c BBVA Compass' FS mobile experience marketing explained
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BBVA Compass’ CMO sheds light on its award-winning mobile campaign

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Photo credit:

Shawn Blanc

Jennifer Dominiquini is one of Hot Topics' top 50 financial services marketers in Europe and the US. She explains her brand's mobile wins, what's next for the industry, and why.

Jennifer Dominiquini isn’t interested in digital for digital’s sake.

As the Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer for BBVA Compass, Dominiquini is charged with transforming the banking franchise – ranking among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share – in its customer engagement and marketing strategies, and has used digital elements to further her remit – but only when appropriate.

“What we have realized is that our clients and potential clients are engaging with banks in different ways, in ways they have never gone through before, and digital gives us a unique opportunity to better serve our existing customers, as well as to promote the ease and convenience of our offering to new clients.”

BBVA Compass is a subsidiary of the Spanish multinational Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) since 2007, the second largest bank in Spain with annual revenues of US $24 billion, or 21.4 billion EUR.

These modernizations to a wide variety of their services is part of an industry-wide change, fueled by both an increasingly logged-in customer, and a wealth of new technology that the market can make use of.

There is a specific channel within their portfolio that has proven to be the particularly successful, and its one of the first things you see on BBVA’s homepage.

‘Find out more about the revolution of being able to do everything from your cell phone here,’ sets the tone for the bank’s stance on the modern customer.

Recognizing that a growing number of people prefer to operate their finances quickly and without going in-branch, Dominiquini and her team have focused heavily on mobile experience marketing, after its parent company directed attention towards the little, and personal, screen.

Which shows: last year, Money Magazine named BBVA Compass’ mobile app “Best Mobile App”, and Dominiquini explains the rationale behind their mobile momentum.

“We use mobile to better serve our clients, quite simply. Our mobile platform compliments our online banking and they are very important to us to be able to deliver on our value proposition, helping our customers stay in control throughout their financial journey with us.

“The mobile platform enables us to engage with audiences to make banking easier – bringing banking to them, as it were – and we have world class features that also enable remote deposit capture, money transfers, online payments, and others.”

Their focus on mobile experience marketing also filters down into their on-the-ground staff and associates who encourage customers to use mobile banking, and teach them the digital benefits.

Navigating and directing customer habits and trends is not new for BBVA Compass’ Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer, however.

After acting as an Associate Partner at the brand consultancy Prophet, leveraging extensive marketing and strategy expertise across customer experience and innovation, she landed a number of Chief Marketing Officer roles across Sears and Kmart and Evite & BuySeasons.

Such a background heavily invested in the customer experience angle of marketing has allowed Dominiquini to understand the main drivers of client trends in different industries, what to change as a result, and what not to change, to advance her mobile experience marketing campaign.

Which goes back to her earlier point of not wanting to digitize for digitizing sake.

Despite her and her team’s foresight to have started the digital and mobile transition early, within an FS context, what she’s not doing is trying to get her customers out of bricks and mortar relationships completely.

“We want to provide convenience, to make it more effective and efficient for them to bank for us. We still have strength in our branches and the services they provide, but our new tools and channels allow them to engage with branches in a technology orientated way.”

One of the most important parts to this new type of engagement is its measurability.

Data and analytics provides tangible and scientific evidence of how a campaign is engaging customers, both new and old, and allows marketers to focus and fine-tune their efforts, almost in real-time.

“Today’s marketing is much more math orientated and performance driven, so we have to make our strategies quantifiable.

“We include retention and overall loyalty rates, and we can measure things from the increase of sales coming through our digital channels, to its offline impact, and the percentage of clients that are digitally engaged.”

For every opportunity or measurable outcome that digital and mobile streams provide, they also require the appropriate technology to keep them running, and people’s data safe.

Beautifying the front end of a company’s operations won’t continue to flourish if a back-end is not up-to-date, or, as Dominiquini puts it: “You have to think about the end-to-end customer experience, not just the front end of the horse…”

The other side, the back-end, is all about the processes, skills, and technologies that run operations and services behind the scenes which marketing functions run off.

“We are taking a very mobile-first approach to marketing, designing products to really operate first in a digital environment. So our process behind the scenes run smoothly and are aligned with our front-facing strategies.”

Extend this kind of thinking across the FS industry, and it starts to paint a picture that the retail industry experienced a number of years ago, according to Dominiquini.

Which she speaks from experience: one of her Chief Marketing Roles at Sears and Kmart drove the seasonal and outdoor living business unit, whilst her second such function focused on the marketing for toys, fitness and sporting goods.

“What we realized [in retail] was this great digital opportunity ahead of us to take a very 360 degree view over customer experience over several touch points, which is where FS is now.”

Which has made her role all the more interesting, in her eyes.

“I think my role is great: I have the marketing remit, the website, the analytics and the online account origination, so I’m able to not just drive marketing, but drive the complete mobile and digital experience for our client.

“Having come from a retail and e-commerce background to banking is useful; many banks are talking much more about e-commerce, performance driven approaches to marketing in FS making this space very exciting for me.”

Where the FS industry heads next is the next logical question.

Client and potential client expectations are rising as services improve, and they realise the power they hold over brands and companies.

Traditional banking is having an existential moment whereby innovation comes in the form of start-ups or more nimble enterprises, and the evolution of the sector is occurring at a pace which requires constant attention and adaptation – like mobile experience marketing strategies.

“The disruptive business models on the lending or banking side is what’s changing the industry, and by that I mean what you see today isn’t what you’ll see tomorrow. We at BBVA need to get ahead – and we do – and think smartly about building up an experience, because that’s what now garners success.”

As a result, the marketing discipline and tactics have become more sophisticated, more digital and mobile-orientated, and more quantitatively measurable; the result is a mobile experience marketing definition.

Dominiquini and her team have carried out those tasks, to award winning standards in some instances, but only when they see it as having a meaningful effect on their clients, which she believes is an important caveat every marketer needs to consider whilst they ride the digital wave.