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Season 2, Episode 4

Creating a Seamless Digital Path for Customer Engagement

With Graeme Watkins, CEO of Valutrades

On this episode of the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, Jen and Valutrades’ CEO, Graeme Watkins, discuss the power of inbound in the FinTech space. 

As a company that provides online trading in foreign exchange, commodities, and index CFDs, Valutrades is always looking for new ways to enhance the customer experience and build a brand that users trust. 

In the early days, as Graeme explains, the company was hyper-focused on the dollar-for-dollar value of both its paid media and inbound marketing strategies. But over time, that outlook evolved, as did market trends. Now, CEOs like Graeme understand the power of a handcrafted inbound marketing strategy to create a seamless digital path for users and build a brand that customers can trust, no matter which stage of the buyer journey they find themselves in. 

Listen in as Graeme and Jen discuss:

  • The power of inbound strategy in the FinTech space (02:59)
  • Enhancing the customer experience (07:38)
  • Partnering with marketing agencies for success (14:03)
  • Dollar in, dollar out marketing metrics (18:42)
  • Building a trustworthy brand (25:02)
  • Tracking engagement with HubSpot analytics (30:27)
  • Creating a seamless digital path for your users (40:11

Resources

Jen Spencer (00:02):
Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Intelligent Inbound podcast brought to you by SmartBug Media. I'm your host, Jen Spencer. And today I'm speaking with Graeme Watkins, CEO of Valutrades. So combining traditional finance with modern technological thinking, Valutrades is a leading fintech firm that provides online trading in foreign exchange, in commodities, and in index CFDs. Welcome, Graeme. I'm so happy to be talking with you today.


Graeme Watkins (00:34):
Cheers, Jen. Thanks for the intro. It's really my pleasure to be here and really excited for the
conversation today.


Jen Spencer (00:42):
Wonderful. Well, I want to learn a lot more and have our audience learn a lot more about what you do. I just rattled off foreign exchange commodities, index CFDs. If you're not in that space, that might be a bunch of gobbledygook, right? Just random words I just shared. Can you maybe for someone who's not familiar with your business, give us a little bit of a longer explanation of what it is that you do, how you're helping people?


Graeme Watkins (01:17):
Yeah, sure. So basically, our business is set up to give individuals, people with a small amount of savings, disposable capital access to invest and speculate on the financial markets. So everything we do is similar to a stock broker or a bank, but it's both on a micro scale to give everyone access to it and also based off a fintech kind of platform of everything has to be seamless sign-up, mobile app-driven, easy to use.


Jen Spencer (01:59):
Wonderful. So if I'm investor, kind of curious, I'm kind of a novice, and it sounds like then Valutrades
might be a good place maybe to start and kind of tinker and learn a little bit more.


Graeme Watkins (02:14):
Yeah, certainly the mix of clients we deal with is everything from someone dipping their first toe in trying to get some exposure, through to someone who does it as a hobby, as a side job, right through to some of our larger clients will make it a profession and do it basically 24/7 and make a career from it.


Jen Spencer (02:40):
Well, there you go. Well, pretty broad slice of the population, the market, which is really cool. So we're on, this is the Intelligent Inbound podcast. SmartBug's an intelligent inbound agency. What does inbound mean in your organization?


Graeme Watkins (02:59):
So, I mean, inbound kind of was our salvation in that as we were getting the business going, we came from a financial background. We came from technology backgrounds. We knew the product we had. We knew we wanted to sell it, but going out and selling, it was really, really hard. It's a very crowded space, lots of competitors in there. If you do some kind of analysis on marketing spend on things like Google AdWords, Facebook marketing, you'll see that the words in the target audience we were trying to go after were very expensive, very highly in demand. And so it's a smaller startup organization. We were really struggling to find access to that, to get website space on paid websites.

(03:55):
And so we actually, we happened upon HubSpot. We happened upon SmartBug. And we started to learn this term inbound, which has grown and grown. And over the last five, six years, it's become essentially our driving force. Everything we've done since has been inbound- driven, inbound first. We found a way of actually talking about what we're doing, talking about our product, and having people come to us because we had a good product or because we connected with what they were saying, as opposed to just having the loudest banner or the biggest ad budget. So it's really become that savior or that driving force within our business that allowed us to get to where we are now.


