MarTech Interview with James White, General Manager at Total Expert

Discover how AI enhances marketing campaigns by personalizing messages for customers in the financial services industry.
MarTech Interview

Could you please tell us about your background and how you entered the industry?
Over the past 20+ years, I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to various roles that have given me a deep understanding of the financial services industry. After spending time on the project and technical side of vendors, including core conversions and implementations for multiple marketing platforms, the past 12 years have been spent focusing on research and strategy.

Total Expert is known for its digital innovation and forward-thinking approach to marketing. Can you provide some examples of how AI has been applied to enhance marketing strategies for financial services organizations?
Financial services organizations benefit from using AI as a copilot for customer engagement and marketing, especially for augmenting day-to-day tasks. AI can quickly analyze various factors, such as financial context and life events, to identify the best moments and strategies for engaging with customers. While human touch is still critical for creating meaningful engagement, AI is a valuable tool for determining when and why to do so.

Personalization is a key aspect of successful marketing campaigns. How does AI help in delivering more personalized and targeted messages to customers in the financial services sector?
By analyzing data and understanding customer behavior, AI can recommend tailored content and messaging that aligns with the customer’s journey on a 1:1 basis. AI tools can also predict future behavior based on historical data and current trends. For example, a customer often browses web content associated with babies and swipes their card to purchase a crib and pay a doctor co-pay. In that case, AI might predict their family is growing, and they may have interest in a new home and ultimately a home loan and suggest more personalized information and messaging to share.

As AI plays a pivotal role in optimizing marketing campaigns, what advice do you have for marketing experts in effectively leveraging AI technology to enhance their strategies and results?
I would advise marketing experts to use AI as a starting point for campaigns and other marketing efforts, but be sure to have an industry expert approve. AI can supercharge ideation and brainstorming, but human expert support is needed to make sure the correct language is being used, and materials meet industry compliance standards. It is also essential to practice and experiment with AI in controlled scenarios. This will allow the organization to improve expertise and guide models as they improve.

Measuring ROI is essential for any marketing effort. How does Total Expert see AI technology helping financial institutions analyze campaign performance and optimize strategies for better results?
AI is an excellent tool for helping organizations understand their ROI and KPIs. AI algorithms can analyze large volumes of data generated by marketing campaigns and customer interactions. This analysis can provide insights into customer behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns. By understanding which campaigns resonate most with different segments of customers, financial institutions can tailor their strategies to be more effective. This understanding can be applied to future campaigns and allows financial institutions to forecast future performance and customize campaigns to drive higher engagement and conversion rates. So many times, getting access to data isn’t difficult, but bringing it all together and making sense of what is important gets lost somewhere in that process. Having a layer of AI to identify trends and preferences quickly will help translate them into actionable insights.

Data security and compliance are paramount in the financial industry. How does Total Expert ensure that AI-powered marketing campaigns comply with relevant regulations and maintain customer data privacy?
Total Expert knows financial services organizations are constantly under scrutiny from regulators, so maintaining compliant marketing materials and data privacy policies is critical, especially for anything that has been AI-generated. Total Expert does this by having industry experts approve all marketing materials available to customers on the platform. Total Expert also offers pre-configured workflows that help remove the uncertainty from disclosures and regulatory compliance by ensuring appropriate reviews and approvals are built in. Organizations can ensure compliance processes are followed and that what is seen by customers and prospects includes compliant messaging as intended. Plus, providing reporting for auditing purposes is a built-in capability, so teams aren’t scrambling when the regulators visit.

AI algorithms require data to learn and improve over time. How does Total Expert handle data collection and analysis to ensure accurate insights and better campaign optimization?
Relevant and accurate data is at the heart of Total Expert, so collecting and optimizing it for use is critical. Total Expert contains various types of data to understand user behavior, preferences, and interactions. This data can include customer profiles, contact information, historical engagement data, email opens and clicks, social media interactions, and more. Total Expert can then integrate with various data sources such as CRM systems, email marketing tools, social media platforms, etc. This allows for a seamless data flow from different sources into a centralized platform for streamlined marketing and customer engagement.

Looking into the future, what do you envision as the next big advancements in AI-driven marketing for financial services, and how do you plan to embrace these opportunities?
Incorporating that into channels then becomes the key. Just think of an ATM that gives you advice based on your spending habits. A mobile app that considers your savings habits and offers appropriate value-added cross-sell products based on that analysis. Within a branch, AI-powered tools will help bankers and tellers have more relevant conversations with customers as AI drives insights to them in real time and offers customers a perspective that goes beyond what that banker or teller has to draw from.

Can you share a success story from a Total Expert customer that is using data-driven insights to drive personalized marketing?
Total Expert customer Dart Bank has successfully used data-driven insights to drive personalized marketing and engagement. After launching Customer Intelligence, for instance, Dart Bank surfaced more than 6,000 insights in only six months that drove up to an additional $48 million in funded loans — all from ripe sales opportunities its loan officers might never have known about! Using a data-driven tool like Customer Intelligence allows Dart Bank loan officers to understand precisely where their customers and prospects are in their financial journey and serve them the personalized content that is most beneficial.

As a leader in the industry, what role does your company play in shaping industry standards and promoting best practices?
As a leader in the industry, Total Expert is responsible for engaging with new and innovative tools and adapting them to fit and best serve the industry. Because we serve so many customers across the industry, and some of them want to be on that bleeding edge of technology, we are in a fantastic position to be part of these changes first-hand. By helping implement new technologies and practices, we are exposed to the best and most practical ways to utilize new technology across the industry and in different markets. Total Expert has been at the forefront of the industry for a long time, and we plan on staying there in the years to come.

James, as an industry expert in the field, what key advice would you give to fellow professionals looking to excel in the financial services marketing landscape?
I would recommend that professionals looking to excel in the financial services marketing landscape should lean into their curiosity and stay informed on industry happenings. The financial services industry is constantly evolving and staying up-to-date with the latest news, trends, technologies, regulations, and consumer behaviors that impact the industry. Regularly reading industry publications and connecting with others in the industry will serve you well.

Pay attention to how current financial institutions are innovating in the space, but also how technology companies are finding ways to fit into financial services and bring new ideas and practices to leverage data and improve customer experiences and engagement.

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James White, General Manager at Total Expert

James White is General Manager, banking, at Total Expert. He has spent over 20 years leading the design and deployment of innovative financial sector applications. LinkedIn.
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