Q&A: Putting Banking Customers first in 2020 with Patrick Stal, the VP of Global Marketing at N26
2020 threw the traditional banking world into a whirlwind as they had to figure out how to provide basic services without contact. Luckily, new banks built with new technology (fintech) were there to help fill the gap — all while putting the customer at the center of everything they did.
We recently had a chance to talk to Patrick Stal, the VP of Global Marketing at N26, a mobile bank recently announced as the World’s Best Bank by Forbes. In that role he leads N26’s global marketing teams who are working relentlessly to grow one of the world’s most innovative financial services brands across more than 25 countries. Before joining N26, Patrick led Uber’s marketing efforts across Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, held senior marketing roles at TomTom, led Interbrand’s Benelux practice and started his career in management consulting. Patrick is half Dutch half German, sounds American and speaks four languages fluently. He bridges growth marketing and brand building, lives in the Netherlands and is the father of two girls.
Below you will find a very abridged Q&A with Patrick, as well as a video of Patrick’s full interview with MobileGroove’s Peggy Anne Salz. Patrick will join us for The Great Marketing Debates Panel on May 19. Until then, read on to get a sneak peek into some of the insights he will share during the discussion and take a deep dive into the idea of customer-centricity.
Q: What is the business impact of understanding the customer and knowing the customer journey, and how can it best be measured?
A: In every way that you would measure the business. Everything from acquisition, because customers have recommended us to other customers, to growth, because friend referrals are driving customer acquisition… [We also pay attention to] testimonies or rewards that we received from delivering a fantastic customer experience. So we can’t do that without customer centricity. We can’t do that without everybody in the business thinking about what that customer needs and that thinking, not coming from the top.
Q: What is the biggest mistake marketers make on the path to achieving greater customer-centricity in their marketing and messaging?
A: I think the biggest mistake that’s made — I don’t want to say often, but that I’ve seen made is — is instilling a belief that customer centricity sits in one place or that any one person or department has a monopoly on customer insights or, you know, sees themselves as the one ambassador of customers within the business.
Q: This is a year like no other. What is the biggest change you have seen to your business, and how are you preparing to harness this transformation to drive a positive outcome for you and your customers?
A: I’ll touch on two. One is the obvious people management challenges. Managing team engagement with all of us looking at screens, instead of chatting, ideating in the kitchen, stimulating non-linear conversations and thinking and being able to socialize…
I think overall the biggest pivot though, has been on the adoption rate of digital banking services. While at the same time, people in economies across the world have had less opportunity to spend their money on the things and experiences they love. So we’ve seen savings increase. We’ve also seen the frequency of transactions decrease along with mobility decreases in markets.
Q: What information, examples or advice are you the most excited to discuss or share during our panel?
A: To be perfectly frank, I’m the most excited to listen to everybody else. It’s always great to take a step back from the everyday and hear what some of my peers have to share as well. So that’s what I’m personally most excited about. But, as always, I’m very pleased to share anything that we do, and to learn whether what we do is in the right direction. And to benchmark that a little bit with what other folks think. It’s always a great experience to learn from others.
Q: If you had to design a billboard ad to keep marketers inspired and motivated as they address the chief challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, what would it say?
A: It’s very Nike-esque, but there’s something about ‘just do it’, or at least ‘just try it’ that many marketers will need to take to heart as their categories gear up again and their businesses hunger for reimagined growth and investment.
To hear more from Patrick, and his fellow panelists, join The Great Debates on May 19.