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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Building an Emotional Connection in Banking

With consumers spending an average of 7.5 hours a day on various media platforms, ‘convenience’ in banking must now expand beyond store-centric factors to delivering digital convenience, with speed, simplicity, and empathy.

Increasingly. consumers and employees expect a greater value proposition from their financial institution that will instill loyalty and support a broader brand promise.

We are very fortunate to have Tyrrell Schmidt, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer for TD Bank on the Banking Transformed podcast. She discusses how TD’s established brand promise and purpose has translated at a time of marketplace disruption.

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by Microsoft:

See how Microsoft can help to unlock new opportunities at speed through innovative business models, deliver differentiated customer experiences across channels, products and services, and redefine new ways of working.

More at Microsoft.com/financialservices

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by PayPal:

This podcast episode is being presented in partnership with PayPal. PayPal provides access to more than 403 million active global accounts and multiple buy now, pay later offers in a single integration. PayPal Pay in 4 enables shoppers to make purchases in four interest-free payments.

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Jim Marous:
Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. With consumers spending an average of 7.5 hours a day on various media platforms, convenience in banking must now expand beyond store-centric factors to delivering digital convenience with speed, simplicity, and empathy.

Jim Marous:
Increasingly, consumers and employees are expecting a greater value proposition from their financial institution that will instill loyalty in support of broader brand promise. With are fortunate to have Tyrrell Schmidt, US chief marketing officer for TD Bank on the Banking Transformed podcast. She's going to discuss how TD's established brand promise and purpose has translated in a time a marketplace disruption.

Jim Marous:
In today's digital landscape, brands can grow from an audience of zero to hundreds of thousands, almost instantly. Digital channels and social media have changed the way brands interact with prospects and customers, the ability to connect with consumers, with a brand proposition that resonates on both a tangible and intangible level that's never been more important. I've been a fan of TD Banking for over a decade. Their commitment to their customers and their communities helps them stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. They continue to innovate on both the product and brand level, and differentiating themselves by creating a strong value proposition that evolves with the expectations of the marketplace. So Tyrrell, before we start, I know you've been at TD Bank for awhile and have a legacy in financial services. Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself and your role at TD Bank?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Absolutely. And firstly, let me say thank you for being a fan. We love our TD customers and our TD fans. So yeah, I've been with TD coming on I guess about six-and-a-half years. I've been chief marketing officer for the last year or so, which has just been so much fun. Albeit I joined the US Bank in the middle of the pandemic, so I have a little bit of empathy for people who have been through something similar.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
But yeah, my career has kind of spanned the globe. I started working for Discover Card, spent many years there. Ultimately, went and launched that product and that company in the UK. I then went on to a bank in Hong Kong, went into healthcare in Singapore, and ultimately back in the US. I worked for Cigna for about nine years.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And I really just saw this great opportunity to join TD about six years ago. Ultimately, I went to Canada when I first started with the bank. And I ran brand and customer experience. And to your point and your opening points, it's just been a highlight, a career highlight, to work for a company who so deeply believes in both brand as well as customer experience, and really understands, I think, the connection between the two, recognizing your brand is the aspiration that you set, but also customer experience really is the delivery of that. So it's just a terrific company to work for. And like I said, we just have great passion around our customers, both in Canada, as well as in the US.

Jim Marous:
Tyrrell, over the past 18 months, marketing has certainly been the spotlight at most financial institutions, needing to create and promote initiatives that were both responsive to new marketing dynamics that were related to the pandemic. How did TD Bank monitor the shifts in consumer behavior and their expectation changes, and how did these learnings reflected in both campaigns and customer experience at TD Bank?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, there had been so many shifts. The first one that I always think about really is just the acceleration of digital adoption. And McKinsey has this sort of awe-inspiring statistic that says that digital adoption vaulted ahead five years in just eight weeks at the beginning of the pandemic. So for TD, for companies around the globe, I think we really had to figure that out.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
The second area has always been important, but that is around brand purpose. And what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, and continues to thrive, even 18 months later, is just this expectation that consumers have around doing business with a company whose values match their own. And similarly, from an employee and a colleague perspective, colleagues want to work for a company whose values match their own.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so purpose has never been more important. And to me, it's no longer simply something some companies differentiate themselves on. It is every company has to be purpose driven to have a sustainable future. So I think there have been ... And many others. Many other trends, whether it's kind of the move to virtual. TD, one of the things we do internally, we believe deeply in kind of infusing the culture internally. And so we have a huge reward and recognition program that we call the Wow Awards.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And this year, and last actually, we did virtual Wow Awards. And we had almost 15,000 colleagues in the US dial in virtually. But what was great about is typically we did those in-person. And so this year, our colleagues got to bring their families, and really share it with the broader group. So I think there are a lot of things that will endure well beyond the pandemic, and that will make us better and more thoughtful for both our customers, as well as our colleagues.

