Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with VeraContent’s Carlota Pico and Payal Raina, global marketing maven, on how to capitalize on cloud-based tech solutions:

Carlota Pico 0:13
Hi everyone and welcome back to The Content Mix. I’m Carlota Pico, your host for today’s show, and I’m excited to be here today with Payal Raina, who is Global Head of Marketing at Torstone Technology, which she’ll tell us more about soon. And apart from that she also lectures in marketing, is a thought leader and influencer within the FinTech industry, a mother of two, and she also has nearly two decades of experience in b2b marketing. I mean, your hands must be so full, Payal! Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today on The Content Mix. I really appreciate it.

Payal Raina 0:50
Thanks for having me here. Pleasure is mine.

Carlota Pico 0:53
Thank you again. Okay, well, I’m actually gonna break the ice with a joke. Are you ready for it?

Payal Raina 0:58
Sure. Go for it.

Carlota Pico 0:59
Okay. Why didn’t the marketing couple get married?

Payal Raina 1:03
That’s a tricky one. Maybe they didn’t have customer satisfaction.

Carlota Pico 1:11
That’s actually a really good response. But according to Google, it’s because they weren’t on the same landing page. Okay, Payal, well, let’s talk about business. Tell me about yourself. How did you get into marketing in the first place?

Payal Raina 1:26
Sure. So, when I was growing up as a child, I was fascinated by how consumers were influenced by looking at ad words, you know, seeing billboards, advertising on the TV, in the magazines and books and how that impacted buyer’s behavior, in buying any product or service and that was always something made me curious that a function or a job can have so much influence, that can make people change their mind into doing something or to buying a product or solution. That became one of the biggest motivators for me to start thinking about my career in marketing, so I did my undergrad and then post grad and my MBA in marketing and and hence today here I am as a marketing professional sitting in front of you.

Carlota Pico 2:18

Payal Raina 2:19

Carlota Pico 2:20
Payal, so you have nearly two decades of experience in b2b marketing. Could you walk me down memory lane? What are those nearly two decades look like?

Payal Raina 2:31
Sure. Yeah, it’s been a been a while ago, but I started my marketing journey working for a leading global software company called Microsoft. So that was back in Toronto, Canada, anumber of years ago. So I worked for Microsoft. Thereafter, I worked for General Electric, GE Capital Solutions…moved to UK and I workec for a number of other GE companies, worked for Barclays Bank. And then I was heading marketing for the EMEA and Americas areas for a payment tech company. And in my recent role, I am a Global Head of Marketing for Torsten Technology.

Carlota Pico 3:09
Okay, wow. And now looking back on your experience, I was reading an article the other day that said that qualities are actually more important than skills because skills can be acquired over time, you can be trained in different skills, you can educate yourself in different skills, but qualities—you’re really born with qualities. So looking back on your experience, if you had to hire somebody now for your current role, what qualities would you look for in that person?

Payal Raina 3:37
Sure. So in terms of qualities, I would say the first and foremost important thing is being a people person. And that is a very important quality, especially somebody to be in marketing, given marketing is…I see it as the heart of an organization and we have to collaborate and partner with number of different departments such as products, sales, commercial team customer service teams, technology teams, so having that quality of being a people person, kind of listening to them, understanding their needs, understanding the requirements and bringing those all together back into and translating that into, you know your, marketing strategy and plan that is one of the key and important qualities, I would say.

Carlota Pico 4:27
So, Payal, you obviously bring a lot of qualities to Torstone Technology. And before we get into what Torstone Technology is actually about, I’d love to learn about your every day. What’s your everyday look like?

Payal Raina 4:40
Great question. You know, every day is…. brings new challenges and brings new excitement because being an international marketer and heading marketing from a global standpoint, it is very exciting. So I’m responsible for managing, developing, and executing from anything from brands to communications, work with my team on the PR side, looking at doing exciting digital campaigns. So it’s pretty full on I must say. But the best part of my job is that given I am managing different geographies, so UK, Europe, Nordics, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, New York, it’s really exciting to see that the cultural differences and the regional differences from a marketing standpoint, for all those different regions. At the end of the day, you’re selling, probably the same product which is customized to that customer or that particular region, but how you adapt your marketing, how you adapt your strategy, and how you can become very personalized and localized in your approach, I think that’s that’s one of the challenges and which is a good challenge, I would say to having something that I thoroughly enjoy.

