August 10, 2023

Episode 009:

Marketers Lounge – From Customer Engagement to Data Strategies

Join us for a deep-dive into the world of sales, marketing, and data in the latest episode of our podcast. We have the privilege of hosting Anna Papas, a dynamite sales & marketing executive with over 25 years of experience in the financial services & technology. Anna's journey is full of intriguing insights - from customer engagement to the power of data. We dissect strategies for personalization, customer demographics, & acquisition mechanics. Anna emphasizes the significance of asking the right questions and delivering value to gain customers' trust for banks and wealth firms to drive customer action.

Episode 009: Marketers Lounge – From Customer Engagement to Data Strategies

by Banking On Disruption Podcast

Show Notes

Join us for a deep-dive into the world of sales, marketing, and data in the latest episode of our podcast. We have the privilege of hosting Anna Papas, a dynamite sales & marketing executive with over 25 years of experience in the financial services & technology. 🚀

Anna’s journey is full of intriguing insights – from customer engagement to the power of data. We dissect strategies for personalization, customer demographics, & acquisition mechanics. Anna emphasizes the significance of asking the right questions and delivering value to gain customers’ trust for banks and wealth firms to drive customer action. 🏦

In our Quick Takes segment, we delve into recent news about Zoom’s terms of service, its implications, the future of one-time coworking juggernaut WeWork, and the alarming trend of consumer credit card debt crossing the $1 trillion mark. 💳

This episode is not just about theoretical knowledge, it’s about practical takeaways from a veteran of the industry. Whether you’re a professional in the banking sector or someone curious about the intricacies of sales, marketing, and data, this episode is a must-listen! 🎧

Episode Highlights

0:10:29 – Personalization and Data in Banking
Anna advises banks and wealth firms to ask questions, leverage data, and create products to build trust and personalize customer experiences.

0:24:50 – Effective Messaging and Data Collaboration
Anna emphasizes collaboration between functions, understanding human behavior, and including product leaders in sales and marketing conversations.

0:30:13 – Creative Approaches to Customer Acquisition
Anna emphasizes collaboration, creating emotional connections, and providing hope to customers to increase sales.

0:35:56 – Building Business With Salesforce Technology
Anna Papas emphasizes eliminating barriers between marketing, sales and service, mapping customer and employee journeys, recognizing pertinent data, and using Salesforce technology.

0:50:42 – Zoom’s Work Model and Data Privacy
Zoom’s terms of service change, customer concern, data use for AI models, the risks of accepting terms of service, and Zoom’s product struggles.

0:57:09 – WeWork’s Future
We discuss WeWork’s warning signs of potential bankruptcy.

1:02:09 – Credit Card Usage
US credit card debt crossing $1 trillion for the first time is discussed.

Links & Mentions


Anna Pappas

Anna Pappas

Marketing Executive

Anna is a highly seasoned Sales and Marketing Executive who has been in the Tech Space for the last 25 years working for organizations such as Accenture, IBM, AT&T, HSBC, 3Com/USRobotics and most recently Cognizant. Anna’s industry experience spans across Health and Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Federal and State/Government, Commerce and Retail and for the last 6 years focused in Financial Services across Banking, Wealth Management, Capital Markets and Insurance. Anna also ran her own small tech company, KnowQ Solutions, as a reseller of Queuing Technology.

Along with her industry experience, Anna has a great deal of experience having worked on the client side in key functional roles directly in Sales, Marketing, Product Management, S&OP and Customer Service. In addition to her industry and functional expertise, Anna has been a key member of the Salesforce ecosystem since 2009 when she first joined a small, boutique Salesforce Consulting firm to help Medela build their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy for new mothers. As a passionate Salesforce Evangelist, Anna has worked across diverse industries and clients helping them achieve their business outcomes and ROI in Marketing, Sales and Service.

Full Transcript

0:00:03 – Anna Pappas
One thing that we sometimes forget is there is no perfect algorithm or there isn’t any perfect thing. So take a look at, even though you’re automating things, there’s nothing wrong with just doing a quick manual check of what you’re doing as well sometimes, or checking in with your customers like, hey, we’ve sent you a couple of these offers. Doesn’t seem like they’ve resonated with you. What can we do better for you? We always have that good old fashioned focus groups that we used to do in the old days Still yield a lot of results and information.

For you to be able to make that information actionable for you, I think a lot of banks and a lot of wealth firms right now are just not connecting the dots across the different products and services that they are providing to customers. You’re so focused on the bottom line or numbers that they’ve forgotten about the customers. And so, in order for you to kind of use that data, use that information to make it more actionable, right, go back to some of the basics and really look at what information are you actually collecting? Is that information going to yield anything for you? I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve seen companies gathering data, gathering information that is useless.

0:01:32 – Fred Cadena
Hello and welcome to Banking on Disruption. I’m Fred Cadena. We have another awesome guest on deck for episode nine Sales and Marketing Executive, Anna Papas. Dane and I had a great time talking with Anna riffing on the latest marketing trends, including getting personalization right and customer acquisition strategies. After our interview in our Quick Take segment, Dane and I will be asking if work from home is dead, the importance of knowing what’s in those terms of service we all click through, and what consumer credit card balances exceeding $1 trillion really means. While you’re listening to this podcast, why not take a moment to follow us on LinkedIn, at at 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.

0:02:23 – Dane Grove
Welcome everyone to today’s show. I’m Dane, and today we have a special guest joining us, anna Papas, an expert in marketing personalization, helping brands grow their customer base. Anna, welcome to Banking on Disruption, speaking for our listeners too, we’re excited to have you.

0:02:45 – Anna Pappas
Well, hello, hello, thank you. I’m excited to be here.

0:02:49 – Dane Grove
Anna is a seasoned sales and marketing executive with over 25 years experience in the tech space, working for organizations like Accenture, ibm, at&t. Her industry experience spans health, life sciences, manufacturing, government, retail, financial services, including banking, wealth management and insurance. In addition to industry experience, anna has worked in key functional roles in sales, marketing, product management, customer service. She has been a Salesforce expert since 2009, helping diverse clients across industries achieve business outcomes and ROI with Salesforce’s marketing, sales and service tools. Anna believes that a successful client engagement includes an agreed upon and committed vision for the business and desired outcomes, strong focus on the customer employee journey and experience, the marketing MQL SQL, coupled with a committed, team-based build and delivery approach with a robust client adoption strategy. Jumping right in, anna, walk us through your career in sales, marketing and leading customer growth with Salesforce technology.

0:04:15 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, thanks, dane, that was a phenomenal introduction. I really appreciate it. Yeah, so I started my career pretty early on in marketing. When I came out of college I joined Accenture, which was Arthur Anderson back then, and really was during that very high growth timeframe for Accenture in their marketing team. So I really spent a lot of time understanding how do we grow, what customers we wanted to go after. What did those customers look like? What were some of their buying trends?

