Lending Tree’s new marketing chief says customer experience is king
"It’s not just about the transactional value, but having an uplifting experience contributes to us having an affinity for an organization," says Shiv Singh, chief marketing and customer experience officer for LendingTree.
In January, LendingTree appointed Shiv Singh as their first Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer. Singh came to the company from The Expedia Group, where he was SVP and general manager. He’s also served as CMO for medical technology startup Eargo, and has also held high-level positions at Visa, PepsiCo and Razorfish.
CX is sometimes overlooked in marketing, so we were very interested in hearing about Singh’s approach to this new, combined role.
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Congratulations on your recent appointment, and how was the role of chief marketing and customer experience officer created at LendingTree?
Until the start of the pandemic, there was a CMO in place and CX was separate. When that CMO left, the business decided what was the right structure for the future. Doug the founder/CEO believes that a big part of the future of marketing is that it works effectively both in terms of revenue generation and performance on digital channels.
Why is the importance of CX in organizations on par with marketing overall?
We’re looking to make this a lean, mean and incredibly successful marketing team. On top of that, it’s about getting behind the brand more strongly and getting the entire customer experience to work for the brand effectively. We are in an age where, and I blame Google and Apple for this, where we as consumers expect enjoyable and delightful experiences. It’s not just about the transactional value, but having an uplifting experience contributes to us having an affinity for an organization.
In what ways does LendingTree make customer-centricity work for your audience, and how do you communicate that when engaging customers?
LendingTree has an incredible legacy around focusing on the customer. You used to have to physically run from one bank to another to compare rates. There had to be a better way. LendingTree had early success with the message, “When banks compete, you win.” It was about being on the side of Main Street. We have their personal finances and we can guide consumers to what financial products to use – they have someone on their side. The LendingTree business has grown much larger to include business loans, insurance products, solutions for students, but still very rooted in our DNA is that we’re on the side of the consumer, their ultimate advocate in a more complex finance world.
There’s so much noise in the financial services space, and even more broadly in culture. Layer on top of that the most polarized views in the history of our country. As a result of that, people don’t know who or what to trust. When I think about the opportunity at this stage in LendingTree’s history, we’re reminding consumers why we are the best company to be trusted with their finances. Finances are immensely personal, and we inform customers, educate and, in some ways, inspire [with the message that] when you take care of finances well, it’s a positive experience that can even change your view of life. We are reframing the role that personal finances play in our lives. We play to that higher purpose more than other brands.
To get that message out, we are the top display advertiser in the country and a top ten search advertiser. The business works incredibly effectively to acquire new customers and serve them. The team is doing an incredible job, and there’s more to do to push boundaries. I don’t know as much about TikTok as a third of my team. They’re better skilled at living in that world, engaging consumers around their finances. We also have a pretty sophisticated martech stack, whether analytics or our CRM or the adtech infrastructure. We’re constantly evaluating and assessing, with a renewed focus on CX and making all the channels work together.
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