Carlota Pico 5:58
Yeah, Payal, that response actually resonates really well with me because in my former life, I used to advise governments on their PR strategy overseas to help them acquire more investments to their different sectors. And it was much more about helping them to understand their end client and to talk to their end clients in the way that they’re end client wants to be talked to, or talked about, then more about what that country had to say about themselves. So your response definitely resonates with me in terms of how fascinating culture can be and the role that it plays in communication and in marketing. Okay, so now tell me a little bit about Torstone Technology. What is Torstone Technology?

Payal Raina 6:41
Sure, so Torstone, we are a leading cloud based post trade technology company offering SaaS solutions to sale side firms, so looking into investment banks and institutional brokers, and we’re helping them to reduce their total cost of ownership, minimize their risk and help drive their operational efficiency.

Carlota Pico 7:01
Okay, very interesting. Okay, so I’m going to take a very current event, which is COVID-19 and apply it to marketing, of course. COVID-19 has affected consumer behavior and the world has affected consumer behavior because the world is constantly changing. It’s not only COVID-19 that has impacted our marketing strategies—it’s everything that impacts our marketing strategy, right? Because we live in a really fast paced world. Actually, according to Adobe, 40% of financial service organizations said that keeping up with changing customer expectations and behavior is a key challenge. So taking that to Torstone Technology level, because I understand that Torstone Technology is a spin off of a global investment bank, what opportunities and also challenges has that presented to you when it comes to communicating with your customers?

Payal Raina 7:51
Sure, given that Torstone Technology was built for and by a global investment bank, the first and foremost opportunity from a marketing standpoint was that as a company we had a deeper understanding of the requirements of our clients challenges, their pain points, what are they looking for? So that kind of gave us an edge and absolutely, it was key for us from a marketing standpoint because that means we could very well relate to our clients and engage with them. That’s absolutely key, especially from a customer experience perspective. Number two opportunity, I would say, is given the size of a company, we are an SME FinTech company. And what that means is that it gives us agility, we can turn around things really quicker, faster, we are an HR nimble company, and that means unlike larger corporate organizations, which it can take them, you know, gosh, like 12 or 24 months to make a, to do a deployment, or implementation, we have had a quickest one of our implementations—from inception to go-live has been three months. So we have been breaking up boundaries here and creating some new industry standard benchmarks which has been absolutely fantastic. And then the third, I would say, is given as a cloud based post trade technology company, most of the banks and institutional firms are still using legacy platform in a very siloed environment. So we as a company who are much more younger, much more dynamic company, we can offer them that modern new architecture and platform which will help them to reduce their cost, help them to be operationally more efficient, and and help them to be agile when they are actually dealing with their clients. So, that’s kind of you know, more from the opportunities perspectives. Looking at from the challenges side, I would say as a, you know, company of like Torstone, one of the challenges I found when I joined the company a few years ago was that we had really low brand awareness and what that means is that, you know, although we had great product, we had great offering, but when it actually came to people knowing about us—who we were in what we did—you know, not many people knew that and that was very interesting for me to find out when I joined the company and when I was new in this role, I was like, you know, we have been doing some of the fantastic work but not many people knew about this. So the way I would describe it was that we were the best kept hidden secret in the market. So I you know, I took that challenge on board and it was to be honest, a great challenge to have because we had a fantastic story to tell to the market and I consider myself as as a chief storyteller, to connect with the audience and since three years, I must say, business has been growing over 50% year on year. We have been hiring. We have opened a new office line in October in Toronto—now we have got six offices globally—we smashed our sales target last year, we have got a really good and strong pipeline this year we are hiring new people, now in different offices. So things have been going really well for us.

Carlota Pico 11:15
Payal, so you’re in a winning situation because you’re part of a bank that has a long history, that is legacy, and that already has a pretty good grasp on its customers needs and behaviors but at the same time, you’re an SME, so you have the agility and the speed of an SME and you’re able to bring to market products that traditional banks would probably take four times as long to to bring to the market. Is that a correct assessment?

