Ask the expert: Pause, redo, renew. Pivoting to better finance marketing

An interview with Capital One's Bill TenBusch

When your job is to help small businesses and the economy goes haywire, you have some adjustments to make. Bill TenBusch, Director of Digital Marketing & Cross-Channel Analytics, Small Business Card at Capital One tells us how his team pressed pause and started over on their strategy (something we should all consider doing now and again).



Here’s what Bill had to say…

Phrasee: What do you think consumers need most right now from their financial institutions?

Bill: Over the last year, we’ve seen the small business community face unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, Capital One has been conducting research and connecting with our small business customers to discuss their unique situations and determine the resources that best meet their needs. What we’ve heard runs the gamut from understanding how to better leverage government financial aid to how to pivot their operations or business strategy to navigate their new normal. Financial institutions are in a position to help small businesses address that range of concerns. In addition to helping our business customers secure much-needed funding, we’re sharing the stories of small business resilience across our platforms so business owners can see themselves in and learn from the successes and setbacks of their peers.

Phrasee: What’s a pivot that your team has pulled off this year that you’re really proud of?

Bill: Depending on how you look at it, the past year has either felt like one long pivot or a series of near-daily pivots in order to help our business customers endure this uncertain economic environment. We challenged ourselves to think outside of the box and adapt our approach to make sure we could sensibly navigate the road ahead. One of the highlights for me was our decision to hit pause on everything we were doing in the early days of the pandemic. We used that time to go back to the drawing board and build out a thoughtful, comprehensive re-entry strategy based on data. Giving ourselves that time to pause, deliberate our next steps, and tailor our plan to our audience positioned us for continued success through the end of last year.


"The past year has either felt like one long pivot or a series of near-daily pivots."

Bill TenBusch, Capital One

Phrasee: What are your favorite kind of emails to get?

Bill: Like most people, my inbox is inundated with emails every day and the majority of them are trying to sell me a product in which I have no interest or need. The emails that really stand out and connect with me are the ones that solve a problem based on my past experience. For example, I once received an email informing me that a pair of shoes were back in stock. The company captured that I had browsed their site before, looked at that pair of shoes but didn’t order because they were out of my size. Another example of an email I love is one that does the heavy lifting for me – a service I subscribe to sent me an email notifying me that if I subscribed with their annual pass, I’d be saving myself money in the long term. A win for me and the company!

Phrasee: What do you think the role of technology will be for financial services marketers in the future?

Bill: Looking ahead, I believe that technology will be the most significant catalyst for advancing how brands become more personalized and relatable to customers. Consumer-facing companies are shifting their focus to helping customers, not simply selling to them. This has set the bar high for all marketers as we can no longer rely on traditional tactics to provide the personalized experiences and offerings that customers demand today. Technology will be key to helping us differentiate our messaging, products and content so that we remain competitive in the marketplace and relevant to the evolving needs of our customers and prospects.


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