Brilliant Basics Edition Podcasts
Luis Tomassoni on the Future of Financial Services
Luis Tomassoni, Chief Marketing Officer at Geidea, discusses the future of financial services. The discussion covers customer centricity, evolution of marketing, fintechs and the role of CMO.
Hosted by Anand Verma, European Head of Digital Services for Infosys and Founder & CEO of Brilliant Basics, Infosys’ Design Studios
“The glue that connects marketing and product is the customer.”
- Luis Tomassoni
Luis shares his background
Luis talks about the evolution of financial services since he has started his career in the industry
Anand and Luis talk about fintechs
What has remained unchanged andwhat other things have changed because of customer pay share or customer demand or technology evolution?
What's Luis’ take on the role of data either in his current kind of experience and organization or the previous ones that he has worked with?
As a marketeer, how does Luis look at product and how does he also make sure that there is a close connection with marketing and product?
Luis shares his view on what post COVID-19 will bring to financial services and fintechs.
Will larger companies cooperate more with the fintechs, the most innovative companies given the acceleration is what's needed?
Luis has consistently played the senior management or the board level roles. When he goes with an idea to the board about digital marketing or data or investment in to customer, does he think they are ready to support all the time on those basis? Or are there any infusion or lack of digital literacy at the board level?
Luis talks about the role of CMO.
Does Luis see that relationship between a CTO and a CMO flourishing going forward, especially in the current role that he is playing, but also in future?
What's the most difficult part of Luis’ role as a CMO?
Luis gives recommendations to CEOs who want to make their brand and the product and amplification better and bigger.
Luis talks about Geidea.
Luis shares his favorite book
How can people find Luis online?
Luis Tomassoni: Anthropologists tell you that language drives culture. Right? And what are the first reports I saw in what are the companies where I was, they had acquisition and it was paid acquisition, and then it was free acquisition. And I just had a heart attack. I'm like, "What do you mean by free?" Yeah. It's not some PPC. It's coming in directly. And I'm like, "Well, how do you think that happens?" But how do you think people just magically land onto your website?
Luis Tomassoni: Thank you, Anand. Great to be here.
Anand Verma: So Louis, before we start the conversation, and we've got a number of areas to cover from financial services, fintechs to role of marketing and technology and many other areas, which I'm sure our listeners will enjoy listening to. You have a fantastic background and you're very well traveled professional. I'm pretty sure our audience will love to hear about who Luis is. What is some of the background in terms of the work that you have done and places that you've lived in as well? So, let's start with that a bit about yourself, and your kind of backstory if I may.
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah, sure. I guess, he summarized it quite well. My life has been traveling around. I've worked in Latin America, North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, as well as a lot in Asia in my most recent roles. My background is definitely, born and bred in banking and then evolved for many, many years on the product side, the sales segment and marketing side, and definitely, I guess, pivoting towards fintech in the last four to five years. Which is where the industry is going. So, it's been interesting to see how everything has evolved and to be part of this new wave of innovation and disruption on the fintech side.
Anand Verma: That's brilliant. And you're a global citizen clearly, right? So in terms of you've worked in many countries, any specific kind of stories or the countries that you loved to work in? Love to hear from you on them.
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah. I think each country and region has its own charm and challenges as well. Having worked in Europe for many years, it's quite a developed market and to see fintech actually really take off in Europe as opposed to, let's say North America, that has been quite interesting for me. You have a large incumbents. There's definitely a lot of knowledge, a lot of technology. And to see it come up in Europe has been exciting for me. The Middle East, for me has been more of a traditional banking, but now with Geidea, we're definitely seeing fintech and technology is starting to take off, especially in the GCC, with the lengths of Noon, Kareem and now Geidea, it's definitely a hot bed for disruption, and that's taken off.
Luis Tomassoni: My experience in Asia, specifically in China and having worked with Alibaba there, my experience has been the pace at which technology has taken in China, especially in the last five years and within the Alibaba Group and having worked there it's been astounding. So, you can definitely see how everything is. Especially technology has sort of started moving East to West, and seeing how that is developing and being able to be a part of that in different countries and in different regions has been absolutely phenomenal,
Anand Verma: What a varied experience, and I'm so looking forward to talking about some of these topics that you mentioned in your journey itself. One of the key pillars of our topic today, Luis, is the evolution of financial services industry, right? And there has been a tipping point, I would say, four or five years ago, financial services to tap into better way of engaging with customers. And now I believe there was a tipping point for fintechs in regards to how they're becoming mature in the market as well. What's your take on how financial services industry has evolved. And you've worked in both retail, wealth management, as well as on the payment side. So just kind of a few things that you're seeing, or you've seen in terms of the evolution of financial services since you've been working in the industry itself.
