Finance Fintech Interviews

Global Fintech Interview with Sisca Margaretta, CMO, EMEA and Asia Pacific at Experian

Global Fintech Interview with Sisca Margaretta, CMO, EMEA and Asia Pacific at Experian

Hi Sisca, welcome to Fintech Interview Series. You come from a very enriching background in marketing and financial customer service industry. Please tell us a little bit about your journey and what inspired you start at Experian?

I joined Experian as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Asia Pacific (APAC) in November 2016, and my portfolio has recently expanded to cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Currently, I oversee Marketing, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Client Insights strategies and implementation across EMEA & APAC.

I started my career in brand consultancy before moving into marketing within the banking sector. Joining Experian has been an interesting career shift for me, as it has allowed me to view things from a service provider perspective, supporting many of our clients from the financial services industry. This includes gaining a deep understanding of the cutting-edge technology that powers the financial services industry from the back-end.

How has Experian evolved in the last 2-3 years and what is the driving force that makes your company so competitive?

Experian has always been an innovation-led organisation and the pandemic has highlighted even more how our innovation bias puts us in a strong position to help our customers and community. The pandemic has catalysed digitalisation for businesses, compressing what would have been done in several years in a shorter amount of time. From the start of the pandemic, we were agile in adapting to our clients’ changing needs, repositioning our products and solutions to support them. For example, we helped banks and financial services providers to manage the surge in customer demand by providing support in originations, customer acquisition, customer management and collections. We are also supporting businesses in addressing and mitigating fraud risk brought about by the increased use of digital services during the pandemic. Additionally, we helped consumers to monitor and protect their financial health by offering complimentary resources.

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Big data, AI and Automation capabilities have completely changed the way CMOs use marketing analytics. Could you please tell us a little bit about your experience in working with these technologies at Experian?

At Experian, our customer journey is fully digitalised and automated – from lead routing, to lead nurturing, and lead scoring. We are a data-driven marketing function, and we analyse our data to ensure we deliver impactful marketing initiatives for the business. We ensure a seamless back-end integration, where our Martech platforms are fully connected –and integrated with the business’ sales CRM so that we can capture the data across Marketing and Sales touch-points. This helps us measure the business impact that Marketing delivers through our activities.

How is the role of a CMO in a Fintech space different from those in other industries – such as retail e-commerce or software development?

One distinctive difference for a CMO in the information services space compared to other industries is that we operate in a highly regulated environment. Data privacy and protection is of utmost importance. We need to ensure customers understand that and get to have a say in how their data is shared and used. We have a responsibility as credit information providers to help people access products that are better, faster, and more affordable. By providing lenders with more comprehensive credit information, we can help people access the finance they need to buy the home or car they need for their family.

New data sources and improved data analytics can help lenders serve people that have previously been unable to access mainstream finance. Helping our clients to lend responsibly can have a positive and lasting impact on society.

Why do you think CMOs must invest more into tools that enable their teams to shift focus from ‘reactive monitoring’ to ‘prescriptive intelligence’?

With the rise in digitisation catalysed by the pandemic, it’s important for businesses to create a smooth customer journey to maximise engagement. The goal for businesses should be focusing on removing inefficiencies from digital onboarding and other key touchpoints in the customer journey. Customers’ needs and demands are constantly changing, and businesses need to adopt a proactive approach to keep up with that. As such, it is essential for CMOs to invest in tools and technology that allows them to anticipate future needs, while also taking a step further by providing relevant recommendations. This helps drive better engagement with customers, providing them with a more personalised experience.

How advanced technology such as biometrics can play a key role in safeguarding consumers online?

With fraudsters and identity thieves getting more sophisticated in their practices, passwords alone may not be enough to keep our personal information completely secure. Biometrics is a more sophisticated way of verifying identity that relies on physical and behavioural traits, which are not as easily hackable as passwords. This adds an additional layer of security beyond two-factor authorisation – which uses a password and secondary confirmation. This technology is already built into most smart devices like smartphones and laptops and is seamlessly integrated in our daily lives today. For instance, consumers can easily and safely verify their identity with a simple scan of their fingerprint or iris when making payments in stores or online.

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Tell us more about a consumers’ perception of AI and how it can be an important tool to reduce fraud risk while improving digital experience? How do you measure these at Experian?

