Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Victoria Yasinetskaya, CMO at PagoFX and fintech marketing expert:

Carlota Pico 0:12
Hi everyone, and welcome back to The Content Mix. I’m Carlota Pico, your host for today’s show. And I’m excited to introduce Victoria Yasinetskaya, who is Chief Marketing Officer at PagoFX, and is also author of the book that’s called Alphas and Omegas, which will tell us more about very soon. Welcome, Victoria, and thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix.

Victoria Yasinetskaya 0:36
Hi, Carlota. Hello, everybody. My pleasure to be here.

Carlota Pico 0:40
It’s my pleasure as well, Victoria, we actually met around a year ago in Madrid. So it’s great to reconnect with you now during this podcast. Could you tell me a little bit about your background experience and what you’ve been up to over the past year since we last spoke?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 0:55
So I’ve been working in marketing for most part of my life. In the past year and a half, I’ve been leading a marketing team at PagoFX, which I’ll tell you a little bit more later. And throughout my career, I’ve really been at the financial services industry side of marketing. So I’m a banker, as per education. But I haven’t worked as a banker per se. I’ve been looking after the strategy, marketing, customer experience side of financial services. And in the past, I would say around seven years, I’ve been mainly focused in the FinTech industry.

Carlota Pico 1:34
Okay, very interesting. Why did you decide to pursue a career in marketing in the first place versus a career in banking?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 1:42
Very good question. Because when I finished my bachelor’s degree, which was banking and finance, most of my friends went into investment banking, or working in retail banking. And I wanted to, I think, look into a more kind of human side. So not just deal with numbers, and you know, accounts, balance sheets and money coming in and out. I wanted to understand the human side of how do customers understand finances? How do they manage their money? What are the particular needs, and how can banks and other financial institutions adapt to those needs. And this is why I decided to do a little bit more studies and understand a little bit how you can approach it from a strategic point of view. And I had a great opportunity to work as a consultant in the beginning of my career. And as a consultant, you work with a wide variety of customers, for example, is working with ABN AMRO, with Zurich Insurance Company. And my kind of key goal was to understand the customer pain points and how these companies can really create a product that meets those needs.

Carlota Pico 2:56
Okay, very interesting. And Victoria, what were the major lessons that you learned during your consultancy times?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 3:04
That’s a great question, because it really depends on the project. But everybody has been talking for the past decade about customer centricity, and really listening to the customers and what I’ve seen in my career is that it’s easier said than done. So yes, you can, you know, do a survey, you can do market research, and then you kind of put a tick and say, okay, fine, I’ve done the customer research, and now let’s start developing the product! But what I see is that it’s something that needs to be ongoing. So every time you do create a product, you launch it in the market, you need to understand and continuously listen to your customers, what is working, what is not working, and how to fine tune it, because, you know, markets are developing, things are changing, the context of our customers is also changing. Therefore, whatever worked in the past two, three years may not be working right now. And large financial institutions need to be at pace with the evolving customer needs, especially in the digital era. And I think that’s been a great learning for me, and in the projects where I’ve been involved: how to continuously have that customer voice present in everything that you do, and all the decisions that you make.

Carlota Pico 4:27
Definitely, I couldn’t agree more. And speaking about changes. Let’s talk a little bit about COVID-19. Because I think we’ve all felt the changes that COVID-19 has brought our way. What type of adjustments have you had to make in your marketing strategy as a result of the health crisis?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 4:43
Yeah, actually we launched PagoFX in the UK on the 16th of April. So that was right at the peak of the lockdown. We were all locked in our houses. And it was a big launch for us. We were building up to that launch for a year. You know, we had loads of plans, in terms of PR, in terms of communication. And honestly, we did a pretty good job. And we were very pleased with the results, because we just had to shift instead of doing like a press conference that you would do, you know, in a big room, getting everybody together–we had to do it virtually. And journalists were okay with that. They were ready to kind of getting used to this new way of doing press conferences. Also all the communication that went afterwards, all the digital marketing posts and communication that we launched–actually, it worked. So you know, it was an example that you can go big, or you can launch a product, and without really meeting anybody face to face, and making sure that you have a solid plan in place. So that was kind of one learning that yes, it is possible. On the other side, we were about to start filming a number of videos, that is part of our creative campaign, and we were planning to do it in Madrid. And the kickoff was planned, like for mid-April. And of course, it was not possible because you could not get an actor’s, you could not get the crew all together. So we had to postpone and wait for about two or three months until it was possible. So in the meantime, we had to be creative and think of other ways of you know, getting emotional videos that tell a story about a potential user. So we were doing with 2d, graphic design. And yeah, finding ways around it. And if Plan A is not working, well look for Plan B and C.

