The state of omnichannel in financial services

Omnichannel Podcast Episode 38

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Noz Urbina and Robyn Eastlake discussed the current state of omnichannel in the financial services sector, emphasising its crucial role in meeting users’ needs and staying connected.

They talked about the challenges of creating a successful content strategy in the financial services industry, including balancing short-term goals with long-term thinking and leveraging AI in content design and automated experience design.

They also explored the potential of AI in content production while maintaining the value of human creativity.


What you’ll learn

  • Understanding Omnichannel Importance: Learn why omnichannel strategies are essential for engaging customers and maintaining connections in the financial sector
  • Implementing Omnichannel Successfully: Get practical tips for deploying effective omnichannel strategies that meet customer expectations in financial services
  • Balancing Goals in Content Strategy: Explore the challenges of aligning short-term targets with long-term goals in financial services content strategy
  • AI and Human Creativity in Content: Understand the role of AI and human creativity in content production, emphasizing a balanced approach
  • Leveraging AI for Better Experiences: Discover how AI can enhance customer interactions and personalize experiences beyond efficiency
  • Content’s Role in Digital Transformation: Discuss how content is pivotal in the digital transformation of financial institutions and drives customer engagement.

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Robyn Eastlake
Robyn Eastlake
Instapro Group
Noz Urbina
Noz Urbina
Urbina Consulting

Full session transcript



Noz Urbina /UC  

Hello, everybody. I am here today and I will be talking to a woman okay hello, everybody. Welcome to the episode. My name is Noz Urbina. I am your host, founder of Urbina Consulting and host the OmnichannelX Podcast. I’m here today with Robyn Eastlake. She is a very experienced content and experienced design leader. She has worked at the intersection of creativity commerciality technology, and her focus is on bringing together design product and engineering functions to build the kind of best in class omni channel experiences, teams and systems that are required by today’s brands. She has been working in the financial market for many years. I actually met her 15 ish years ago when one of our one of Urbina Consulting first clients ever major bank in the UK, which we had a long relationship with which where I had the pleasure of meeting Robin and understanding how skilled and clever that she really is. So her current focus is on printed design principles and is looking at AI and automated experience design, how to develop but the design principles for AI and for automation, so very, very interesting. Yeah, she talks about enterprise content management and CMS digital transformation, structured content strategy and content modeling, content design testing. Content architecture, design systems, content design systems, governance operations, so all the good stuff that we love to talk about at omnichannel x so this is gonna be a great episode we talk about the the finance market, which is something we haven’t talked about in in a while on the on the podcast, so we got to kind of get a state of the omnichannel world what’s happening with omnichannel and financial challenges in that space. How would you how would you get to success where has Robin seen success and and how, how they did those things differently. Also of course, AI and content, what are what are people doing right? What are people doing wrong? What are the opportunities there? And some tips on how you can get your initiative started. So I think you’re gonna find this episode very enjoyable. Let us know what you think in the comments. Get back to us. And without any further ado, I present Robyn Eastlake.

Robyn, do you want to introduce yourself to our audience and tell a little bit about yourself and some of the roles you’ve you’ve worked in?

Robyn Eastlake  08:34

Absolutely. So hi, everybody. I’m Robyn. I’ve worked in content strategy content design for probably about 15 years. And most of that time we’ve spent in banking and financial services within the UK. So whether that’s kind of retail banking, wealth, banking, looking at new propositions, how can we make the topic of money work better for our users? And how can we work with businesses to make sure that our content efforts are connected and omni channel and kind of meeting all the needs of the business houses? Well, I’ve spent a little bit of time in kind of SAS technology, as well as some startups and scale ups. But kind of financial services is probably probably my home ground. So it’s awesome to come and talk to you about it today.

Noz Urbina /UC  09:13

Excellent. Excellent. Yes, that’s actually where we met was working at me. Yes, when I was when I was consultant and your client back in the day in one of the big banks in the UK. So for those who don’t know my background, I lived here seven years in the UK and did quite a lot of work there. And that’s how I managed to meet a wonderful and interesting Robin. So Robin, you’ve been, you’ve been kind of in the OmniX community for a while. This is your first time on the podcast and so happy to have you. Give us to kind of set the stage here you’re one of our first not our not our first one of our first financial focused guests. So can you give us kind of your spiel of the state of omnichannel in in that sector in the financial market? I

Robyn Eastlake  10:02

think it’s always a bit mixed. The way I always kind of talk to people about it is that it’s, at some ways, a very, very broad space for content there. We’ll there’s loads of opportunity and lots to do. But there it’s also sort of pockets of brilliance. Content moves around a lot in financial services institutions, it tends to struggle to find a home. So I think what I have sort of experienced and observed is that content tends to get brought in for kind of big transformational stuff, or it sits right at the other end of Bau. Finding that spot in the middle can be pretty challenging. I think at the moment for trying to kind of create connected experiences. We’re in a phase where obviously we’ve had a pretty turbulent last few years. And financial services had to react really, really quickly. So much like you know, our colleagues in design and other areas we saw kind of huge boom, get content strategists and get content designers in we need to make sure that we can facilitate all the weird and wonderful new financial mechanisms that are going to need to support countries populations through just this kind of unprecedented set of challenges. What we now find ourselves in a couple of years down the road is that you have all of a sudden you’re an institution where you’ve got lots and lots of people. You have quite that you don’t have pressure in quite the same way. But we haven’t quite emerged in that either. I think we’ve gone through the, the sort of expansion and contraction I think we’re through the contraction bit now. But we’re probably still at a stage where Okay, now what do we do? We’ve all had this great experience that’s, you know, been weird and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. Now we’ve got a slightly new landscape for what our experience looks like our users interact with us in a different way. And our internal mechanisms look different. So now where do we go next? And I’m pretty sure some of the things that we’ll touch on when it comes to kind of AI automation, what that means for our business, the kinds of experiences we create especially as we see new audiences enter the market in terms of kind of Gen Z and the things that they want are pretty different. So I think there’s still a lot of opportunity, but I think it’s all quite tentative at the moment. I’m