Payal Raina 11:46
No, that’s that’s absolutely spot on. Because I think I would say we have kind of had the best of both worlds so you know, fantastic product. And then as you as you perfectly described there that agility and speed to to get to our clients as quickly as possible.

Carlota Pico 12:01
Okay, excellent. Well, I am going to zoom into customer experience because since you have nearly two decades of experience working with customers, I think it’s a perfect subject to zoom into. Customer experience starts with the world and the problems that people face. And as a CX expert, how does a FinTech company figure out how to get from where they are to where they want to be?

Payal Raina 12:26
That’s a great question and it’s always, you know, it depends on your business model. It depends on your company. It depends where your company is within that customer experience lifecycle. So there isn’t kind of a ‘one size fits all” kind of a magic pill that, you know, I can say. But however, based on my experience, three key things businesses or FinTech companies should be mindful of when thinking of the customer experience. So first and foremost it’s really about, it’s important to have your your CX strategy and plans—it’s always starting with your strategy and plan that’s like, you know, having kind of your, your first base point, look and do an audit in your organization look about what initiatives you’ve already taken in your company to improve that customer experience. And also think about how you define that customer experience, what does it actually mean? You know, people talk about customer experience, and you know, and there are loads of advice out there, but it’s about kind of, first of all, defining what that customer experience means. And it’s not just one department kind of making that decision, but it has to be a collaborative team effort, where it’s like, you know, your customer success team, your marketing team, your sales team, your commercial team, your product team. So you all kind of you’re coming together to help define that customer experience. So, so that would be my first advice, to make sure there is an alignment and agreement on what the customer experience looks like. Make sure that gets fed into your strategy and plan—that’s very important. And even more importantly, make sure you have that customer roadmap. You know, we have our business roadmap, you have got your product roadmap, have you got the CX roadmap for your organization? That’s something important to consider. Number two, the second thing I would say is look at the technology. So once you’ve kind of defined your strategy now it’s more thinking about from the operations, marketing operations perspective, what technologies are you using from a marketing standpoint? Because, you know, like myself, I’m sure other marketers out there, we all are using so many technologies right now, like you’ve got CRM technologies, you’ve got marketing automation, you might have an email, you’re got social media monitoring tools, so they might be like tons of platforms which we are using in order to reach out to our clients and providing them that omni channel experience. But the question is, are those our technologies talking to each other? So that’s going to be quite key to seeing is, you know, kind of where you are from a technology standpoint—are they siloed? Are they disconnected? To be honest, some of the people I’ve spoken to in my network, you would be surprised. Seven out of 10 people say you know what, our CRM system doesn’t talk to our our marketing automation system. And in fact that happened with me recently and very interesting experience where a vendor called me and they said, “Hey, Payal, we know you are going to be giving a talk at an event so we would love to connect with you.” So they dropped me an email. Then they sent me another email to follow up. And after a third email, I was like, you know what, that looks really interesting. Let me pick up a phone and talk to their salesperson. So I had a really good conversation with their sales person and he was like, “That’s great. We’ll send you a proposal, Payal.” And all seemed going fairly well until like literally next day, I received an email from the marketing saying “Sorry, we haven’t heard from you from last couple of weeks. So sorry to see you go. And I’m not sure if you’ve fallen in a ditch or something has happened to you.” And when I read that email, I was like, “Oh my god!”, it’s clearly like their CMS system, and their CRM system, their marketing, automation, they all are not kind of linked together. So it wasn’t a great customer experience. In fact, they lost me as their prospect. So yeah, so that would be my my second tip. And my third tip would be look at your data. You know, that’s quite important when you’re thinking about customer experience—what type of data have you got currently, how clean the data is, the quality of data is important. And then also looking at what insights you can derive off of that data, because it’s great to have all those numbers. But, you know, how can you use that data to improve your client behavior, to improve your client experience? What is that data saying to you? So in summary, I would say: having the right technology, having the data, and importantly, starting the strategy and plan are the three key secret ingredients for ensuring that you are you’re kind of moving ahead in the right direction for seamless CX.