Jim Marous:
So it's interesting. For those of you listening to the podcast that may not be familiar with TD Bank, they acquired Commerce Bank a number of years ago. But one of the things that Commerce Bank was really, really strong in was not only the brand experience, but the community experience. They were known for handing out pens, dog biscuits, participating in every neighborhood parade, and known for their friendliness. So over the years, one of the questions I used to ask people that showed up at conferences from TD Bank is how do you create that level of emotion in the digital banking experience when branch visits are continually dropping? What is the secret to your success as far as really bringing that warm, fuzzy feeling that Commerce Bank was known for into a TD Bank digital banking experience?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, I wasn't here, obviously, during Commerce Bank days. But I know that a lot of what they brought to the culture still endures today. I think it's important to start with the fact that we continue to be a leader in retail convenience. As you said, we have a lot of what we would consider to be kind of legacy proof points. So things like longer and weekend hours, having more locations, dog biscuits, where people can bring their dog into the store before that was kind of in fashion. Now we see that everywhere, and our pens.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And just an interesting story about our pens. We continue to give out many, many, many pens. But just recently, we actually have now started making them from recyclable water bottles so that we make sure that we're really focusing on the environment and doing the right thing while still giving out those things that are customers have come to expect.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
In fact, I started, when I moved back from Singapore, I moved to Philadelphia, and didn't know TD as well because I had always lived in places other than the East Coast. And the way that I first got to know of TD was through the pens. Every restaurant, every cab driver that would hand out a pen, I was like, "Oh, it's TD Bank." So definitely it makes a difference.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Stores still are part of our strategy. A lot of our acquisition still happens in stores. And we do know that there's a time when people just prefer face-to-face interactions. And it tends to be when they're seeking guidance or advice, typically for more complex transactions. And I think contrary to popular belief, even younger consumers, when they're doing something like taking on a mortgage for the first time, they actually want to sit across the desk from someone to make sure that they understand it.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So we continue to believe that that's an important part of our channel strategy. At the same time, I think there's no doubt, as you said, that consumer preferences and habits are changing. Many that are in fact accelerated by COVID, which we talked about. 88% of our own customers say that online and/or mobile banking is the most important aspect of convenience. Stores continue to be high, over 70% for us.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so what we've done is continued to really invest in digital technology, making sure that we're aligned with consumer expectations of online experiences. So there is more emphasis than ever on things like speed and ease. Consumers care, for example, how many steps it takes them to apply online. So we do things like conversion funnels and looking to see where are people dropping out, and then going into those break points and making sure that we're addressing any challenges.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
But I think to the heart of your question, as well as how do you retain brand positioning of unexpectedly human across different channels. We believe that our people and our conversational brand, which is how we describe our brand internally, are really vital to the overall customer experience. And so we really look to put in what would be considered a human touch into any channel, TD.com, mobile, et cetera, and really just kind of take that lens when we're communicating through those channels.