Jen Spencer (04:51):
That's great to hear. So it sounds like that really changed that go-to-market strategy that you had. Has it evolved further? If you think about when you first got started with inbound between now and today, has that evolved the way that you're using inbound or the way that you're focused on this digital landscape?


Graeme Watkins (05:15):
I think it's definitely optimized, and there's a lot more refinement on how we look at it. On day one of getting used to inbound, we were maybe a bit naive and it was very much like, "Okay, let's write a blog. It's cheap. It's easy to do." "Oh, let's go post some pictures on our Twitter account." And yes, that was good. And yes, that got us some traction. But that doesn't necessarily make for an inbound campaign or a successful marketing campaign. Whereas, now, I think we've learned to be a lot smarter with it. So we're still going to write a blog, but we're going to make sure that that blog is really relevant to our product or something we want to connect to our customers. We're going to make sure that when we're posting on Twitter, it's not just a random picture of the team eating their lunch or out for a drink. It might be the team using the product or at a conference having a drink talking about the product.


(06:19):
So I think we've been able to refine what we see as inbound and what we do with inbound to be a lot more focused and campaign-based the same way traditional marketing would be. We now know that it's not just about writing a blog. It's about still having a campaign, still having an objective, still looking at how things flow through the funnel, but leading that off with an inbound message where we're looking to attract people that genuinely are interested in connecting with us.


Jen Spencer (06:56):
I'm curious, how much energy, if at all, from an inbound perspective, do you place in nurturing your existing customers? So yes, using inbound to attract people to you to break through the noise, find that right fit persona who is really the best potential user of your product. Is there a journey that someone can go on, that they can kind of grow with your organization? How do you apply the inbound approach to that customer journey that they're having with you?


Graeme Watkins (07:38):
Yeah. So I mean, that's very, very important. And again, maybe that's some credit to the SmartBug team that we work with day to day. That again, when we started, we were very much thinking this was a top- of-funnel attraction, lead-generation thing. And now we do a lot more further down the funnel, all the way through to the fact that if people want to speculate on the financial markets, it's not a one-off transaction. They're going to keep speculating. They're going to have a different opinion next month and want to come try that out.


(08:17):
So actually, for us, if we've already onboarded a customer, it's a lot more efficient and profitable to have that same customer do another transaction as it is to bring someone down the funnel. So if you've put your budget and your infrastructure in building this inbound funnel and having all these levers to pull to get someone in, it makes perfect sense to shift that across and make sure that it keeps them in and it retains them.
(08:48):
So a lot of our inbound content will be around further education, new ways of practicing strategies, things that people won't necessarily have a one-off, how do I sign up? Once I'm signed up, that content's kind of redundant. Instead, it would very much be like, "Hey, how do you trade the stock market in uncertain economic conditions?" Then that is not necessarily just relevant for a new customer, it's relevant for any customer when we hit those uncertain economic conditions. So that's a great piece of content that can live in the funnel and can not be recycled, but be relevant, I guess, to our entire customer base. And that will then drive repeat activities by existing customers. That's almost the best return we can get on marketing dollars.


Jen Spencer (09:49):
And that's something we hear over and over again from all different kinds of businesses, all different kinds of industries, of course. You're in a space that experiences a lot of shifts, changes, can be a little tumultuous. How do you go about preparing yourself and your team for these shifts and changes that are happening in your industry?


Graeme Watkins (10:17):
That's a very good question and probably quite relevant to the current market dynamics that are possibly going to bring some changes on if consumer has less money to spend, consumer is less buoyant about the economy. So it's really tough one. I don't think there's a playbook exactly of how you prepare. No one writes that rule book to say, "Hey, when things go bad, try this."


(10:45):
So we try and have our internal teams even similar to our content. Everyone's got to be learning. Everyone's got to be relevant. And as long as we do that, then hopefully it's not too much of an adjustment to shift when the times change. And so that can be, okay, the content we're putting out there needs to be relevant for the current market situation, or the products we're building needs to be relevant to whatever the current financial trends are. And I think the way you do that is more within your people and your culture, have them open, have them ready to learn. And then when the adjustment's required, you can do it. I don't think there's a playbook. I don't think there's technology that can prepare you for those things.