Back then we really called it demo graphics right looking at, which are now called personas. But back then you really did a lot of segmentation, knowing who your customers were so that you could go after them through the right channels. But also, as we grew, we wanted to make sure we were servicing our clients with the right products, with the right services, and the only way you could do that and grow your business back then was to really know what it was that we could solve their pain points right. So we spent a lot of time knowing and understanding our clients, knowing specific industry trends, knowing specific buying habits, knowing specific channels within each of those areas. So I probably spent the first half of my career strictly focused on marketing and then going into sort of that retail side of marketing when I joined AT&T and then was very blessed to be able to go into a company that some people probably have forgotten called US Robotics, which was really the start of the internet. Back then Probably everybody had a US Robotics modem and what was really phenomenal during that timeframe, yeah, was I then added, you know what had product management to my portfolio? Right, really knowing and understanding channels, really understanding how do you really market? Right and go after different segments of the market with those product lines? Right, because you had the high speed modems and you had the commercial modems. We had Palm Pilot back then too, so that was a lot of fun.

And then also growing businesses right, that was one of the groups that I worked in early on was the video conferencing group, and nobody was doing video conferencing back then like we’re doing today on our phones. But really understanding what were people using video conferencing for? Right? So was it the personal, was it the business? Was it some of these early on chat rooms that people use video for? And we won’t have that conversation offline.

0:06:46 – Fred Cadena
Rule 34.

0:06:47 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, yeah, right. So it was very critical that you understood the customer demographics or personas as they call them today, and understood how to find those people and understood what was it each specific customer was looking for in the products and services that you were introducing right? So someone like my parents were looking for a different experience versus my kids, versus somebody in the business world right, and so they’re buying differently. They’re buying in different cycles, right. So some are more impulsive, some are more cyclical, and then, back then, channels we didn’t have the internet channels back then as we do today, so you were really stuck with brick and mortar. You were really stuck with email campaigns. You were really stuck with, I mean, we were doing a lot of direct mail back then too, right. So, yeah, that’s kind of where my career early started on. So I try and tell people I’m a recovering chief marketing officer when I talk to customers today, because that’s really where my love and passion for Salesforce came in. When they first came out. It was really taking that early marketing demographics and persona development and understanding all of the buying it and automating it. Right, it was great that I didn’t have to do a spreadsheet anymore to understand that. Anna Pappas, who is X years old, who is making this kind of money, who is going into these channels to purchase technology. Now that was all automated right and I could keep track of what products and services they were buying or what channels they were interactive with or special things. Like early in the days of CRM, we were tracking, especially on the retail side, birthdays, births of children, all of those different things to help us better understand our clients and build that relationship. Because that’s really what you’re trying to do as you go through the different cycles between marketing and sales and then to service, and then, just most recently, I have been fortunate enough to really drive.

My passion for Salesforce has led me to really own the service side and professional services at IBM and kept them and I and Cognizant to just name a few ways helping them bring their Salesforce professional services to a lot of the banks and a lot of the wealth management firms and insurance companies. And what I love about having those conversations with clients is knowing how Salesforce can really help them solve their problems right Whether it’s trying to get new customers or trying to get more wallet share of customers right and using Salesforce whether it’s marketing, whether it’s sales or whether it’s service and how that all fits in together. But having those conversations and customers speak, right, what do your customers look like? What does the customer journey look like? Right? How do you map your customer journey with your employee journey right and pulling that all together because it’s very important that you really fully understand you know where’s your point of entry for your customer. Is it before they even know your name? And then, once they know your name, how do you go from there?

0:10:06 – Dane Grove
You know, love it. I mean, you’ve been in the middle of what are today like foundational Sort of aspects of our digital world, right like web meetings and so forth and so on. And of course you know digital marketing incredible career Switching gears a bit here, thinking about digital engagement with customers. Personalization is essential but can be tricky to implement. What’s your strategy for achieving genuinely personalized experiences across all touch points?

0:10:41 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, so, first and foremost, it is getting permission, right, so, but also, in sending your customers to give you that permission, right, what value are they getting from you in order for them to want to give you more information? Right, so and I think netflix is is the sort of pinnacle of that personalization, right? Customers were getting such value from netflix because netflix was recommending more movies for them to see, based on their habits. Right, and netflix is constantly asking people hey, we’re seeing, you’re watching a lot of these movies. Do you still want to see these kind of movies or do you want to see more? And then they would drill down and ask the more specific questions. So, applying that same approach to any industry, really, I think, is the key to understanding your customers in providing the right personalization experience.

In banking, right, I am the same customer at my bank, whether it’s my checking account, whether it’s my investment strategy, wealth management, whether it is any insurance products that I may purchase from them. Right, and so it is very critical to me, if I have the right relationship with my bank, right, to give them as much information about my goals, my future needs, as possible, and I think that we’re not seeing that as much as we should Today in banking and insurance? Right, because we’re not. We’re not connecting the dots areas. So, again, to be able to bring those pieces together, you you have to ask the right questions, but you also have to be able to do something with it. Why are you asking me these questions? Well, it’s because we want to be able to give you a better experience. We want to develop products and services for you. We want to make sure we’re constantly meeting your needs.

So, rather than asking me what is my income level? Right, maybe ask me what are my goals? What are my Investing goals? What are my financial goals? What are? What’s my next step in my you know, salary journey, or whatever you want to call it. But too often you see what is your salary range? Well, that’s not going to give you anything, right? What are you trying to solve for me?

Right, like, if I’m making $50,000 a year, but my goal is to make 150,000 a year, that’s a different question. And now I’m going to start to say, okay, anna isn’t just content, content with 50,000. She, she’s a go getter and she wants to make more money. So what kind of products and services can we build and offer her and make her feel safe to work with us, to be our customer right. And how do we, how do we continue to earn that trust right, because trust, trust goes a long way. You can. You can lose it very quickly, yet it takes you a long time to get it. So I would say those are some, some keys, key areas for personalization.

0:13:36 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, I love where you’re going with that, and one of the things I think I heard or two, two themes one was you know, really it’s one thing to collect data. It’s another thing to then leverage that data, turn it into an insight, right. So, now, now I have an idea of what Anna really wants, and then the next thing is activation. Right, what are, what are the channels? How am I going to get that message in front of Anna so she can then Go take the action that I want, right? So what are you saying, like, right now, as far as how are banks scaling that, turning data into insights? And then, what’s the best practice? Or what are you seeing around the activation channels, like, where are they getting the most traction in that, in that messaging?

0:14:19 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, so I. There’s a lot of disconnect, right, and there’s some challenges, obviously in banking just like healthcare, to write. There’s that compliance issue, right, sort of that Wall sometimes between security and sharing of information, right, so you have to be very cognizant of securities acts and financial acts and compliance and all of that stuff, but that’s still. I think there’s that fine line between I’m trying to be a good steward of the information I have from a compliance standpoint or security standpoint to how do I really just get to know Anna better, right, and and there’s a huge difference there in my opinion and then how do I turn that information Into something that we can provide for on our server?

Like, for example, going back to my netflix netflix has never, in the time I’ve been a customer, suggested a horror movie to me ever. They know I hate me either, right? So what is it? I keep getting these offers to open up a checking account. Well, I already have a checking account, like what? Like now I’m getting upset because I already have a checking account with you, yet you keep sending me these checking account offers, right, like?

0:15:33 – Fred Cadena
It’s having the opposite effect.

0:15:34 – Anna Pappas
not only is it not wanting you to take action, yeah, nothing worse than dumb automation dumb automation, right, and and so I think one thing that we sometimes forget is there is no perfect algorithm, or there isn’t any perfect thing. So Take a look at, even though you’re automating things, there’s nothing wrong with just doing a quick manual check of what you’re doing as well sometimes. Or checking in with your customers, like, hey, we’ve sent you a couple of these offers. Doesn’t seem like they’ve resonated with you. What? What can we do better for you? Right, sometimes have that good old fashioned Focus groups that we used to do in the old days. Right, still yield a lot of results and information. For you to be able to make that information actionable for you, right?

