June 15, 2023

Episode 005:

Rockstar Bankers? Strategies for Relationship Banking at Scale

In this podcast episode, Eric Cook, a banking expert with 15 years of experience, discusses the importance of building strong customer relationships, the rise of 'rockstar bankers', and the power of hyper-personalization in creating emotionally-driven marketing messages. Eric shares insights on leveraging AI and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to enable hyper-personalization at scale and emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself when forging meaningful connections with customers.

Episode 005: Rockstar Bankers? Strategies for Relationship Banking at Scale

by Banking On Disruption Podcast

Show Notes

What if you could create an emotionally-driven marketing message that resonates with your customers by tapping into the power of hyper-personalization? Join us as we sit down with recovering banker, golden retriever fanatic, and heavy metal enthusiast Eric Cook in a fascinating conversation about leveraging technology to drive digital transformation in the banking industry. Eric’s unique insights and perspective, make this an episode you don’t want to miss!

Together, we explore the importance of building relationships with customers and how banks can stand out amid increased competition by combining high touch with high tech. We also discuss the rise of ‘rockstar bankers’ who use social media to engage with their fans and build a loyal following. We dive into the potential of AI and CDPs to enable hyper-personalization at scale, sharing an example of a bank that nailed their emotionally-driven marketing message.

In our ‘Quick Takes’, Dane & Fred touch on Salesforce’s ‘AI Day’ earlier this week, an exciting new data partnership announced this week, and the complexities of measuring employee engagement and satisfaction, emphasizing the need for meaningful conversations with team members. Dane shares his views on the difference between engagement and retention.

 

Key Moments in This Episode Include:

0:03:00 – Eric Cook, Commercial Banker
0:15:09 – Building Relationships in Banking
0:28:49 – Hyper-Personalization and Social Media for Banks
0:36:21 – Balancing Personal and Professional Identity
0:40:55 – Marketing Trends and Brand Authenticity
0:52:32 – The Importance of Knowing Your Customer
1:01:51 – Salesforce AI Day & Product Updates
1:15:48 – Measuring Engagement in the Workplace

Links & Mentions

Guests

Eric Cook

Eric Cook

Digital Strategist

Spending 15 years as a community banker before making the shift to a digital strategist in 2007, Eric is an award-winning agency owner with WSI Digital, author, speaker, educator, and most recently founder of TheLinkedBanker.com – a mentoring and mastermind community focused on helping banking professionals build their personal brand online.

Full Transcript

0:00:04 – Eric
I think, keeping an eye on ways that you can leverage all of your customer data and I’ve been baffled by this for years, i mean even in my early days. I would look at all of the information that a customer would put on a mortgage application in the industry we call it a 10-0-3, and they would pour their heart out. You would know everything Where their checking accounts are, their savings accounts, their investments, retirement plans and we would do the mortgage, we would put it in the folder, we would stick it in the vault because we didn’t scan things back then and you had their fingerprint right there.

0:00:54 – Fred
Hello and welcome back to Baking on Disruption. I’m Fred Cadena. Welcome back to our regular listeners and a hearty welcome to those of you who are tuning in for the first time. We have another amazing guest with us this week and Eric Cook. Eric cut his teeth as a community banker and, when he saw how technology was changing the landscape, shifted his career to helping banks navigate the path to digital transformation. I gotta warn you, our conversation with Eric clocks in at just over an hour, but I promise you it’s worth every minute. After the interview, Dane and I will be discussing Salesforce’s AI Day earlier this week, giving our take on a new Beatles song, what? And sorting out the differences between employee retention and engagement. While you’re listening to this podcast, why not take a moment to follow us on LinkedIn at the Banking on Disruption podcast, and on Instagram at at Banking on Disruption? Now sit back and strap in, because our show is coming to you right now. Welcome back On this episode.

Dane and I are excited to welcome Eric Cook. Eric is a mountain biker, golden retriever fanatic, lover of heavy metal and possibly most pertinent to our conversation today a recovering banker. Eric spent 15 years as a community banker before making the shift to digital strategist in 2007. Eric’s an award-winning agency owner with WSI Digital. He’s an author, a speaker, an educator and, most recently, founder of the Linked Banker, a mentoring and masterminding community focused on helping banking professionals build their personal brand online. Eric, i’ve enjoyed attending several of your happy hours, including one last week where we talked a lot about AI and how bankers can improve their social media impact with authenticity. I am so excited to welcome you to the show. I’d love to kick off our conversation by asking a little about your banking background. I love that term recovering banker. Tell us a little bit about how you got into banking. Yeah, absolutely.

0:02:50 – Eric
First off, i’m going to take that intro and I’m just going to play it the next time I have to do a presentation. That sounded amazing. I know I gave you golden retriever and mountain biker and heavy metal, but you made that sound like poetry. So well done, you were welcome to it. Okay, i like a lot of bankers.

I was an accidental banker. My father was a banker for 33 years and the last thing I wanted to do after graduating from college is to come back home and work with my dad. Oh chagrin. But I took a brief job after college with a gentleman that turned out to be a not so nice individual and realized that not everybody is super sweet and friendly like they were when I grew up in little Marshall, michigan and went to little Elma College. So I came home somewhat with my tail between my legs and one of the board members actually I don’t know if it was succession planning way, way in advance or what but said hey, do you think Eric would be interested in coming to the bank and helping out? And so I wanted to submit a resume. I wanted to interview like anybody else, because the last thing that you want to have is any sort of family preference hovering over you, although my father has a saying there’s nothing wrong with nepotism as long as you keep it in the family, which, until I looked up what the heck the word nepotism meant, i didn’t really understand that joke. But I came to the bank.

I worked at Tellerline for probably at least a couple of years. But in 1995, we had bought a Gateway 2000 computer Awesome, i can picture the spots. I know the lovely cow box fully installed with the amazing program America Online. You’ve got mail, i remember that was. That was an exciting statement. Now, if you turned that on your computer would never shut up. but a friend of mine from high school started a dial up internet service provider for those of you that are under the age of 30, or I guess that’s called an ISP. And we spent some time together and we taught each other HTML. And I built Marshall Savingscom and launched it as a $75 million, two office, 15 employee community bank in 1995. And started a side business And while I was at the bank we brought in the network. We did two data conversions. We implemented real time online banking. We launched a debit card. We got bought and they made me the COO of the new bank and we merged online banking into a new platform that didn’t exist, and I got to play with a lot of technology And I think having my father and his trust in me was a real advantage to us being able to innovate and test things And a lot of what we hear about in the world of digital banking now.

Digital transformation is you know, break stuff, test you know, not be afraid of failure. And, whether I realized it or not at the time, i kind of grew up in that environment because I had the trust of the board, who I had known my entire life, and obviously my father, who I had known my entire life, and it just created a really fun environment until I got to the point where the next logical step would be CEO of a publicly traded bank, and that got me even further away from what I was really enjoying, and so that caused me to question my future at the bank. I didn’t really want to move. I didn’t want to go to work for another bank because I felt that that just wouldn’t be me. My father had retired and that kind of is the tail end of the banking career, and an amazing 15 years Went to the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, wisconsin, and finished that three-year program and got my MBA and I think really set me up nicely for what I’ve been doing the last 16. Wow.

0:07:16 – Dane
Now did I hear 75 million and two employees.

0:07:22 – Eric
I think 14 employees, two branches.

0:07:25 – Dane
Wow, Amazing.