Jen Spencer (11:41):
I imagine, given your space, anyone who's going to be a successful professional, they probably are going to be that kind of lifelong learner, where they need to have their finger on the pulse of what's happening on a daily, maybe even hourly basis. Have you learned anything about your hiring profile, who makes sense in your organization or even thinking about marketing teams? And the reason I'm asking this is because sometimes when I talk to other executives, people can be divided on whether your marketing team really needs to have that domain expertise, or is it more important that they have the marketing expertise, the marketing knowledge. I guess I'm just curious about the balance that you've found of being marketing savvy, but also market savvy. And how do you manage that and balance it when, again, you're in an industry that's in a constant state of change?


Graeme Watkins (12:46):
So, I mean, I'd say we're pretty extreme that we think you've got to be marketing savvy versus financial market savvy. So anything related to financial markets, what we do as a company, we back ourselves that we can train anyone. We've got the knowledge. We've got the expertise. If someone can come in, we can teach them how our product works, how they should sell it, et cetera.


(13:15):
But what we're probably not good at at all is sales, marketing, branding, all these other things that... To be honest, I think financial markets sometimes do really badly. When was the bank the best advertising campaign you saw? It generally doesn't happen. So for us, it's a massive lean towards finding people with marketing expertise. If we can get someone out of anything from fashion, design, things that are quirky and different, that we know they're going to bring something to our organization that's very different. So we will typically hire from outside the industry to get more knowledge.


(14:03):
And we've also actually found that we tend to have a smaller core of really strong individuals supporting our business and quite heavy on the agency or technology partners. Again, just if there's someone that's got more expertise than us, that's not our core business. That's not where we want to compete. Let's just go and get those expertise. And then we can just focus that our specific competition is purely on our product and our industry that we're good at. And then, hopefully, we can get maybe a good marketing person in to give us some ideas and they can connect with an agency or a design company to get the content out there.


Jen Spencer (14:53):
I think it's a really good, it strikes a really good balance and not dissimilar from my... I'm former marketing and sales executive at software companies, and your kind of approach is very similar to the approach that I've taken. So I appreciate that. I think we have that in common.


(15:17):
We talked a little bit about changes in the market, the way you've evolved, things that you've done, things you've been able to take advantage of, cutting through the noise especially when you're going up against much larger companies. I'm just wondering, just thinking about the last two, four or five even years, is there anything that's happened in the market that's been most influential? Maybe it's positive, maybe it's negative, but something that maybe opened your eyes or served as a catalyst or a pivot, turning point for the organization?


Graeme Watkins (15:58):
So there's definitely been lots of things over the last five years that have sort of changed how we've gone about things. One that I would say was really interesting and definitely relevant to inbound and marketing was we saw, I guess it started in the global financial crisis of 2008, but a lot of the rules that came out based on that came a lot later. So over the last five years, what we've seen is a big trend with Google, with Facebook, some of the big social platforms, marketing platforms to restrict the ability of
financial service companies to advertise.


(16:43):
So in the past, we used to just have our content, our banner, whatever it was we wanted to advertise. We would go on the platform and it was about pick your target audience, pay your budget, et cetera. And suddenly, we started to see, "You can't do this unless your ad is approved." "Please wait X number of days and weeks till you get this approved." "Oh, you mentioned cryptocurrency on this advert, and we're not supporting adverts in cryptocurrency."


(17:16):
So we saw this massive shift that the defacto if you don't know what to do, go buy some Google AdWords strategy that you could put in the bank and go, "Any idiot can do this and it can't be that bad," was suddenly being removed from us. And it wasn't just Google. Similar was happening on Facebook, et cetera. So we were suddenly doing a lot less adverts. It was taking a lot more time and effort to get them through, often with really compromised messages because we were having to put too much risk warning or remove some of the product detail in order to get it approved.


(17:59):
So that was a really big shift change in that we had to adjust. And inbound has been a great answer to that. Not only does it sometimes avoid having those approvals, but it also, it seems much more acceptable to platforms if it's kind of content-driven. If you're putting content on the platform, there's generally a lot less filters on that than if you're trying to put paid adverts on the platform. So that was a massive shift to us. And then...