I think a lot of banks and a lot of wealth firms right now are just not connecting the dots across the different products and services that they are providing to customers, right, they’re so focused on the bottom line or numbers that they’ve forgotten about the customers. And so, in order for you to kind of use that data, use that information to make it more actionable, right, go back to some of the basics and really look at what is it? What information are you actually collecting? Is that information going to yield anything for you? I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve seen companies gathering data, gathering information that is useless, like you’ve. You’ve asked me to answer a 30 second survey and you’ve done nothing with it, or the questions aren’t going to give you anything to do off of them, right.

So have a good intent. If you’re trying to, for example, you’re noticing trends in your customer base, right. Or if you’re seeing you know your different stage. If you’re trying to acquire new customers, right, like what is it that is going to get people to come in and look, even look at you? Right, because Acquiring is about people being curious about your company.

Once you’ve gotten them, though, what is it that you’re seeing our trends within your customers, that you need to start meeting their needs, because you can get customers but then lose them very quickly if you’re not giving them the right products and services. So, making sure that you have the right data on those customers that can actually create actionable insight for you and they’re two different things, and I think part of the challenge at times is you do not have the right functional people. Looking at the data, looking at the questions that are being asked, there’s a there’s a difference between data scientists and functional people, and they’re all working independently versus working together, right? So as a marketer, I’m going to ask different data questions to find out who my customer is, versus a data scientists. But if we worked together, imagine how, how that would yield the right information.

0:18:26 – Fred Cadena
Totally. I think one of the things that you know, that I’m hearing in it and I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients lately is, and I found that financial institutions tend to be a little hesitant or they just don’t think about it this way. But I think of that as, as a product owner, you know kind of a rule, right, you know, for each of your I’m not talking about a Salesforce product owner here. I’m talking about for, like, financial products, right, for your deposit accounts, for your treasury offerings, for your loans, right. You need somebody who’s thinking about product market fit. Right, what? What data do we need? How do we connect that? And I just don’t think banks at least in my experience I’d love to hear your thoughts Think about their financial products and quite that way I feel, like most of the banks I talked to, have the field of dreams approach. If we put a checking account out there, they will come and bring deposits and I just don’t think that works anymore.

0:19:16 – Anna Pappas
Yeah. Well, so you’re 100% right and you have to understand consumer product management works just as well in business product management. Right, you’re still like when we were introducing products at US Robotics. I still today that methodology of how we were actually introducing products into the channels Understanding the clients still works in banking. Right, I still need to know what kind of a customer is coming into my business, right, what, what kind of checking account, like, I need a different checking account than my mother, but nobody thinks about it that way, right, right, a product manager would, and in part of the challenge I think sometimes is I would love to see a lot more creativity of banks and wealth companies and interest start to bring in a lot more consumer and retail people into their product management groups, because I think that’s going to yield you a much different service or product that they’re going to be launching into the marketplace because they’re going to be looking at it as a consumer and as a business.

Right, because you have two different demographics, yet you still have to ask the same questions. You know, what products and services do these companies or does this individual want to buy? Where are they buying them? How? How are we getting my mom versus how are we getting on right? My mom is, you know, an immigrant who still believes walking into a bank is the only way she’s going to get her service and things and all of that stuff. Well, hey, that’s really great. How do we continue to serve those clients? Because, guess what, some of those clients probably have more money than the millennials who are working off their phone, right? So we have forgotten the graphic of the older generation, who doesn’t use technology and yet still has that channel and has has the majority of the money.

0:21:08 – Fred Cadena
So then, how do we?

0:21:09 – Anna Pappas
start to also compare those people.

0:21:11 – Fred Cadena
Totally. I was laughing because I think about my mother and I remember one one time a few years ago. She, she’s not just the, I have to walk into a bank, she has to walk into her bank. Right, you know, branch banking has been a thing for a while now. Right, a lot of people listen to the podcast probably don’t even remember before branch banking was a thing. But we were going out to dinner around Christmas or lunch around Christmas time a few years ago and we happened to be near another branch of one of her banks and she said I can’t go to that branch, I’ve got to go to my bank and it was, you know, 10 miles away and it was, you know. But people like what they like and I think that’s part of it. You have to be where your customers want to be, in the channel, and provide with what, what they’re looking for.

0:21:56 – Anna Pappas
Well, and yeah, and think about that friend. Why was she so adamant about that? Because it’s. It’s because of the way they made her feel right, absolutely.

0:22:04 – Fred Cadena
It was the relationship.

0:22:05 – Anna Pappas
And so, again, I think that’s what’s getting lost today, right, is that? How do I feel, especially in the digital world? A lot of these companies have no engagement or feel Everything’s cold or transactional because we’re in this digital world. So how do I create that, that, that brick and mortar branch banking field in the digital world? Right, and that, to me, is the success. But also, how do we look at new channels?

I think we’re going to start to see a little bit of a resurgence in the branch banking environment because people are getting lost. So how, how do banks start to create value in the branch? Again, they’ve invested all this real estate. What can I do to bring people back into the bank a little bit? So I think you’re going to start to see a lot of that and I think Salesforce and the personas and the understanding, the products and services Like, why would I actually want to go into a bank today? There’s a lot of reasons. So I’m not being incentive today, incentive today, to go into a bank, totally, so the people who are going to talk about that are going to win.

0:23:17 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, no, I love that. I do have to ask. As we’re talking about all of this data collection and insights and being in the right channel with the right message, I have to ask what about the creep factor? And I think we’re all marketers. We’ve heard the story it may be apocryphal of the father 10 years ago that learned that his daughter was pregnant from getting a target mailer, and I don’t know if that happened or not, but we all know, like when the marketing gets a little on the creepy side, how do banks and brands in general like steer clear of going to the creepy side of personalization?

0:23:57 – Anna Pappas
Yeah. So it kind of goes back to what data are you collecting right and what is your intent? So if you’re suddenly sending me you know an email like Anna, we noticed you have $50,000 in your checking account, I’d be like, ooh, you’re not creepy right Versus Anna. We’re really trying to look at how do we grow our clients checking accounts right or something along that line. That’s a much different approach and intent versus information that I’ve not given you access to right. So if I have given you information and you do something with it, there’s no creep factor there. But if you are now using data about my accounts that I’ve not given you information to, that’s creepy. That’s creepy.

0:24:47 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, no, I think that makes a lot of sense. I think that one thing that will help you just naturally with that is, you know, the kind of forced reliance on more first party data. Right, you know there’s going to be a lot less third party data available, so I think that’ll help with that. I worry a little bit about making those connections right, like again, apocryphal, would not? That target story was all about looking at its customer trends and looking at what people bought and figuring out, well, when a customer who is female and buys you know these three or four things, it likely means that they’re pregnant. And that wasn’t necessarily going out and finding anything about the person, but it was drawing an insight. And you know now, with you know, we can’t have a podcast without mentioning AI. At least once Now, with AI being as powerful as it is, you know what crazy insights are going to be discovered that will let you take that first party data and make it a little on the creep side.