Jim Marous:
So you mentioned you started with TD Bank USA during the pandemic. So beyond how your scope maybe changed in a managerial sense, how did your role and scope of the marketing department and the responsibilities evolve during the pandemic, and maybe caused by the pandemic? What changed as far as the dynamics of how you worked with others, but also how the marketing organization had to work within the overall TD Bank?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, I'm not sure that it changed because of the pandemic, but one of the things that we've been working on over the last, I think we probably started on this journey about a year ago is what we called marketing 2025, which really was looking both externally, as well as internally, to see kind of where our companies and marketing teams, particularly those at companies who we really aspire to look like.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So we looked at some of the best purpose driven companies. We looked at companies who really lead on digital marketing to really understand kind of where do we to take marketing at TD while still aligning to our own brand, to our company's business objectives and strategies. As we went on that journey, I would say the first thing that we realized is marketing 2025 was insufficient. We needed to actually start working on it now. So we changed that very quickly to marketing 2025 now.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And through that process, we defined our aspiration, which was really important to our colleagues to say where are we going? How do we stay ahead of this rapidly changing environment? And so our aspiration is what we call to be customer-led growth engineers for the company? And so what sits behind that are really a couple of things.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Firstly is this emphasis on the customer. Constant focus on that. And that's pervasive across the company, but we believe that marketing is kind of uniquely positioned to really, really focus on the customer, look across business lines, et cetera. Growth engineers, obviously, we are a growth company. And so marketing has a core role to play, and an out-sized role to play in contributing to that growth. And the engineer part really comes through integrating what I would call the art of creative marketing with the science of analytical marketing, recognizing the very, very important component that things like data and analytics really drive through marketing.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so through that, we've also looked at so what do we need from a talent perspective? How do we think about really growing our colleagues in the places that we know are going to be hugely important for the future? And so it really has ... We're still in the process of defining in terms of what it means for every person who's in the marketing or the corporate and public affairs team so that everybody understands, "Okay, here's how I contribute to being a customer-led growth engineer." And so it's a really great though, I think, vision and aspiration that rallies the team, including on both sides of the border.

Jim Marous:
So given that, your involvement with the employees and all that, is this something that every employee pretty much embraces? And is that part of marketing's function to really get the employees engaged in what the vision of the overall organization is, and to participate in that?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah. I think you have to. I think it's really important, from your early questions around what are the trends? What are we seeing happen in the marketplace? So I think we very much always need to have an eye to the external marketplace. But aligning marketing to the business strategy, to the business growth objectives, is so important. And we just see ourselves, and our partners see marketing as being more and more of a growth driver.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
To your point, where we are doing different kinds of transactions, from a store perspective, marketing really plays a very large role in terms of from a digital perspective and looking at a customer level strategy. So we do, and we are, very aligned to the overall organization.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
On digital, I think it's interesting. We've seen that customers, during the pandemic, and is still taking places today, are spending upwards of seven-and-a-half hours on social channels and online every single day, outside of work. I don't know where they're getting the time, but that's extraordinary. And marketing just is the part of the organization that actually interacts with those customers when they're not on our own channels. And so there is a really unique opportunity that marketing has to partner with the businesses and make sure that we're really driving that customer experience from outside, in.

Jim Marous:
So I'm going to stay on the employees for a second because that really interests me that you have all these employees, many of them legacy Commerce Bank and long-time TD Bank employees, that really were very focused on the branch experience, and still are. How do you transform them to have them realize that they're also going to be part of the digital experience? That they're still going to be needed to fulfill the obligations as a multi-channel consumer, but also, if I'm only a digital consumer, that doesn't mean that I'm not hearing from TD Bank? So how do you help to make it so these employees do not feel that they're at risk because of what's going on in the digital world?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
I think it's an and. And that's absolutely what we talk to our colleagues about, whether they're in marketing or they're store employees. And a lot of times, actually, our customers will come in to our stores to learn more about what they can do from a digital perspective. So it's been an enormous focus of ours to make sure that people are digitally literate, they know how to help people get online, that we actually have easy content for them to access online.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
One of the things that we did, probably two years ago, was we really looked at what we call digital IQ. And so we have these programs that really help all of our marketers and beyond stay current and understand the foundational capabilities that are required for digital. So we first built this, and it was a probably five or six series digital IQ set of sessions. And we ultimately took our leadership, right up to the CEO of the company, and all of his directory ports, through what we call digital IQ.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So they are all familiar with how you do bidding, and auctions, and all those sorts of things that actually drive people to TD. And so we've now got a passionate group of leaders and colleagues around the organization who often come to us and say, "What are you seeing in my market? What's happening? What kind of search? How are people searching? What are they searching for?" And we do know that when you look across Maine to Florida in our footprint, those things can differ. Our competitive set can differ. And so it really is important that everybody understands the digital shift that we have seen and will continue to see around our environment for financial services and elsewhere.

