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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 I look forward to sharing me oppresses digital growths Journey story with you Today me is the chief admin officer for Louisiana FC you. And as you'll hear in a moment, Mia's journey began five years ago when she called me because she was considering sending a few of her team members to our Digital Growth University. She was hoping to gain some clarity into the unknown and really learn about the untapped opportunities that were available for them to create her capture. And and since that time, me and her team have taken what I call the predictable journey is the newfound clarity that they gained through the university led them to commit to move forward and take the next steps with courage as they gained a digital growth blueprint. And as a result, over the past five years, me and her team have continued to increase their confidence by that Onley establishing and optimizing digital marketing and self systems. They've also developed the habits that have created a tremendous amount of quantifiable value across the entire organization, including the generation of tens of thousands of digital leads that have gone on to convert into new loans and deposits. Enjoy the episode. Mhmm. 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 explores 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 41st 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 Me, a Perez to the show Who is the chief admin officer at Louisiana FC. 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 last five years because I vividly remember getting a phone call, right? Aziz, you're considering sending two of your team members to one of our digital growth 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 where you because I to me, that's like that's the beginning of this journey that you've been taking now over the last five years. What was life like for you back then? Well, I remember that. James. Robert, I remember calling you and saying Listen, I'm gonna be perfectly honest, and I know nothing about what we should be doing here with digital strategies. What I do know is that we're probably behind the curve a little bit and we need Thio. We need to fast forward and get ourselves in the running. And we I think we're probably much like many credit unions. Even, unfortunately, some credit because they're still in stuck in that In that space, they're still where we were 35 years ago. I see it. I see it in materials and marketing, and I also see it through conversations with some of my colleagues. But we were just really at a stage where we recognized that we needed to do something. But we didn't know what we didn't know. We didn't have anyone on staff. That was a digital expert. You know, the breath of my responsibility cover so many areas that I couldn't be the ones in the weeds, uh, in the tactical pieces of the strategy. And so I really needed somebody to come in and make that happen. Force. I mean, I even went as far as calling one of our local...

...universities here in New Orleans and said, If I wanna hire someone to own my digital marketing strategies, what degree program should I be looking at? And everyone that I spoke to said, You know, that's a great question. And I said, Oh, well, that's not good news because it really just It wasn't a thing. It wasn't a thing. So it was like, You have to teach them, get you teach the talent while you were working on the moving car, right? Yeah, you know, you're building the airplane is you're trying to get it off the runway and and and fly it. And even to this day, five years later, to your point about like the university I go and I guess lecture at different universities and let me tell you the curriculum at the university and it's no harm, no foul. It's just like quickly the world is changing. I mean, I just did an interview with a publication a couple of 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 just gonna change the entire game once again. So you mentioned something I think that was critical. And just some of the conversations that we've been having before is that you are trying to start in the middle. What? What do you mean by that? Because Because I see that with so many financial brands, even today, we on again, this goes back to we didn't know what we didn't know. So I'm I'm really gonna lay out some dirty laundry, probably in this conversation, but that's okay. I feel like I'm a little bit of a right now. We recognize that we were a lot like other financial institutions when it came to their digital marketing. And even when I reflect back on even some of our traditional marketing, we were implementing some of those same strategies just in the traditional fashion, 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 loan through us. And if we listen, it worked. It still works in some audiences. In some situations, you know where we specialize or we create campaigns on rates 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 go into 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 very plus paper. But people want to know, Can I get in that new car at a payment that I can afford? And so there's a whole dialogue of conversation that really has to be had at the forefront of that consumer buying journey. And we were really guilty of just saying Hey, member, here's a postcard and we could make a loan for you that's so boring. It's not sexy. And so we we were seeing some success but realized we were really kind of doing it all wrong. You know, I hear I hear you and I see that One of the things that I'm a big proponent of teaching is people want two things in their own personal financial journey. They want help, and they want hope. But hope more often than not, actually has to come before help. And that is the greatest opportunity that I see. For financial brands today is the first offer. Hope then offer help. And after that, now maybe the rate and the commoditization comes into play. But that's how we break free from all of this noise. All of 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 a couple interviews that you've talked about another other podcasts is a very painful experience, and and only you can say this and I have toe. I have two precious this when I'm talking with other people in telling the story that these were Mia's direct words so way. One of the things that we did is we actually secret, shopped on. We continue to do this year over Year is we've been secret shopping, your...