Carlota Pico 6:44
Yeah, I mean, we’re in the field of A/B testing anyways, right? So we should be used to plan A, plan B, plan C and the list goes on. Victoria, let’s take a step back. Could you let us know what PagoFX is a brief thirty second elevator pitch and also what it brings to the table?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 7:01
PagoFX is an international money transfer app. It brings the best of both worlds from banking and FinTech. So it’s a very simple, easy to use and low cost, and at the same time, it gives you the reassurance and security of a big bank such as Santander. And we have currently launched in the UK. And it’s available both as an app on Android and iOS and also as a web app that you can use with your desktop. And very promptly, also you launching the SME. So currently, it’s available for the individuals and in the very near future, you will also be available for the businesses that need to pay, for example, their providers from abroad make any purchase of goods that are in other countries.

Carlota Pico 7:51
Okay, excellent. So basically, it’s an instantaneous money transfer technology?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 7:57
Yes, you have to be careful with the word instantaneous. So we depend on the currency. So it depends on the currency that you’re sending. It can be as fast as 15 minutes from the moment that you send it to the arrival of your money and in the destination country. But it depends if you’re doing it in the morning, if you’re doing it at night. And so that’s why I’m saying you need to be careful with the word instantaneous.

Carlota Pico 8:25
Okay, well, speaking of different currencies, let’s also speak about different markets then. How have you approached the market launch in different markets? How has it been? Have you rolled out your services all at once? Or have you done it gradually over time?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 8:39
So right now, it’s in the UK, we are planning the Belgium launch in the coming months, and very shortly Spain will also follow. So the go-to-market strategy, of course, it’s fine tuned, based on different customer needs. So most importantly, what we’ve been looking into is, what is the dominant customer population that needs to send money abroad? And what are those currencies? So for example, in Spain, it was very clear that the main currencies are the Latin American countries, so people that are from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and others. There are a lot of these type of people that live and work in Spain, therefore, they need to send money back home, either to support their families or to buy goods and services from their home countries. And also in other corridors, which is very important as Morocco. So everything that we are preparing for the Spanish launch is around this particular need. So we understand that these are the currency that needs to be in place and is also in a way and marks our way of communicating and how we’re going to be launching the product in this country.

Carlota Pico 9:58
Okay, so interesting. So on the one side, you have the sender–the person that sends the money, and then on the other side, you have the receiver–the person that receives the money or the company that receives the money. Are you communicating with both the sender and the receiver in the same way? Because, for example, when it comes to Spanish, although in Latin America, they also speak Spanish, it’s a completely different culture, then in Spain, for example. We both speak the same language, but the cultural nuances are very different.

Victoria Yasinetskaya 10:26
Yes, very good point. So at the first stage of our product launch, we are mainly communicating to the sender. And potentially, we would like to roll out also communication to the receiver. There is a GDPR blocker on the way that most of the people that are listening to this podcast, are very familiar with. And therefore we need to be very careful how we, you know, do the communication in the correct way, compliant with the GDPR rules.

Carlota Pico 10:58
Okay And now, I was doing some background research, obviously on PagoFX, and I saw that it’s Santander-backed initiative. What role does Santander play in PagoFX effects? How is that helping your marketing activities?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 11:12
Yeah, so we are part of the Santander group. That means it’s the primary owner of the of the product, of the organization. And, of course, what is important is the security factor. So we go through a very strict authorization process. So we follow all the rules that a typical bank would have to follow. And this brings the reassurance to the customers that they’re dealing with not a normal FinTech that would not have bank behind, but with a FinTech, that’s got a very big structure, and a lot of expertise that have got to do with cyber security, with compliance, with financial crime. So we are meeting the standards of our parent bank, and not just the standards of a FinTech company.