0:07:27 – Eric
Yes, although that would have been, yeah, me and my dad running the show taking deposits, closing loans. Yeah, we were efficient. I think we had an efficiency ratio under 50. The bank that acquired us was very envious of that. We produced three times the mortgage volume with half the lenders. Our core deposits were probably twice what they were and they were a couple of times our size, but philosophically they had grown their bank using CD rate plays and we had tend to be more of a relationship core deposit bank.

We were an attractive target for them and we didn’t have overlapping markets and of the 32 employees we had at the time, one individual didn’t have a place and that was really testament to my father’s commitment to his staff because even though we were publicly traded since 95, he really took care of his staff. You take care of your staff, they take care of the customers, the customers take care of bringing revenue and profit and then that takes care of your shareholders. Not every publicly traded company has that philosophy and that has also been a really good lesson for me to learn and to witness front seat on the bus. That was Marshall Savings. That was also a cool life lesson.

0:08:54 – Dane
I love it. There’s some bedrock in there. It seems like from the beginning you’ve embraced technology. How does your relationship and how you’re embracing technology continue to evolve today?

0:09:11 – Eric
I think one of the things WSI, the organization that I joined. It’s a global franchise structured organization based out of Toronto with offices in about 80 countries around the world, also founded in 1995, which is when I started building websites. Coincidentally, we came up with a new tagline and I was tapped to sit on that committee with the director of marketing and a handful of other very talented consultants. Our tagline is embrace digital, stay human. Really resonated with me as well, because I think, whether it’s the topic du jour, which is AI, or if you go back 12, 18 months, it was all Web 3. If you go back a few more months, it was marketing automation and social media and learning management systems and CMSs. I think technology at the root and what we used it for at Marshall Savings and at Monarch was to look for ways to more efficiently and effectively serve our customers and to take care of each other by automating the mundane so you could focus on what you really needed to focus on as a human being. That’s what I really love about our tagline of embrace digital, but stay human, because the risk that I see right now is a lot of people are embracing digital. They’re jumping into chat, gpt or write me a blog post about blah, blah, blah and then it kicks out, and what Fred and I talked about with some of the AI generated content that LinkedIn is putting out and it may get better, we don’t know but just kicking out content for the sake of kicking out content. Yeah, you’re embracing digital because you’re using the tool, but how do you stay human? How do you understand prompting? How do you understand the personality? How do you fact check? How do you know what it is that is being produced for you and how it’s going to resonate with the audience that’s on the other end, that’s going to be reading it and consuming it or watching it or listening to it?

That has always intrigued me. Whether it’s a basic HTML website, that is probably. I go back every once in a while when I want a little slice of humble pie. I’ll hop into the way back machine and I’ll just do a search for Marshall and I’ll look at that website. But then I’ll pop over for the same year, in 1995, and I’ll look at Amazon, or I’ll look at Microsoft, or I’ll look at McDonald’s and I’m like that wasn’t too bad, bad, bad, but certainly didn’t continue as they all did. But it’s just, it’s always been something that’s intrigued me. I didn’t have any formal training and undergrad or anything like that. It was business and psychology double major. But when we got Macintosh computers in our dorm room I’d spend evenings down there just playing with the mouse and drawing stuff and Microsoft art and it just was one of those things that was kind of a hidden interest of mine that I continued to be able to embrace and what I do as a consultant and mentor on the Linkbanker site.

0:12:30 – Fred
I think that’s phenomenal. I’ve been in technology for a long time as well. I’ve always embraced it and I always try very hard not to look too critically with that reverse lens. And I don’t know if you’ve seen it It’s been around for a while. I started going around the internet again in the last couple of weeks. Somebody sent it to me The 1986 commercial with Steve Ballmer pitching windows like a Carnival Barker. Oh yeah, i think about that and I think about like how far I’ll drop that link in the show notes. It’s an amazing commercial, if anybody out there hasn’t seen it, but we’ve all come a long way in the last 20, 30 years.

I’d like to take a step back for a half second here. Our podcast is targeted for people working in financial services. However, it’s also targeted to people that work in the Salesforce ecosystem that may or may not be working in financial services or banking, for those people that are less familiar with the nuances that come with banking. You want to just talk a little bit about how you see marketing for banks as being fundamentally different than under other industries? If it is, i’m curious to hear your perspective.

0:13:38 – Eric
I think it. I think I just went through puberty there. My voice just cracked. It’s similar in many ways but different in others. When I say similar, at the end of the day and I know a lot of people talk about are you B2B, b2c?

I like to think of it as P2P. It’s person to person or age to age, human to human. It doesn’t matter if you’re a commercial lender trying to sell into a company or you’re a Salesforce trying to get into an organization. There’s going to be human beings on the other end of that buying cycle that are going to have to get to know and like and trust you. That may be a different period or a different time horizon, based off of the complexity of the sale and how many of those P’s or H’s you need to communicate with, but at the end of the day, people need to trust other people with that buying decision. They need to know that you’ve got their best interests at heart and at mind and you understand what it is that they’re trying to do, and that the solution that you’re providing them whether it’s a mortgage or a checking account or a full blown integrated CRM with all sorts of bells and whistles that roll along with it. They need to understand that that’s being recommended and they can see that there’s a fit because of the challenges and the pain that they have, and so in that regard, i think it’s very similar. You just have to take the time to understand your audience and address the questions that they have. And I do that sometimes. Often when I’m doing in person workshops, i’ll work through the process of building personas where we’ll divide up into different groups and we use big, giant pieces of paper and sticky notes or I’ve got a couple of virtual sticky note boards that I can do if we’re zooming together. But it gives you the opportunity to really think through that relationship and what resonates with the audience and how do you provide them comfort beyond just rates and fees and pricing. And that, i see, is blocking and tackling. In my opinion, that can be applicable for any industry.

Where I think it’s different is you’re dealing with people’s money. You’re dealing with their finances. You’re dealing with their ability to move their family out of an apartment and buy a house and to build equity and to have a backyard so they can get a dog and be close to the right school district, and those are very emotional, connected decisions that aren’t made lightly. It’s not like you know what widget am I gonna buy on Amazon? because it gave me a recommendation and I drop another 40 bucks and throw something into my cart and it shows up tomorrow in my mailbox. These are big decisions, and so you have to take into consideration more elements of trust and validation and reputation and make sure that people are very comfortable. Yeah, they gotta know and like and trust you.

One of the things I say all the time when I have an opportunity to speak, and what my father told me is people are gonna wanna get to know and they’ll choose to do business with you because they see you as their banker, not just because you work at the bank, but, being that you work at the bank, the bank needs to have that reputation that also backs you up, because I can’t just go out and convince somebody to let me do their mortgage if they like me.

I need to have an institution that’s rock solid and reputable behind me, but ultimately, it’s my responsibility to get them and know and like and trust me, and so, taking into consideration that for some of those purchases it’s gonna be a longer decision cycle There’s increasing competition across the world in all industries, but you’ve got, you know, neobanks and FinTechs and all these online mobile alternatives that are the shiny object that might seem like an attractive alternative. You know, press button, get mortgage kind of thing which could work for some individuals, but, at the end of the day, conveying the value of having and I know it’s cliche, but high tech and high touch, the economies of scale and Moore’s Law and everything else is allowed for even the smallest community bank to have a really, really awesome tech stack that can do most everything that some of the FinTechs are doing, but with the advantage of a phone call with an answer Marshall Savings. This is Eric. How can I help you? And?