Jen Spencer (18:42):
And I'm sure that was, oh, sorry. I was just going to say Graeme, I'm sure it's frustrating and disappointing, right? Because you look at paid media and go, "Okay, for every dollar I spend, I know I'm going to get X out of it." And so it could throw you for a curveball. But it sounds like it also, it was a negative, but it also kind of gave you more freedom, flexibility as well. I just wanted to kind of interject that because paid media can plateau and you can't build off of that organic growth.


Graeme Watkins (19:22):
Yeah. It definitely can plateau, or in our case it can go down as well. But I think what's really interesting is what you mentioned about the kind of dollar in, dollar out metric. For a kind of non-marketing company like us, that's a great marketing metric because it's really simple. We can follow it. We can just go, "Yeah, that's fine."


(19:46):
That was a luxury we lost as well. Obviously, with inbound, it certainly on day one you do not get to say it cost me $100 to find a content writer to write a blog. It cost me $5 to put it on the website, and now I've got $200 in new business coming in. It definitely doesn't work like that. We had quite a big pipeline to start with. We needed a critical mass of content. So maybe we were putting out more content, less interested in who was following it on day one. Now, we've kind of gotten a bit of a schedule with this. So it now does run a bit more routinely.


(20:29):
And we probably spent at least the first two years of our inbound-centric strategy not necessarily knowing if the results were coming or if the results were related to inbound.But now we're five years down that track. I think we've had at least 20% growth year on year for all those five years.


Jen Spencer (20:56): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (20:56):
You can now look at a funnel or a chart and see there's a really clear trend. And we've got the luxury of knowing because we haven't done much else this has to be a driving factor. But it's certainly a harder thing for the executive that gets a report twice a month to kind of know how that inbound is working is a lot harder than paid media, even traditional banner ads kind of metrics of tracking your business.


Jen Spencer (21:29):
Right. I want to talk about those analytics, but before I do, I interrupted you and I didn't know if there was anything else that you wanted to share about changes in the market that's influenced the company.


Graeme Watkins (21:39):
I mean, I was only going to talk about the recent feeling of storm clouds coming. Obviously, we had COVID which, I mean, we were very lucky as an online business that everyone was set up to work from home, much as yourselves. I think we swerved most of COVID and managed to keep our business going and growing.


(22:04):
But in the last six months, starting with the war in Ukraine, going on to interest rate rises now, there's certainly a lot more talk about things not being so good. So I think that we're going to face some more changes coming soon. And certainly we see particularly in fintech there's a load of business that can raise a load of money, buy a lot of clients. That's great in a time where you can raise cheap money and you're all about growth. It's going to be a lot harder going forward when you have to pay interest on those loans, people want to see profitability.


(22:47):
So I think that's going to be the next really big change that we're looking at now and just making sure that we've got proper profitability in the business, buffers for slower market times. And even from a marketing perspective, more focused on strategies that say, "We're a solid company and we're a company you want to come work for," as opposed to like, "Oh, here's a shiny new product. Let's rush on this today," because I think that's going to become less sustainable as consumers have less money to spend. They're going to put it in their more valuable kind of relationships. I think that's where we want to focus on trying to have and maintain those relationships.


Jen Spencer (23:38):
I think if there's a theme to this season of the Intelligent Inbound podcast, something that's coming up in every single interview, it's the importance of trust and trust building in an organization and within your ecosystem and how brands that can have that trust between themselves and their customers are in a better position to succeed and really thrive.


(24:08):
So how do you balance putting marketing energy and sales energy toward attracting new customers, doing kind of demand generation, lead generation with maybe some brand? And I'm asking, I have a very strong opinion on this. I'm keeping it back. I don't want to lead you. But in the past, there's been this sort of battle almost for dollars between brand-related dollars for marketing versus demand gen. And some companies, some organizations skew very much one way or the other. I'm just curious on your approach given how important you know that having that brand trust and that authenticity between buyer and business is in a tumultuous market.


Graeme Watkins (25:02):
Yeah. So I would say we've been more on the lead-gen side, but we're now swaying towards the brand side. So there's a definite already sort of shift change going on. I think you hit the nail on the head with the mention of trust and there's this very strong kind of buyer persona looking for that trustworthy brand, that trusting connection where they can find that. And so, obviously, building on that brand is addressing that need. But I think it's also preparing for those harder financial times where people have got to make harder choices about where they spend.