0:25:51 – Anna Pappas
So again, kind of back to my point of you can collect data to the cows, come home, right, but how are you then presenting it? How are you messaging that? Right so the difference between you, know? I now know that Anna’s buying pregnancy tests and doing all of this, right? So rather than saying hey for your upcoming baby, right, Versus maybe a family in your future plans, right Do?

0:26:17 – Fred Cadena
you see how I’ve heard that very differently.

0:26:20 – Anna Pappas
That is, maybe you are looking at all of those things, but I’ve now not assumed you’re pregnant. I’m just saying, hey, maybe a family is in your future plans. Very different. I could have sent that to you just as a general, but I know kind of like Google. How many times have you looked on your phone? You’ve been talking about a subject and suddenly an ad comes up and you’re like Ooh, now they’re listening to me, and they’re listening to me without my permission, even though I think we all give permissions with it.

0:26:49 – Fred Cadena
We all click through those agreements much, much faster than we.

0:26:54 – Anna Pappas
And I’m sure they’re like what gave us permission, but what I’m again, my point being is be intentional with your offerings and the data that you’re collecting. There’s no, there’s no bad answer in collecting data, especially if I have, if I’ve been asked permission, if you’re doing it for the right intentions, if you are marketing and messaging to me for the right reason, like that’s why I think again, I keep using the Netflix example they’ve been so successful is because they have been very intentional and they’ve earned the trust and they’ve given people exactly what they’ve answered the questions for.

0:27:34 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, they need better experience. Yeah, you’re really touching on like timing and fit and like. I love, I love the message of like making sure your message is appropriate and that it’s, you know, giving it has the right phrasing. You know, I love that. You know, maybe there’s a family in your future. Any other tips around how to craft that message so you’re delivering not just the right offer but the right wording in the message to the customer at the right time.

0:28:06 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, so again, kind of. I think I touched on this a little bit earlier. Right, there is a difference between collecting data, data, science, ai, et cetera and then marketing. Marketing is a different beast. Marketing is about understanding human behavior, understanding personas, understanding temperament, understanding messaging, understanding strategy, right? So if you’re just doing AI and data and just sending out some generic messages, without collaboration from the two, you’re going to have a disaster. But if you are working with your marketers and you’re working with your salespeople and you’re working with your product management people, right, because it’s really.

It has to be a collaboration of all of those functions in order for you to A collect the right data. B go and understand the right channels, because you’re going to have structured data within your Salesforce environment. And then perhaps you want to start to go out and collect unstructured data, right Through people’s Facebook, or purchasing behaviors or et cetera, or market trends right, you have to be able to understand how do I pull both of those together and what does it mean before I start to send some of those messages out, right? What’s our intent? So I hope that it’s helped, but it’s. I too often see the mistake of oh, let’s just hire a data scientist to do this, right, and they’re building these data models right. Well, they’re building data models in a silo because they’re following, you know, the engineering format, versus building data models based on human behavior. Human interaction right. Marketing channels, products, services, right.

0:29:53 – Dane Grove
You know one of the points you made on that I really appreciate. It’s a great reminder. Often we’re talking about breaking down silos between sales and marketing, not thinking about our product leaders. It’s a very important component to you know to add. So great reminder. Shifting gears a bit, our listeners focus on growth. What unique approaches are you seeing brands take to acquire new customers?

0:30:23 – Anna Pappas
Great question, thanks. It is really about knowing your customer and knowing their growth and where they’re going. So, for example, I keep referring to myself, right, but Anna Pappas you know pre-kids is a very different person than Anna Pappas early little kids running around versus Anna Pappas who now has college kids, right. So anybody who has kept me as a customer has been able to take my dollar as I’ve gone through these stages and grown myself right. But it takes a company that understands what their customer’s growth is going to be like and predicting for it right and planning for it. And then understanding how do I continue to have Anna’s trust, how do I continue to get share of Anna’s wallet right, and the way to do that is to continuously anticipate who I am and what my needs are going to be right, and I think that is very critical. But also understanding how do I introduce brand new products and services to get customers that are not part of my customer base right? We talk about you know MQL and SQL right. Well, marketing qualified leads are. Understanding who are potential buyers right.

How do I get people who may be interested in us right? What are their behaviors to attract those people, to suddenly get them to pay attention to us, right? How do I find them? Right? Where are those people today, especially in the digital world? Right? We have so many competing channels for different opportunities, right? Is it Facebook, instagram? Is it text messaging? Is it email? Right? Is it video? So how do I understand where my customers are interacting and how do I find them? And then, once I get them right, how do I continue to build that share of wallet? Right? How do I continue to build products and services that Anna’s going to continue to buy for the next 20 years, right? So those are two different growth strategies. One is getting new customers and then one is getting more money from, you know, your existing customers, and those are two different approaches.

0:32:32 – Dane Grove
Excellent points From the context of a specific campaign or maybe one of your favorite all time campaigns, so really challenging you to kind of think back. Are there other examples of how companies can get creative with new customer acquisition?

0:32:52 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, you have to be very creative, and so I would say some of my favorites were at US Robotics. Right, because we were on the leading edge of technology. The internet was just coming around. Right, how do you, how do you get people to A understand what a modem is right, like and why they would need the modem and what that was going to do for you? So you have to create the picture of why a customer wants to buy this product or service, and I think that gets lost very often.

Right, our challenge was you have customers who have no idea about the internet, no idea about a modem, but now we have to create this picture of getting them to run out and go buy a modem. Right, and so we were very intent with the emotional connection. Right, imagine you’re in Chicago. We were focused quite often on the parents to kids. Right, you’ve got kids that are living in Florida. Right, imagine being able to see them every single day. Right, we weren’t talking about modems, we were talking about the emotional connection of seeing your kids. Right, because you’re in two different states and oh, by the way, if you buy a modem, you’re going to be able to get that. So, painting that picture a lot of people assume customers, whether they’re consumer customers or even business customers, know what your product and service is going to do. Don’t assume it. Get creative with it. Give them, paint the end state for them and give them a reason to run out and use your products and services.

0:34:23 – Dane Grove
Yeah, quick time out. Do you want a water break, Anna?

0:34:25 – Anna Pappas
Am I suddenly losing my voice?

0:34:27 – Dane Grove
Yeah, well, I’m hearing it anyway and I’m like yeah, she’s just up, you know take those as you need them.

0:34:33 – Anna Pappas
Okay, yeah, no, I’m good now. Thank you, so I hope that answered the question. Right Is about being creative.

0:34:40 – Dane Grove
And also, you know, that emotional connection that brands can make with customers. That’s one of the things that I was hearing with the example you gave and I’m thinking of, like what’s the campaign? Diamonds are forever or something along those lines. That one’s really powerful. I think a lot of the really powerful connections that brands have with their customers do draw an emotion.

0:35:04 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, and you know, it’s very interesting because I think so when you look at consumer marketing versus business marketing, right? Business marketers tend to be a little bit more unemotional, and yet they should be even more emotional, in my opinion, because companies are struggling right now and you have to be sensitive to that. How do I make sure that? I mean, we’ve all been in this industry long enough. We’ve seen a lot of businesses go out of business, right? So how do I help a struggling business stay in business? And so, if I am creating hope for a business, if I am creating an end state vision of growth by purchasing my products and services, you again are focused on an emotional connection with somebody, versus just a buy my product because you’re going to connect to the internet. That’s just so boring, right? You have to have connections.

