• At RampUp on the Road Chicago, we caught up with Erin Gulden, a frequent speaker at our events and currently the vice president of inbound marketing at U.S. Bank. After her session, we sat down to discuss the powerful combination of great creative and the right technology to send it to the right people.

    Listen to the podcast below or read an excerpt of our conversation:

    RampUp: The theme of today is Partnerships and Collaboration and I really love the idea of that as it relates to your session topic, which was Lead with Creativity, Execute with Technology. How are you seeing that at play in your role at U.S. Bank?

    Erin: That was one of my favorite discussions during the panel was that conversation around ‘is it the creative or is it the technology?’ Where do you need the humans? Where do you need the automation? I actually continued that conversation with a few people after and I’m very much in the camp of technology helps our creative get better. The creative is always going to be important because if you put a targeted message in front of someone who is in the right point in their journey, right channel, right time, but it’s a bad message, it’s not going to matter.

    On the other hand, if you’re releasing beautiful creative, and you’re not getting it in front of the right audiences, it’s not going to be effective. So, we’re really in this new world of being able to marry those two practices and have strong creative that’s been tested and have strong data that tells us where to put that creative and get really strong results and really strong outcomes. But, you still hear folks, and it depends on their background, well, the technology is more important, well the creative is more important. I really think it’s 50/50.

    RampUp: And, do you find that given that people have different levels of expertise as it relates to content, as it relates to technology, that you have some technology leaders and folks coming to your team saying, hey, here’s our new tool that we have, this is a new capability, we’re thinking of onboarding or considering, is it something that your team can use? Is there that sense of collaboration of here’s what’s possible with technology: is there anything you can do from the creative perspective that can help us make the case for whether or not we want to go with this new tool or this new capability?

    Erin: Yes, at times. Usually it’s more—it’s not necessarily easy to onboard things at a large institution like U.S. Bank. Obviously there are a lot of security measures involved and it’s usually a long onboarding process. So, our general rule is if there’s a new technology, you reach out to whomever you think could possibly use it so we can get the most use out of it. Someone put a ton of time getting it onboarded, so let’s figure out who can use it. So, that’s been really fun because it’s introduced us to teams that we may have never worked with. Someone reached out a couple weeks ago and said, hey, we onboarded this tool. I think it would be great for Financial IQ, your financial wellness platform, and I saw the tool and I was like, oh my goodness, that’s one that we’ve always been interested in but we didn’t have enough of a use case to bring it on ourselves. So, now we have access through this other team. And, that’s a team I probably wouldn’t have really interacted with otherwise. They just were doing their research and figuring out what other teams might benefit.

    That’s led to some fun collaborations and use of tools, like outside the box use of tools that we may not have thought of before.

    RampUp: I would love to hear a little bit more about that specific use case in terms of what the other team was using that tool for and how you’re using it.

    Erin: So, it’s a tool that helps improve websites through—it basically cleans up your website. It does all the crawling for you and all the QA for you and helps clean up your websites.

    How the primary group is using it is to just make sure that we have a nice, clean website, no broken links, great user experience. We’re going to use it for that same reason but we are also, or at least we think as we’re two weeks in, seeing more of an opportunity to be able to use it to help increase our conversions with some of its attributes that may not be as important to the original team that was using it.

    RampUp: Right, so basically the other team is like, hey, we don’t necessarily have a use for how we see user behavior on this site, we’re just looking for broken links. But, your team is like, we really care about how far people are getting down the page, if they’re clicking on that broken link we would definitely want to have a say in what that gets replaced with, etc.

    Erin: Exactly.

    RampUp: That makes sense. Last question is related to some of the new content platforms that you wanted to test out. I’m curious to know how you’re planning on using them and measuring them against your other existing content channels.

    Erin: Yes, that’s a really great question. So, audio is one that we’ve dipped our toes in from a brand perspective, both in obviously advertising on audio channels, but we do have a podcast called The Save Space in market right now on the TuneIn network. I think we’re going to be exploring more the difference between and the benefits of sponsoring some of this great audio content and actually co-creating content. We sponsored a Forbes podcast with Steve Forbes earlier in the year and he had really fantastic guests and it was fun to see our name up there alongside Chip and Joanna Gaines and Howard Schultz and some other folks.

    For us, I think when we’re thinking about these new platforms, it’s really the question of I think there’s a lot of pressure to always be the creator, and I think there’s a really good balance of creating something new and fresh and finding something that might be out there that you can align your brand messaging with, that you authentically can say, hey, we think they’re doing such a great job, we want to help elevate that.

    In the audio world, I’ve heard how many podcasts there are recently and the number was so big it blew my mind. They’re great and they’re valuable. The question for us is do we really need to create that new one or can we find something to help elevate?

    RampUp: Great. That feeds perfectly to our theme of the day of partnerships. It’s so good to talk to you again. Thanks for coming to Ramp Up on the Road Chicago.

    Erin: Thanks for having me.

    On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Erin Gulden is speaking at RampUp on Personalization Strategies across Online and Offline Channels. To hear her and other marketing leaders speak, register here.

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