Jen Spencer (25:48): Right.


Graeme Watkins (25:49):
And so it's going to do both of those if you're trusted. You should get those dollars before someone else does. So we're probably a little bit behind. That's kind of a newer concept for us. We've not always had that outlook. But it's certainly somewhere we're now moving towards.


Jen Spencer (26:06):
And I don't want to take us off down this rabbit hole or into this rabbit hole too far. But I do see them as being very, very aligned. And I think the way that we go about generating demand for our businesses, the way we go about with top-of-funnel lead generation is going to be more and more intertwined with brand and providing value.


(26:33):
And I think businesses like yourselves that invest in content marketing, invest in education, where you can go to your website and it's here are tools, here are resources, here let me educate you, that serves as a magnet for leads to come in, but also it's a pay it forward type of mentality if you're like, "Let me make deposits in your education as a buyer. Even if you decide you don't want to work with me, you're going to go work with someone else, I'm at least giving you information." And I think that's going to mean more and more to people in trying economic times. That's just from my perspective.


Graeme Watkins (27:16):
And I think it's even going to go a step further, that you're now seeing companies almost establishing community.


Jen Spencer (27:20): Right.


Graeme Watkins (27:21):
So before it would be like, "Okay, we're going to have an education page, and if you want education, you can come here and read this page or watch this webinar recording." Now, we're even seeing some companies and we're looking at ways we can do this of going one step further and be like, "Oh, okay, you want education? Why don't you join this class and keep coming back?"


Jen Spencer (27:48): Right.


Graeme Watkins (27:48):
Or "Why don't you join this forum where you can come and type when you have a question or leave your little voice message and we'll get back to you." And having multi-customer engagements, whether it's the same customer coming back into of a conversation or even having multiple customers coming and having a conversation together, I think is the next step of that.


(28:16):
And obviously, social media platforms create community as their business. But then even that's become somewhat toxic now because their kind of purpose is just the community. Whereas, I think what an interesting hybrid is now is, well, what if a business that has really valuable services or really good messages or education borrows from that social platform and says I'm going to build my own community, and you can have your user and you can come back here and you can share with your friends and interact with my other customers in a kind of controlled environment where, look, we're not going to have kitten pitches or anything like that. But if you want financial advice, join the Valutrades community and engage with our other clients there who've got loads of good ideas.


(29:08):
And I think the brands that are able to do that will have even more pull to this is a trusted place I can keep going back to. And like you say, that won't necessarily drive business or sales on day one, but it'll create trust, it'll keep a really strong engagement, and over the long term, you'll be the first port of call when someone reaches that moment of buying.


Jen Spencer (29:34):
Right. Definitely a lot of patience, right? And you need to have patience for, we're talking about inbound tactics, community-building tactics. But as an executive, as a CEO of this company, you're likely, you're looking, go back to our conversation about analytics, you need to look at something that says, "Okay, are we heading in the right direction? What are some of the forward-looking indicators of our success?" So if you only had one dashboard that you were able to look at every morning as a, okay, this is how healthy your revenue, kind of revenue organization is, what's on that? What's on that dashboard for you? What do you need to look at to make sure, okay, without getting in the weeds, you know things are heading in the right direction?


Graeme Watkins (30:27):
So literally, I have a HubSpot analytics dashboard set with a daily email export, hits my inbox every morning. There's just a top-to- bottom funnel. So we're looking at a very top-line website, social media engagement through to lead gen under that, customer gen under that, transactions under that. And the real kind of key thing that we look at is just that there's a nice balanced growth. We know that we can't necessarily achieve everything every day, but we're looking for that whole funnel. We've in the past had issues where you do a big lead gen campaign. You get loads of leads. They go nowhere. What was the
real point of that, right?

(31:20):
Whereas, this is, this is it. It's key to have the different layers. And we've tried to not focus on a specific kind of revenue metric at the end or a specific activity at the top, but look at the grade between them all and see where's the deficiency. And then we can have an easier battle to just look at that deficiency. Maybe we need to adjust our content to be more lead-grabbing or more nurturing, or we need to adjust price points if we're really struggling at the bottom of the funnel.