Luis Tomassoni: In terms of technology, it's been interesting, and having worked in traditional banks, like Citibank and large incumbents, whether it's First Abu Dhabi Bank, I think the way they reacted to technology, I remember about 10 years ago, everyone was talking about smart branches, right? So, it was really pivoting around the same things, right? Trying to overlay technology to a traditional mindset. And I think it's been interesting that how in the past decades, most of the traditional banks have just either relaunched mobile banks, but based on legacy platforms, or just try to add technology to existing infrastructures or way of doing things. I think where fintech came in is they really understood the customer and the customer experience, and really revolutionized the way people interact with financial services. And I think that's where the main difference has been.
Anand Verma: Yeah. And I think you mentioned a really good point and I was talking to someone a few weeks ago about this concept of digitization or digitalization. And the two kind of very similar sounding words, but has different meanings to it. So what he was saying was digitizing is basically making something digital with regards to a process or efficiency. And I think that's where I think your point about smart branches is so interesting. Because I remember working on National Bank of Abu Dhabi in terms of we're looking at the future of branches. And then there is digitalization, which is where fintechs are coming in and they're completely re-imagining a new kind of marketplace, new ways of working. Would you agree with that though, that definition in terms of how you're seeing both sides of the spectrum?
Luis Tomassoni: It's exactly, as you're saying it, Anand. There's a huge difference between both, and one is definitely, re-imagining. And I guess if I had to put it crudely, if we look at one versus the other, one was digitizing existing processes and the way banks like to work. So it was more inward looking. So, how do we digitize this process that we do for ourselves? And fintech said, "Well, how do we digitize things that customers do?" That's a huge change in mindset, right? And I've seen it at first in London. And that's the essence of fintech, and how do they digitize everyday things? How do they make things intuitive and how do they plug themselves into the way people naturally do things versus trying to digitize the way companies do things.
Anand Verma: Absolutely. And I think this is where the fintechs are taking a step forward. And let's talk about some of the challenges the large financial institutions are also having, but they do have a large set of customers while fintechs are starting from scratch. And this question keeps coming to my mind, is there a hybrid model where both large companies, financial services companies will continue to serve customers and fintechs will also continue to create the disruption through the innovative thinking. Do you see a kind of a joint model between large financial services companies and fintechs working together? And this is an age of debate in terms of will fintechs disrupt large banks or financial institutions, or financial institutions will basically swallow fintechs in terms of solving the innovation problem. So, what's your take on this, given your personal experience?
Luis Tomassoni: Well, I mean, there's a whole element probably that is outside of the scope of probably the chat that we're going to have and definitely more complicated, which is the whole regulatory side of this. And regulation does have a big role to play in terms of how much fintech is able to do. If we look at AN Financial and the huge ecosystem that they built, they definitely circumvented a lot of the regulation, they've been able to get support to do a lot of the great things that they have done. I think regulation will definitely have a huge, or is a huge determinate in terms of how much fintechs will partner with financial institutions. And if they have, or how much of that cake they can take for themselves. And that's really up to the regulators, but in the meantime, I do see a huge opportunity to collaborate.
Luis Tomassoni: And I think we're seeing that if we look at five years ago, we see the big banks actually taking investment stakes in fintechs. BBVA, Santander, and a lot of the big players, Goldman Sachs are actually making investments from an investor point of view, but they've yet to really partner and see to how that's going to happen. So I think the regulatory environment needs to, I guess, catch up with technology and make the regulators comfortable that, "Yes, we can make payments through WhatsApp. Yes, Facebook can launch a currency and nonfinancial institutions can give out loans."
