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Jessica Williams AMA Transcript
Does Visa digital growth strategy include the use of crowdsourcing and open innovation as a source of new untapped markets/opportunities?
Yes yes yes – our developer platform was launched for exactly that. Opening up access to all of Visa’s APIs to allow for open innovation. I can’t tell you the amount of amazing work that has been done and the new uses and products that have resulted from this – its so vast. This coupled with the Everywhere Initiative where we are funding start-ups with investment money based on their use of Visa APIs has been an incredible growth strategy for us
How much influence do you have on how banks market a Visa card?
Furthermore, if you have an influence on this, what do you mostly work on with banks? We are partners so we have some influence on their strategy but in the end its their customer so we take a back seat to most D2C marketing unless its related to new technology (contactless in the US for example) and then we do a lot of the marketing for them. We love love love to partner on experiential and sponsorship work. Its where we can shine best together
How do you work with influencers currently and what KPI’s are you looking for from those influencers?
We love an influencer strategy..seriously I think going back to the channel that works best question – I should have said influencers. It’s the only way to guarantee authenticity in the space. We work across so many verticals that we need influencers to help us understand what consumers are interested in and speak to them in their language. KPIs are usually engagement but we we have seen some longer term brand metrics change as a result of our work with influencers which is truly what we are after. We want our influencers to actually understand Visa and be invested in brand. We aren’t looking for a one and done but similar to our athletes we prefer influencers to be a bit like “team Visa” in that they aren’t just doing this for a paycheck but actually see value in our goals as a brand (empower women, empower living life to its fullest, investment in developing communities, support athletes etc etc)
What’s Visa’s focus and strategy on SEO look like?
Content marketing, dynamic page catalogs, AMP, technical markup, or otherwise. Most of our focus in SEO is one of two things – travel and products. We make most of our revenue on cross-border transactions so we want to be sure when you are searching for travel you are getting the exact info you need to make a decision and a purchase. it’s a very competitive space so we partner with a lot of companies in the travel space to ensure we aren’t bidding against each other and we are all aiming to get you to purchase that ticket, book that hotel/airbnb, travel excursion etc. As far as product goes – we dont have dynamic product catalogues but we want to get you to the right place quickly to learn more about contactless or Visa Local offer or send you to an issuer to get more info on a card. We have some advanced .com personalization and dynamic content to ensure you are searching to find what you need
Many consumers continue to be worried about their data and how its used. How is Visa using its first-party data to deliver world-class consumer experiences to its customers vs. “creeping’ out consumers about what brands know about them?
Much of our data is not first party (your first party relationship is with your issuer or merchant) so we rely on our partnerships with issuers, merchants and platform partners to provide amazing experiences and engagements with consumers. Between our large industry-wide data pools and their first party data we can do some amazing things together and it’s never creepy (at least we don’t think) because the offers, experiences, personalization we are giving back are tailored to who they are now and what we know they may like now or in the future.
How do you or Visa think about working with various personal finance companies out there who recommend financial products (credit cards, loan products, and the like)? The PerFi space is getting more and more crowded, so what’s top of your mind when you consider partnering with the right company to promote your products?
We have strict guidelines on who we will work within the cc and loan products space. They have to pass rigorous checks to ensure its not predatory as we dont want to be associated with that. We do a lot of work in the Fintech space as we see really great players coming into this space. Many of the neo banks have advanced products and online interfaces to support financial tracking and transparency in spending. We love working with these companies and hope to be able to partner and invest in more and more as they come up
When it comes to media buying, what kind of KPIs does a mammoth organization such as VISA tracks as conversions?
Depends on what we are buying media for. If it’s one of our D2C products like Visa Checkout then yes its conversions. If its brand or travel its a bit more nuanced. We are optimizing based on qualified clicks, time spent and then KPIs are longer-term things like improved brand perception or brand attributes or travel booked
Has the FIFA sponsorship been worth the hassle?
100% – look we have to have some really hard conversations internally and with FIFA often but there is nothing else in the world that bring nations and people together more than football (soccer). We love this kind of sport because of its raw emotion, its the craziest kind of fans, its bringing countries together, its amazing athlete stories. Men’s and Women’s FIFA is worth it..its simply like no other for business and marketing
If you had to pick one thing to brag about that your company is doing and it’s really cool, what would it be? Feel free to let it shine!
