean, I rememberputting the final touch on the old website and thinking, Wow, this is Thisis amazing. And when we sat there and listened to the rial, be back, I mean,I really had to humble myself and say maybe it was good five years ago, butit's not good anymore. It's not solving the consumers problem today. So while Ihave a fantastic team members that air really executing what we're doing, myjob is to really be the cheerleader and...

...the lobbyist for digital strategieswith my board, with my team to say folks, we on the balcony, we have tosee what's happening in the industry and with the way people by and we're nodifferent than retail purchases. So we have to put our brain in that sameplace. Trust me, that's all I can ask you ask you for. Is your trust in meand our expertise and watch the results? And so that's what we do. We educate,we make people. We fill in the gaps so that they can feel comfortable withwhat we're doing. And we demonstrate the proof by showing the results. Webring those to the board meeting our leadership team, and we understand thisand they're not digital strategist. They don't know when we say reapplication and sales funnel. So I have to communicate that in a way that theycan digest and consume that and in turn, by in. And I'm very, very lucky to saythat my team definitely does that technology has transformed our world,and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financialservices forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long before theywalk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brandstill wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feelconfusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing andsales leader. But it doesn't have thio because James Robert wrote the bookthat 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 teamfrom Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that waswritten to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical andproven insights. You can start using today to confidently generate 10 timesmore loans and deposits. Now back to the show. You've really just, I think,unpacked a lot right there. So I'm just gonna, like pull out some key incensefor listeners. Number one. You are a teacher, a trainer and educator, aguide whose primary role in this instance is to help the unaware becomeaware of what the opportunities are in the first place. Because human behavior,we get stuck, we get comfortable, we get complacent. And then, when newentrance into the environment into the marketplace, changing in consumerbehavior, new competitors there is that inherent fear. Fear of the unknown,fear of change, fear of failure and to help someone break free from what wecall a a circle of chaos. And that's when you're operating in this ongoingstate of confusion, overwhelming it conflict Step number one is to providethem with clarity of this is the opportunities because you can't jumplike you said before, you can't jump to the middle like this is a methodicalpath that I'm seeing unfold time and time and time again. So you're aneducator, you're a guide internally, and you're disseminating that knowledgethrough really four avenues. Your you're learning yourself. You'rethinking about what you learn and how it applies to your unique situation.You're sharing that with others to help build their courage and commitment.Then you're applying that your team is applying that. But I think the thefourth step in that that that process is you're reviewing what's worked, whathasn't. And then you're distilling insights from that to go through thatnext round of learning, thinking, doing and reviewing. Yeah, and and thebiggest thing that we have said as a team, because it could get really getreally rough when you sit there and...'s feeling like a full body wax,Trust me. We just say, Don't get romantic about anything we've producedin the past and I've told my team, even if you feel even if you know it'ssomething that Mia created, built architected signed off on what an awardfor If it's not working, I want you to challenge me and say me and you knowthat's really not working. Have that psychological safety to be able tochallenge even what I have put into place and they have done that, and I'vesaid, Listen, it's not working anymore. Let's throw it away, Red line thatlet's try something else So we don't attack the author. We don't. We attackthe issue, we attack the behavior at hand. We gotta be okay doing that, andthat's just it's really really critical. My gosh, you said something.Psychological safety, Because once again, there's that fear of failurethat I see holding a lot of financial brand leaders and marketing teams backbecause it's like in this industry, it's inherently risk adverse. I get it.We're dealing with people's money dealing with people's money, and so wedon't want to be taking a lot of like chances, quote unquote, but no risk, noreward. And in this environment of digital and exponential change called,you know what I'm talking about now is the age of Ai. Like that's the nextstep. You know, looking out 5 to 10 years, we have to get comfortable beinguncomfortable. We have to get comfortable failing and learning fromthat. Failure is the fertile soil for future growth, their seeds that that wecan then plant in our crop, if you will. So how do you give others on your teamthat psychological safety that I feel many are missing right now? Internally?Well, I think some people say it, but they don't really mean it, right.They'll say we want you. Listen, My biggest pet peeve is when, um, employerwill say we want to hire the best talent. We want the best on the market.Then you bring them in, you recruit them, you know, you give them the the Tshirt and the Cuzzi, and then when they try to implement their expertise, wesay, Whoa way don't like to do it that way and you say It's asked you culturein the house because I really feel like I'm being punked right now, all right?You wanted me to come and bring the expertise and do that, but yet it'swe're not aligning what we're saying with what we're willing to dio and sothat's a big, big problem. So we just We talked about it all the time in ourteam, one on ones in our status updates. And we say, guys, if it is not working,we have to be realistic. You can't do everything. There might be some benefitto everything, but we have to focus, and we've got to take what falls at thebottom of the totem pole and put it in the parking lot, and not on what reallyworks today and be okay with that. Be okay with challenging each other,challenging your leader challenging me and being okay to say me, You know what?I think we can do this better and I will respect and value you so much Mawr.If you feel like you could do that and they really see that I'm champing themand they see that I have their best interests and their success at heart.And it's not just looked service. So we had a lot of fun with it, and it's agreat way to be able to find what's not working. You just said something and Iwant to come back to it. It's a small hack in communication, but it is onethat I've seen to be transformative in the way that we communicate when, whengoing through change Number one. I don't like to talk about change becausechange is hard and it puts up that psychological wall like, Oh, there'sgonna be paying associate with that change transformation because when wetalk about change, the desire to change has to be greater than the desire toremain the same. Number one. But number two when you talk about transformation,it's about being an even better version of yourself about being an even betterversion of the organization of the team. And so you said something. Me. This issomething that I think that we can do...