Anand Verma: Got it. So, I think what I'm hearing from you is financial institution side, incredibly complex organizations, they're not just focusing on one thing, it's a multifaceted stuff, including compliance regulations, being a core to that. While fintech startups are focusing on some clear customer problem statements in solving that really well and ensuring that that kind of leads to a growth of that fintech in other areas later on in the process. So, it looks like there is a coexistence of the both of these kind of organizations will continue to evolve
Luis Tomassoni: That's 100% right, Anand. I mean, clearly we see banks like Revolut than 26 months old. These are the posit based banks with great platforms, great user experience. But eventually, if they're going to be profitable, and that's the other question for fintech is how do they build that commercial model and how do they build that maturity? I mean, we know Revolut has gone through a lot of growing pains on the compliance side. Most recently we've seen what's going on with Wirecard. So, all of these things sort of makes you say, "Darn, it couldn't have come in the worse time." We're taking off and now the banks will surely say, "I told so, these guys can't be trusted." So, I think it's with disruption, we'll get these hiccups, but I think credibility is still strong in fintech. I don't think it's undermined. And I think this is a bump in the road. People will be cautious and the wave will continue.
Anand Verma: Superb. And I think that's a nice segue to kind of move into core of our topic, which also relates to the role that you have been performing in the leadership in the board positions for last years is the marketing in financial services organizations. And you must have seen a massive change in terms of how marketing has evolved. And we'll talk more about innovation and product and marketing, just to kind of set the scene. Luis, while financial services companies have evolved, marketing has also evolved dramatically. So, just some kind of points from your side in terms of how you've seen the evolution and what has remained unchanged and other things have changed because of customer pay share or customer demand or technology evolution?
Luis Tomassoni: Well, I think the whole martech side of things has really taken off. I really don't think the principles of marketing from a strategic point of view having changed. I just think technology is facilitating and coming in to fill a lot of the gaps. And some clear examples are definitely digital marketing is a big one, whereas, maybe 10, 15 years ago, it wasn't that developed. The ability to personalize and market in real time has definitely been a huge advancement in marketing, marketing automation. All of the, whether you're talking about Eloqua or Salesforce is a big one, but also the evolution of the CML as more of a technology type of profile. So before marketeers were relegated to outdoor, radio, brochures and creative, and now it's more about how is marketing plugging into, because in order to do marketing, how do you plug into all of the data? So, you're talking about data, you're talking about analytics platforms and customer journey and really following the customer through that journey. So, it's become a lot more data driven and a lot more technology and UX experience for sure.
Anand Verma: And do you write about the marketing principles of the same while the center of gravity has become, first it became more digital from digital marketing perspective, and now it has become digital and data and technology kind of combined together. And we have seen a lot of research and it's proven. People used to, before kind of talk about, should we put some money on digital, but now they're saying, "Until we put some money on outdoor," for example. So, the center of gravity is completely changed and this will continue to digital marketing, will continue to outperform the conventional marketing strategies. Now, one of the things that we are seeing is the role of data in marketing and you and I always talk about this. Role of data in marketing. And when we data, it's a basically thread that goes across from acquisition to service off the customers. What's your take on the role of data either in your current kind of experience and organization or the previous ones that you've worked with?
Luis Tomassoni: The role of that is huge because if you just take what are the examples that I worked with was as a marketeer, fine. The typical thing is, well now with digital marketing, you can actually calculate ROI and follow conversion. So, let's assume when you look at the data, you're able to follow conversion at all points from click to onboarding, from onboarding to sale, from sale to activation, and then from activation to deepening and cross sell and referral and loyalty. What that means is your ROI now starts to depend, and it goes back to what I was saying, where the CMO now needs to look at customer experience and needs to know what technology is to be able to interpret what are all of those inflection points in that funnel mean? And how do you maximize conversion at every point in time?
Luis Tomassoni: And I'll just give you an example, a place where I worked before, we had a, let's say cost per click of two pounds per client. In the end, when I calculated my cost per acquisition and ended up it 800, how do you get from $2 to 800? Well, it's conversion. If I were to convert 100% percent of the people that click, would be $2? Obviously, I don't. Actually, it was pretty interesting because, and I presented to the board and I didn't make too many friends that day. And I was able to convince them that my CPA was $2 and I assigned a cost to each of the different departments. So, what is compliance contributing to that 800? The fact that we were not able to do a proper KYC in three days, or we were rejecting was costing the company 200 pounds per client.
Luis Tomassoni: So, when you break the cost per acquisition and each of the points of the funnel, and you need to have proper data and you need to have proper analytics, you're able to assign a cost of compliance. So I said, "Look, my cost per acquisition is two pounds. And not having a proper website or a proper onboarding is costing you 100. And I was able to rack up and do a full audit of how do I get from an initial $2 per click to an 800 CPA. So yes, data plays a huge role, a marketeer, a CML nowadays, it needs to be very wary of where that loss in value and what are the friction points are because they are translated into dollars.