(31:59):
So that whole funnel visibility is the thing for me. I don't want to, like you say, go into the weeds of why are particular thing's going, but I don't just want to be the revenue guy and have a marketing team doing the top of funnel and there being no connection between the two. I definitely want to know what's going in in that funnel and being able to have good, critical conversations about wherever in that funnel it's not performing.


Jen Spencer (32:28):
One of the things that we started doing with just with our own business is having these different levels, it's L1, L2, L3, different levels of dashboards of reports. So depending on what slice, what level you are in the organization, what's most important to you. And then we have the ability to drill down. But there are different team members that are focused on looking at those analytics.


(32:52):
And one of the things that's been a learning for me is what are the metrics that I'm going to share up, that I'm going to share with my board, with my investors that are actually, for me, they're different than the ones that I'm consuming as the CEO of our organization and definitely different from the ones that the VPs within our organization and directors and managers are looking at.


(33:17):
Do you think about that too as you're kind of splicing data? Do you get into marketing data when you're speaking with external stakeholders for your business, or at that point is it predominantly financial and it's not as relevant? I'm just curious.


Graeme Watkins (33:40):
Yeah. It's really funny you asked that because it's a challenge of mine to know what you put to the board presentations.


Jen Spencer (33:49): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (33:49):
We're mostly a financial or a technology board. So it can be a challenge for me just to get the board excited in marketing numbers. And then sometimes when you do, that can also be a dangerous thing because then they're excited, they want to drill down on numbers they don't understand, which is not always the best thing either.


(34:12):
So certainly, the high-level board presentation will tend to be that, I guess what you'd call L1, very simple funnel design. We're not sharing details in there. We also don't want to be an organization where the staff can't feel confident in their jobs and their ability.


Jen Spencer (34:34): Right.


Graeme Watkins (34:34):
So I think it's important that as a board we can look at the high-level data, have a basic expectation of what we expect to see out of that. But if there's something that needs addressing or needs improving, that's mostly the trust of that person or that team to go away and address that.


(34:54):
So to a large extent, yeah, they should have the L2 and L3 dashboard. And if I've got a question, I would expect them to be able to pull that up and talk me through it. But equally, I don't expect to be reading too far down that list and doing their job for them. I want them to have control of that.


(35:14):
And I think we see that in... We don't really have a kind of company-wide dashboard where everyone's glued to the same thing. Maybe that traditional old-school sales of everyone's got a sales chart and nothing matters unless you hit your target on that chart.


Jen Spencer (35:32): Right.


Graeme Watkins (35:32):
I think we're a lot more flexible in that most of our staff will have their own flavor of dashboard, their own thing that aligns to what they're trying to do. And we're trying to connect to them more on, look, what is it you're trying to do? What's your role in the company to achieve? And then how you do that and what dashboards give you the metrics to do that is down to you. Come back to me if something's not working or there's a problem, and then you've got your dashboard to explain that. But you look after your own data for your day-to-day job.


Jen Spencer (36:08):
I mean, and that's cultural, right? That's something that I think it works when you've built that, you've ingrained that in your business, in the culture of your organization. As new people come on board, they see, okay, this is how we operate as an organization. And I think without that kind of cultural organization-wide focus on analytics, that's where things can go off the rails or where a leader might say, "Okay, no, I'm going to dictate what metrics we're looking at," versus allowing people.


Graeme Watkins (36:42):
One of the other things that's really interesting is when you have to be careful because you want good data and you want to be driven by analytics, but I've seen a lot of firms take that too far and suddenly use analytics to justify what they're doing.


Jen Spencer (36:58):
Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (36:58):
So you can always get a dashboard that looks good somewhere. You know?


Jen Spencer (37:02): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (37:03):
If you only pick one metric and you're like, "This is the good one this month." "Oh, great."


Jen Spencer (37:08): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (37:08):
You doubled this this month. Why is there no business coming down?


Jen Spencer (37:11): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (37:12):
So yeah, it's finding a balance as well, trying to have something that's personal to them but meaningful to the business as well.


Jen Spencer (37:22):
Yeah. Well, I want to kind of depart from our analytics conversation and ask you to dream a little bit. So pretend that money's not an issue. Pretend there's this grant or gift of unending funds for a campaign. Where would you want your marketing team to invest those dollars?


