Westpac customer marketing chief: Social is a great way to start conversations

Bank's head of customer relationship marketing and digital, Karen Ganschow, also stresses the importance of consistency in cross-channel engagement

Social media is a great place to start conversations with customers on a new purchase journey, and also plays a vital role in recognising and responding to their needs, Westpac’s customer marketing chief claims.

Speaking at the Retail Financial Services event in Sydney, head of customer relationship marketing and digital, Australian Financial Services, Karen Ganschow, highlighted the importance of social and mobile engagement in the banking group’s modern marketing strategy.

She also stressed the need to personalise and standardise customer experiences across whatever channels a consumer chooses to communicate and engage with a brand in.

Ganschow shared an example of how Westpac has generated qualified customer leads through Facebook by opening up conversations between prospective customers and home finance experts on first-time lending. Customers looking to take conversations further are then sent a direct message offering them their own personal finance expert within the bank.

“This is slightly less confronting than walking into a branch, and has been working well in helping generate real business leads,” she told attendees. “It also helps us understand what’s on our customers’ minds.”

Westpac is also supporting customers of its Westpac, Bank SA and St George brands through social. “Social can be scary as a brand, especially when bank bashing is a national past time, to put yourself out there. Yes, you will get people saying nasty things about you and your brand. But we’ve also learnt a lot about our customers through these channels,” Ganschow commented.

“In digital [channels], you can see through a consumer’s behaviour what really works, what they care about, and what doesn’t work… we use search keywords for example, to know what’s hot for customers and pull that through our whole customer journey.”

In one case, social helped Westpac see the confusion customers were experiencing around fixed and comparison rates it advertised for new home loans, Ganschow said. Westpac responded to these comments by providing an external explainer website to help customers understand comparison rates.

“The joy with social media... was that we got to see that confusion and were able to respond to that,” she said. “We received 800 comments, and the last 600 were positive, having established that precedence.”

Related: Customer-led big data programs add millions to Westpac's bottom line

Ganschow also highlighted the vital role mobile is playing in customer engagement today, pointing out that more than half of all banking is now being done on mobile devices. Westpac is meeting this need by designing all digital services and forms with a mobile-first mentality, she said.

"2013 was the last year of the desktop and laptop; everything we've seen since then says the majority of online bank sessions are now coming through mobile,” Ganschow said.

“If your assets are not mobile-first, friendly and mobile-aware, you won’t be giving customers a great experience.”

At the same time, she called on brands to ensure that whatever message or experience they and endeavouring give to customers is consistent and relevant across whatever channel consumers choose to engage in, digital, call centre or otherwise.

“Customers won’t stay tidy – they move between screens and devices,” she said. “They also don’t go one-way; a customer may start online, then come into the brand and go back online to complete a purchase. And it’s not necessarily one action after another; they can be simultaneous.

“The challenge for marketers bringing this together is that it’s getting more complex. The only channel we have turned off is fax marketing. We still need and want TV, outdoor, direct mail, branches, employee activation, social media and a mobile app.

“We have to learn how to orchestrate and synchronise the marketing team as we launch new products. And the real frontier is not just harmonising our efforts, but ensuring there’s no loss of data, insight and engagement for customers.”

The Retail Financial Services event was hosted by Asia-Pacific Banking and Finance.

Photo credit: Courtesy of AB+F magazine.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

yo nice article

Bob

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Blog Posts

9 lessons from 7 months of relentless failure

The most innovative organisations embrace failure. Why? Because it is often through failing the most creative out-of-box thinking happens. And with it comes vital learning opportunities that bring new knowledge and experience into teams.

Jacki James

Digital product lead, Starlight Children's Foundation

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

Sign in