Anand Verma: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that brings me to the quote that I read is about the product. And product and marketing are now working much more closely together. And this has been proven by the startups where they build the product first and then they market, right. And some of the companies markets us, and then they build the product, and what we have seen as this kind of customer anticipation gap in terms of what you market versus how customer experienced their product. And sometimes they don't meet up with the marketing promises for example. And you have been, and I'm not just saying it, but I really think that you have been a proponent of a marketeer, but also you've been proponent of great products. And I think bringing those two together, and that's where data plays a major role in connecting the promises with the amplification of the marketing messages.
Anand Verma: And this quote came from Brian Chesky, he's a co founder and CEO of Airbnb. He said, "Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like." I know that this is very close to your heart. You have joined organization through fintech companies in last four years. You must have joined those companies on the basis of the product promise, the vision, the articulation of where this is going. And of course you bringing this expertise of marketing and taking the product to a completely new level. So, I just wanted your views on, as a marketeer, how do you look at product and how do you also make sure that there is a close connection with marketing and product of course?
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah. I think the glue that connects marketing and product is the customer, essentially. And that's probably where if both people are looking at the same focal point, then you're bound to be successful. And my experience in some companies is yes, they do. They develop products in silos and they need to go back and test what that pain point is. And for me, it's about looking at the brand from a 360 point of view is looking at what your reputation is, right? So, it's not just developing a product, but it's about knowing four key pillars.
Luis Tomassoni: And everywhere I've been, I've sort of done the same analysis through a marketing performance agency. And I look at four things. I look at what is the perception of the company in the market? What is the perception of the product in the market? What is the perception of the marketing and how do these fit against the competition? So, you need to look at things in a very holistic way. And once you know that, and once you know your customer pain points, you can easily determine where is it that you need to innovate? What is that inflection point? What's going to take you from, like I said, product I like to a product that I love.
Anand Verma: Stay with us. Once again, you're listening to the Knowledge Institute, the Brilliant Basics Edition. Today, we are talking about the future of financial services. We're talking about customer centricity, evolution of marketing, and of course, fintechs. I'm so glad to be here with Luis Tomassoni, who's the Chief Marketing Officer at Geidea, who's joined us today to discuss these topics. Luis, I think this will go against your name, which is amazing quote from you just before this break was, "The glue that connects marketing and product is the customer." And I love it. And I think maybe we should name this podcast to be that because we're all about customer.
Anand Verma: And customer is what makes businesses successful. Shifting gear a little bit towards current situation we are in with COVID-19, and how this is impacting, not just financial services, but also the company that you're working at right now. Do you have a point of view in terms of, I'm just kind have giving some thoughts from my side, that people are actually working from home. They're not able to go out. Most of the banking is happening digitally. I think a lot of acceleration will happen with the digital investment now than ever before. Do you have a view on what post COVID-19 will bring to financial services, especially fintechs as well?
Luis Tomassoni: I think it's, again, driven by the customers. And I can see in most markets, I think many businesses have been vastly caught off guard to this. I think it's going to change the level, the playing field. For Geidea specifically, a lot of our customers didn't have payment gateways, so they were unable to actually sell online. They just weren't prepared for it. Whereas, the businesses that were able to take payments and do E-invoicing and have that payment gateway have been able to sort of keep themselves afloat. So, definitely, it's changing the game in terms of, from both ends, I think I can tell you as a consumer, it's changing the way we are consuming post COVID-19, the emergence of cloud kitchens. People are discovering the beauty of eating in their garden. They realize that maybe they don't need to go to a restaurant. And so there's a lot of restaurants that are adapting to that. So, I think habits are changing and definitely merchants are rethinking their business models to accommodate for the change in consumer behavior.
Anand Verma: And do you think that larger companies will cooperate more with the fintechs, the most innovative companies given the acceleration is what's needed?
Luis Tomassoni: I think so. With Geidea, one of the things that we're doing is we are actually partnering up with the banks and I'll give you one example, in the SME sector, banks have traditionally provided the POS terminals to the merchants. And basically, it's for those of who are listening, who don't know what are POS terminal, and so that huge brick that sits on the merchant table that you can swipe your card in, or you tap, or you key in you pin pad when you pay with an NFC or a card. Well, the banks have had this business for years, right. But they've not, and it goes back to what I was saying before, they sort of just thought about themselves, how do we take payments easier and collecting payments easier? Well, it's this brick. Well, is that all, enter square where they've gone to the other side, how can we make the customer's life easier?