...digital experiences, which I find quite fascinating because it's ah it's ah, it's a study in human behavior, both quantitatively and more so important qualitatively in the book, banking on Digital 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 done any digital secret shopping studies before. But But when they raise their hand 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 were dealing with. I thought, you know, while we had an awareness that we needed to step up the digital game or even really, actually say create a digital framework for our organization, you way didn't think we were doing so bad. We had a decent website. Listen, we were winning awards for those websites and and for our activity and traffic, and we had some really good results. So here we go. We engage in this user testing and I walk into the room super confident. As a matter of fact, without seeing any of the results upfront. I invited my management team. We talked to the board about it and when we witnessed the user experience testing in the feedback, not from crediting and marketers, not from colleague Piers. I'm talking about the rial people who are buying our product, the average consumers who were struggling 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 these results are going to be fantastic. I'm so proud of my my my entire team is gonna hear all the raves about all the things that my teams are doing that were seen and and first place quality. And here we're sitting, listening to the consumer say, I wouldn't do business with this crediting and because you know what? I don't know what a P y means. I don't know what key lock means. So no, and they click off our screen. And I just felt like I lost the puppy. I was really embarrassed, but it was eye opening because, you know, we'd like to think we're somewhat humble and we said, You know, we thought we were doing it great. Clearly, we're doing it wrong and we called inaudible. We had no intentions of reworking Are Way, Way took that down so 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 wonderful ever since. And you know, you called that audible. And I think the thing that I see out of that and I don't see this with many financial brand leaders is they get that knowledge. They get that insight, but they fail to take action on it, for one reason or another. It's like, Nope, we have these plans were 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 like you 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 is the application, because yeah, within. I think it was 6 to 9 months. You know you're rolling out. Not a glorified online brochure, but a website that sells. And that was like and And not only did you guys were crazy because not only did you watch you launch online banking, so your marketing team is like sending out all of this communication, and it's like you just rip 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 remember with your crew, late night began work where we were readjusting, uh, language on the website links. We were doing all this testing in collaboration with the re launch of a new online banking...

...platform. We were really having these conversations about whether or not our members would punch in the URL and they would think that the credit because we flip the switch and nothing looked the same. It was so much better. But of course, you know, we had to be realistic and just people were used to seeing the same thing for so long. And now 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 built this for that consumer that really wants to help. No one wants to be embarrassed when they talk about money. So we wanted to empower them, educate them and put them at the front side of that consumer buying journey. And it's been like I said, it's been very fruitful, So Well, Z, it's really, I think, an exercise and empathy number one, just like you've talked about. We don't know what we don't know. On the flip side, on the consumer side, when it comes to financial services, there's Ah lot of lack of knowledge, lack of awareness, and that's a big area of study for us, even more so now than than before when it comes to financial matters. But number two, that website started creating value almost instantly because no longer do you just have, like a single call to action, apply for the loan. You mentioned the consumer journey. You bridge some gaps with how people shop and buy like Well, they might be midway down that journey, but they might have some questions. And so now you're filling all of these different digital leads and the nurturing these leads and and you've built on that platform you've built upon that foundation year over year, even like with marketing operations no longer you having like, spend things up from the ground, your ableto pull things off the shelf, like as needed. So, yeah, when you look at where you've been, where you're at, where you're going next I get. For many financial brand leaders, change is hard. That's why I'm a big believer. And like, put your oxygen mask on first. Alright, How are you handling all of these changes around 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, that means you're gonna be doing things that are really unknown, that you don't have much support in terms of historical data. Thio, solidify your reasoning and your argument when you're standing in front of the board and a leadership team and saying, I need you to invest, not spend and not an expense. But invest in what we're doing and this is why. And you have this much information to do it on rather than 2030 years of boring get a shag carpet and brown paneling. Marketing like this industry seems to do. Even now, you know it's tough. And so I I've got a fantastic team who has embraced the change, and it really comes down to saying, Listen, guys, if we even wanna survive in this industry, this is what we have to do and we're all in this together. We all don't know what we really should educate ourselves. Let's learn, Let's be humble. Let's be realistic. And let's take the user experience testing the heart. And let's not take it personal. Listen, I mean, I remember putting the final touch on the old website and thinking, Wow, this is This is 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, but it's not good anymore. It's not solving the consumers problem today. So while I have a fantastic team members that air really executing what we're doing, my job is to really be the cheerleader and...

...the lobbyist for digital strategies with my board, with my team to say folks, we on the balcony, we have to see what's happening in the industry and with the way people by and we're no different than retail purchases. So we have to put our brain in that same place. Trust me, that's all I can ask you ask you for. Is your trust in me and 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 with what we're doing. And we demonstrate the proof by showing the results. We bring those to the board meeting our leadership team, and we understand this and they're not digital strategist. They don't know when we say re application and sales funnel. So I have to communicate that in a way that they can digest and consume that and in turn, by in. And I'm very, very lucky to say that my team definitely does that 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. You've really just, I think, unpacked a lot right there. So I'm just gonna, like pull out some key incense for listeners. Number one. You are a teacher, a trainer and educator, a guide whose primary role in this instance is to help the unaware become aware of what the opportunities are in the first place. Because human behavior, we get stuck, we get comfortable, we get complacent. And then, when new entrance into the environment into the marketplace, changing in consumer behavior, 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 we call a a circle of chaos. And that's when you're operating in this ongoing state of confusion, overwhelming it conflict Step number one is to provide them with clarity of this is the opportunities because you can't jump like you said before, you can't jump to the middle like this is a methodical path that I'm seeing unfold time and time and time again. So you're an educator, you're a guide internally, and you're disseminating that knowledge through really four avenues. Your you're learning yourself. You're thinking 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 the fourth step in that that that process is you're reviewing what's worked, what hasn't. And then you're distilling insights from that to go through that next round of learning, thinking, doing and reviewing. Yeah, and and the biggest thing that we have said as a team, because it could get really get really rough when you sit there and...