0:18:29 – Fred
It’s an optionality in channel. I wanna go back to the thing you said a second ago and this is totally not planned. But you know, i came out of wealth When I worked in an industry for 16 years it’s primarily in wealth of the broker-dealers space and for a long time the kind of path to riches if you will, if you were gonna be a financial advisor, was to go to some institution that was large and had a reputation when you didn’t have one because you’re new Yep, and start to build those relationships and then, once you have a sizable book of business, of people that trust, you make a move to be independent or make a move to be to move to one of the lower cost providers out there and just take a bigger piece of the pie. Right, you know, edward Jones, merrill Lich, they’re not gonna pay you as much as you know being independent or like setting up your own shop with LPL or something like that Yep. I’m curious on the banker side and what reminded me of this is when you were talking about. You know, it’s not just about having a reputation as a bank, it’s about having that reputation or relationship as a banker.

And we’re sitting here about a week after you know Lionel Messi and I’m not, like, the world’s biggest soccer football fan, but he just signed an amazing deal which you know he’s getting a piece of, you know TV rights. He’s getting a big piece of, you know licensing rights from Adidas. You know, and like in sports, it’s moved a lot from, you know, i’ll say, my generation, our generation, where there was a lot of team loyalty, to now a lot of player loyalty. Yeah, messi’s fan base is gonna move around wherever Messi goes. Yep, are you seeing a lot of that in banking? Like, are there these you know for lack of a better word rockstar bankers out there that just have an amazing Rolodex, an amazing reputation for being, you know, great at taking care of their customer, and you know they’re moving around from bank to bank and kind of building, you know, their business that way. Or is that not something that you’re seeing a lot in You know?

0:20:33 – Eric
I and I think a lot of it is. You know the influencer mentality. You build a fan base, you get people to get to know you and I think social media certainly has exacerbated that to the nth degree because you can get to know somebody so much more when you’re following their tweets or their Instagrams or their stories or whatever. It just pulls you on the inside and makes you have that emotional connection with that individual. But when we were acquired by Monarch, one of the things that was rather unusual to me because we were in the little town of Marshall and Monarch was out of cold water just south of us and there were three banks that were basically headquartered in cold water and I was surprised at the number of employees that had worked at all three of those banks in that one town. They were at Southern, they were at Century, they were at Monarch and they’d bounce around and customers would follow them And it was pre social media, it was pre-internet. But people resonated and Eric’s not at Monarch anymore, he’s over at Southern. Let’s go see Eric over at Southern or he’s over at Century. And so I think that’s one of the things when we do social media training and it came up in a conversation just recently is you talk about personal branding and what we do at the Link banker to help individual bankers build their brand and influence and connect with the customers and prospects and the communities that they serve.

That I will often hear an executive say but what if I make Fred or Dane look really, really good and you’re posting and you’re getting lots of views and you’re getting tons of engagement? doesn’t that put you out there with a target on your back and then somebody’s gonna come along and poach you and steal you from me? So wouldn’t I rather put you in a gilded cage and have you produce, keep you a secret? And the answer is not an easy one, because the flip side is I don’t let my employees be on social media and Fred and Dane look like bozos on LinkedIn because you’re not allowed to post, but yet you’re still crushing it as a commercial lender and you’ll eventually get frustrated and leave for a very different reason. And my response to that is what kind of an environment are you creating that makes your employees wanna stay, that they love it there, that you empower them, that you train them, that you educate them, that you reward them, that you praise and thank them and they know they’re appreciated. And somebody comes along and they dangle 50 grand in front of you. You can’t beat that. But how long or how likely is that ever gonna be?

It’s the environment that you’re creating that, i think, is gonna be more of what fosters that longevity and loyalty. Then let’s just keep you locked into room and not let you use LinkedIn so that nobody knows that you’re here, because eventually they will, or you’re gonna take an effort and do it yourself and then you’ll be gone, and so I don’t hear that as much. But literally, that question came up just like two weeks ago when I was doing some training and it’s always a fun one to answer, because you certainly don’t wanna get fired from your engagement. Answer what the little devil on your shoulder is saying. But there are certainly people that build that business and that’s how they do it.

But in an industry like banking, if you do that, and you do it often, that reputation also will follow you and you’ll eventually become toxic and you’ll be one that. Well, yeah, eric’s a producer, but he only stays where he goes for a year and then he’s gone. Is that really somebody that we wanna bring in, cause most of the stuff he’s gonna do is gonna likely go out the door in 12 months when he decides to jump to the next opportunity, so it’ll catch up with you if that’s your goal.

0:24:44 – Dane
I’m loving this conversation. when so many are encouraging their peers, their brands, ourselves, to be empathetic, i’m reminded that it’s just one of the things I love in marketers, like marketers are empathetic, and you were talking about P2P and H2H, and so I’m loving this conversation. I’m curious over the years, i’m sure you’ve seen a lot of examples of effective and ineffective marketing. Are there any examples that you find particularly innovative in terms of the campaigns themselves or maybe how they were formed?

0:25:32 – Eric
One pops right into my head and I still get and I know this is I’m kind of a sap. I think I got that from my father. He’s a pretty emotional guy, even though he’s very much more the banker than I am. He was very the mortgage, the finance, the money guy, but also wore his heart on a sleeve. And when TD came out and this was going back a few years, but when they came out with their automated thanking machine and if you’ve not seen the commercials, grab a tissue, pull them up on YouTube but TD set up an ATM machine in a bunch of their offices And the backstory as I understand it is they learned some of the backstory of some of their customers that were dealing with challenges Family member moved away, lifetime dreams to go to a Blue Jays game, dealing with cancer, i mean you name it, all these different stories And they were to walk up to the ATM and the ATM would just have a conversation And they had cameras all over the place and you could see these customers crap themselves when the ATM’s talking to them, traveling them, their life story, and then the slot opens up and instead of 20 bucks it’s tickets to throw out the first pitch and one of the stars rolls around the backside of the ATM and has an autographed mitt or it’s first class tickets to go see their daughter that they haven’t seen in a year.

that moved across the country And that was probably one of the most powerful empathetic human campaigns. because you are not thinking other than the fact that they’re standing in an ATM machine which should be giving out cash and it’s not. you wouldn’t really think of a bank. you would just think of this as an amazing organization doing some really, really cool things for its customers, taking the time to get to know them and to do something. And it wasn’t just hey, let’s see how many views we can get on YouTube. They really were an impactful gesture that I thought was pretty amazing And even talking about it, i still feel that in my chest and it jokes me up, just because it was such a powerful message.

And you think about and I’ve shared that video in sessions and there’s still a lot of bankers that haven’t even seen, that didn’t even know that campaign existed, and it’s probably 10 years old now, maybe more. And, of course, i’m standing in front of the room and I’m kind of getting all glassy eyed, but I notice people in the room wiping away a tear or something. And how can a financial marketing message elicit, like you said, that empathy, that emotion and get you beyond? if somebody did that for a friend or a relative or you just saw that they’re gonna have to screw up, pretty bad for you to forget that and to decide that you don’t want to do business with them anymore. So that’s one that certainly is just a classic that jumps out every time.

I think about the emotional connection And if you’ve not, of course, after you get done listening to this podcast episode, but if you’ve not seen that, or if you have, take some time to go out to YouTube and look for a TD automated thanking machine and watch some of those videos and then go back and take a look at what marketing message you’re sending and compare that. and how are you connecting emotionally with your customers and getting them to fall in love with you because of who you are and not just what you’re providing or the rates that you’re offering or the services or your pricing. Really, really good message there. So thanks for that trip on memory lane.