Jim Marous:
So in some of my recent podcasts, I've questioned whether loyalty, as we normally defined it in banking based on accounts or balances, or even transactions, maybe is now fleeting. That the consumer now is dividing up their relationships. They're going to digital banks, to big tech organizations that provide financial services, and that really the consumer doesn't necessarily have to close their account for them to fracture the relationship. How do we as financial institutions then work to hold on to that consumer and how do we build bigger and better engagement models that really move them and say, "You know what? It's not just about the balances or number of accounts, but it's really how often do you rely on me when you're going to your mobile phone?" Or something along that nature. What is your perspective on that as an organization, but also yourself?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Let me answer the question from my perspective. Firstly, I don't see loyalty as dead at all. And in fact, I think in light of more choice and higher consumer expectations, companies actually just have to work harder to earn it and to retain it. In financial services, I think in particular, we know that trust is a really key driver of loyalty. Consumers are trusting us with their money. They're trusting us with their aspirations for the future. They're trusting us on keeping their family in good stead, et cetera. So trust is just such a key part of loyalty for TD and for our industry.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And I think because of that, it's inherently personal, and it can be quite emotional for people. They want to know, as you said, that their bank has their back, and is there to be on the other end of the phone, or to be there if they decide they need to go to a store if they need it. I think our CEO, often you'll hear him say, "TD is not in the business of selling a mortgage, or signing one more checking account. We're actually in the business of helping people become homeowners, and enabling them to meet their goals."

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So for that reason, I think brand is intensely important, and particularly with so many banks in the US, competition is fierce, and it is our unexpectedly human brand that really makes us stand out. When we first set out to launch that brand a couple of years ago, this was pre my time, the head of marketing did some research and found out that 74% of consumers felt that their banking relationship was purely transactional. And so TD's really set a challenge. And we want to challenge that perception.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so we've always been the bank that really prides ourselves on being different from the other banks, and to really redefine banking by creating those connections with our customers, and to your point, in our communities where we continue to be very present locally, and deeply believe in kind of having that local connection.

Jim Marous:
You talk about that local presence and all that. And one thing that always really made me look at TD Bank was you really worked as an organization to build an emotional connection with customers, more than just a transactional engagement, or more than just doing what shows up on the financial reports on an annual basis about here's how we're committed to the community. Can you describe some of the examples of how TD Bank has really built an emotional tie so that customers know they're working with an organization that not only can they trust, but maybe you're seeing things the way they are?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, I think probably one of our best examples, and firstly thank you for that. That is really what we aim to do. So that's something that just is part of our overall culture, to be thinking about the person who is at the end of any transaction that we do. And one of the best examples is what we call TD Thanks You. And I'm not sure if you've seen that. I wouldn't even call it a campaign, but it's a program that we do annually.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
I think this must be our fifth year of doing it. And what we do is really highlight and celebrate our customers who we know personally and who have really entrusted us with their business. And typically, what we do is look for someone who's been doing something extraordinary. So this year, our program is all around people who have been having a positive impact on their communities, and not looking for any real kudos from anyone, but really just doing it because it's just so inherent to what they do.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So whether it's bringing music to a community, or those kinds of things, or helping young people figure out how they can also build careers, we have so many amazing stories. And we have so many amazing customers. And we do think it's our partnership with those customers that's really making the difference in communities. So we're constantly looking for how we do that in new and different ways.

Jim Marous:
And you use social media quite effectively and these kind of programs to really make it so your customers realize that you're recognizing individuals. I mean, I remember, it was many years ago, some things you did around the holidays, some surprising light, the dream ATMs is the only thing I can remember, and the fact that you made people's dreams come true. And I think that the thing that was most interesting about this is that you promoted the fact that you were doing this, and you made it so customers felt good about what TD Bank was doing in the marketplace for individuals, as you mentioned, more than just those flash and dash donations, which are very easy. But really, these micro-engagement things that made it so that customers felt good about working with TD Bank, correct?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, it's interesting, the one that you mentioned, when we used the ATM to deliver surprise and delights. That was part of TD Thanks You. And at the very beginning of it, I still get emails from people who I know around the world who will come to me and say, "Hey, I saw this program through social." And they think it may have just happened. And so we've continued to do that five, six years on. And it's something that gives our colleagues just a ton of ... It gives them a ton of pride knowing the difference that we make in customers' lives, and it ties to things like volunteerism that is really important for our colleagues, and has suffered a little bit in terms of us being able just to take groups of people out and go into the communities. And so we've continued to seek ways that we can do volunteerism through our sponsorship partners and those sorts of things. So another challenge with the pandemic, but we found ways around it, and we can't wait though to get back to where we can bring all our colleagues together and do great volunteering outings.