...it's feeling like a full body wax, Trust me. We just say, Don't get romantic about anything we've produced in the past and I've told my team, even if you feel even if you know it's something that Mia created, built architected signed off on what an award for If it's not working, I want you to challenge me and say me and you know that's really not working. Have that psychological safety to be able to challenge even what I have put into place and they have done that, and I've said, Listen, it's not working anymore. Let's throw it away, Red line that let's try something else So we don't attack the author. We don't. We attack the issue, we attack the behavior at hand. We gotta be okay doing that, and that's just it's really really critical. My gosh, you said something. Psychological safety, Because once again, there's that fear of failure that I see holding a lot of financial brand leaders and marketing teams back because 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 we don't want to be taking a lot of like chances, quote unquote, but no risk, no reward. 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 next step. You know, looking out 5 to 10 years, we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We have to get comfortable failing and learning from that. Failure is the fertile soil for future growth, their seeds that that we can then plant in our crop, if you will. So how do you give others on your team that 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, employer will 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 T shirt and the Cuzzi, and then when they try to implement their expertise, we say, Whoa way don't like to do it that way and you say It's asked you culture in 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's we're not aligning what we're saying with what we're willing to dio and so that's a big, big problem. So we just We talked about it all the time in our team, 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 benefit to everything, but we have to focus, and we've got to take what falls at the bottom of the totem pole and put it in the parking lot, and not on what really works 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 them and 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 a great way to be able to find what's not working. You just said something and I want to come back to it. It's a small hack in communication, but it is one that I've seen to be transformative in the way that we communicate when, when going through change Number one. I don't like to talk about change because change is hard and it puts up that psychological wall like, Oh, there's gonna be paying associate with that change transformation because when we talk about change, the desire to change has to be greater than the desire to remain 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 better version of the organization of the team. And so you said something. Me. This is something that I think that we can do...

...better ad when, when when you're working with your team or your teams working with others internally. Add the word even better because once again, subconsciously, when you talk about hey me, this could be better. What's wrong with it? No, me. This could be even better because it's just optimization is building upon the foundation. So that one little word that I've found over the years has actually helped to improve internal communication and morale. Simple but very, very practical and something that someone listening can start applying like today. So, yeah, you've really got such amazing story. Ah, lot of quantifiable winds over the years, things that keep creating value. It's almost like the gift that keeps on giving. I think about like things like the mortgage journey that you guys have built 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 as we wrap up the conversation today, what can you recommend to other leadership teams? 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 recommend practically that they can take on their next steps Going forward? I think the biggest 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 and resource is. And so we sometimes we're like, you know, Hey, we're floating right along. What? What's there to change? Well, if you're not going forward, you're gonna be passed up by the competition we're seeing that we see in our local area. We see a nationwide industry. So my greatest piece of advice, I guess if you want to call that is, don't be afraid to start with small bits. Commit to the talent. Commit to the resource. Listen, there was a time where we didn't know what what sales lead 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 and a website? Well, I have to admit that, you know, there was a time where I didn't know that. And now we're talking about implementing re application processes we're evaluating and seeing an enormous return on investment from abandoned applications in our quote unquote shopping card. When our members abandoned auto loans and credit card APS, we're converting those, and I sound like I know what I'm talking about. What I tell you, That's my team's work. I've entrusted them to be great, and we're seeing the results and start small. You have to invest in the team that it really does take a specialized effort and you can't try to do everything because it's not free social media, right? All of that. So figure out what works for you and your market. Don't be afraid to test. Try and improve and generates and you will see successes, but you have to do it. Yet there is no not doing it. You have to 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 know that something that you're looking toe to keep working on yourself personally is the running. I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna hold you accountable to that way because 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 your insights. Your inspiration. You're an inspiration to me. If anyone is listening that wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that? Hey, absolutely. They can reach out to me. They can send me an email emperors at Louisiana FC you dot or you...

...can find me in Azaz. Well, I'm always very happy to help and share our story successes and failures to help people see those blind spots that they may not see. We're in this together, and I am extremely, always happy to give back to folks taking your time to help us be better. So it's been a great conversation. All right, Well, thank you so much. Me until next time. Be well and do good. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth with James Robert Ley Like what? you hear? Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even. Mawr Practical and proven Insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Banking on Digital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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