Luis Tomassoni: And the development of EPOS software. So, it's not just about taking payment, but how can I manage your store through this? How can I integrate payments with store management at the same time and help you manage police software, inventory and profitability. And that's where Geidea is developing that 360 all in one solution that banks cannot provide. And we're partnering with banks to sort of take, because the reality is that SMEs or the small merchants are not profitable for banks. So to take these off their hands and be able to fill that void is a plus for them, it's a win, win situation.
Anand Verma: That's a great example. And I think that again comes from the leadership in these organizations as well. And some banks are quite ahead. Other banks are not, but fintech companies or any startup is born on the back of a problem statement or a customer opportunity. I'm just going to change the topic slightly because you've consistently played the senior management or the board level roles. when you go with an idea to them about digital marketing or data or investment in to customer, do you think they are ready to support all the time on those basis? Or are there any infusion or lack of digital literacy at the board level? And by the way, this is not pointing at a particular organization. This is just a general thing that sometimes we see in getting the traction that needs to be had in these kind of situations.
Luis Tomassoni: I think you bring up a very interesting point, and one of the things that hasn't changed and that has just been transferred from one place to another, with technology, Anand, has been attribution. So, before, people used to say, "Why invest in TV when I can do a door drop or a direct mailer? And I have it direct." It's that same principle, it just transfers over to digital. Why should I do content marketing? Right? Why should I put out and why should I invest millions in putting out great content out there where I don't see a return? So, there's a lot of education to be done at the board level in terms of digital marketing and the funnel does exist in digital as well. You have your top of the funnel, your content, your nurturing all the way down to the bottom of the funnel, which is your PPC.
Luis Tomassoni: So, it's educating them on the role of the different channels. Where are they in the funnel and that you can't do a last click attribution. In the end, you still have to look at the funnel as one piece, whether it's offline or online. So, when you're doing B2B marketing and in my experiences, some areas are harder for the board or the execs to digest when it's not direct attribution. And I'll give you an example. I had a heart attack in the place where I was before, and again, anthropologists tell you that language drives culture. And what are the first reports I saw and what are the companies where I was, they had acquisition and it was paid acquisition, and then it was free acquisition. And I just had a heart attack.
Luis Tomassoni: I'm like, "What do you mean by free?" Yeah, it's not some PPC. It's coming in directly. And I'm like, "Well, how do you think that happens? But how do you think people just magically land onto your website?" So, to change the mindset of things that are free, there's nothing free. Either it comes because you've invested in event, in content, in social, in influencer, everything eventually comes by either organic or inorganic, but there's an investment that is required to drive that. So, I think the education piece around what each of the digital channels do and the different direct and indirect approaches to measuring success is still ever present.
Anand Verma: That's a good one. And I think I'll take that away as well, nothing is free. There's always a price for something. And I think in this case, the price you pay is the digital education at the board level. I spoke to someone this morning, actually in Bahrain, and he was saying that a lot of family run businesses. I have this kind of culture of this is how we used to do it in our grand father era. They're like they don't want to kind of try out new things. And now because of COVID-19, they're like, "Oh my God, we have to slice off X percentage of a cost really quickly."
Anand Verma: But they're not thinking about what is a new way of working? What is a new way of generating value? How do you use automation, AI, data to make decisions? And I think what you're saying is basically education, especially as some of the family run businesses or family owned businesses as well is so important, especially in the current stage because the mode of survival. In terms of survival of not just the fittest, but survival of the fastest who can move in the current situation, the new normal.
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah. And now going back to the data issue in the education, I think as a CMO and from a technology point of view, it's really on our shoulders to educate the board. And it's important translate just like I did in the ROI example, similar. What is the cost? Can you quantify what is the cost of not doing, not investing in SEO? Is there a numerical value? Is there a value generated by optimizing the SEO and driving organic versus paid? And in the end, there is a value. There's a value in your quality score, there's a value in your search terms that you pay. So, if that's marketeers, we expect people to get it. And we just limit ourselves to, "You don't get it, and you have to trust me," it's not going to work. You really need to put this into a numerical or a value driven argument and show either a family owned businesses, why at manners, what is the value and be able to prove it and show it to them. And when that happens, I found they are very open.