0:30:01 – Fred
I love the campaign. I hadn’t thought about it in years. Now I’ll drop it in the show notes for the audience so they don’t have to go out and look for it. But one of the things that it really invoked for me was, obviously, it’s the connection, it’s the relationship, it’s, you know, one of the buzzwords today is hyper-personalization. Right, yeah, down to the marketing message of one, dan and I, both tuned in separately. Salesforce had a AI day yesterday, talking about AI, as everybody does. It was not the core of the message, but one of the things they said in the intro is one of their products, which is Datacloud, which is basically a CDP on steroids, is the fastest growing product that they’ve ever launched. And I’m curious, you know, when you think about, like, i love the campaign, i love the message. How does a bank really get to that hyper-personalization at scale? You know, how do you get there? What have you seen working? And, you know, do you think it’s even a goal they should try to get to?

0:31:09 – Eric
Right now, i think, for at least in the community banking space it’s difficult, but I think over time it’s gonna be easier and more economical. Like with anything else in data and technology, the trickle-down effect is going to make it an available option for community banks. There’s a lot of marketing automation platforms out there. We use Sharp Spring, we’re a HubSpot partner as well through the WSI network. We’ve got a couple of banks that are exploring Salesforce right now. But the ability to provide customization, even starting with something as simple as an email that says, hey, fred, and I know this is gonna seem really really simplistic because this is going to a lot of people that are gonna say, really, that’s your suggestion. We still see banks that are extracting their data from their core system and Fred or Dane is an all upper case because that’s the way the core platform has to have it And they’re importing that information and it’s dear, fred, and we’re screaming it because they don’t know how to run an Excel proper case formula to just make the F capitalized And it looks like you’ve actually typed it instead of I’m so excited that I’m just gonna all uppercase your name and I’m so stoked to be talking to you about it. Or ready a mortgage campaign, but if they can’t figure out how to do it, some of them are just leaving it off altogether and missing an opportunity to at least put your name in and then you get into.

Do we have a persona? What fits Fred? Is he a mortgage? Is he a business customer? Is he somebody looking for retirement? Did he just have a baby?

Some of those things you might know about your customers. You’re not gonna know that about every single one of your customers, but for the ones that you do know, do you have the ability to record that in a system that’s easily available to all of your employees, so that you start off with 5% of your system, your database, your customer segments? You take 5%, and now I know Fred is somebody interested in buying a house. So then I swap out a custom block of text using an automation system that gives a little bit more of a personalization to Fred and the six other people that I know are interested in buying a house, and the 5,000 other people that are on the email list get the generic message from the president, but at least for Fred and six other people they get something related to buying a house and you feel special. Those are baby steps to get towards that.

There are companies out there.

I’ve had some conversations with a company and met at the financial brand forum in Vegas last year called Finnalytics, and they’re building in the ability to feed content directly into a website based off of known visitor data, so that now if Fred engages with content and I can see that Fred’s interested in a mortgage when Fred shows up to my bank’s website, it’s now buying a house, the American dream, the backyard, the puppy for the kids, the pool, versus something that doesn’t resonate with you. Again, not gonna know that for everybody, but for the 5% of people that you can now, they feel special And can you take that 5% to 15% next year and to 30% the year after that And just getting in that mindset of don’t feel like you gotta boil the ocean but where are the little pockets, that you can make an impact and at least get in the habit of looking for ways that you can provide that personalization. I think the process to get there is just take that first step, not feel like you’ve gotta finish the race all in one big jump.

0:35:13 – Fred
You know, eric, i love that. I think the message is really that banks should start where they are, and it’s very much a crawl, walk, run, approach and don’t let the fact that you can’t get to true personalization for every one of your customers stand in the way of doing something to start to move the needle, and I think that’s phenomenal. I’m curious one of the things that I really enjoyed last week when I attended the linked banker happy hour was discussion around social media, and you touched on a little bit earlier in our conversation. What do you see as the role of social media today for banks as a business and for bankers individually? You know, how have you seen that channel be most effectively leveraged?

0:36:02 – Eric
Yeah, so I you know. obviously it’s not a surprise because of what we’re doing over at the link banker and trying to help bankers be more visible themselves. I think the opportunity for social media at the individual level is probably as powerful as it’s ever been. There’s a lot of noise. People want to, not that anybody out there is gonna. well, maybe, who knows, we might have the next messy of banking and create the mega fans. But I think people like to get to know other people And the challenge that often exists with some individuals, not just bankers is you know, maybe I don’t want you to know that I live on a lake and I’ve got golden retrievers and I ride mountain bikes And maybe the fact that I am a little bit of a metalhead and I like my music loud, that might scare some people away.

Maybe I don’t want people to know that. Maybe I want people to think I’m a country Western fan. But at the end of the day, being comfortable in who you are and being okay with sharing as much as you are comfortable sharing will help people get over that. You know well what’s Eric all about And I’ll go to events and people ask me about the cook dogs and they’ll say, you know, been on any cool bike rides lately or when’s your next concert, and I’ll know them vaguely, but sometimes I won’t even know who they are. but they’ve been following on Instagram or they’ve seen some posts on LinkedIn, and to me that’s fine, i like that, but it’s a mindset that not everyone has. And to maintain privacy certainly is your prerogative and you can certainly do that. But if you’re comfortable sharing that human side of yourself with the rest of the world I know there’s a lot of debate on LinkedIn and it continues to debate about you know, should you be taking selfies and sharing personal stories, or is that should be more of a business network with business information? And I think the horse has left the barn, because most people that are sharing personal information get really good engagement, because we’re tired of just the pure business, business, business, business, professional stuff. We wanna hear some fun stuff, we wanna see goofy face selfies and then have a little message around that And knowing how to do that. but yet in the world of banking or any organization for that matter, how do you not go too far? where you get yourself in trouble Are you? you know banking, you violate a reg or you say something you shouldn’t, that would get compliance, concern or privacy. So, understanding your boundaries but then being comfortable within those boundaries to go right up to them.

I think at the business side, whether it’s a bank or any sort of organization trying to share the human side of the business, celebrate your employees, talk about the culture that you have. you know what’s it like working there, what’s it like being a customer, what are the special things that you do beyond. you know, every once in a while, product and service. you’ve gotta talk about that. But that really should be 20% of what you’re putting out there. It should be the other stuff, the things that people wouldn’t realize.

Donald Miller’s book, the Storybrand, you know, talks all about you know putting the customer in the hero position And you, as the employer or the employee or the business, you’re very much the guide.

And how do you put the customer as the hero and all the stuff that you’re putting out there so that when people see your official business stuff, they see that this is an organization that puts their customers first And again, just like the TD example? go back and take a look at your marketing, take a look at your ad, take a look at your messaging and is it really customer focused? You know the reoccurring large check donation picture that adorns every bank’s Facebook page. Is that really about the United Way getting $500? Or is it about you, as a bank, writing a big check for $500? And wouldn’t it be better off featuring what programs the United Way is able to grow or develop or introduce, or the people that you’ve touched as a result? and the $500 is secondary to everything else that has been able to be achieved by United Way because of your $500 or $1,000 donation.

0:40:55 – Fred
I think that’s hilarious. I think there should be some kind of a standard as to how big you can make the check that is directly proportionate to how many zeros are on the front. Like I just don’t know what kind of story you’re even telling if you’re blowing up a check for 500 bucks, yeah, but I love the whole early part of the answer, especially we talked about the individual of the two things that really came to mind were principles around both scarcity and authenticity. I think one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was customers aren’t really scarce. Right, it’s finding out which are the right customers for you, which are the right relationships for you, and bringing authenticity to your interactions, whether it be face to face, whether it be over social media, and being okay with the fact that that means that some population of potential customers are gonna self select and say you know what?