So, again, I think that’s what makes Salesforce for me something that I’m very passionate about and so focused and maniacal about continuing to support. It is because it is all about the connections and it is all about understanding my customer even before they’re my customers, so that that you know, sort of acquisition stage to the marketing stage, to now I’ve got to add a customer, right? So I’m going to. I’m going to spend a lot of time knowing who you are as my customer. I’m going to continue to make sure I’m updating things about you and then servicing, right, how do I make sure?

Because that to me again that connection, right, I’ve become a customer now and I need service and you forget that I’m a customer. You don’t even know where I live, you don’t even know that I purchased five of your 10 products. You’re you. You now are losing me. You’re losing that emotional connection with me. So it’s so important that, back to breaking down those silos, right, you have to break down the silos between marketing, sales and service for your customer. You have to break down those silos in your own business and keep that emotional connection with people.

0:37:08 – Dane Grove
I really love the points you’re making, and I’m not sure why, but as you were talking through that, I started thinking about sort of generically customer journeys and boy, oftentimes, like, the sales side of that journey is just a fraction, it’s half or a third of what the service side of the journey is. And yet you see brands all the time just putting a ton of emphasis in sales and not enough on the service side of that journey.

0:37:40 – Anna Pappas
Yeah. So I am very adamant and I will tell you, I feel like there are two key areas that I see clients and customers just sort of, and I don’t know why, but just really not focusing on that customer journey and then mapping it to the employee journey. Because you can have a great customer journey and then don’t have the right resources to support it, right. So you have to make sure the customer journey and employee journey are mapped out together, but thorough, right, understanding the channels, because you’re going to spend all this time and money trying to get new customers and then you’re going to lose them, right, and that’s an expensive proposition. Or you’ve got them and you want to create that loyalty, right. So we do a lot of loyalty programs, yet the minute I call in, you don’t know who I am, right? So I’ve got a thousand points with you but you don’t know who I am. So, again, really thinking through every aspect. So sales, marketing and service are a circle. It’s not a linear line, right. It’s like you don’t get a new customer and then you put them in your database and then, if they call in, right, and then it ends. It is that continuous cycle. They say it takes six times for somebody to become a customer right, and one time to lose them. So focus on that investment right. Keep that circle continuous, keep checking in and then making sure you know.

The second piece that I talk about is adoption right, your clients. You spend all this time and money on technology and then people don’t adopt it, people don’t use it, right? I can’t tell you the amount of companies that have invested in Salesforce and yet enter no data about their customers in Salesforce, right? So, kind of back to the information is only as good as the data that you collect and then what you do with them, right? So if you’ve entered my name as a customer but add no information about what products I’ve purchased, when I’ve purchased them, where I’ve purchased them from right, you now have absolutely no information about me.

0:39:42 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, you’ve got to have dots to connect the dots.

0:39:45 – Anna Pappas
Yeah right, right. And then where’s that data being stored? Right, that’s another, especially in today’s world, right, you’ve got data lakes, data thing there. Where’s the data? Right, and big challenge I have with clients right there like, oh my god, we have all this information. Well, you know, I got closed from 20 years ago too, but I’m not wearing them, so did you meet up? What data you’re gonna wear today? Like, right, what? What data is relevant today? It doesn’t matter what I did 20 years ago, unless your business is specifically focused on understanding the 20 year history of your clients. So think about, even if you have old data, how good is that data for your needs today? Right?

0:40:25 – Fred Cadena
Absolutely the, the fret of last year last month, you know, five years ago is very different than the, the fret of today and Nobody needs to know I had a.

0:40:37 – Anna Pappas
Nobody needs to know I had a bag phone. That that data no Information or intent or is actionable, right yeah except, maybe.

0:40:48 – Fred Cadena
Except, maybe, the fact that it means you’re a bleeding-edge adopter. Yes, true, well, I love, I love where this is going and I know we’re getting close to the end of our time. Here We’ve we’ve been pretty, you know, marketing focus and technology agnostic to this point. But I would love to circle back around to the Salesforce platform. You know A lot of our audience are sales first professionals or leverage Salesforce in their institution. So what are you seeing like best practice, like for this right to connect the dots, to bring the data, figure out which data is the right data and then, you know, actually making it actionable. You know, through through activation and channels, like anything that you can share, where you’re seeing, you know, some of the more innovative clients you’ve been working with leveraging Salesforce technology to kind of bring all that together.

0:41:37 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, you’ll. You’ll hear me say like it’s almost a guy beating a dead horse, but you’ll hear me say business first, technology second, right, so Salesforce is the tool that’s gonna help you build up, build your business, right? It’s kind of like, you know, building a house, right Like you have to have your vision of what that house is gonna look like. You have to put the time and the effort first into the Design and understanding your lifestyle, living into the house and then having the right tools to build it right. So you know, I can have a hammer, but if I don’t have a reason or anything to build, the hammers useless to me, right? So I always recommend business first, right, understanding your business, understanding your customers, understanding what it is you’re trying to achieve first, like, are we trying to grow our business? Are we trying to introduce new products and services in our business? Are we trying to bring in customers to brand new channels or are we trying to, like, leverage our existing channels and Start to get people to come in? Back is an example. Back to the branch office, right? So do we want to make sure the branch office doesn’t die? What is it that we have to start doing in those branch offices. That changes. So, being focused on your business first and then using the technology to support that, to help you build your business right.

I often see back to my earlier point. People have Salesforce and they don’t. They’re not collecting the right data on their customers, right, or they’re not connecting the dots between marketing and sales and service, so that, whether I’m trying to drive a campaign and notice that we’re having service issues, or whether clients are calling me in service and they have taken advantage of our most recent campaigns, or they’ve just purchased the last five products and services we launch, they’re not being connected right. So, back to your business first. Technology tool second, the sales force is a phenomenal platform for you to really build the right foundations, right, but then you need to start looking at what?

What can I add to that? Right, you can automate as much as possible, but you still have to have the creativity, you still have to have strategy, you still have to have Intent to be able to do something with those tools and and I feel like there’s always that disconnect sometimes, right, like we buy these products and it’s gonna solve our problem, we’re gonna build a million new customers using Salesforce. Well, again, it’s just a hammer. You have to know how to use the hammer. You have to know how to drive that nail in. You know, giving a hammer to a three-year-old is gonna give you a different result than giving a hammer to a 40 year old who’s been a carpenter right.

0:44:20 – Fred Cadena
Two different approaches right, one of them is gonna give you a drywall project in your future. I can tell you that, maybe from firsthand experience. No, I, I totally get that, I totally agree, and you have to know, you know what that, what the goal is, what you’re looking to achieve and have that strategy and and creativity. I’m just curious, like, when it does come down to the tool and I am, I am a hundred percent aligned. I don’t think you buy technology to solve problems or I’ll say this you don’t. I don’t think that buying technology solves the problem. But what? What are you seeing from a technology standpoint that helps Making that execution more efficient? Like anything that you’re seeing trend-wise, new and and interesting?

0:45:04 – Anna Pappas
Yeah, so the automation and the tools and the technology are going to deliver information to you faster and perhaps in a much more comprehensive or consolidated format? Right? So the technology is gonna give you the Information? Does it’s for you to look at and go okay, I’ve got to make some decisions here, right? So we tried this. The information says it didn’t work. Let’s now try something different. Right, let’s, let’s change our approach. Let’s go after x, y and z, you know differently. Let’s see if that works.