Anand Verma: Absolutely. And I think that's where the sign is. And I think in a bizarre way, you can say that post COVID will be a much more kind of opportunity to be created for these businesses because they're forced to change. And sometimes you need that necessity to change as well, which is in a way quite positive. Luis, one thing we have seen, especially in a kind of management or the board structure is a CTO or CIO, chief information officer, or chief technology officer and chief marketing officer. That relationship is incredibly critical to make anything work really well. And this has been a hostile ground in the past with the large financial services or any kind of enterprise for that matter. Do you see that relationship between a CTO and a CMO flourishing going forward, especially in the current role that you're playing, but also in future?
Luis Tomassoni: They're intricately woven, Anand. That's interesting because we actually had a very interesting debate on the difference between UX and UI. And most people don't know the difference. And when you're getting to UI, you're getting into, like I said, is in the traditional financial services, you have product was apartment and very specific people designing loans and credit cards. You had technology just working off the backend separately, and you had marketing doing their brochures. They could easily co-exist without even talking to each other in years. Now, that's impossible because in fintech, technology is the product and UI is an integral part of that from a design point of view and married up with dependent on the UX. So, UX and UI are both coming to our head and that's when the CTO and the CMO, definitely need to join up, whether it's in terms of generating that seamless customer experience or making sure that the data is arriving at the right place at the right time.
Anand Verma: So, it's so true actually. There's still a long way to go for enterprises to operate like that, but we still see a lot of fiction and need for customer centricity from both the types of marketing and technology organizations rather than working together. And what I love about what you said was the customer is the glue, nothing else. And I think sometimes that get kind of missed out. Luis, in terms of what's the most difficult part of your role as a CMO?
Luis Tomassoni: Probably I spend a lot of my time getting through the technical part of creativity and educating the board because everyone will have an opinion, but there's a science to everything and it has to be based on customer feedback. So, the hardest part is building enough lead time to do the proper homework and build the proper foundations to get the right data and the right foundations to make creativity effective. And a lot of times create people start with the creative and that's the wrong approach. So, the hardest part for me is to reign in people's excitement for the creative and getting them to really focus on the customer and the customer analytics to get the right foundations upon which a proper creative strategy can be built.
Anand Verma: Got it. So, I think sometimes it's not just the ideas and creativity, but also mechanics to get them delivered, sometimes dealing with that internal processes or inertia could be challenging. Have I summarized that in the right way?
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes when creativity is based on emotions, then you're bound to get it wrong, and creativity is a science. And once I drive the teams and bring people on board, that journey becomes a lot easier because then you're discussing creativity or creative options or design options within already a predefined framework where people are tend to be in different. Then there's flexibility. But when you don't have those principles tied down, then creativity tends to become unhinged in it all over the place.
Anand Verma: Beautiful way to summarize that. And imagine, Luis, you're speaking to CEOs in front of you, and you're basically giving them some recommendations about navigating marketing and digital and data and marketing, creating value. What are some of the two or three things you will say to them about what they could be doing to make their brand and the product and amplification better and bigger?
Luis Tomassoni: Number one, listen to your customer. And it's a wealth of knowledge. Listen to your customer. This is the number one. Listen and know your customer. Know what their pains are, know what their basis are. And then you'll be able to develop the right solutions and the right products for them to be ready for change. Because listening to the customer will mean taking decisions that you may not have consider, or maybe going into certain territories that you didn't think of or making new terms on projects or products that you've gotten emotionally attached to. And that's the thing, do not be emotionally attached to anything. Listen to the customer. That's, that's the number one.
Anand Verma: Brilliant. Luis, thank you so much for your time. We are at the last segment of our show. Before we ask you about your favorite book that you might be reading currently, or you've read recently, and why, we kind of missed out who Geidea is. So, a little bit about who Geidea is, what do they do? Where are they based?
Luis Tomassoni: Geidea was founded about 10 years ago as a very small fintech in providing payment terminals to financial institutions. So, basically providing all of the digital hardware for payments. So, anything from the POS terminals in a shop to the kiosk or unintended terminals. When you go pay for your parking at the airport, where you tap or a vending machine, all the way down through to ATMs. It was started by Abdullah bin Faisal Al-Othman, which is a very young, energetic entrepreneur who started the company. About three, four years ago, we concluded our first round of funding through Abu Dhabi Capital, significant Investment and basically what they envisioned to make technology affordable, accessible and intuitive for everyone.