I’m not getting a loan from somebody that likes golden retrievers. I hate golden retrievers. I’m a cat person. I like cats, yeah, and you know what? I’m gonna get my loan from a cat person. Fine, you know that person’s just told you you know what, i’m not the right customer for you And that’s okay, there’s. You know, you’re gonna show up much more yourself and build a much more real relationship by bringing that whole person I know that sounds very cliche Then by trying to concoct this very polished I am for everybody persona. If you’re for everybody, then you’re really not for anybody.

0:42:22 – Eric
Yeah, yeah, And I’ve used that dog cat example. Wouldn’t you rather know I’m a dog person right up front than spend a month getting me all sorts of stuff? when we get to the closing and you realize I’m wearing a golden retriever tie and you’re like I can’t do business with this guy. There’s no way, That’s not gonna happen. Another book that you just sparked Think Like A Brand, Not Like A Bank, by Allison Netzer and Liz Hy. That’s another one.

When you start talking about if you try to be everything to everybody, you’re nothing to everybody, Or I think you said it much more eloquently, but I paraphrased terrible, of course, But they give examples in that book and they talk about you know what is your brand And it’s okay. We don’t have to serve everyone. If they legitimately qualify and there’s no, you know, minimal risk and they can use your service, then you’re not gonna keep them out. You know, sorry, you can’t bank here because you’re purple, We don’t serve purple people, But we may, you know, decide. There’s a certain type of business that we really love to take care of And we tailor our products and services to that, or a certain type of customer that we just do really really well, better than others?

And what is it that that brand supports? And you know it kind of goes back to the personas. And who is it that you’re trying to serve and how do you make sure that your message resonates with them? And I’ve not validated this recently, but someone told me that when we talk about personas, Walmart has a one persona. It’s a 42 year old, single working mother of two.

And you think of a billion plus dollar company like Walmart and all the people that roll through Walmart’s doors You would think that they would have. You know, people that do sporting goods and cooking people. And it’s that one person And they speak to her with their layout and their merchandise and their pricing and their promotion and their imagery. And does it mean that a 50 some year old heavy metal mountain bike riding golden retriever owner can’t shop there? But they have picked a brand and that’s who they’re going after. But then there’s also a central point and people resonate off of that. And but if I’m a Neiman Marcus guy, I’m not going to go to Walmart And that’s OK because you know, I’m probably not a Neiman Marcus guy or a Nordic guy, I’m probably more of a Walmart guy, which is fine, i’m really digging it.

0:45:06 – Dane
You know it’s the idea of being intentional and really understanding who your customer is, having that clear picture of your customer And then, and then you know just as much clarity around engaging is. I mean, that’s where it’s at right. So you really strike me as someone who stays anchored to fundamentals. I’m curious are there trends in marketing that you’re seeing in the baking industry that that are getting your attention And, if so, why?

0:45:38 – Eric
Certainly, video and storytelling is starting to become more and more popular. The platforms are getting easier to use. People are getting more comfortable. People are seeing others do it more often, so they’re keeping up with the Joneses. Probably 90 percent of the Mondays I’m sending my marketing director a little video to put out on our our link Bank or Instagram called Mondays with Eric. It’s just a little one minute thought, but I’ll see a little bit of engagement there, which, which has been pretty cool.

The the CRM marketing automation concept is one again. It’s it’s been around for a while but it’s starting to pick up steam, thinking of ways that we can communicate. The word automation oftentimes instills fearful visions of. You know, thank you for calling XYZ Bank press, one for this and two for that. I mean, that’s not the type of automation that we’re talking about. It’s it’s more of a personalized automation where we can respond. But we have to take the time to think about well, what does that path look like for Dane when he’s interested in X, y or Z, because that might be different than what that path looks like for Fred? And and how do we build that on the back end? And it’s going to take a little bit more thought and time initially, but long term you’re going to reap the rewards of that.

I feel cliche, but I’ll say it anyway. Of course, ai you know who knows where that’s going to go. But when you start thinking of thought leadership and content creation, that tool and I say tool can help you get your thoughts out, even for people that you know I know what I want to say, but they just have a hard time formulating it. The technology exists now where that excuse is going to pretty soon not be a valid excuse anymore. It can draft an outline, it can produce content for you, it can give you an excellent first draft where you look at it and you’re like, yeah, that’s exactly what I wanted to say. But then you put your own spin on it, you give it your personality, you throw in some emojis or some words that you like to use. I’m known for saying awesome, probably more than I should. I’ve never surfed, but I would think if I did, it would be pretty awesome if I could surf, because then the word awesome would resonate even more with me. But working that in, i think AI is going to unveil a lot of thought leaders, and one of the things a few years ago there was a study done that was funded by Facebook as it related to the power of groups.

It found that there were individuals that, in a physical setting, would not take a role of leadership because they didn’t like the pressure of being in front of other people And you know, hey, lead this committee or, you know, head up this initiative. No, i don’t want to do that. But if you give them the opportunity to moderate or become the organizer or the administrator of an online group, they thrived because they wanted to organize but they just didn’t want to do it in person And it revealed an opportunity. And there’s community managers out there that are growing communities and building an audience of networked individuals that care about the same thing. That just wouldn’t have been possible geographically or even socio, economically or culturally.

And every time technology makes something possible, it reveals opportunities for people that hadn’t been able to really embrace their spirit animal or their superpower. But now they can. I think a Brian Fanzo and some of the AI generated artwork that he’s creating and telling his story of ADHD and you know some of the challenges of being somewhat distracted in life and being a girl dad to three little girls. He’s embraced AI art to tell his story, and he’s not an artist. He probably can’t really draw, i don’t know if he can or not, but some of his network is is killer, and you can tell what it is that’s in his mind, based off of the art that he’s creating through artificial intelligence. So I think that’s going to be a really interesting development to watch evolve. I guess unveil and evolve is on valve. In case you’re wondering, i’m inventing words here, right in your pocket, you’re welcome We are.

0:50:01 – Fred
We are getting super philosophical also, like I’m curious, like what? what is really being an artist? Is it being able to put together that vision of what you want to tell somebody, or is it really the the physics of drawing a line on a sheet of paper? And I think, for me I think it’s the former right, like absolutely, just because you’re not very good at manipulating a paintbrush or, you know, a pencil or whatever, but you have that vision in your mind. Now there’s tools that help unlock the ability for people to put that vision forward, and I think that’s 100% artistic. I don’t know, dane, what your thoughts on that are.

0:50:43 – Dane
Totally agree. You know, i think that when I think about LLMs right now and I think about AI, i see, like this version of it, this early version of it Even though some of my AI friends would say it’s not early as it solves that blank page problem, yeah, you know, and it just it kind of like jumps us out into a really good place And I think it does allow for creative. Brain comes in many, many forms, you know. So I’m loving it Are there. Are there any particular marketing tools or technologies you think are going to be most impactful for banks over the next, you know, a couple of three years?