Carlota Pico 17:17
Now, those are fantastic tips, and also great advice. So basically, when I worked at different companies, I’ve had like different personas, right? So like the customer experience is different according to what that customer wants. So you can also apply those different steps to each customer, and really create a persona around your customer, and then an experience that that particular customer will enjoy.

Payal Raina 17:43
Yes, true. Yeah, it has to be personalized, because that’s about as you kind of touched on a good point, it’s a personalization. And that plays a really important role when you’re offering that customer experience. So as much granular, as much detail we can kind of go out at the persona level, the better it is. And again, it depends on your organization, the size of the organization. Of course bigger organizations have got more budget, more resources to do that research but yeah, you’re spot on that persona level personalization is is absolutely relevant.

Carlota Pico 18:19
Okay, Payal, What are a few CX trends in tech companies can bank on?

Payal Raina 18:26
The top three trends, I see is first and foremost is using cloud based technology. Because the point which I mentioned earlier about having that disconnected silos or market, martech, given there are so many technology options out there, cloud is absolutely you know, key in today’s pandemic global environment, especially for businesses to keep their costs low, and making sure they are offering that flexibility reliability to their clients and and they have got a backup from a disaster recovery perspective. So the first tip I would say is cloud based technology. That’s one of the key trends, which I feel a FinTech businesses should be banking upon. The second important one is building emotional connection. Like, end of the day we are dealing with humans and that was kind of one of your questions you asked in the beginning about the you know the the quality I’m looking for in a person for a marketing role. So, it is about building with people, connecting with people, connecting with humans, even though they are buyers, but they are people with emotion. So what I would say is the second trend I see is having those technologies which are helping us to detect human emotions is going to be absolutely the game changer. Now the bigger organizations, not just within the finance and technology, like you know if we kind of look at from in general in industry perspective are they have been investing in the emotional detector tools. And they used to be quite a secret weapon for those companies, for example, Disney, or Kellogg’s or Unilever, for example, these companies have been using these emotional detection tool for adapting their products or even hiring employees, for example, Unilever for hiring employees, they have been using those tools. So that’s something for FinTech companies need to be looking at from an adoption perspective. I don’t see there’s much adoption on a FinTech side for these tools, but that’s something we should be really thinking to bank upon. And then the third is, the third trend is, it’s not a new thing now. It’s been here for a long time, it’s that continue to offer that omni channel experience. Now COVID is is a great example to kind of actually highlight how digital or online platform have taken precedence over the offline channels. So companies who have been investing in the omni channel experience making sure they’re touching a customer from all the multiple marketing touchpoints. Those companies have survived in this pandemic while others who have not adopted omni channel, sorry, those companies who have not adopted the omni channel experience approach in their marketing strategy and plan, are the ones who had to actually just completely change their marketing strategy and plan when this covid happened because they were not prepared for it, given they were focusing on just one or two channels rather than spreading their bets out. So yeah, so those would be my top three trends I would predict for companies to look out for.

Carlota Pico 21:38
Okay, excellent. I actually have here a Gartner study that revealed the 2020 trends and beyond for fin tech companies, emerging technologies basically. So they say that 53% of emerging technologies will be based on artificial intelligence. 39% will be based on virtual customer systems and chat bots. So again, engaging with your customers reaching out to their emotions, trying to tap into those emotions and talking to them on a one to one level. And 37% will be like what you said, omni channel engagement solutions. Okay, so I’m assuming that you’re constantly collecting customer feedback. Once it’s collected, what do you do with that feedback afterwards?

Payal Raina 22:23
Sure, it’s, the customer feedback is absolutely gold for us, because that helps us to drive our business model forward. And that kind of then cascades down into different departments. So what do we do with that customer feedback? We do like you know, there are so many things we do. So first of all, that helps and informs our product roadmap, which is quite important for a tech company like Torstone, for making sure that we are ahead of the curve and we are always innovating and we are looking at what our customers looking for, so we can adapt our solutions as per their requirements. So from a product standpoint, plays a key role. The second thing is, as I mentioned from a business standpoint, it informs our business strategy and plans—what are the things which are really important for our clients? And that helps us to give that strategic focus and bent about, you know, where we should be investing. And that gives us an outside in view, because as a company from inside, we might be thinking, “Oh, we should be thinking about investing in X, Y, and Z areas,” but it’s really handy to have that expertise. And importantly, from a marketing perspective, it is so useful because this helps us to understand you know, what are the areas they want us to improve upon. That’s absolutely the key. It’s about learning, adapting our marketing strategy, adapting our campaigns. If you’re doing any digital marketing campaigns, and we get a feedback on that, you know, this campaign, we noticed that we didn’t have many click rates, for example, and of course, that’s more kind of going down at a tactical level. So we listen, we learn and adapt. Those are the three key things. We make sure we embed that in the in the Torstone business model, so we are a customer centric company.

