Tesco Bank is working in an agile way as it looks to tap into the strengths and resources of its parent company while defining its own brand identity, says its Head of Marketing.
Louise Mason previously worked in marketing in Tesco’s supermarket division for 10 years before moving to the bank in the midst of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and taking on the marketing head role.
Founded in 1997, Tesco Bank offers credit cards, loans, savings, insurance, gift cards and travel money. The bank is currently in the process of moving towards an “agile at scale” model, focused on organising the company around where the most value can be added for the customer.
As marketing chief, Louise’s role is in making sure that these value streams get the right kind of marketing capability.
“I step out of most of the day-to-day marketing because I should be developing my teams to make sure that they’ve got the skills to be able to autonomously deliver, make those decisions and ultimately make sure that they can “add value to customers at speed”.
She adds: “[Mark Ritson] argues marketers need to strive less for perfection because it’s better to get out there and continue to be salient than to be struggling over the most perfect comms. I’m not suggesting we want to put out bad comms, but I need to be developing my team so they can autonomously deliver, whilst also finding the balance of salience versus perfection.”
This frees Louise up to focus on the new and high impact areas where she can bring her experience to bear.
One such key area is defining what the Tesco Bank brand means.
Part of this conversation is how it can tap into the trust and scale of the supermarket, which is the UK market leader by a significant margin and has extremely high spontaneous awareness, as well as “enviable” owned channels.
“The challenge for Tesco Bank is actually getting Tesco customers to understand that we can help with their money needs as well.”
The centre of this will be ‘Every Little Helps’, which Louise wants to elevate more within the financial services space.
The cost of living has provided a focal point for this message. Both Tesco and the bank have been focused on their customers’ cost of living, and helping manage people’s expenditure around “food, fuel, phones and finances”.
Tesco’s role in this, Louise says, is to “help you spend less” and so afford “to do the things you want to do with your family or friends beyond the functional money relationship we have.”
The exact channels that will be used to bring this message to life are still under discussion, with work ongoing around defining the right channel mix. The goal is to build more of a full funnel alongside the brand’s traditional focus on conversion.
One of the advantages which Tesco Bank has is the ability to build Clubcard, Tesco’s popular loyalty scheme, into its own products and propositions. Clubcard also provides the marketers at Tesco Bank with access to a vast array of data on people’s spending habits.
This is Tesco Bank’s secret weapon in an industry usually divided between nimble and innovative fintechs and dull but dominant incumbents.
“There’s a real credibility for us in personalisation and helping customers with their money better than anyone else because we have all this data.
“How do [we] use that understanding, in a responsible way, to help deliver better and more personalised experiences for our customers?”