Right, so you’re able to make decisions faster. You’re able to fail faster, as they say these days. Right and Able to get back up and and go after that again. So I think technology is really allowing you to see trends. Technology is allowing you to have Dashboards and reports right, to be able to make great decisions that perhaps took you days and weeks and months. Get before that. Now you can have at your fingertips or in real life. Right, so you’re able to make decisions much quicker and faster, but also giving you insights into you, who your customers are it’s really excellent points.

0:46:17 – Dane Grove
I I even think about some of you know in in our business and our use of Salesforce technology and and looking critically where we come up short in terms of not gathering customer information, customer data. I think in our model it happens most often in conversations and Not having the rights and I don’t want to make it about just one thing, but not having the right conversation transcription tool, where not relying on me or someone else to put good notes in there, but all of it’s being collected through sales interactions, through service interactions, and then it’s available and you know, without getting too technical, then the marketing people can leverage, you know email studio and automation studio and amp script or sequel or whatever is needed and then leverage that information right.

0:47:16 – Anna Pappas
You know I always try and tell people or remind people right, that Salesforce as a company has been so successful and has grown leaps and bounds because they live and die by Salesforce. They early on implemented the methodologies and the approach to how they were going to run their business on Salesforce right, and that permeated throughout their company culture. It it starts in marketing, goes into sales and goes into service right. And so they, to me, are sort of that holy grail of what you can do with Salesforce To be able to grow your business. Right, because they’ve Used the tool as it’s meant to be used to grow their business and they’ve been very successful for it.

And and again, if you talk to any employee who’s actually worked at Salesforce, especially on the sales side or marketing side, right, they use that tool maniacally. Right to grow their business or to introduce new products and services. Right, or To understand their customers and then really partner with their customers or create innovation with their customers. Right. Or, you know, take risks and challenges with their customers because they’ve they’ve built up so much Information and relationships with them that their customers trust and they say, yeah, let’s try this. That to me, is Probably the holy grail, as I said for how Companies should look at how to implement user Salesforce and automation.

0:48:51 – Dane Grove
Amazing, amazing, I have to say. Anna, thank you again for joining us today, sharing your expertise. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. If our listeners would like to connect with you, how do they find you?

0:49:06 – Anna Pappas
Well, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m, so on, a VPAPIS is my, so it’s LinkedIn. Slash on a VPAPIS or email at Anna VPAPIS at comcastnet.

0:49:16 – Fred Cadena
I’m Dane and I’m Fred. Thanks for listening today, and we’re back with quick takes. Dane, this week, lots of zoom news. First up in, perhaps the greatest stroke of irony, zoom is ordering its workers back to the office. The tech company that is literally synonymous with work from home is telling us employees they have to be in the office at least two days a week. Dane, what are your thoughts? Is work from home dead?

0:49:48 – Dane Grove
well, it’s an interesting article. I went to the zoom website and I was just kind of looking at their you know advisory around, you know work in general and I because I remember a time when they kind of centered obviously on remote work, etc. Well, now, at the top of that kind of like advisory is Bringing people back to the office and I feel like that’s new. Don’t remember that, being there in the past, I was just, yeah, this is it’s really surprising actually.

0:50:25 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, I, I find it surprising as well. I mean it’s. I mean zoom is definitely struggled financially. They’ve been trying to build a more full suite of products. I just question is zoom even set up as a company to Benefit from people in the office?

And I, my approach we’ve talked about it on the on the podcast before is I don’t think I’d call this hybrid, but some people might.

I think it’s more work from home, with like reality Infused, like there’s times that you need to go to the office and your time as you need to go to an office, it might not be near your house, right? If you’re, you know, launching a new Salesforce implementation or you’re launching a new product and you need to bring the team together. You can bring the team together and they can work together for for that particular purpose, and then they can go back and work from where they’re more comfortable. You might need to bring them together a few different times, but this idea that there’s some magic about going to the office two days a week especially zoom that has you know they’re, their office is sprinkled and I think five or six different cities across the US that, matt, you know with, with distributed teams, I don’t know how being in the zoom office in Georgia and the person I’m working with is in the zoom office in Denver is gonna make me any more productive, and so I don’t know. I think it’s a very questionable decision.

0:51:50 – Dane Grove
Yeah, I think that. And let me ask you this is it across the board? Is it? Is it every type of person, regardless of what kind of work they do? Is my office two days a week?

0:52:03 – Fred Cadena
My understanding is yes. From what I’ve read, it’s as if you live within 50 miles of a zoom location. You have to go to the office twice a week, regardless of function.

0:52:14 – Dane Grove
Wow interesting see that part I I feel like I disagree with. Like I, I can see where I you know, some types of you know be used like sales, for example, maybe customer success teams. I feel like sometimes it totally makes sense to have people you know coming to the office collaborating in person. I think there’s a lot of value there and actually it can be kind of fun right If it’s hosted the way. But I feel like there’s other skills. Like a lot of my developer friends, I feel like a lot of those people work better from home, you know. So I don’t know, I’m not in agreement with everyone two days a week, but I think there’s value in some of those, some of those teams being back in the office. But wow, is this a crazy article? Cause it’s obviously zoom Anyway it is.

0:53:09 – Fred Cadena
It is it’s super crazy and I’m with you. I mean, I think the jury’s, the jury will be out. I mean definitely a trend where we talk about a lot We’ll continue to keep an eye on. I just thought it was, you know, especially noteworthy cause. It was zoom.

Zoom has just been been getting kicked while it’s down. This week it also got in hot water with customers and privacy advocates when somebody noticed a change in the terms of service that seemed to give it automatic consent to utilize customer content like transcripts and recordings from from calls and service generated data like behavioral data and engagement metrics for quote machine learning, artificial intelligence, training and testing. This cause, as you can imagine, a lot of concern that zoom would start using customer calls, train AI models, possibly putting at risk the exposure of sensitive data talked about on those calls. Zoom’s been in damage control mode. I’m sure you’ve seen this day.

In Monday, they announced another change their terms of service. They put a lot more clarity around the fact that zoom does not intend to use audio, video or or chat or other customer content to train models without customer consent, which means there there may be a time that they do it with consent. But, dan, what are your thoughts here? Was was zoom trying to pull a fast one and just assume that people weren’t going to notice that addition to the terms of service? And? And did they? Did they really intend from the beginning to start using customer data to train their models? Or was this just an example of maybe an overly broad you know license grantor and and zoom’s intent was always just to use the content to to power its transcription and other AI services.

0:55:00 – Dane Grove
It’s definitely concerning and confusing, and I’d say like, obviously, anything centered on how customer data is being used with an AI product is, I mean, that’s, that’s hot water, right? All the, all the stuff that happened in it around. You know, chat, GPT, sort of early on related to that, and so I’m just wondering, like, what was going through what person’s head when they were said, when that decision was made to me? I don’t know if I, if I feel like it was a fast one, Obviously just an opinion here, but I wonder if it’s not more of like an act of desperation. You know, like, aren’t they? Aren’t they having some struggles in different areas? And maybe they’re just kind of reaching deep here, like trying to figure out how to make big, big gains and and just functionality and that sort of thing. So they, they took a chance. I think it was a crazy chance, but I don’t know. What do you think about that?