Carlota Pico 12:16
Okay, so it’s a competitive value, as an add on? It adds an extra layer of security to the technology.

Victoria Yasinetskaya 12:22
Indeed, that’s one of our key differentiators. And what we have seen is that really resonates with the kind of, you know, risk averse customers. Because people that are eager to work with new FinTech companies, that are eager to, you know, do money transfer with a brand that they may have never seen or may have never used in the past, they would be in a more kind of a millennial younger generation. However, when you think about people that are a little bit older, and I’m thinking of I don’t know, 45+ they’re a little bit more concerned, and they don’t mind paying extra to have this reassurance. So having the backing of a financial institution that is very well known–then the whole globe is not just, you know, a Spanish bank, but it’s a very International Bank–I think this gives a sense of reassurance to our customers. And, you know, we are seeing that people are buying property abroad using PagoFX, you know, and then they are making big transfers, using our product, which is, again, you know, a confirmation that our value proposition is resonating with the customers.

Carlota Pico 13:37
Okay, excellent. And you said brands–so I saw that you’re not piggybacking off of Santander’s brands, but that you created your own brand for PagoFX. What was that like?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 13:49
Yeah, it was it was a very interesting process. So first of all, we needed to find a name that A. everybody likes, and it works for us, but then that it’s available. And I always make a joke saying all the fruit is already taken. So mango, apple, lime–you know, anything you can think of–it’s all taken. It’s very hard nowadays to come come up with a name that’s very memorable, easy to pronounce, doesn’t mean anything weird in another language, and is available as a domain, as a brand that you can register. So we spent about three months, you know, going from a list of 500 different names to end up with PagoFX. So when it was decided, then we were looking on the visual side of the brand–the color palette, and the patterns that we’re using. So for example, we’re using in the background of our images, we’re using patterns that resonate with a pattern with the notes, the bank notes. When you take a bank note–something that we haven’t been holding in our hands for the past months, probably a lot–but you will see some patterns that resonate with the security. So we’re using that as part of our element. And our icon is a wallet. So that again, connection with the money and sending money from one and destination to another. So creation of the brand was a very exciting process. And it’s still ongoing, right? Because when you start with a logo, you start with a name, you start with the basics, but then it’s an evolving process. Because right now, we are working in the creative campaign that is about to be launched in Q4, this year. And while doing that project, we’ve been creating other new elements, such as photography, the style, the tone of voice. So I believe that when you create a brand, it’s not just something that you do once–it’s an ongoing project.

Carlota Pico 15:58
Okay. And I’m assuming you didn’t do that on your own, right? You hired a team to help you along the way?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 16:05
Yes, indeed, we’ve been working with an agency in London, they’ve been supporting us in that process.

Carlota Pico 16:11
Okay, and what about the new hires that you hired recently? What did they brought to the table? What hires did you hire? What skills did you look for? What about qualities, emotional skills, stuff like that?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 16:23
So the way that I’ve structured the hiring process, I was looking at the marketing funnel. So at the top of the funnel, we have acquisition, then we have customer engagement, and then customer retention. So the first type of profiles that we hired for the team was for customer acquisition, and looking at what are the channels that are the most powerful, and nowadays, both for banks and fintechs. And that’s mainly digital marketing. So paid, and then affiliate marketing as well, and then any type of sponsorship. So I have two people in my team that are looking after the paid media marketing. Then I have some members of my team that are looking about customer engagement. So we are using Salesforce as our CRM and marketing automation platform. So we had to work very closely also, within Excel partner to integrate Salesforce, make sure that the all the customer lifecycle journeys are mapped out, automated. And, you know, that’s a very big piece. And I think that’s kind of behind the scenes marketing that not many people are aware of. And it’s very important that everything works, because then if if the customer is receiving an email that’s not relevant, or not the right time of the journey, then it’s very big issue. And then I have a content team. So I have a digital copywriter, and content manager, and then PR and communications. So we are very ambitious in terms of creating our own content. We have a website where we publish frequently interesting and relevant content for the customers. And right now we have more than 70 articles already published. And also, we are creating ebooks, we are creating reports and studies. For example, the latest study that we have published is about communities–how during the lockdown period, different countries created communities, and you know how people were helping each other both families, friends, and even neighbors. And we were comparing countries like Spain or countries like us, and funnily enough, is that Spain, you know, differentiates quite a lot from the Anglo Saxon countries, because people are a little bit closer with their community than we find in the US, for example.

