What Citi's marketing leader has done to align team thinking

Citi's head of customer experience shares how she's realigned the marketing function to better collaborate and use data

Marketing teams that don’t align on customer throughout the planning, launch and optimisation of brand campaigns are missing out on the opportunity to drive better experiences and engagement.

That’s the view of Citi head of customer experience, Tanya Smith, who caught up with CMO recently to talk about her role leading CX efforts across the banking group, as well as the increasingly tighter ties being forged between her marketing, digital, data analytics and customer experience management teams.

Over the past two years, Smith has led all four areas for Citi and increasingly sought to break down perceived silos between functions. In addition, she’s worked hard to instill a customer-led culture right across the organisation, using data, metrics and ways of working to achieve her ambitions.

The biggest change has been what Citi calls ‘decision management’, its data and analytics arm. Historically, decision management used to support existing customer activity, pulling customer lists and helping to satisfy existing customer needs. Today, the data team supports everything, from acquisition journeys, using data management platforms and look-a-like audiences, to dovetailing between digital and data.

“Digital and data used to operate as siloed organisations, whereas now they can’t operate without each other,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of interesting work happening regionally in the data space as well. Big banks architect in a way where there are lots of different data pools. Now, we’re pulling all of that together, and augmenting that with external data as well.”

In addition, thanks to work on APIs, Citi is partnering with third-parties and gaining access to a raft of additional data that supports an increasingly behavioural-based approach to customer insight and understanding.

Across the marketing function, it’s not surprising then that Smith finds it vital to have data ability and be analytical. But there’s another level skillset around modelling, propensity building and look-a-like audiences that must also be tapped into for wider customer success.

“That’s where I need the data and marketing people to come together. It’s not enough to just upskill marketers with a data skillset, they need to collaborate,” she said. 

Marketing realignment

Realigning marketing roles has been part of Smith’s work to better unite experience and messaging across the customer lifecycle. Citi has had different marketing teams covering acquisition, engagement and customer experience and each had distinct metrics around awareness, consideration and preference.

In 2017, when Citi launched its ‘Bring on a brand new world’ campaign, about enabling growth and progress of customers, every team took the same approach.

“Acquisition are not just making how many new customers they’re getting, but looking at the halo from their activity and seeing how that’s feeding into typical brand metrics,” Smith explained. “And the brand guys are doing the same – it’s a brand campaign but then working out what our engagement uplifts are and how that is effecting acquisition.

“In 2018, we’re taking that and making sure the voice to the customer is also the same voice internally. And how does that turn into a staff campaign.”

On top of this, every employee at Citi has Net Promoter Score (NPS) as part of their scorecard.

What’s also been vital is adopting a test-and-learn approach. To do this, Citi has increasingly adopted agile ways of working. It’s then tapping internal and third-party data sets and actively seeking customer input throughout the process of development, launch and optimisation.

As a case in point, Smith noted the ‘Bring on a brand new work’ campaign, which featured different customers doing amazing things Citi has helped support.

“We found early on when we were doing the brand research that those individuals were going to define the success or failure of the campaign,” Smith said. “If customers didn’t resonate with other customers it wasn’t going to work.

“We actually changed out some of the stories as a result. And there were different insights where we found people don’t want to see someone at the end of the journey, but on the journey. Consumers want to see people changing the world and making it a great place rather than getting individually rich. Some of these insights then fed into the way we rolled out the campaign.

“People really like the human connection. We have to make sure that’s how people see the Citi brand.”

Social listening is then actively used by Citi to tweak campaign efforts.

“Now when you launch, you don’t just sit back and watch how a campaign goes, you launch then everyday you’re tinkering and changing, getting insights, changing out the creative and doing personalisation as well,” Smith said. “It’s making the job of a marketer more interesting. But they can no longer just think creatively, they need to be thinking about the data, digital, messaging. It all comes together.” 

Top attributes

Marketers can’t sit on their laurels, Smith said - the world is changing too quickly and rapidly.

“For me, it’s making sure the people we have working here in that space are curious, challenging and keeping up with what’s possible,” she said. “It’s not just creative but understanding the digital, data components of it, then seeking out expertise in the organisation where you need sophisticated modelling, for example, and bringing that into what they do. It’s just how you connect all the dots to deliver on a personalised customer experience.”  

Some of that comes from local forces, but the Australian Citi team is also looking regionally and globally for inspiration.

“Sometimes they’re bringing in things we haven’t even thought about, which are amazing solutions for the local customers, so it’s making sure we are aware of the power of the global network and leveraging it,” Smith added. “All this requires marketers to look internally, externally, cross-border, then keep coming back to what the customer wants.”  

Check out more of CMO's marketing leadership profiles

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu    

 

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