Owning the fintech innovation roadmap: Broadridge global CMO Deborah Bussiere interview

By David Beach | 10 October 2017

bobsguide sat down with Deborah Bussiere, global chief marketing officer of Broadridge Financial Solutions, to discuss the unique challenges of marketing a large fintech, whilst she also lets us in on her ‘secret recipe’ to marketing success.

How did you come to work for Broadridge?

I spent my first 15 years on Wall Street, first with Morgan Stanley and then with UBS. At the latter, I helped build the Alternative Investments Group which was very much a start-up atmosphere, but with a steady pay cheque instead of VC funding. Later, I joined EY where I was their chief marketing officer and, after ten years, I went in search of my next great adventure. I then had the great privilege of working with some amazing young founders and co-founders primarily in the fintech space. It was actually working with one of those startups that led me to Broadridge.

I’d had a personal interest in bitcoin and blockchain for years - for instance, I bought my children bitcoin when they graduated college. At the time, I was working for Grayscale investments, a startup that invests in bitcoin, and that’s where I heard of Broadridge’s interest in blockchain technology and how they were investing in companies like Digital Asset Holdings and InvesShare. When I got the call to come to Broadridge, I was really excited.

What are some of the initiatives you’re currently working on at Broadridge?

There are plenty of fintech start-ups out there but very few fintech grown-ups. In my opinion, Broadridge is the clear original fintech grown up. As a result, I’m currently working on launching our updated brand promise - ‘Ready for Next’ - to the marketplace to help articulate our mission. Now more than ever, our clients need a partner that’s going to help them get ahead of today’s challenges and capitalise on what’s coming next. ‘Ready for Next’ enables our clients to leverage the latest innovations in tech. Broadridge is really all about owning the innovation roadmap. We have major client relationships globally and our vantage point is really unique.

How should fintech businesses aim to drive efficiency whilst also staying ahead of the curve with innovation? Is it possible to do both?

I think the short answer is to collaborate with a company like Broadridge. For many companies, it’s more effective and less expensive to buy the tech innovation from a trusted business partner rather than to develop it themselves. Most of the financial services players are investing in proprietary fintech solutions or exploring potential collaborative opportunities with other vendors.

For example, many are looking for ways to boost efficiency by using AI to create better client advisor experiences or automate the back office. On the challenge side, the larger banks are facing heavy regulatory cost pressures and having to rely on the ability to beat the cost of capital. All these institutions are really looking for partnerships that allow them to leverage the new technologies to keep their costs down.

Some of these relationships allow them to achieve a network effect, which is something Broadridge does really well. We can help neutralise cost and enhance capabilities by leveraging the scale of the broader community that we offer. So back to your question, it’s really a combination of both and the best way to do it is to partner with us.

Where do you see technology going into 2018 and the future?

I think the financial services industry is really on the cusp of its biggest technology advances in decades. In order to get the most of these technologies, we, as executive business owners, have to spend on what works or rule it out. Broadridge is at the forefront of this evolution. Some of our business knowledge is focused on predictive analytics, data mining and machine learning to analyse the vast data we collect to assist our clients.

Recently, we successfully executed a blockchain pilot to do with proxy voting in partnership with JP Morgan and Northern Trust, so we’re continuing to invest in some of these technologies. I really think that blockchain is going to revolutionise the financial services industry in a way we can’t imagine yet. It’s kind of like the birth of a new internet where we don’t know what its impact will be or what it’s going to enable us to do.

I’m not asking you to divulge your secrets to success, but what advice would you have for other chief marketers?

For me, you have to go back to marketing 101: you need to be authentic, you need to focus on your clients and you need to deliver on your promises. If you can’t do all of those things, then you’re not going to win in the marketplace. Whether you’re a young company or an established company, marketing should really be interwoven into every decision a company makes because it has an impact on who the company is, what they do, how to proceed and what they stand for.

Branding and marketing are even more important when a company is just starting out because it can really make the difference between gaining sales and market share or losing investor dollars. Even big companies like Broadridge need to make sure that they are focused on being authentic and focused on their clients and their ability to deliver on their promises.

So customer experience is the most important factor?

Definitely, the customer experience and journey are the most critical aspects for a business. As customer experience has become more automated, it’s suffered as a result. Having said that, it’s starting to turn with social media where one tweet or post can instantly put you in touch with someone who can help you within the company.

As an aside, I really like visiting the Apple store because the people are customer-centric and you leave feeling valued. And, as a customer, that makes me inclined to look around the store, to look at the new products. Apple really has one of the best use case examples of customer service. Broadridge does too with our 98% client revenue retention rate!

Again that really goes back to marketing and customer experience basics. Yes, it’s nice to chat to a live person from the convenience of online, but some of these companies have gone so digital that when I get a bit of printed mail I get excited and feel like a valued customer. Broadridge does a fair amount of customer outreach on behalf of clients like this, and we have a desire to go back to basics, and for us, we focus on both the print and the digital capabilities. 

You’ve worked in a variety of businesses and corporations, where does fintech fit into each vertical?

It feels like fintech has been around forever. It’s been renamed and repackaged so when we think of fintech today, we think of AI, machine learning, blockchain, robotics and cloud based solutions. For me, it’s not really about where each of these disruptive technologies sit in any given industry vertical because the technology is pervasive. It exists in the front office, the back office, up and down, and even across an organization. I think the whole fintech sector is an exciting space because of the number of applications across the business and life in general.

As a global fintech provider, Broadridge plays a critical role in partnering with financial institutions to develop and capitalize on innovative technologies that enable clients to overcome business challenges. We’re really focused on helping clients get ahead of today’s challenges to capitalize on what’s next. We are helping institutions eliminate paper while enhancing the client’s experience, and we help our clients and other industry participants leverage the ‘share technology’ platform to reduce capital and risk overall. We’re also utilizing blockchain to enhance corporate governance by increasing efficiency and boosting transparency.

What’s on this week’s ‘To Do’ list?

We are focused on scaling and launching of our new brand promise, Ready for Next. We’re also working on an annual report to shareholders which we are excited about as we’ve had an amazing year, and of course, I am thinking about how we can continue to serve our clients in a way that helps them get ready to tackle their next challenges.

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