Fireside Chat with Wells Fargo on Customer-Centric Marketing

Fireside Chat with Wells Fargo on Customer-Centric Marketing

At a recent insider marketing event in Palo Alto, Thunder CEO Victor Wong sat down with Dane Hulquist, ‎SVP, Head of Media and Retail Channels at Wells Fargo, to talk about customer-centric marketing.

A key focus of the talk was how brands with multiple products often times end up competing as they overlap in targeting a customer, bid against themselves, and create inefficiencies. The interview below has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Hulquist spoke about Wells Fargo’s high-level cultural and strategic shift which was a move toward centralization to eliminate internal competition and focus on company goals.

There’s a threat of products competing with other products for the same customer. At a bank like Wells Fargo, it’s a real possibility that two or more teams–like investment and brokerage and wealth management–are independently courting the same person.

This creates inefficiencies as both departments end up bidding for the same media and same targeting, driving up costs. This issue isn’t isolated to companies like Wells Fargo. Other sectors like financial services, telecom, CPG, and eCommerce are sharing a similar experience of internal competition.

What was stopping this from being remedied sooner?

Teams like the ones at Wells Fargo traditionally would have separate marketing campaigns for each product line. Each team would be drawing from separate budgets. There was high-level knowledge and strategy sharing across teams, but they weren’t collaborating on the ground enough to be able to reveal areas of overlap.

What are some of the organizational challenges to removing internal competition?

Budgets, accountability structures, P&Ls…many of the practices that are part of the foundation of the modern enterprise have a side-effect of encouraging teams to operate in silos.

What are some of the technical challenges? How are you unifying your view of a customer?

There are three key components to the tech stack. CRM, DMP, and an identity resolution system. But by syncing data carefully, Wells Fargo can now reveal to the broader organization a cohesive view of how the customer is engaged with the Wells Fargo brand and all of its components. This wide view of the customer highlights opportunities for introducing new products and retaining customers longer. Trends about the customer journey become easier to identify with the data all in one place.

Wells Fargo has already gained this wide view in CRM channels like email and on the website. They are currently tackling the same challenge in paid media.

How do you encourage your organization to work together?

We want to avoid a situation where multiple departments are bombarding a person with multiple offers a day from different product groups, said Hulquist. There is one owner of the customer. The company. They are a Wells Fargo customer. This is a new way of approaching marketing, but it’s driving real results, and those results are helping get people on board and sell the initiative internally.

What incentives or benefits do they see from unifying ownership of the customer?

It all comes back to the customer journey, both offline and online. Centralization is helping Wells Fargo hit aggressive goals by driving our own costs down while also aiding in increasing the performance of our campaigns.

How do you encourage centralization? Do you need to centralize to pull this off?

To optimize company-wide for growth targets, centralization is proving to be a key factor. Centralization was likened to the origins of the United States–moving from running a loose confederacy of aligned teams to a strong federal system. It’s about increasing coordination and consolidating overlapping activities into more efficient, central systems.

Where do you see the main benefits of coordinating messaging and targeting?

Coordinating messaging and targeting is helping improve Wells Fargo’s personalization efforts which are strengthening the brand and its ability to have 1:1 conversations with its customers. Tailoring the messaging in the marketing is a great way to activate the rich data that Wells Fargo has invested in. It’s improving the customer experience across the board, especially in digital channels.

What is happening to media costs?

At the same time, by capping universal frequency and delivering the right product and offer, the cost of customer acquisition is now lower.

Thanks to CRM and DMP technologies, Wells Fargo has a 360-degree view of its customers. We know what a customer is worth today in each product line, and we can decide as a company how to target that buyer and how to personalize what product to offer first.