Qualco is a fintech company with 20 years’ experience in over 30 countries. It supports debt portfolio management for non-performing loans to organisations with receivable assets. The concept of debt isn’t necessarily the most exciting or cheery but Pavlina Louki, Qualco’s Global Head of Marketing is an enthusiastic and articulate ambassador. We talked about her brief and challenges.
Qualco’s business: Our products include software and analytics to portfolio management consulting and end-to-end debt servicing. Customers range from retail banks and financial services to lenders like car finance companies, utilities and retailers. In the past decade there’s been a boom in non-performing loans, and CV-19 will generate further demand. It’s a niche market involving sub-segments of risk management.
Customer segmentation: Our core business is highly localised due to legislation. We segment markets across different types of financial institution and lenders by industries, segments and geographies. Our clients operate locally, engaging with customers in country.
Customer experience and marketing’s role: Customer satisfaction is key. We focus on experience based metrics and improving customer journeys, constantly seeking customer feedback (corporate and individual) on product, service and brand. Despite marketing automation, we maintain a human, sensitive tone, managing relationships through digital and human channels. We communicate on how to simplify complexity, standardise operations, improve competencies and collection operations. With multiple touch points in customer organisations, across functions and stakeholders, email is important, so database maintenance is vital.
Digital channels: We’re in expansion mode, working to build brand awareness in target geographies. Key digital channels are PPC advertising and LinkedIn. We want to understand where audiences go and be there too. SEO is our primary channel and we experiment across technology and business channels. There are two main workstreams for digital. The first tracks performance (with metrics such as: page loads, load time, site maps etc.). The second focuses on identifying content integration opportunities.
New markets: We work with local experts to gain insight and market intelligence to inform planning and decision making plus primary research for qualitative feedback. We focus on awareness initiatives and meet journalists and publishers to understand how best to work with them. We advertise, but also deliver PR and influencer programmes as part of a market coverage plan including editorial and participation (including speaking opportunities) at industry conferences, webinars etc. If we plan an awareness campaign in country, a selected partner runs a content marketing campaign in parallel with Qualco activities to raise our profile.
Thought leadership: We create all our guides, white papers and value-added content in house. We demonstrate and reinforce our thought leadership, with collective intelligence and expertise. Customers are reassured that if Qualco publish a paper on portfolio evaluation or optimisation of collections and recoveries, the content comes from us and that nobody does it better. Our subject matter isn’t ‘sexy’, but we don’t let that affect our creativity.
Content planning: Our plans show what will be produced when, but we’re agile enough to respond to short term events affecting a country’s financial climate. There’s quarterly plan for each market, but it’s flexible, enabling us to add or remove components and course correct. We optimise what’s working and can share a view on marketing performance and ROI for online and offline activities by geography,
Partner Marketing: We’re developing a partner marketing strategy as part of our growth plan. The function will be integrated within marketing to optimise effectiveness of planning and execution of To, Through and With partner activities.
AI: For PPC, we utilize tools like lookalike audiences and happily use machine learning to improve personalised content and calls to action, but I’m sceptical about AI’s value. While metrics are essential, marketing is emotional, and I fear we risk analysing to extremes. Give me a focus group, with real life buyers discussing their preferences and attitudes! I’m not convinced machines will help me take a message to specific humans in account-based activities.
Sales and Marketing alignment: As yet we don’t have silos at Qualco. Sales and marketing work closely together and I spend 60% of my time with sales. We hold quarterly activity and investment reviews, but I need to manage expectations: my 3-5-year plan, includes long term activities like awareness building and lead generation.
Advice for those building a content strategy: Build content expertise in house – be creative and consistent and be smart with it. It’s about value not volume. Don’t overload customers with multiple messages and emails. Use Automation to learn about behaviours (and don’t be defensive about mistakes!). Be open to new ideas and learn about your local markets. Be obsessive about customer satisfaction.
Delivering customer value with expert content can be a unique element of the marketing armoury even in the most complex and ‘dry’ of markets. It’ll be fascinating to see Qualco’s brand evolve as partners are added to the mix with their deep customer knowledge and local presence.