Carlota Pico 24:12
Okay, and that has proven to work really well for you so far, right, with this impressive number that you’ve been achieving year on year and that you mentioned at the beginning of our interview. So I do want to take a step back now and look at your career on a whole. So could you walk me through some of your proudest marketing moments? What are those projects entail? What do those campaigns brings to the table that made them stand out? What was the purpose? Things like that.

Payal Raina 24:39
Yeah, so one of our you know, I’ve got a number of proudest moments to talk about and purpose of this interview and you know, for the essence of time, I’m just going to pick a top one and that was last year I was being recognized, highly commended, as a leader in marketing at a global women in marketing awards function. So that was…that recognition was very close to my heart and something I feel really proud of. And the reason that recognition came to me was because of my contribution in successfully helping in transforming and repositioning the Torstone Technology company, which it was perceived as a startup FinTech business to a global established leader, within the period of two years time—how the company’s brand image and positioning was all revamped, played a huge contribution in the overall business success. As a result, as a company, we won number of accolades, and we were also being recognized as one of the top 20 FinTech companies in the business, so that’s something I’m really proud of, and yeah!

Carlota Pico 25:53
Wow, congratulations on that. I’m sure your management team must have loved to have been recognized as one of the top 20 leading FinTech companies and yourself as one of the global marketing leaders. Congrats again! Okay, Payal, well, we are coming towards the end of our interview, unfortunately. But before we wrap up, I do want to talk about a group that I saw that you recently created on LinkedIn. I understand that it’s a b2b FinTech marketing community, right? Could you tell me more about that, please?

Payal Raina 26:23
Yeah, absolutely. So, I’ve recently created an online community, which is bringing together specialist marketers from financial and technology sectors together. Because I was surprised that there are lots of FinTech communities out there—there are lots of technology, banking communities out there for marketers, however, there wasn’t any community that was bringing both camps of marketers together. And given we have so much to learn from each other, we have so much to kind of share—insights— and network, I thought, you know, if you want to be the change you want to see in the world and you have to just drive it yourself. So I’m really delighted that I’ve created this community online on LinkedIn. And we are we are, you know, we are getting the start of the journey and bringing specialist marketers together so we can share the ideas, we can talk about the customer challenges, because there’s so much you know, a marketer is working in banks and institutions and brokers can learn from FinTech companies, which are much more smaller inside, much more agile. And there’s so much FinTech, marketers can learn from marketers working in the financial space. I’m really excited about this community. And the idea is to offer our insights, help them in training, coaching, mentoring, and offer them that support marketers need in order to help them in their journey to become the next generation of marketing meaders. So yeah, it’s one of my personal passion projects and very close to my heart. And that kind of relates with some of my role as a thought leader and as a mentor and coach and teacher myself, to help people in getting better at their craft

Carlota Pico 28:09
Payal, I can definitely see how your face just lights up when you’re talking about this community. And I can only wish you the best of luck. So for all those FinTech marketeers who are listening in to us today, I’m going to leave the link on the blog article that we’ll be writing about this interview so that they can also join you on your community on LinkedIn.

Payal Raina 28:30
Great, appreciate your support. That would be absolutely fantastic.

Carlota Pico 28:34
Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. I appreciate the energy that you put into this interview. And I also really appreciate the insights and the advice that you’ve offered to our audience. So thank you for joining us on The Content Mix.

Payal Raina 28:47
Great. The pleasure is mine.

Carlota Pico 28:49
And to everybody listening in today, thank you for joining us on The Content Mix, as well. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every day, so keep on tuning in. Have a fabulous day and see you next time. Bye!

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