Luis Tomassoni: And with that came, the second wave of for today, which is to sort of leapfrog where we're from to go directly to the merchant to provide 360 solution for them, and just payment terminals, but store management in E-Commerce solutions. So, all in one. I mentioned instead of going to a bank and just getting a terminal with us, they will get E-Commerce solutions and iPaaS solutions to help them manage inventory, online sales, in payments, all in line.
Anand Verma: That's brilliant. Thank you, Luis. Somebody, Alexandra from PayPal said the major winners will be financial services company that embrace technology, and it seems that Geidea is a great example of that journey. A 10 year old company, changing, evolving, bringing marketing innovation product together is just fantastic. So thanks for sharing that, Luis. And and in terms of your favorite book and why you read it?
Luis Tomassoni: My favorite book has a lot to do with what I was before, and it's The House That Jack Built, and it's about Jack Ma. Where I was before we were acquired by Alibaba. And I had the honor of actually going to Hangzhou, and going to their headquarters being at the 20th anniversary, seeing Jack Ma last speech in front of 60,000 people. It was like a Superbowl party. It was amazing. And it's about his passion for the customer. It's a book that's not just about his life, but it's about a way of living, a way of thinking. Throughout this podcast, I guess, that theme has constantly come out. And it's interesting because you go to companies, and many companies where we were, I'll give you an example, our motto or internal communications used to be, "We're employees first, or employee centric." And shifting that mindset to customer centric was a huge culture shift.
Luis Tomassoni: And once you become customer centric and just changes everything, because if you're customer centric, then your vision, your mission, your value proposition are aligned. I practice yoga and they always say, "When you align your seven chakras, you reach that third eye." So, it's very similar. If you're customer centric, then your vision will be that, your mission will be that, your products will be that. And everyone is aligned. And reading the book and being at Geidea, we sort of are going through that same journey where we ask ourselves, "Is this achieving on vision?" And if it's not, don't do it.
Luis Tomassoni: And for example, we just realigned our strategy, is this making technology more intuitive? If it's not, don't do it. And if it's more accessible, don't do it. And if it's not affordable, don't do it. So, everyone is aligned to that, whether it's HR, whether it's finance, whether it's technology, CTO, marketing, everyone rallies around that customer. And it makes the conversation so much easier. So, it's a book that I haven't finished yet. It started, but it's definitely tied to the six values of Alibaba, and into his passion for customer excellence and bringing that customer centricity and everything everyone does.
Anand Verma: That's brilliant. So, what a great way to describe the whole theme of this conversation through a book as well. So, thank you for that, Luis. In terms of how can people find you online, Luis? Are you on social channels? Is there a way for people to find you online?
Luis Tomassoni: Yeah, they can reach me on LinkedIn. For those who are more brave on Instagram or Facebook. Twitter is on. Across all the channels, anyone who wants to reach out, conversations, share thoughts more than happy to help out.
Anand Verma: Brilliant. Love it. Thank you so much. And I'm going to repeat the quote again, "The glue that connects marketing and product is customer." And that's been the theme of our discussion today. Luis Tomassoni, CMO at Geidea. Luis, thank you for a really highly interesting discussion and your time. Really appreciate it.
Luis Tomassoni: Thank you, Anand. It's been a pleasure as always, and look forward to speaking again soon.
Anand Verma: Everyone, you have been listening to the Knowledge Institute, the Brilliant Basics Edition, where we talked about future of financial services today. You can find details on our show notes and transcripts at infosys.com/iki in our podcast section. Thanks to our producer, Yulia De Bari, and our helper and researcher Kate Daswani, and the entire Knowledge Institute and Brilliant Basic teams for making this podcast happen. Until next time, keep learning and keep sharing, and of course, stay safe.
Anand Verma: Love it. Thanks so much for your time. You can find more details on our show notes at infosys.com/iki in our podcast section. Annelore, Thomas, thank you for your time and a great discussion. Everyone, you're listening to the Brilliant Basics Edition of the Infosys Knowledge Institute where we talk about future work and digital disruption. Thanks to our lovely producer, Yulia De Bari and the entire Knowledge Institute and Brilliant Basics team. Until next time, keep learning and keep sharing.
About Luis Tomassoni
Luis is a Chief Marketing Officer at Geidea. He is a senior marketing executive with 20 years of cross functional and leadership experience in developing, directing, and implementing end to end B2C/B2B marketing, digital, and growth strategies for both global banks and fintech payment/FX companies.
- Connect with Luis LinkedIn
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