0:51:21 – Eric
I don’t know if it’s going to be phenolitic or other platforms like that, or maybe the core providers will figure it out And they’ll be able to start baking in some of that predictive intelligence. But I think, keeping an eye on ways that you can leverage all of your customer data And I’ve been baffled by this for years, i mean even in my early days I would look at all of the information that a customer would put on a mortgage application in the industry We call it a 10-0-3. But all of the information they would put on a mortgage application and they would pour their heart out, they, you would know everything. You know where their checking accounts are, their savings accounts, their investments, retirement plans, and we would do the mortgage. We would put it in the folder, we would stick it in the vault because we didn’t scan things back then And you had their fingerprint right there to be able to say you know, can we simplify things? Can we introduce you to our LPL investment representative? It looks like you’ve got accounts over at the credit union or another bank. Did you know that if you had all of your accounts here, you could easily transfer?

And let me tell you about online banking. We didn’t do that And I don’t know if that’s just cultural, but even still, bankers are just not good at that because we don’t want to be told no. And if we can get technology to help us with some of that technology can be told no and it’s not going to get hurt feelings, and then the ones that are interested can then percolate to the top. And now I’ve got somebody that said yes, and that conversation is going to be a whole lot easier for me to have than running the risk of somebody telling me no. So pre qualification, pre selection.

But I think, leveraging the data that we have around the transactions, the needs, the next likely product, the life cycles, predictors, anything along those lines If you see something, try it, do a demo of it, sign up for a 30 day trial, ask questions, be curious, explore Those are ways that, especially with the smaller community banks, we’re going to have to be able to embrace that in order to remain relevant, because the other big dogs are out there investing in that technology themselves to get to really know their customers. And we’ve had a lock on that. Know me, like me, trust me as a small community bank ecosystem for years, because of the local decisions and the fact that the CEO lives in the same town, goes to the same church, has kids that play on the same little league teams. But eventually that won’t be as important because those things aren’t going to exist in the physical world as much as they did 10, 15, 20 years ago. So that’s one random thought that jumped into my head for that question. I’m sure there’s more for David time.

0:54:17 – Dane
You know it’s interesting. It reminds me of an article that I came across recently. I don’t think it’s a particularly new article, but it’s. It’s Salesforce saying hey, this is, this is one of the reasons that data cloud is so important. Yeah, and there’s a statistic that they point out that organizations are only gathering about 29% of their customer data. Yes, I believe that.

So your point resonates with me. You’ve got to know your customer. Yeah, You know. if you’re going to say the right thing at the right thing to the right person at the right time, you’ve got to have that perspective.

0:54:51 – Eric
Even when you get into things like email collection, you know it’s well in a banking world. Well, we’ve got email addresses for all of our customers that are using online banking. Well, the only reason is because they need an email address to log in, not because they’ve given you their email address. Because they care about what you’re going to talk to them about, and if you ask them for an email address, the guards go up and they immediately think you want it because you’re going to spam me And you don’t have a good response to that.

You know, hey, would you like to get our newsletter that we send to all 10,000 of our customers? That’s the exact same newsletter that everybody gets, because we really don’t care what’s unique to you. We just want you to know what we’re doing. You would never say that, but that’s what they hear, versus would you be interested in hearing from us? We provide the ability for you to let us know what topics you’re interested in, whether it’s information security tips, whether it’s community events and activities and other sorts of participations that we’re doing within the community that you live in, whether it’s mortgage, whether you’re following interest rates, and give them that segmentation and let them personalize the experience You’re going to have a lot better likelihood of having them go.

Yeah, that’s pretty cool Instead of oh, you’re going to blast me with all 10,000 of your customers with the same message No thanks. But we have to have a system behind the scenes that gives us the ability to do that and get that 26%, or whatever that number was, to 30 to 50 to 60%, so that we can really communicate to what’s important to them, versus what’s important to us Goes back to that. Who’s the hero in the story? Is it us, yeah, or is it the customer?

0:56:34 – Fred
Yeah, it should be the customer, and I think that there’s also, i’ll say, a bit of a carton of Horus or a chicken and an egg situation here where you need to make sure you’re doing both, like you’re both collecting information and also doing something with it. I think that right now, customers are hypersensitive of what they share. When they do share information, the expectation is you’re going to use bank retailer, whoever it is, you’re going to use that information to make things easier for me. That either put something in front of me where I don’t have to filter, right, i don’t need to go and look at your seven different checking accounts to pick which one is right for me. Yeah, you’ll know, because you know who I am. You’ll know what credit card is going to fit my particular need because, guess what? You’ve got transaction history. You see transactions in seven different cities over the last three months. You know I like to travel, right, you know, and kind of things like that.

But I think that brands frequently fall into traps where they ask for a lot of information and then they don’t actually use that information to move the needle for the customer. And I found myself in this situation, you know, for banks and for other companies where I’m like how are you sending me this message? Or how are you trying to sell me this? Clearly, you’re not paying any attention to me as a customer at all, and I think that’s the other thing that banks and everyone needs to figure out is once you get that customer data, you can’t just sit on it. You have to make it actionable, right, or customers are just going to close off and not want to share. Yep, absolutely, absolutely Cool. Well, i appreciate the conversation. I think we could probably keep talking the rest of the morning, but I think we probably should.

I don’t even know how much time has passed, but I think it’s probably been a while We probably want to let our podcast audience get on with your day here pretty soon. But one last thing I do love the community been building at the linked banker. Do you want to share just quickly with our audience more about the links banker? or your goals for that.

0:58:42 – Eric
Yeah. So the the link banker was an idea that jumped into my head after attending a social media marketing world when Got by the name of Pat Flynn smart passive income and a lot of other great things that he has out there and is closing keynote was Around what audience do you best have the skill set to serve and and what’s your passion? you know the riches are in the niches kind of thing, and You know, to me it obviously came out to be you know banking. So on the airplane on the way home, i drew out a mind map of all the ways that we can serve banks and really focus on that, on that vertical, and one of them, the idea of the link banker, just popped into my head because There were conversations that I would have with bankers after presentations and sessions and other sorts of you know schools and The light bulb of you know I now know what a hashtag is or I get why LinkedIn isn’t just a resume farm. But they would go back to their bank and they struggle with keeping the momentum and the excitement because they were going back into an environment of naysayers and people that really didn’t get it, and So the link banker Was created as a safe space for people that want to take the initiative, to build their brand, to help One another and to get the support from other bankers to be able to, to build their brand, to tell their story and to, you know, come out of their shell and You know a lot of them.

I’m not a marketing person So I don’t really know how I’m gonna do this, but they Roll the dice and join the community and, and next thing you know, they’re experiencing opportunities to sit on committees and do different sorts of things or even transfer jobs and get you know new roles because Of what they’ve learned, not just from me but from others within the environment. So The link to banker comm is the website. It’s a very nominal monthly cost. It’s less than 50 bucks. If you’re in it a couple months, 60 days, you decide it’s not for you, we give you your money back. So it’s it’s. It’s not a huge money maker for me. That’s not the reason I did it. The reason I did it is I wanted to do something that would help bankers Be able to grow their brain and to tell their story, because I think banking is a very noble profession And what you do I didn’t appreciate it when I was growing up and I saw the stuff that my father did until after the fact and the the things that existed in Marshall because of him and the bank and what he Had done serving on committees and volunteering and the support that the bank had given. That’s an amazing thing and And this is a way to help other bankers be able to be more comfortable doing that more in a digital age and The happy hours the second Thursday of every month at five o’clock on LinkedIn live audio.

They’re available to anybody that wants to show up. You don’t have to be a member. We do monthly masterminds, which are restricted only to mentor members. That are the third Wednesday and those are recorded in our learning center. We’ve got our private community. It’s like our own little social network and it just gives people a really nice way of communicating and staying in touch and having your own little private secret club with a secret knock and a secret handshake and all those other fun things to get in. And it’s been, it’s been real exciting that that’s awesome.