We are the best there is at sponsorships and using those to further our business. Between the Olympics, FIFA, NFL, Fashion Week, Retail, Surfing, AFCON, Women’s Soccer – we do sponsorships and sponsorship marketing I think as good or better than anyone
How are you looking at competitive banking/finance applications and services? Something Visa could expand into more? eg: Robinhood, Affirm, Betterment etc.
Great question! I love this space and am close to it. There are a lot of great companies doing awesome things in the space so we dont need to reinvent but rather partner closer with companies doing POS financing or those helping to organize ones finances with transparency. The one thing we can offer is views across issuers for tracking and provide trends we are seeing across wide datasets – we hope to be able to provide better views of this for our consumers soon
Is Visa doing anything in the blockchain space right now by chance?
The answer is yes. We partnering with IBM on Blockchain based identity systems for cross-border payments. Not much else at this time but we see so many possibilities and have a large team working on this internally
How does Visa use video in their marketing? What you doing now to create it?
We use video in EVERYTHING. Stress everything. It’s what works for us. Our brand is visual so we need video to tell stories with athletes, with travel stories with fashion. Plus with new products the only way to teach people is with video. Creation – it depends. Sometimes we go with our agency AORs but sometimes we use some of the newer platforms to crowdsource creators and open the business up to anyone who can help us create compelling video
What kind of training/continued learning is provided to your marketing team?
We have amazing opportunities available here to take classes at Stanford or online with any school really. We encourage the team to take all the online courses the platforms have to offer, we subsidize classes at General Assembly – really anything to “keep their game tight”
How do you keep your keep your team up-to-speed with digital marketing trends and skills? What kind of training/continued learning is provided to your marketing team? Which skills are most needed/in demand on your team right now?
My team is full if young people so they are naturally curious and voracious for this type of information but we rely on our platform partners to help keep us in the know on things coming up on their platforms and in the market. I also encourage the team to get newsletters in the morning that keep them up to speed on trends and news in AI, AR, Digital Payments, Fintech, Media, Programmatic. We believe in “swiss army knife” type employees
If you could only use one channel to market which would it be?
Oh man – great question. I guess email given the effectiveness but we don’t really have a one-to-one consumer relationships so we don’t actually use email that frequently. For us, Instagram and Youtube are our most effective channels. Plus for things like travel, our partnership relationships with Tripadvisor, for example, are what works best.
How many people do you think really understand what Visa actually does and how important is that for Visa?
This is honestly the question that we strive to solve for every day here. Too many people think of us as a credit card company that has something to with APRs or late payments we aren’t involved in any of that. We are actually an amazing technology company enabling billions of transactions all over the globe through nearly every payment product you can think of. We power not only cards, the Pays, QR payment but also fast disbursement payments for Uber and Lyft, we power P2P through Venmo and Square Cash..the list goes on. Our number 1 goal in brand marketing is to better tell this story and help consumers understand the power of Visa technology and how we enable you live your life better
Do you use chatbots (for example ManyChat) for marketing engagement of users and in which way?
We use chatbots for some of customer service engagements and our teams in Latin America have done an amazing job engaging our users in Facebook with a chatbot for some of our sponsorship work for FIFA but I think we need to be doing far more in this space. There is so much that can be done and I think we are a bit far behind
What made you decide to get into Marketing? And what’s the best piece of advice you can share with us?
I didn’t start in marketing, I started in analytics and then moved to marketing because I thought measurement and analytics was too devoid of actual understanding of marketers and the creative process – so I wanted to be closer to that. My best advice is to understand both sides of marketing – both the creative and the data and measurement side. Marketing organizations (and marketers) are great only when they truly understand the importance and nuances of each
“Does your team make use of consumer surveys for market research? If so, have you seen any cool innovations in this space recently?”
Hey yes! We do use consumer surveys all the time – literally every day. There are definitely some cool new innovations in the space. If you have seen Ask Suzy or CiviScience – they are both doing great work in consumer research. Nearly real-time consumer insights about trends, brands, millennial likes and dislikes – it’s almost like real-time focus groups
“Do you predict any major issues with consumer education and subsequent backlash due to privacy issues in relations to credit card companies selling purchase data to 3rd parties? If yes, are you preparing for this”
We don’t actually sell any our data to 3rd parties so we aren’t worried about this issue. Visa is extremely strict on data selling and it’s something we pride ourselves on
“Do you all plan to follow suit with the MasterCard changes RE: online purchases/rebills/etc?”
Not really my department but definitely liked the news and think its a great idea to ensure transparency in billing