Carlota Pico 18:57
Definitely, I can completely resonate with that message. I’m a Spaniard, myself and my parents actually live across the street, which is not very normal in the US. Okay, Victoria, let’s take a walk down memory lane. What have been some of your proudest marketing moments to date?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 19:15
I would say the launch of power effects that was a very big moment, especially with the difficulty that we had to adjust to, as we just mentioned before, so seeing a great uptake from very big media outlets such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, Tech Crunch, etc. So I think what we were planning for for a very long time really resonated with the external world. And that for me, was a very interesting moment because it was like, you know, directing an orchestra. So now that we have different members of the team. Also, there’s a lot of collaboration with the Santander communications team and marketing teams, plus on the product side, so it was kind of bringing everybody together, everybody aligned, and you know, being prepared for the big launch, and then making sure that everything works. And when it did work, that’s when you’re like, Okay, great, you know, means that we what we did was very well done. So another moment that I would highlight is that I’m proud of, is launching my book. So it’s not directly related to my professional career, but somehow it is part of you know, of who I am and of my leadership kind of evolution. So, the book is called Alphas and Omegas: The Power of Feminine Traits in Business. And this book I wrote together with another financial institutions executive name is Mercè Brey. She’s based in Barcelona, and the book is published in English and in Spanish. And basically, to write this book, we did more than 90 interviews with leaders all around the world and we discussed how feminine traits have really become a really important attribute for both women and men when you think about inclusive leadership, and what is leadership, like in the modern world.

Carlota Pico 21:26
Okay, well, on that note, I was actually on your LinkedIn profile, Victoria, snooping around, and I’d like to read off a phrase that really caught my attention. You often describe yourself as an active participant in the conversation about inclusive leadership. Why is diversity and inclusion important in business, Victoria?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 21:46
First of all, I think there is enough evidence, and that when you create diverse teams, the teams are much more productive, much more creative–new ideas are created at a faster speed. And and I think what is important is the environment that you create. When there is inclusive environment, I think different profiles, different type of people feel more connected, and more committed to the project. So in the financial institutions industry, that I’m mostly familiar with, traditionally it has been a very masculine industry, Normally, you would have mainly men, especially at the higher positions, and the environment would be quite aggressive, you know, quite strict, everybody would be in gray suits, you know, white shirts, and women that were part of those teams, they were a minority, and they felt like they had to adapt, both in the way they speak and, you know, we have observed that, in the past, women have to kind of lower the pitch of their voice, just to make sure that they’ve been heard, the way they dress, the way they communicate the way they take decisions. And what we have seen in the research for the book is that, and that creates a dissonance of you know, of who you really are. So when you go to work, you have to wear a mask, you have to be somebody else, you need to pretend what you really are. And it happens both for women and for men. We’ve also been talking to different leaders and there was saying, you know what, when I’m back home with my family, with my wife, I’m very different to what I’m like in the office. And the thing is that in the office, I cannot permit to be a bit more human a bit more, you know, closer to my team, because I need to be a leader, I need to drive, I need to show a very strong side of myself. And I think the world is evolving, and millennials have really marked a little bit the trend. And when you look at the younger generation, what they really value in a leader is somebody who’s not just you know, giving them instructions and telling them what to do, but somebody who cares about them, who takes into account the interest about their development, who looks after them and empowers them. And this is where you need inclusive leadership.