1:02:26 – Fred
I love, i love which we’ve been building there. I’ve enjoyed attending the happy hours. I hope that coming on here is gonna help bust open the, the secret handshake. There’ll be a lot more Members standing outside the clubhouse door, hopefully in the next couple weeks. Really appreciate Eric the time today. Last thing before we wrap up, other than obviously we’ll put the Link to the link banker, the show notes. Where can our listeners find you if they want to connect?

1:02:52 – Eric
So the agency side is powered by WSI comm and that’s where we build bank websites and do digital marketing and all sorts of stuff for banks. But the easiest way is probably just to find me on LinkedIn Eric cook, mba, cuz. Even in 2007, some other dude named Eric cook already snagged Eric cook But I am just Eric cook on Instagram and if you like golden retrievers and bicycle pictures, you’ll probably find a little bit of that over there as well. But reach out, as you can tell, because of the six hour podcast that we just put up. I love. I love talking about this, i love helping bankers, i love brainstorming. You guys have been amazing and I agree with you. I feel like I could stay on here and jaw with you guys all day long, and kudos to you for doing this and allowing people to to have a pulpit, to share their passion and to help professionals in the financial space share their story and hopefully touch people Through your podcast. So I really appreciate the opportunity to be here with you guys today.

1:03:57 – Fred
You bet, man. Thank you, and we’ll definitely have to have you back for another conversation, another another six hours yet to come. Excellent, i have a great rest of your day, thanks guys.

1:04:07 – Dane
I’m just gonna end with awesome.

1:04:10 – Fred
Love it And welcome back, Dain. What do you have for us this week?

1:04:16 – Dane
Hey, what’s up, fred? I was checking out Salesforce AI day on Monday, learned that, among other things, there are 15 planned or pending AI products from Salesforce. For example, homegrown AI product Einstein is getting upgrades for sales service and marketing clouds. Automate email writing, meeting scheduling, smarter product support chats. Personalized marketing content sounds like a pretty cool developer tool planned for Einstein to Let customers add their own customized AI chat to bots. What is you here? What’s your take on AI day?

1:05:00 – Fred
I was really impressed. I think it’s funny you and I were texting during AI day and I think we ended up watching Two completely different parts but we got the same takeaways. I think you watch a lot of the front half and And I joined about 30 45 minutes in and caught a lot of the back half. It’s an interesting you know mix I. There’s a couple of things in the announcement and it’s it’s definitely a very Salesforce announcement in That it has a lot of names for products.

I think that my real takeaway is the approach. Right, i love the approach that sales force is. Taking. Benny off during his comments, you know, was really hitting the trust and transparency message hard.

And one of my observations of sales forces kind of historical AI products, you know, like the Einstein, lead scoring the inside next best action is they are For Piatieri. They’re baked into sales force. They don’t have a bring-your-own model approach and it’s a bit of a black box. And now, from a generative perspective I don’t know if it’s response to Hearing customer feedback, i don’t know if it’s, you know, the fact that they just didn’t have their own LLM baked enough to roll it out They’re taking a bring-your-own model approach. They’re taking a approach of building what I’m what I’ll call kind of anchor points into different parts of The platform.

You know commerce, cloud marketing, cloud sales, tablo right, but the model is bring-your-own. So they’ve got a partnership with open AI where they have their own proprietary API that that you know they’ve co-developed with with open AI. It’s on their system but it’s closed off and it’s secure and customer data is I could be shared with anyone else. They’ve got the same thing with anthropic or, if you don’t want to opt into one of those two models, you can bring your own. You can go to Google, you can go to, you know, azure. You can stand up your own model if you’ve got a data science team internally that can do that sort of thing.

And really, sales Force is not trying to be the answer from the model intelligence. It’s trying to really play to its strengths and Make sure that your data the secret sauce, if you will, what you know about your customers and your opportunities is Surfaced into whatever model you want to bring in in a way that’s like present in the workflow and secure, so that you’re not risking exposure of private data. And I I think, i think this was a knock it out of the park approach. What about you? What did you take away?

1:07:33 – Dane
Totally agree. I mean you and I have been playing with some. You know some of these tools lately as well GPT and generative AI, LLMs, etc. Lots of interesting capabilities. Totally makes sense the way that they’re approaching things. And speaking of approach, Did you hear about the new?

1:07:50 – Fred
Beatles song. I think it’s. It’s very interesting writing. Obviously, the Beatles broke up a long time ago. 50% of the band members are deceased and yet they’re releasing its new album, i guess, and It’s getting a lot of positive reviews.

I think the big difference is that this is not deep fake. This is not AI trying to be John Lennon. This is using AI to take a legacy recording of John Lennon’s actual voice And separate out a lot of things that you know wouldn’t make it commercially viable. I think it was correct me if I’m wrong here It was like a studio session that you know He was just kind of messing around and and and Yoko Ono had the tape and you know She resurfaced it and brought it to Paul McCartney kind of a thing, but it is his voice and then they’re, you know, interweaving Other voices and instruments and everything, but they’re leveraging AI to isolate that voice and really make it a clean recording.

I think this really you know it’s just extrapolated out to the last conversation, right? It’s about that trust and transparency. You know, i think if this were the case of Paul McCartney saying you know what I’m gonna write on the Beatles name and I’m gonna, you know, build a John Lennon voice model and start having John Lennon saying you know, i don’t know, like two pox greatest hits or something crazy like that, then I think the public would not be as positive. But I, i love this and I think it’s a really you know great deal That story. What do you think about it?

1:09:17 – Dane
with a little help from AI. Now I think it’s super cool. I’m interested to see you know how how that plays out. I think that I guess, like director Peter Jackson made a documentary called get back. It was like an eight hour long documentary, and I think that’s where the the the piece that you’re describing, you know Lennon and the piano was was maybe first discovered and then kind of extracted from that or something along those lines.

1:09:47 – Fred
So that’s cool. I’ve been meaning. I’ve been meaning to see that. I’ve not seen that documentary, i’ve heard. It’s phenomenal though.

1:09:53 – Dane
I watched a couple of hours of it. I mean it’s a little before my time, but I love the Beatles. Who doesn’t?

1:10:01 – Fred
Yeah, it’s definitely before my time, but just a fascinating piece of pop culture history.

1:10:05 – Dane
Yeah, for sure. Now Did you hear about the sales force see data partnership.

1:10:11 – Fred
I did. It was interesting and exciting piece of news. See data has been part with the tableau for a long time, really enabling companies to easily move data into Tableau historically, and now you know an expanded partnership across all of sales force. I think it makes a lot of sense. You know Sales force. To really make and empower the types of customer experiences that sales force is Envisioning for its customers, you need a lot of data and see data has done a great job of building a pretty robust library of integrations, protestize integrations to middle and back office. That I think in a lot of cases, you know if you’re on some of these major ERP, major accounting platforms, it could really shortcut the amount of time it takes you to bring some really critical data into data cloud. Specifically, i think you know it’s not a silver bullet.

I really looked at the C data website. I had looked at it in a little in a little while, looked at it when the with the news came out. You know thinking about, just like financial services where I work the most frequently. You know I don’t see a lot of you know bank cores. I should, i’ll see any bank cores. I don’t see any insurance policy admin or claim systems. So it is very much a generalist tool. Set right If you’ve got, you know SAP or you’ve got, you know ADP or using you know Dynamics and part of your business. You know those are very easy connectors. But for some of the more industry specific and I will pretend to know, like Manufacturing or healthcare or some of these other industries but I’m not seeing a lot of industry specific you know connectors. So I think there’s still a lot of hard work that will have to be done to bring data over from those types of systems. That’s not going to be shortcut by this partnership.

