In partnership with The CMO Club, The CMO of the Week series profiles CMOs who are shaping, changing and challenging the world of modern marketing. For Neisser's complete interview with CMO Award Winner Lacorazza, click here.
Wells Fargo is one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S., expanding from coast to coast after the 2008 acquisition of competitor Wachovia. As one of the "Big Four Banks" in the country, it would be easy for Wells Fargo to stay aloof. Instead, they've embarked on a journey to keep their customers at the center of their universe, from their inclusive slogan ("Together we'll go far") to their integrated marketing campaign.
EVP and Head of Integrated Marketing Michael Lacorazza helms Wells Fargo's marketing efforts, and though he's only been with the company for a little over two years, he and his team have already come a long way. "While preparing for the assignment, I received a lot of guidance to expect both change and projects to take a long time to matriculate in a matrixed, regulated company," Lacorazza says. "The magnitude, quality and impact of the work that the team has produced during my rookie season have been very impressive and much faster than anticipated."
Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
Lacorazza and his team are determined to maintaining a local bond with customers despite Wells Fargo's enormous size. "While we are a coast-to-coast company now, our focus is on serving our customers and our communities at the local level," Lacorazza says. "We have a strong culture of putting the customer first and strive to live it every day."
According to Lacorazza, it's not enough just to improve superficial customer-facing aspects of a company; the culture has to guide the entire company's vision so that it can address their needs and help them reach their personal and business goals.
"We start with the customer-identifying the needs and insights to define the customer journey," Lacorazza says, describing Wells Fargo's thought process. "The customer journey determines the channel strategy, so that we integrate in the right places."
Once they have identified needs and insights, they integrate that information into their marketing campaign. Marketing leaders, Lacorazza says, are in at the ground level and "deeply involved in helping to shape [Wells Fargo's] future customer experience initiatives."
Building a Customer Community
What does Wells Fargo do once they have all the data? They begin building customer relationships with the hopes that, by building community, they will also build a loyal following.
In order to deliver a personal touch, Lacorazza and his team turn to social media platforms as one of the necessary tools of the trade. Social media is crucial for their marketing efforts because it's simply where many customers are now spending their days. "Our customers live digital, mobile and social lives," Lacorazza says. "We are continuously investing in social infrastructure to enable us to serve our customers and connect with them where they are."
Though many companies may be tempted to treat social media as a more informal medium than, say, traditional publishing or billboards, Lacorazza says that that's not the case for Wells Fargo. They carefully curate and craft each piece of communication. "We view all of our communications as content - even our paid advertising," Lacorazza says. "And, more than ever, there needs to be a value exchange with the customer."
According to Lacorazza, each communication with the customer has to have value and relevance to what the customer wants, otherwise there will be a disconnect.
How to Measure Community Success
While Lacorazza and his team are primarily concerned with community-building, they are also constantly monitoring for what is successful and what isn't. "My first priority has been to enable Wells Fargo to design and execute fully integrated marketing campaigns that engage the customer and drive measurable business success outcomes," Lacorazza says.
The key word is "measurable," especially since Wells Fargo is an enormously data-driven company. Lacorazza describes their process, which includes scorecards for every tool and large initiative, each with KPIs to measure the returns on investment and determine how to optimize in the future.
"What's fundamentally important for us is to protect our customer's data and operate in a spirit of transparency." Lacorazza says. "... At the end of the day, we want to use data to improve our customer experience and deliver more relevance-that's our focus."