Experian’s latest Global Identity & Fraud Report shows there is an increased dependency on advanced technology such as AI – two thirds (67%) of APAC consumers have interacted with AI powered chatbots or virtual assistants in the past six months. Overall, APAC consumers are becoming more comfortable with businesses leveraging AI much more and somewhat likely to trust AI more than humans.

AI is increasingly becoming a powerful tool across the board to stop fraudsters without stopping actual customers. It effectively trawls through large data sets to identify potential fraud cases. By combining the three elements – data, analytics, and software – businesses can significantly improve the process of fraud detection and create better outcomes at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Could you please provide us with the most contemporary definition for ‘financial inclusivity’? How do you utilize your brand power to create awareness about financial inclusivity?

At Experian, we believe that data has the potential to transform lives. We use innovative technologies and data to help people and organisations across the world make a difference, by driving financial inclusion and improving financial health. Our corporate responsibility programme is designed to help vulnerable communities improve the quality of their lives. Experian strives to ensure every individual has equal access to financial identities and essential financial services around the world.

We see so much happening in the marketing and advertising space with new data privacy laws and upcoming cookie policy changes. How is Experian gearing up to meet the new-world challenges in data privacy?

Data security is critical and securing and protecting data against unauthorised access, use, disclosure, and loss remains a top priority in tandem with changes in data privacy laws and regulation. At Experian, our Data Principles embody our values and provide a guidepost for how we manage and use data, build products, and conduct our business. Our responsibility is to ensure the security of the information in our care and to maintain the privacy of consumers through appropriate, responsible data use.

How do you see Big Data intelligence and AI playing a bigger role in Marketing Analytics for financial services in the near future?

Big Data intelligence and AI have led to a new wave of opportunities for organisations looking to refine their customer engagement strategies. These technologies are playing a key role in the decision-making process for many marketers, especially in the financial services industry which offers a wide range of offerings from basic banking to financing. Tapping on these advanced technologies and insights allows marketers to better understand and address their customers’ individual needs, thus delivering improved personalised marketing strategies. Additionally, it speeds up the process, as AI can analyse large amounts of data and provide actionable insights in a fraction of the time. Marketers can then make faster decisions that help improve business operations.

Your take on the future of Martech platforms and how big the industry will become by 2025 for financial services and credit reporting companies:

Being customer centric is essential for any financial services business that wants to stay competitive and relevant. The way marketers engage with customers can make or break business outcomes, especially with customers being increasingly demanding with the experience they are receiving. By making sure we have seamlessly integrated Martech platforms, we can capture data and analyse the insights throughout the customer journey, including multiple touchpoints so that we can get a more accurate picture of the customer and be on the front foot with anticipating their needs. Martech platforms will play a key role in creating the best experience for the customer by meeting their needs and exceeding expectations, as well as adding real value to their lives.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Simon Hill, CEO and Founder at Wazoku

An advice to every CEO or CMO that are yet to invest in a reliable AI or prescriptive analytics tool?

Data tells a story, and having a reliable AI system or prescriptive analytics tool enables you to harness the full power of data to understand what’s going on much better. This is the first crucial step of any business decision which helps shape better strategies and drive revenue.

Thank you, Sisca! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

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Sisca joined Experian Asia Pacific as the Chief Marketing Officer in January 2017. She is responsible for all Marketing, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Client Insights strategies and implementation across all Experian business units in Asia Pacific. 

Sisca brings with her more than 15 years of experience in marketing and branding across global markets. Before joining Experian, Sisca built her career in the banking sector, managing global and regional marketing roles. She was at Standard Chartered Bank where as the Global Head of Client Marketing and Campaigns she managed the creation and roll-out of their refreshed global “Here for Good” Brand campaign and strategic marketing activities, people and budget across 70 countries for their Global Wholesale Banking which was a $18B business at the time.

Prior to that, Sisca held a number of senior roles at Australia New Zealand Bank (ANZ), including as the Head of Institutional Marketing and Sponsorships for ANZ’s Asia Pacific, Europe and America region across 15 countries at the time, where she built the Brand and Marketing function and led the launch of ANZ’s global Brand campaign in Asia Pacific.  

 Her journey into the world of strategic brand and marketing began with global branding consultancy Interbrand, at their Melbourne and Singapore offices. During her time with the consultancy as Brand Valuation and Strategy Consultant, Sisca worked on brand valuations

Experian Logo

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 20,000 people operating across 44 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

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