Jim Marous:
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Jim Marous:
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Jim Marous:
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Jim Marous:
Welcome back. I'm joined today by Tyrrell Schmidt, US chief marketing officer at TD Bank. We have been discussing her role in the marketing function at TD Bank, but more importantly, TD Bank's role in the community, with their employees, and the emotional connection they make with all their constituencies. Tyrrell, as the pandemic took hold, not only did consumers jump to digital out of necessity, but their awareness of social issues such as Black Lives Matter, gender equity, global warming, et cetera, and the desire for empathy from the financial institution increased. What has TD done to address these needs?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah. Firstly, let me just say that I can appreciate the saw. We went through a lot of construction ourselves, I think along with the rest of the world who has been through renovations, so appreciate that very much. So absolutely. I think I touched on it a little bit earlier, but brand purpose and how organizations authentically show up has become more important than ever. It's no longer a differentiator. I used to look at companies and say, "That is a great example of a purpose driven company." And it now is something that we all have to do.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
I've seen some statistics, 65% I think of consumers say how brands behave now will have a huge impact on what they'll buy in the future. And internally, we attract and retain employees based on our purpose. And the other thing that I would say that I've seen is a real shift is just how those two things work together. So at the very beginning of the pandemic, our customers were more worried about how we treated our colleagues than they were about how we treated them.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
We did a lot of ... We really stayed in touch with the insights early on to understand what was at the top of our customers' minds, what was at the top of our colleagues' minds. And as we went through the whole health and safety protocols, if people say anything that they felt uncomfortable with, they would kind of call it out. So I think those two things working together really, really matters. And it's an opportunity for us to differentiate and to create those emotional connections.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
A couple of things that I would say that we did, firstly, I think just recognizing that during this time, and this continues, we've had to demonstrate how we're there authentically for our customers. So our customers, and take small business, I think they're probably one of the best examples. We all know how challenging this time has been for our small businesses. So TD very quickly got into the payroll protection program, and we ultimately did close to 100,000 loans. And we really focused on the small businesses. And so our average loan size was smaller than the majority, yet we became one of the largest payroll protection providers in the category.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so small businesses were desperate to say, "Help me through this time." And we continue to find ways to work with our small businesses, even if it's doing something like ... We've sent re-opening kits to our small businesses just as a bit of a surprise and delight because back to how we show up in the community, that really matters. We wanted them to know that we were there for them.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
We also put out ... We did programs to tell our customers how important it was to support their local small businesses. So it really extends from both the financial aspect and making sure that we're there for them that way, but also just demonstrating how we show up with our partners and our small businesses and our customers in the community.

Jim Marous:
So it's interesting. I spent in my career, before this life, I spent about five years in Toronto, three days a week, every week of the year, working with a financial institution up in Toronto. And one thing that became very apparent is in Canada, you have a very narrow set of financial institutions, certainly compared to the US. You're under an intense microscope from the public, and I was amazing by the fact that I always looked forward to the quarterly reports and the annual reports, because in the United States, usually if banks did very well, everybody was very happy for them.