0:56:07 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, I mean Zoom has definitely been struggling right Like ever since. I mean they, they were rocket ship due to due to COVID and people having to work from home and, and you know, across the board, right Like I think you and I and the industry we sit in. You know we were Zoom users long before Corona but all of a sudden it was everywhere. I think the stock shot up like 20, 25% and you know they have been struggling a little bit in the last, you know few months. Socks down.

I think you know there’s a lot more competition. You know there’s there’s video conferencing embedded and a lot of other products. I even saw recently WhatsApp has started, you know, a video share, not just face, but like you can share your screen. So there’s a lot more players in the space and Zoom is obviously expanding their product suite. Every time I go to the Zoom website, I seem like I see another, you know Zoom One service. So I think you’re onto something there with just trying to, you know, bolster and and and keep ahead and keep their product pace with everything else.

For me, the big takeaway was this which is any one of us probably in the course of a month or or certainly in a year, clicks through and accepts dozens or hundreds of terms of service that we never like think twice about.

And I’m not saying for every single thing, but I know, for me, when it comes to the platforms that I depend on for putting sensitive data, you know Salesforce, google. For the Google services, you know Google Drive and Google apps, slack, zoom, obviously, where I have a lot of, you know, sensitive client conversations I’m going to be a much closer eye on those terms of service just to make sure that that they’re not trying to sneak in, whether it’s, you know, licensed to my content, whether it’s ability to scan, ability to share like it’s pretty scary, like it’s one thing like I go to LinkedIn to to be public. I don’t put anything on LinkedIn that I don’t want people to see. In fact, if they did something to make more people see it, I’d be pretty happy. But that’s not what I go to zoom for. I don’t go to zoom to make things public and and that that really that really shocked me.

0:58:21 – Dane Grove
Yeah, it’s. I think it was a. I think it was a terrible risk on their part because where they are having struggles and I’m really not fond of what they’re doing from a product standpoint I don’t, you know, I’m not an expert on on product strategy, product development, but I just feel like they’re doing too much, you know, in terms of the product itself and but this, this news, is probably just going to cause more pain for a company that I think at its core has that like some pretty, you know, some pretty good products for us to use. It’s not going to be helpful. They’re already struggling in certain areas. So this is this is not going to help them Totally.

Well, switching gears we work. This is another brand Like I still, when I, when I hear we work, I can’t help but to think about people like drinking beer at three o’clock in the afternoon. I know that’s not the case and for any listeners out there that are, you know, just at it, you know working hard and maybe using we work space, no offense, it’s not a dig on you guys, but anyway, the news the recent news is, let’s see once valued at $47 billion has warned is at risk of bankruptcy as employees continue to work from home. You know, shares in the flexible workspace provider plunged overnight on Tuesday, as it announced, quote unquote. Substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue. Does have 512,000 paying members across 610 locations, current occupancy rate of 72%. I don’t know what’s your, what’s your take on this story, fred.

1:00:07 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, it’s interesting. It feels a little bit like the end of an era, but I think it’s the end of an era for we work and not for co-working in general. I think I’ve told you in the past the audience obviously you know that I have a co-working space. I mean it’s not my co-working space, I have an office in a co-working space and it’s really just because, even though I worked from home, I like to interact with people. I like to have a reason to put pants on in the morning. I like to in not having any local coworkers, it’s nice to have a place to have some community. And so I don’t think co-working is dead. But I think the we work model is dead and I think there there’s still like the decisions they made early in the company to to hype it up and to try to make it more than it was and to try to like get it pretty, to go public. It’s still endemic.

I’m not a real estate expert. 72% occupancy does not seem horrible. I think about what types of margins you have to get out of out of real estate from. On a commercial basis that doesn’t seem horrible. But like we works model was they took really expensive prime, a real estate in major markets, made them look even more beautiful on the inside, added a bunch of free amenities like Dane, your three o’clock beer, like free coffee, like you know all kinds of stuff and then package it up and charged less than you could lease the the property from on a square foot basis, on fractional desks and fractional offices and and dedicated offices. And that’s just not a model when you, when you’re, when your costs exceeds your, your revenue, that’s just not a sustainable model. And I think you know they’re locked into long term leases in not great terms. Their landlords probably aren’t doing a lot to negotiate with them. They’re not in a strong position and I think, I think this is the end for we work. That’s my. What do you think?

1:02:10 – Dane Grove
Well, I mean, it’s interesting and so, you know, with work stream we’ve had the same co working. You know our business address is actually a co working space. It’s hosted by a company called Venture X. Venture X has been growing. It’s an interesting play, like when you walk into a venture X office. It is a bit of what you just described.

You know it kind of has like that I don’t know that Silicon Valley ish feel to it. You know really beautiful space. They don’t do a lot in terms of free services. They’ve got a coffee machine and you know some green tea bags that you can drop it off water, but they’ve been actually, as I understand it I could be wrong They’ve been very successful and they’ve been growing.

And I wonder if some of this isn’t who we work has targeted in terms of ideal customer profile. You know like there’s a lot of different demographically speaking. There’s a lot of different types of people that need, you know, co working space and I wonder if part of this story doesn’t point to the fact that we work just kind of had like the wrong idea of who the ideal customer profile was and maybe they’ve reeled in a more kind of fickle profile. You know, because here’s the thing, right, you, I agree with you that a 72% occupancy rate doesn’t sound bad. But what if we work is looking at their data and of that 72%, only 50% of them are showing up more than one day a week, and so they’re sitting back asking themselves okay, 50% of our you know, of our customers are at risk of canceling because we’re only seeing them once a week anyway. So that 72% number could be like a, you know, like a false positive, but like a better way to put it.

1:04:11 – Fred Cadena
So yeah, no, totally, and I think you’re. I think you had definitely on one of the factors there about who they were targeting. I think and again I’m speaking completely not as a commercial real estate or co working expert here, but like from what I’ve seen in the co working space that I’m in and other co working spaces that I’ve been in before in Chicago and other places that have been more successful is it is more of a mix and it’s a little bit more of a focus on bringing in larger companies and so, like the co working space that I’m in here, you know they’re they have a national company that had a dedicated office. They shut it down because they realize, going back to our first story with work from home patterns, they had people that wanted it and needed to be in the office every day. They had people that came to the office a few times a week and then there were times they needed to flex up when they brought a client to town or when they brought people together for a big meeting, and so they have, you know, a fair number of dedicated offices here.

Some have like the same person every day, some are floater offices and then they’ve got access to big conference rooms when they need to flex up for those kinds of events, but they don’t have to pay for all that space on the days that they don’t need it. And I think a co working space that is built on like a foundation of some bigger you know enterprises like that, and then some middle layer of, like you know, more like SMB, and then some entrepreneurs like icing on the top, is probably a good mix. I think we work went like hard after the entrepreneur kind of startup space, which is cool and exciting, right, but unicorns are unicorns for a reason.

1:05:57 – Dane Grove
Totally no.

I think you’re bringing up great points there.

And again, if I go back and I think about venture ox, where we’ve kind of been hanging our hat, for I want to say it’s been four and a half years now.

You know we’ve had that address and we do flex up and down. I love the flexibility, like where there’s been times where we even had like a dedicated office space in there, and then there’s other times, like now, you know, where we just have the mailing after us and then for, you know, for almost nothing I mean for for less money than I probably spend at Starbucks I can go grab a conference room and meet with customers in a great space, you know. And so I don’t know, but I do think that, back to the point I was making, I think the adventure acts has done a good job. Again, I don’t know for sure what things look like on the books, but I feel like a lot of their customers are actually small businesses that have like 10 or 15 or 20 employees versus another. You know someone else with a great idea and there’s one person or maybe two you know. So, yeah, ideal customer profile mistake perhaps totally, totally contributed.

