How PrimeCredit Looks to Compete Against Financial Giants

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Gearstd

When COVID-19 struck, consumers and businesses faced a credit crunch. It also offered a pivotal moment for companies like PrimeCredit, a leading financial management operator based in Hong Kong, offering unsecured loans and debt consolidation services.

“We are a medium-sized company with around 500 staff and currently have more than 200,000 active customers,” said Eric Fung, head of marketing at PrimeCredit.

PrimeCredit’s biggest weapon lies in its first-party data. With an operational history that stretches over 40 years, it was swimming in it. Yet, turning this voluminous data into profits was proving to be complicated.

Part of the reason is silo-ed operations. It created different viewpoints of a single customer, but never the full 360-degree views. Upselling and cross-selling opportunities became a struggle.

“The data was scattered in different departments. Most of the departments are quite silo-ed. So, we needed a tool that can stitch the customer data into a single point of view,” said Fung.

PrimeCredit chose Tealium as one of the partners for its long-term digital transformation. The transformation is looking to provide a more comprehensive view of each customer, allowing the company to maximize new opportunities.

The transformation also shored up PrimeCredit’s customer retention capabilities — an area that many companies overlook.

“All the marketing spend is focused primarily on the acquisition, and a lot of the time opportunities for upselling and cross-selling to existing customers get missed. And I think now more customers are focused on customer retention given the environment with COVID-19,” said Jonathan Airey, director of customer success for APJ at Tealium.

Architecting journeys

Tealium’s primary value proposition lies with its customer data platform (CDP). Airey described it as a service to “capture, correlate, and activate” customer data across multiple silos. The idea is to offer a single view of the customer that companies like PrimeCredit are seeking.

The approach is a step away from digital management platforms (DMPs). These platforms aggregate customer behavioral data — often involving first-party, second-party, and third-party data — to create taxonomies and build customer segments.

DMPs also extensively depend on third-party cookie synching, where a user’s ID from a demand-side platform (DSP) (and in some cases, a supply-side platform (SSP)) is mapped to it. Despite the difficulties, the architecture powers programmatic advertising, drives visitors, and accelerates lead generation.

It is also where the problem starts. The user ID does not mean an accurate identification of a person. And for a financial services company that operates in a highly-regulated environment, PrimeCredit has to be accurate when identifying the person while ensuring that his or her privacy is protected.

“More people are starting to realize why it’s so important having that deterministic persistent ID because of all the regulations coming into place like GDPR and CCPA, as well as all the restrictions that all the big tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook are putting into play to restrict people’s ability to leverage third-party cookies,” said Airey.  

PrimeCredit also did not want to use third-party data blending or look-alike modeling to enrich data. They already had a rich set of first-party data. The only problem is that this data was spread across all the departments. Tealium’s CDP offered the solution.  

Hidden entrepreneurs, crouching financiers

You can trace PrimeCredit’s journey that led to the deployment of Tealium’s AudienceStream CDP to their fintech ambitions a five years ago.

Then, the company started its fintech division at the behest of their visionary chief executive officer, Susanna Liew. The company explored technologies to improve marketing efficiency and build better customer journeys.

So, when it came to deploying Tealium, the company was focused on building the right customer journeys by tying the data from various systems. The idea is to identify customers in different parts of their lives and cross-sell financial products. And this was before the COVID-19 and the credit crunch.

“We deliver the ads or messages to them, and then they apply [for the product] once they get the message. If they drop off, we have automated follow-up actions to drive them to complete the applications. So, we are using so-called pre-defined automated journeys,” said Fung.

Executive sponsorship and strong support by the chief executive officer played a crucial role in driving the project forward. “We need to thank our CEO. She saw a great prospect for the company in future development and wanted to embrace digital transformation. This saw each department working hand in hand to make the project [a success] and drive more business to the whole company,” said Fung.

Airey noted that this level of senior stakeholder buy-in was crucial for such projects to be successful. “It’s so important to have senior stakeholder buy-in on the business side because we have to remember that going through this process is not a revolution but is more of an evolution of how we work and facilitate digital transformation.”

PrimeCredit was also launching new products. Two major ones were eKYC, which simplified the know-your-customer process online, and the virtual credit card that tied them to different online merchants. The success of these programs relied on the CDP to deliver the right messages to the right customers.

One major hurdle was that the compliance department wanted no customer data to be in the cloud. It is a challenge that Airey’s company was prepared to tackle.

“So, we are leveraging the data and not storing it in any particular spots. It’s highly regulated and very secure and safe for our customers, making sure that none of that data gets lost,” he explained.

For Fung, it helped them to consolidate and analyze the data without having to move them off the premises. It was one of the primary reasons why he and his team selected Tealium.

Looking for the elusive conversion

PrimeCredit has bold plans to architect ten journeys on Telium’s AudienceStream CDP. The data is consolidated in Tealium’s Customer Data Hub, which offers a single source of data truth. The Hub is powered by Tealium iQ that gives PrimeCredit full control of its customer data management. It also sits in an ecosystem of over 1,000 turnkey vendor integrations using tags and APIs.

The most significant benefit so far has been conversion — an area that is often steeped with controversy as online conversion rates are traditionally low.

Automation played a crucial role in garnering a better conversion rate. “This meant more time for us to think about how to enhance the journey and customer experience. It also saw our boss asking us to make more customer journeys,” quipped Fung.

This level of efficiency could not come any sooner. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Hong Kong’s banking regulator, is already granting virtual banking licenses. It is going to make the online financial services market very crowded.

Fung and his team are confident that their initiative with Tealium will provide a head start.

“Yes, it has become more competitive in Hong Kong because of the virtual banking licenses. But through automation, we can expand our bases in the right direction,” he added.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Gearstd