Graeme Watkins (37:50):
So somewhere between website and mobile app, and be truly engaging. So I think the times of like, "Yeah, let's do paid marketing campaigns," are behind us. But equally, I still think people find it easy to spend money on that.


(38:17):
What in an organization I find is is really hard to get buy-in or particularly big amounts of money is like, "Hey, our website's fine, but what if it was amazing?" "Or our website does the job and everyone can look at a website on a mobile browser, but what if we had an app that was better and more integrated and sent those messages twice as quickly?" And I find that comparatively that's like when you're budgeting, when budgets are tight, that stuff always gets dropped.


(38:53):
So if you remove that barrier and you said, "Right, we've got that blank check, what project do you want to work on?" I would say it's unified web and mobile engagement platform as best as we could possibly do.

Jen Spencer (39:12):
I love it. I love it. It's integrating the real life, like how are your users interacting with you with. And it's all part of this world, this concept of digital transformation, I think. And just merging the online experience is all together into one and being able to trace the steps of your customer and serve them in the best possible way. Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (39:44):
I think just have that real seamless, real engaging experience, that even though we've been doing inbound for five years, even though we have a great education center, a great resource center, you can still very easily trip over if the customer can't find it or doesn't navigate from that to signing up for his account in an easy way.


(40:11):
So I think that's, like you say, is part of that digital transformation. All those interim steps have got to be cut out. It's got to be really seamless. It's like, "How do I pull my education up on the left and flip to my application on the right?" And, "Oh, I'm stuck. Where's the live chat? Oh, it's right in front of me because I was thinking about it. It's not in the top corner and I couldn't find it."


(40:38):
So we've started some work on that integrating search into the website, making sure that live chat is a living part of the website. That things that would be... In the past, we would have an ebook or a pillar page that might be somewhat separate are now very much part of a resource center and readily browsable as well as being used for their original campaign purpose. I think that that's really important and stuff here we're starting to invest in and I see the future of. And definitely if we had more money, that's where it would go.


Jen Spencer (41:20):
Yeah. Well, everything you're talking about is screaming user experience and I'm like, "I'm going to pat myself on the back right now." Because I have twin boys heading off to college in a matter of weeks, or by the time when this podcast launches they will hopefully be settled in. But one of them, I'm, been encouraging down the path of user experience and product design and thinking about human behaviors because it's an area that I think is going to continue to be more and more important in a competitive digital environment. And it's not easy to find really good UX people. I can say that firsthand running a marketing agency. So I love the way you think.


Graeme Watkins (42:08):
Yeah, we suffer the same. It's really hard to find good people. And yeah, just more and more, if you're not good, you're losing that customer. The experience will be better somewhere else.


Jen Spencer (42:19): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (42:19):
And once you've lost them, they're not coming back.

Jen Spencer (42:22):
Right. Right. Well, Graeme, I have one more question for you before I let you go and enjoy your evening and your weekend. What do you think is most important right now for marketers? We've talked about the economy, we've talked about inbound techniques and content and user experience. If you could leave behind one recommendation for folks listening, what would that be?


Graeme Watkins (42:50):
So I think I'd double down on this seamless concept and basically go that the most important thing for marketers now is to have a seamless inbound, paid if you're doing it through customer experience to product, kind of integrated seamless digital path. If you can nail that, you're doing well. And I think if you can't, the differential between those that can and can't is getting wider and wider.


Jen Spencer (43:24): Yeah.


Graeme Watkins (43:25):
So without it, it's going to be more and more of a struggle to keep your business going.


Jen Spencer (43:31):
There you go. Well, Graeme, thank you so much for joining me today. If anyone listening wants to learn more about how to access some of the tools, some of the resources that you have, if they're interested in becoming a more effective trader, where would you recommend that they start?


Graeme Watkins (43:47):
So, I mean, they can head over to our website. There's a trading education center as part of that. So they can head there. They can see the recorded webinars, recorded articles as a great starting point if they want to learn about what we do or come do business with us, or even just get that education and a bit of a feel for the financial markets.


Jen Spencer (44:13):
Wonderful. Well, thank you all for listening. Please join us next week for another episode of the Intelligent Inbound podcast. You'll meet another high-growth inbound-inspired executive like Graeme. And if you learned something today, please pay it forward by rating and reviewing us on your podcast- listening platform of choice. Make it a great day, everyone.

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