1:07:13 – Fred Cadena
Interesting kind of switching to like customer profiles. On a consumer front, I saw this week that credit card debt topped $1 trillion for the first time ever this US US consumers now owe $1 trillion on their monthly visa statement. So it seems that at least some of the continued strong spending is being done on the back of financing. Dave, what are your thoughts? Reactions?

1:07:40 – Dane Grove
I wish I was collecting all that interest. I think that I remember seeing something called the wealth pyramid. It points to the fact that in order to land on the wealth pyramid, you at least have to be a freelancer and then from there you become an employer and then after that you are attaining mailbox money, like, let’s say, you own a bunch of rental properties or you’ve made some great investments and stocks and you’re collecting mailbox money every month. But anyway, at the top of what’s called the quote unquote wealth pyramid I think that’s that’s what you’d find it under if you Google it lenders, and you know I can’t help but to think of them. But probably the other point I would make is I don’t know that I don’t, as consumers, I don’t know that all of us are thinking about credit cards the right way.

You know like I feel like a lot of us are maybe thinking about credit cards, and I’ve been guilty of this in the past as hey, you know, this is how I can purchase something today that I actually can’t afford to pay for, and that’s a pretty simple kind of benchmark to make decisions with, and whereas maybe a better way to think about a credit card is okay, I can’t afford to pay for this service or buy this product.

But I also see some risk here, and so I want to add into my corner American Express. And then if, for some reason, this business, you know, mistreats me or I feel like I’m in the other end of like a bad deal, then I have the ability to, you know, to leverage a charge back, and I’m not saying that people should do that on a regular basis. I mean, we’ve done it. My wife and I have done that on occasion. It’s been rare, but the point is is that I feel like credit cards can offer a lot of like strategic advantage from a purchasing standpoint, but I don’t think that we should. We should look at them like, hey, I can buy something today that I actually can’t afford, so I don’t know.

1:09:47 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, I hear we’re coming from I first. On the second part of it, I’m 100% with you. There’s a lot more to credit cards than just the ability to to pay for something. Over time I’ve used the charge back. I remember I think some people on the podcast have heard before I’m a bit of a coffee snob.

I have some very nice super automatic coffee machines. I sent one in for like a cleaning and service to a company I hadn’t used before in California and they basically, if they did anything to the machine when it was there, they basically made it worse. And so not only did I have to pay for shipping out, which I didn’t get back, I paid them like $400 to not do anything and I paid on my visa and, like, after some back and forth with them and they gave you the run around, I contacted visa. I said look, here’s, here’s the date of the charge, here’s the communication with the vendor. And you know they’re not honoring what they. You know the service they were going to do. This machine still isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, and that was it like the charge back, and it was. It was very hassle, free whether it’s that I’ve used over the years, trip protection a lot, you know. If I get stranded in the city when a flight gets canceled, I don’t stress out, I don’t wait in the long line to get the voucher that the airline’s going to give me. I just go book a hotel and I know that my credit card company is going to pay it back. So, like there’s a lot of you know great benefits. So people should definitely look at that.

I strive and I know that I’m in a pretty good position to not carry credit card debt. Not everybody can do that, so I’m not as like hard line on paying for things you can’t afford. I think that there’s a lot of people that need to spread purchases out over a period of time, and I think credit cards can be a good way to do that, especially when you can take advantage of lower interest. You know 0% right now I’ve got a couple three. You know 0% charges. You know Apple, home Depot, stuff like that, you know. So I think definitely consumers need to be smart about it.

On a trend basis, though, like I am a little nervous, I get the wealth pyramid and I’m not saying it’s not great to be a lender, but this is not all like sunsigns and rainbows for banks. The cost of money has gone up. There’s a lot of consumers like us that take a lot out of credit card services and you know, other than interchange fees, the banks don’t get a whole lot of revenue interest revenue certainly and so it’s getting more expensive to serve the customers. And there’s a big fight for deposits right, deposits are expensive and there. So I’m more nervous on the, as consumers are facing higher interest from credit cards, higher interest if you’re getting a mortgage, student loan, repayments are likely to pick back up here the next couple months. Like, is there going to be a squeeze? Especially, you know, a lot of consumer credit is tied to rates, so those interest rate you know if you are carrying a balance on that credit card, it’s likely higher than ever. So that’s the part that makes me nervous about the news more than anything else.

1:13:02 – Dane Grove
Yeah, I mean good, good points, and I wouldn’t claim to know that angle the way that you do. I. You’ve spent a career, obviously, in financial services and I think you you’ve got perspective there that I’m just not wrapping my new laurels.

1:13:17 – Fred Cadena
but don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying banks don’t make a lot of money. I’m just saying it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

1:13:23 – Dane Grove
Yeah, yeah, well, and they I don’t know they they probably needed like, especially with, maybe, commercial office space at risk. You know, like they need to collect. You know those, those high interest rates and I mean, but back to using it correctly. I you know one more point, one more benefit, and I know this is stating the obvious, but I’ll share it anyway. You know, we, we’re really fond of American Express, and not only for purchasing protection. You know, we have a very strong partner in there that we can lean on. And but the other thing is the points are incredible.

So we pay all of our bills, you know, every single bill, all the way down to grocery. You know, grocery shopping, gas, et cetera. We put everything on American Express every month. We pay it every month, right, so we zero that out and then, as a result, I usually end up with I’m a homeowner, cut my own grass and I clean my own pool and that sort of thing, and so you know, I make trips to Home Depot but I’m probably averaging about $300 a month in Home Depot money and so basically, I’m not paying interest and all of my Home Depot trips are generally paid for, unless I have, like a major repair. So I think there’s a lot of ways to use credit cards to our advantage, and I hope that’s what that one trillion represents, and and I also hope that the lenders are not, you know, in a terrible place. I don’t want to see anything happen. Economically that’s not good. So that’s, that’s my final word on it.

1:15:03 – Fred Cadena
Yeah, no, totally. And and yeah, I mean there’s a lot. I’m one of those guys I play a lot of credit card bingo. I’m not like as prolific as some of the people that have like 12, 13, 15 reward cards, but you know, I’ve got Chase Sapphire reward that I use pretty much for all my travel. You know 3% on travel. I’ve got a I use the Goldman Sachs issued Apple card but you know, 2% cash back in a savings account for any Apple pay. And I have a discoverer that has like one of those rotating quarter over quarter, like this quarter it’s going to be like warehouse clubs and whatever, and next quarter it’s going to be hardware stores. So I do a little bit of that like gaming the system. You know where am I going to get 1% versus 2% versus 3%? But yeah, that stuff can really rack up and and if you’re in a position to to be able to do that, then definitely it’s worth it. The juice is worth the squeeze, Put it that way. Well, great day.

It’s been an awesome episode once again and look forward to chatting again next time. Absolutely, have a great day Fred, you too.

Well, everyone, we hope you enjoyed episode nine of banking on disruption. Don’t forget you can find show notes and a full transcript of the show on our website, bankingondesruptioncom. And if you liked what you heard today, please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review. It really helps. 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 at at bankingondesruption. Until next time, this is Fred Cadena, wishing you success in your digital pursuits.

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