Jim Marous:
In Canada, if the banks did very well, they became somewhat the enemy because there's a much more astute awareness of the role of banking in the community and as far as the global aspect of how banking can perform. It's my understanding that TD Bank has done some things with regard to the environment, and I'll be honest with you, I got to peel back a whole lot of layers to see where many financial institutions in the US are doing that. Can you explain a little bit what TD has done?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, two things. Firstly, let me address your first point, because one of the things that we did last year when we were seeing the unresolved issue of racism and the anti-Black racism movement is we went out and did research in both Canada and the US to understand the role of banks. And it was really interesting. And Canada, as you said, there are five really big banks, and there's an expectation. There's a very high expectation that they are going to be very at the forefront of resolving some of those societal issues.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
That differs a little bit in the US, I think to your point, because there are so many banks. In some cases, you have to find where a bank authentically plays a role in some of these issues, because sometimes, some consumers will say, "No, you shouldn't be there. But you should be here." And so we really need to understand consumer mindset, but also find those things that are authentically who we are, and demonstrate that we have concrete actions on how we're going to tackle societal issues within the organization and on behalf of our customers.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Back to the environment question, it's a great one. And I think one of the things that we are deeply focused on right now is ESG. And I think us, along with many companies, and I think it's becoming more of a consumer issue than even it was maybe a year ago. Every paper that you pick up and you see the fires, people are starting to say, "What are we doing? How are we going to address that?" So TD's been at the forefront. We've done tree days, all sorts of things that have just been part and parcel of recognizing that we play a role in a vibrant planet.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
But we are now looking to say how do we embed ESG into every strategy of the bank? So what we've recognized is that we don't want ESG to sit aside, or alongside our other strategies. We want when we're going out and we're creating a new product, or a new service, we want to make sure that we're embedding ESG into to. So it might be looking at how we're really driving financial and economic inclusion, or looking at who and how we lend to make sure that we're doing the right thing for the world at large.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
So it's definitely at the forefront of what we're doing. I would say generally, across kind of all of these areas, we've made a lot of progress at TD. We continue to focus on making progress, but we also recognize we have a long way to go, and it is the long game. But we do need to be able to show action today, but also set our vision for the future.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting because we see a lot more activity in the environmental aspects of it in Europe than we do in North America overall. It's a bigger focus. But I will say that the one thing that TD has done, and continues to do, is you do this with authenticity. It's not to make a great press release or a great financial statement at the end of the year to say, "We donated this much." It's a commitment. And as I've looked into not just what you've done in the environmental, but as you said, the social aspects and governance overall, the focus on that, and then being able to transcend the organization is an extraordinarily difficult but important component of making it all work.

Jim Marous:
A little bit of ... No, a pretty big pivot here. I recently interviewed Raja Rajamannar, the CMO of MasterCard and author of the book, Quantum Marketing. In our interview, he mentioned that traditional marketers are challenged more than ever to keep up with the massive change of how marketing is done, and the skills that are required. You're a career marketer. I mean, from the very beginning, you've been involved in some form of marketing or another at different levels of organizations and different types of organizations. As a career marketer, how do you keep up with the transformation of marketing?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Well firstly, I hire the best people [inaudible 00:38:53], most importantly. We talk a lot about, or I do anyway, what we call the T-shaped marketer. And there's something that I don't like, it's called the fat T-shaped marketer, which is really looking at why breadth across the marketing discipline, but also wide depth in a couple of areas. So for me, I've spent a lot of my career focused in areas around direct marketing, around brand. And so I would call those the depth.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
But I have to find people who have different skillsets, different capabilities, who come from different environments, so that I'm making sure that I'm both learning from them, but also leaning on them to really help drive the organization forward. As we talked about this digital IQ, and we do customer experience IQ, all of those things that really help us understand what it takes, what we need, where we need to be in order to be the best marketers that we can possibly be and staying ahead of the industry.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
I think also it's about working with external partners and not always just looking internally, but understanding deeply where you're positioned to those points. Are we distinctive? Are we differentiated? What are the trendlines that show that we're retaining those emotional connections? And so we always look to say do we have a gap? Do we still have that gap over our competitors where we aim to compete?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so we've just recently named, for example, David, who is an Ogilvy company is our agency of record in the US. And every time I talk to the head of Ogilvy North America, or the head of David, they say, "Get ready for us to push you." And if you look at some of their work, I know they do push, but they're going to push us to constantly be better and to be thinking that just status quo is not good enough.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so I think finding those partners who are on the journey with you is so important. And then there is to stay ahead, no shortage of great podcasts, like this one. And I'm a runner, so most every morning I listen to a podcast. I used to only listen to music, depends on how long my run is, how tough it is. But I love to listen to podcasts. I just find that that is an hour, or however much time I have to go out for a run, that I can dedicate to me and to my learning journey.

Jim Marous:
That's funny. It's surprising how many of my guests have come out of another organization's podcast that I listen to. Okay so, as a marketer, and being such an important component of TD Bank US and TD Bank overall, what keeps you up at night? What challenges are out there that really makes you think, "Geez, we got to get ahead of this one."