1:12:02 – Dane
Hey, let me ask you a question like are there are certain data types that Would be more appropriate to build a connector for and you can Sort of just like click done and it works, whereas maybe other sources of data That’s just not going to work out for one reason or another?

1:12:21 – Fred
I think of it less as data types, and maybe that’s what you mean, but like sources, right. So I think about bank cores as an example. And bank cores a lot of them live on, you know, older infrastructure mainframes that just make them more difficult to integrate with. In general, a lot of them suffer from from non-universal Versioning. You know we’re all on sales force. Sales force pushes three updates a year and And although they sometimes give you some optionality if you want to take a certain feature or not for a period of time, you’re you’re getting that upgrade right. There’s nobody running five-year-old sales force, right, everybody’s running current sales force for bank cores.

That’s not always the case and so those fields, those objects inside the core, can look very different from version to version. The other thing is, you know again is one of the especially, like you know, the more legacy core systems. You’re dealing with a. Sometimes you know 50, 75, 102 and three character fields And and maybe I pick one of those fields and I put in a a and I know that it means a certain thing, but at another bank they might use, you know, dollar sign, star or something else to indicate the same thing, and so as the translation.

So, between those factors like building a product size integration To something that has that much variance can be, you know, really challenging, and I think, as opposed to when I see and I’m not like Taking anything away from the list of a really Extensive integrations that C data has, it’s definitely gonna save a lot of time, but they tend to be number one, more more modern, you know products, and they also tend to be Things that have a little bit more standardization in data model and usage, and so I think that makes that a little bit easier.

1:14:05 – Dane
Yeah, it’s almost like in home manufacturing, right? Like some homes are manufactured, others are stick-built and you know It’s probably always gonna be that way.

1:14:13 – Fred
So Well, i wanted to raise one thing. Well, we have just a couple minutes left here in the pod. I read an article this week that featured a quote from Salesforce’s global customer growth and innovation evangelist, tiffany Bova, and I guess she wrote a new book on employee engagement And this was an article interviewing her about the book And one of her takeaways was that low turnover is not a signal of high employee engagement or satisfaction. And I think that a lot of times organizations look at some of these engagement metrics, like attrition, and expect that to tell the whole story. And I know you’ve done a lot of work in the space and I’m just kind of curious like what is your take on, you know, attrition and what it may or may not tell you about employee engagement and satisfaction?

1:15:05 – Dane
I’m gonna tiptoe with my comment. An old friend of mine, one of the people that I respect and admire the most, works for the post office, and so you know, pardon me, i apologize in advance, but when I walk into the post office I observe employees that are retained right, they work there for a career, but I don’t know that I would describe them as super engaged. So I totally agree with her. Like I, you know, i think engagement is about meaningful work and building trust and those types of things, whereas retention is rewards and there’s a ladder to climb and they aren’t synonymous with one another. You know, they’re definitely different. I think it’s a. I haven’t, i haven’t had a chance to read her book. I think I’m gonna have to look that up in Audible Hopefully it’s there and check it out.

1:15:56 – Fred
I’ve definitely added it to my list as well, and with you, i spend more and more time listening to books on Audible and less time reading them. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I guess at least it means I’m getting the information one way or the other. I’m curious, though, like you know what, from your perspective and I know you’ve helped advise a lot of companies on this kind of stuff what would you point them to to be able to measure engagement and satisfaction?

1:16:20 – Dane
You know, it really just the process of creating engagement is, in my mind, how I would define it is. It’s doing just that. It’s staying connected with your employees, it’s having those conversations. It’s not necessarily having a third party send like a blind survey to find out if people are in, you know, appreciating their medical benefits. But you know teams, you know team leaders and managers sitting down with employees one-on-one, maybe sometimes in group sessions, and having those conversations. And I think that that’s a great example of where engagement starts, where engagement continues.

You know how engagement is fueled, whereas you know retention. You know again totally different thing, just keeping up with the jelnses in terms of you know benefits and compensation, you know, maybe. You know maybe, retirement plans, you know upskilling, learning, you know so lots of different things that go into that. I mean they’re both important. Retention is probably easier for most people to measure and engage. You know just sort of measure and track. I think engagement is a bit squishier, but again, it really just you know, in my mind it’s just sitting down and just having those one-on-one conversations. I mean, what’s your take on that? When have you felt engaged? and when you did feel engaged, what was happening at that time?

1:18:01 – Fred
I think the times that I felt the most engaged you know to your point is when I’ve had a meaningful work where I feel like I’ve had some challenges to solve that are really gonna move the needle for the business that I’m in. I get a lot of energy and excitement from, you know, being in front of people and you know whether that’s, you know, in a formal leadership position or just kind of a thought leader and influencer, and you know that’s what energizes me. On the opposite side, you know, when I don’t feel connected to the work, what I don’t feel like, whether I show up or not, whether I put in the effort or not, it’s really not gonna make a difference, it’s not gonna impact the overall results. that’s demotivating. I don’t know how universally true that is. I tend to rate myself as very self-motivated and very engaged.

I mean, i get the concept of quiet quitting that you hear so much about, but I don’t think that’s my nature. I don’t think I’m a quiet quitter. I think I’m a loud quitter. If that’s such a good thing. if I’m not happy, i’m gonna try to make noise and hopefully get in a better situation where I am, and if that doesn’t work out, then I’m gonna make a choice to go somewhere else. I don’t think I could spend you know eight, 10 hours a day, you know five days plus a week, involved in something, and not feel like I’m making a difference.

1:19:21 – Dane
You bring up a good point, i mean another. I think another key aspect of having engagement is like a strong, a strongly communicated, clearly communicated vision. People do feel like they’re like a part of that and contributing to that And you know you see the needle moving. So, absolutely, i mean those are, those are the. that is engagement, but difficult to measure right.

1:19:47 – Fred
It is difficult to measure, And I think that might be part of why companies fall back on some of the easier things to measure. right, I can, I can put a stake in the ground, count my employees in, count my employees out and get to our attention right, Like that’s. that’s an easier thing to measure than how engage your people, how much satisfaction are they feeling at work? And I think the maybe the point that she was trying to make is you know, don’t, don’t take the easy way out, Or, if you do, at least know that you’re not measuring what you think you’re measuring.

1:20:19 – Dane
Yeah, i’m looking forward to you know, i’m looking forward to checking out the book.

1:20:24 – Fred
Well, cool. Well, maybe you’ll share some more of the insights from the book in one of our upcoming episodes, but I appreciate the time. As always, phenomenal episode again this week And, dan, i’m going to wish you a great day.

1:20:35 – Dane
Have an awesome day, Fred.

1:20:40 – Fred
Well, everyone, we hope you enjoyed episode five of Banking on Disruption. So many great takeaways. I hope you had your notebook out for Eric, but if you didn’t, you can find show notes and a full transcript of the show on our website, bankingondisruptioncom. If you like what you heard today, please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review. Dan and I get super excited when we log into the podcast dashboard and see how many people are downloading and subscribing. It’s super motivating to see those numbers move up, because it means we’re connecting and providing value to you, our audience. So, thank you. New episodes drop every other Thursday, so we’ll see you in two weeks And in the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram and at Banking on Disruption. Until next time. This is Fred Cavenna, wishing you success in your digital pursuits.

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