Carlota Pico 24:13
What a beautiful message, Victoria. Okay, so on that, we’re actually going to be moving into our next section of this interview, which is our rapid fire section–your recommendations for audience. To get the section start off, I’d like to ask you about your source of inspiration. So who do you admire the professional role model or an influencer, perhaps?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 24:32
First of all, Michelle Obama. I read her book, I think she’s a great influencer. Her message is very powerful. In her book, she was very humble and vulnerable at the same time. She did talk about, you know, her times when she had, you know, issues with the family, and I think that’s a very powerful message that she did communicate and now she’s got a new podcast, which is also fantastic. And I think what she’s doing on social media is great and is giving a very strong and encouraging message to all the ladies around the world, to fight for their dreams, and to have a very strong voice when they have an opinion on something. Also, there’s a great podcast, Women on Work–I think it’s by HBR, the Harvard Business Review, and it’s funded by Deloitte, and it’s been a great source of inspiration for me when I was looking for a lot of material for my book. And again, what they do that podcast is that the interview different leaders around the world, and they touch upon aspects, like even things like what do you wear to the office or even hairstyle or unconscious biases, you know? Things that we would all talk about among our friends, but they kind of bring it you know, on the surface, and they have very interesting discussions. And I also like to listen to podcasts about different tech companies, startups. Like Tim Ferriss has got a great podcast. And also there’s another podcast How I Built This. So they would talk about big companies, for example, Canva, is a tool that I’m using to create visuals, for example, and they interviewed the CEO of kind of on was a lady from Australia, and to hear her story, because normally, you know, behind the big success, there was an interesting story with ups and downs. And it’s great when you know, the interview goes into the depth, and you understand, you know, how long, and how much hard work it’s taken to get to a level of where these leaders are now nowadays.

Carlota Pico 26:54
Definitely, I couldn’t agree more, and I feel like the common denominator in those three podcasts is a human level–everybody’s humanizing the people behind the screen, the people behind those technologies, even First Lady Michelle Obama is approaching her audience in a very human way, by sharing her own challenges, because at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, we all face challenges, right? And we all just have to overcome them and keep on pushing. Okay, and to finish up this interview, Victoria, what’s your favorite app or tool at the moment, and why?

Victoria Yasinetskaya 27:28
My favorite app? I would say Spotify. I think they’ve done a great job. And you know, I’m always amazed how personalized their lists are. And I think this is something that many industries are trying to do, like personalize and contextualize offers. And I think Spotify have done it in a great way. They understand your music, preferences, you know, they create lists for you that really resonate. I think all of us, you know, back in the days, we’re trying to create our own list with iTunes, you know, have our CDs and trying to create our own mixes, and it was very time consuming. And then you know, maybe one year later, you’re tired of that list, you know, and you start thinking about something else. And I think iTunes has really done a great revolution in the industry. And I’m really enjoying it, I’m going to add more–Audible. So instead of reading books, I listen. That’s the best way for me to disconnect. So I go for a walk after a work day, go to a park, and then while I’m doing it, I listened to a book. And I think Audible is another great app that has changed, you know, and revolutionized the book industry. It’s very effective, especially when you have to do a long drive, and great way to make that journey more fun and useful at the same time.

Carlota Pico 28:52
Okay, and I’m going to add one more to your list as well–PagoFX!

Victoria Yasinetskaya 28:56
Yes, of course. Yes, of course. Thank you for reminding me. Of course it’s my favorite app–it’s on my home screen! But I didn’t want to brag too much about it.

Carlota Pico 29:07
I’m here to brag for you. Okay, Victoria, thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. It was awesome to reconnect with you and to learn about how PagoFX has been doing over the past year.

Victoria Yasinetskaya 29:18
Thank you very much, Carlota, for the invitation. It was great to share everything that’s going on and I hope to speak to you again.

Carlota Pico 29:25
Likewise. And to everybody listening in today, thank you for joining us on The Content Mix. 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. Thanks again, have a fabulous day and see you next time. Bye!

Victoria Yasinetskaya 29:47

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