Tyrrell Schmidt:
I would tell you that in one word, and that is people. And particularly in today's day in age, where TD's always prided itself on having a really unique culture. And that is just harder and harder to maintain when we're all in front of screens all day. And so I spend really, I would say, an inordinate amount of time with my team, whether it's with my leaders, or whether it's talking about how we're ensuring that our people are growing, and learning, and thriving, and having flexibility, and doing all of the things that we know that people are looking for in today's environment.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so we spend time through communication. So during the pandemic, we put in place every other week, all-hands meetings. And we just talk about what's going on. We use things like Slido, which I find is a little bit of a mixed blessing. You can anonymously put anything in there, but frankly, it tells us what is on the minds of our colleagues. And so just staying in touch and really making sure that people are connecting with one another, having those emotional connections to the brand, to the company, to each other, is just at the forefront of my mind. But it is particularly in the talent environment and the war for talent environment that we find ourselves in now, making sure that we are really focused on our top talent, is number one to me.

Jim Marous:
Finally, and it's interesting, you've kind of hit upon it already. When you look at culture, when you look at people, it really, as much as anything else, also needs leadership. And what is interesting about TD Bank, and we talked about it before we even got on the podcast today, is that a number of foreign organizations, not overseas in your case, but organizations not based in the US, acquired US banks thinking that they could make a huge penetration into the United States. The reality is I don't think many of them still exist in that form.

Jim Marous:
Obviously, there's one with Bank of Montreal. But there's many European companies that came here, and actually Far East companies that came here, and it's been difficult. And a lot of it has to do with you need the leadership that can drive the process. And I'm going to do a little bit of a commercial for you here, that this is the one aspect that really hasn't changed in the years that I've known TD Bank, is that the leadership was willing to take chances on behalf of the customer, and the communities, and ranging from integrating, moving banks platform to your checking account platform, to doing the kind of things you do in the community. How important daily is having leadership that's willing to embrace the change that's really frightening many times, especially when you're high up in a big organization that's meant to make money? But also with regards to you taking risks and doing things maybe outside of the norm at times?

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Yeah, so change is the new norm. And so I would say we're constantly in a state of change, and really working with all of our colleagues, some of whom are very comfortable with that, others who are not as [inaudible 00:45:51] with change, to really understand what it means to navigate ambiguity, which inevitably comes with change, but also to be excited and enthused about change. I think it would be the death of any company right now. We've seen many examples in the past who didn't stay up with what was going on in the environment and what was going on in the category who aren't here any longer.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
And so you have to change. And with things changing so rapidly, it means more and more of it. And I think our leaders are very open to that. We're also very sensitive to the fact that you don't want so much change that you start to create risks in your environment. So I think we have a really healthy balance of looking at those two things.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Throughout this, and throughout everything that we've talked about, I think leadership is just so critical. And one of the things that we have prided ourselves on is creating a culture that we think of as being growth oriented, driving impact, and being a culture of care. And that latter point, while the word care can sound a little soft, it's been really important, and it's been really important to our colleagues to know that they have leaders who at the end of the day who authentically care about them, and also who demonstrate some vulnerability on their own part. I think in this environment, putting yourself out there and saying, "Hey, this is what's hard for me." My hard is very different than somebody else's challenge or difficulty, and you have to recognize that. But I think having authentic leaders who are willing to just be really forthcoming is going to be the key to the future in terms of leadership.

Jim Marous:
Tyrrell, thank you so much for being on the show today. I apologize for any of the hammering in the background, but really appreciate our conversation. Look forward to doing it again some time.

Tyrrell Schmidt:
Likewise. Thank you very much. I enjoyed it an awful lot, and I appreciate again your passion around our brand. That is our aim. And so that's just so terrific to hear. Very, very much appreciated.

Jim Marous:
Thank you for listening to Banking Transformed, rated a top-five banking podcast. We really appreciate the support you've given us since we started this endeavor. If you enjoyed what we're doing, please be sure to follow Banking Transformed on your favorite podcast app. In addition, please take 30 to 45 seconds to show some love in the form of a review. It really means the world to us. Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand, and check out the amazing research we're doing for the Digital Banking Report.

Jim Marous:
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake; audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman; and video producer, Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember, culture and loyalty is fleeting, with the consumer holding all the power. We must provide better brand value accordingly.

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