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From time spent to revenue generated, metrics for finance apps broke records in 2020. It’s a trend that cements the central position of finance apps in consumers’ lives. Naturally, investors are lining up to cash in on this massive opportunity. According to Pitchbook, 2020 saw the second-largest annual total of funding raised by VC-backed fintech companies in the last decade. The figure? whopping $41.7 billion.

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The outcome is a highly competitive market where the effort to turn heightened consumer interest into lasting loyalty requires holistic approaches that combine amazing products and authentic messaging. This is the view of Patrick Stal, VP of Global Marketing at N26, a fast-growing global neobank that counts more than 7 million customers in 25 markets. He’s a strong believer that a stellar customer experience sits at the center of competitive advantage.

“We provide your basic banking solution, and we do it in a way that nobody else does,” Stal explains. “We are really focused on the customer and trying to provide an experience that’s good for people, not necessarily good for the bank itself.”

In this episode of CleverTap Engage — our podcast and video interview series where we shine a light on marketing leaders achieving meaningful and memorable customer engagement — co-hosts Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier sat down with Stal to discuss why the entire organization, not just marketing, must own and shape the customer experience. Stal also shares how his team harnesses holistic marketing and a deep understanding of what users value to retain customers for the long term.

Don’t Just Shout … Engage 

How do marketers make the communication of the experience just as magical and memorable as the experience itself? Stal says the process is two-pronged. First, you want the brand to sound like its authentic self. “If you were speaking to me as an individual, you’d want me to speak like Patrick and not like anybody else, right?” The same goes for a brand.

Secondly, a brand needs to know what it’s talking about and find a way to hook the audience. “For us, what’s extremely important is finding a use case to communicate something that appeals to people, raises their eyebrows, or gets them to almost be surprised,” says Stal. “Attention-grabbing by just shouting out loud is easy, but attention-grabbing by generating real interest and engagement is a lot harder.”

To Understand Your Customer, Be Your Customer

For a brand’s voice to be consistent, Stal believes that each member of the marketing department must understand that “customer experience is a completely shared accountability.” To truly dig into the pain points, he urges “everybody in the business to be using the product as a customer.”

This sets the stage for a marketing department to run like a well-oiled, cross-functional machine. “I see my role as bringing those functions across the spectrum together and letting them speak one language, which is the language of our customers,” says Stal.

Loyalty is Earned 

In the world of fintech, customers are trusting brands with one of the most, if not the most, important commodities in life: their money. But all brands are bound to make mistakes. According to Stal, those that keep their promises are more easily forgiven when a slip-up occurs.

“We know that strong brands attract customers and that there’s a cycle of loyalty that exists. When brands deliver on their promises, loyalty increases,” says Stal. “When those brands have problems, customers are much more likely to forgive them or at least give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them the time to explain.”

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