Interview: Jessica Williams, Global Innovation Marketing & Analytics Leader At Visa

We speak to Jessica Williams ahead of her presentation at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit in Seattle


Social media's effect on digital marketing strategy is immense. Successfully maintaining a presence across different mediums has never been so important, and mobile-first and personalization strategies are set to dominate 2016. We spoke to Jessica Williams, Global Innovation Marketing & Analytics Leader at Visa, ahead of her presentation at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit in Seattle on May 24/25. 

How important do you think it is to personalize your marketing campaigns? 

I think this is one of the most important strategies of a really good marketing campaign. With the technology available today – personalized experiences for each consumer based on their engagement with our products and our owned channels are fairly easy to execute. We would be doing ourselves and our customers a disservice if we didn’t take all that information and provide them with the most customized journey we possibly can through our marketing campaigns.

Being present across all digital platforms can potentially lead to a dilution of brand message, how can you avoid this? 

I don’t know if I agree with this. I think you need to be where your customers are – and for Visa and many other brands your customers are across all digital platforms, and therefore, we need to be there. As long as we are speaking to our customers authentically and adding value I think brands do have a place across all digital mediums.

How has the way you use data and analytics developed your company’s marketing capabilities? 

It has really expanded our understanding of the consumer and had given us the opportunity to make decisions faster when optimizing our marketing efforts. We have brought on some new marketing technology platforms that allow us to have a single source of truth for our data and see all our data in one place. With this, we can see what is working and where we should be spending our money for the most efficient and effective marketing.

Whilst the rise of social media has created a huge number of opportunities for marketers, it can be a tricky area to navigate, can you identify a few key points for a successful social strategy? 

I cannot speak for every business but here are a few things that we strive for at Visa to ensure a successful social strategy:

  • Be human-centric and put our audiences at the heart of everything we do.
  • Be participatory and shift from broadcasting to listening, fostering engagement and collaboration.
  • Be remarkable - anything we do should lead, encourage and facilitate conversation.
  • Always have business objectives in mind. At Visa we have three main business objectives - Increasing brand equity, strengthening relationships and driving revenue. For any given social effort – we should be striving for all three – all the time
  • Social is an important piece in the success of our overall business –therefore we spent a lot of time mapping out the metrics that matter and standardizing a set of metrics across all of marketing that aligns with the goals of the organization.
  • With the same methodical approach we have to content, we also think about distribution. Every time a piece of content is created; we spend equal efforts thinking through and developing a distribution plan. Distribution can be accomplished through paid media, influencers or employee ambassadors. No matter the strategy -it is important to remember that if content is King … distribution is Queen.

Mobile-first seems to be the buzzword of 2016 so far, how are you developing your mobile marketing strategy? 

With the launch of Visa Checkout, our online payment platform, the entire marketing strategy started with mobile and was built out from there. Because Visa Checkout is a mobile-first product our marketing strategy had to align to that. Our content is short and sweet, so users will be able to consume it quicker and engage at a higher rate. Ad units leverage rich media, interstitials, and video because on a smaller screen, these units are more visible. Testing and analytics are also critical to our success. In the relatively new and unproven world of mobile advertising, they are more important than ever.

What other areas of marketing do you expect to see grow in 2016? 

I think programmatic and personalization are the two that I see the most growth in. We’ve aligned with a number of new agencies that are experts in programmatic digital buying and expect this part of our marketing to grow in 2016. We also are working on hyper-personalization of experiences for our customers. We have found that personalization of experiences brings down our acquisition and retention costs and increases conversion. We will be working with technology providers and partners that aid us in this hyper-personalized journey.

Want to hear more? Jessica will be joining the Innovation enterprise in Seattle this May for the Chief Marketing Officer Summit, register to attend today:

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