...better ad when, when when you'reworking with your team or your teams working with others internally. Add theword even better because once again, subconsciously, when you talk about heyme, this could be better. What's wrong with it? No, me. This could be evenbetter because it's just optimization is building upon the foundation. Sothat one little word that I've found over the years has actually helped toimprove internal communication and morale. Simple but very, very practicaland something that someone listening can start applying like today. So, yeah,you've really got such amazing story. Ah, lot of quantifiable winds over theyears, things that keep creating value. It's almost like the gift that keeps ongiving. I think about like things like the mortgage journey that you guys havebuilt out and developed. It was like last year, but then, as that is applied,you know, in this home buying season and next year's home buying season,it's just going to create exponential value over time. One of the things aswe wrap up the conversation today, what can you recommend to other leadershipteams? Marketing team sells teams because it's not just one or the other.It's everyone working together towards a common goal. What can you recommendpractically that they can take on their next steps Going forward? I think thebiggest thing the roadblock that people face is we don't like to admit.Sometimes when we don't know all the detail about something new especially,you know, we're being asked to do more with less in terms of talent, time andresource is. And so we sometimes we're like, you know, Hey, we're floatingright along. What? What's there to change? Well, if you're not goingforward, you're gonna be passed up by the competition we're seeing that wesee in our local area. We see a nationwide industry. So my greatestpiece of advice, I guess if you want to call that is, don't be afraid to startwith small bits. Commit to the talent. Commit to theresource. Listen, there was a time where we didn't know what what saleslead meant. I'm like sales lead. That's what my business development folks do,right in the field. How does that apply Toe Digital strategies in marketing anda website? Well, I have to admit that, you know, there was a time where Ididn't know that. And now we're talking about implementing re applicationprocesses we're evaluating and seeing an enormous return on investment fromabandoned applications in our quote unquote shopping card. When our membersabandoned auto loans and credit card APS, we're converting those, and Isound like I know what I'm talking about. What I tell you, That's myteam's work. I've entrusted them to be great, and we're seeing the results andstart small. You have to invest in the team that it really does take aspecialized effort and you can't try to do everything because it's not freesocial media, right? All of that. So figure out what works for you and yourmarket. Don't be afraid to test. Try and improve and generates and you willsee successes, but you have to do it. Yet there is no not doing it. You haveto do it. It's part of this new Asian marketing progress, not perfection.Keep keep moving in the right direction, have a marathon mentality, which I knowthat something that you're looking toe to keep working on yourself personallyis the running. I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna hold you accountable to that waybecause I'm a big runner myself. So keep run the good race. Do good work.This has been such a great conversation. Thank you so much for sharing yourinsights. Your inspiration. You're an inspiration to me. If anyone islistening that wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to dothat? Hey, absolutely. They can reach out to me. They can send me an emailemperors at Louisiana FC you dot or you...

...can find me in Azaz. Well, I'm alwaysvery happy to help and share our story successes and failures to help peoplesee those blind spots that they may not see. We're in this together, and I amextremely, always happy to give back to folks taking your time to help us bebetter. So it's been a great conversation. All right, Well, thankyou so much. Me until next time. Be well and do good. Thank you forlistening to another episode of banking on digital growth with James Robert LeyLike what? you hear? Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a reviewon Apple podcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you'rethere to get even. Mawr Practical and proven Insights, visit www dot digitalgrowth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Bankingon 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 framedaround 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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