Noz Urbina /UC  12:11

very interested in hearing well two things that really jumped out from from that for me are finding that sweet spot of no my organization hasn’t done isn’t leading digital transformation drive with content at the heart of it from the executive, but we’re also not the caboose kind of being a little bit the one of my consultants, Larry Swanson, and also a very well on podcaster in his own right. Says content has always been like, designs, designs poor cousin.

Robyn Eastlake  12:46


Noz Urbina /UC  12:48

You know, we’re just kind of like, Oh, we’ve got this whole experience we’re gonna do and there’s gonna be some words at some point. Maybe a video lucky. Yeah, if we’re lucky. So and then also the also the newer generations, you know, we don’t have a lot of people we haven’t had a lot of podcast talking to that and I think it’s, it’s really interesting to come up with a couple of art projects like how do you up your game or change the game for for the next generation of digital citizens? So, where, what what specifically do you see as the biggest challenges to going on omnichannel in that space?

Robyn Eastlake  13:26

I think there are probably a couple of challenges that that had been there for a while and probably aren’t likely to go away. So I think if you’re thinking about either coming into that space and people that already have experience working in financial services will I’m hoping will absolutely know hear this and and feel it in their bones. That you every business works to KPIs and goals and it can feel very short term and often we struggled as content strategists to ask people to think a little bit more medium to long term we’re asked them to think about investing for a period of time to be patient. Yes. Banking works in the same way but it works probably more like politics, the life cycles work in the kind of four to five years, right? So you have your CEO MD comes in. This is the stuff this is the direction, let’s go. You have your day to day churn, but you tend to have that kind of three to four or five year window to get something done. So that’s there’s a particular challenge around that when a lot of the goals are actually about loyalty. They’re actually about long term customer retention. It’s very expensive in that space. So really what the our customers Yeah, the quietness, in that space is incredibly extensive, and a huge amounts of effort get get kind of driven into that. But really to make that valuable, what you want the absolute kind of golden fleece of that is to bring somebody in in the they’re kind of as an entrant new entrant into that market. They’re 18. They’re 20 and you want to keep them you want to get into all of those life stages. You want to so trying to balance that we kind of have three to five years to do this thing. But actually, a lot of the metrics we’re after are far, far longer than that. It’s an interesting space to try to think about connecting parts of the business.

Noz Urbina /UC  15:11

That’s very interesting particular because, you know, we, we tout a lot, you know, our kind of our mission and what we call what we say omnichannel is about is about not know my one of my most hated phrases when we all got excited about saying we’re all publishers. Yeah, we’re just gonna put yourself out there. But relationship building Yeah, you’re using a number of channels to and you’re thinking about them across a journey to build a relationship and an HR omnichannel assessment is kind of for me figuring out are you a good relationship partner? Yeah. Yeah. What what are you bringing to the table in this relationship? You know, are you all about yourself? Are you do you know, do you are you a good listener? Do you do remember? Do you do you grow in these relationships? So I think that that’s, it sounds squishy, and it can lean into the most, you know, it can sort of startup sound like super superficial marketing stuff. Yeah, like brand thing, but it’s not. It’s really, it’s really asking the real question of how do we use all these channels to sustain a relationship over time?

Robyn Eastlake  16:24

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s, the challenge is always how do you remind everybody in the day to day that that’s the goal. You have your tend to have a setup where you have your manufacturing side of the business, so all of the people deciding lending policy and credit rating criteria and all of these kinds of things. And then you have your all of your distribution still pretty much is set up by Channel. They’re not usually pretty well connected. There’s an absolute willingness to understand that a connected customer experience is a huge differentiator in that space, where you have environments where interest rates are where they are, there isn’t a whole lot between the blue one and the green one and the purple one kind of is what it is making sure that that users feel valued. They feel valued over time, that they are safe, they’re protected, and that the things that are being served to them are appropriate to them. That is a hugely valuable space for businesses and they want they the the attention within a business that they pay to their competitors is far bigger than I’ve seen kind of elsewhere in other industries. It’s it’s just everything that you do. But reminding businesses that we’re in it for the longer term, and actually managing to get into a space where you can start to connect to that manufacturing part to the distribution part. Get just being able to spin those things up can be pretty tough.

Noz Urbina /UC  17:47

When you say manufacturing, do you mean content manufacturing? Or do you mean like product design and development?

Robyn Eastlake  17:53

It’s sort of the the sort of really traditional banking finance part of the business. That’s often what we will be tasked with if I think about some of the kind of big transformation projects we’ve looked at. Yes, we want to do all of our experience mapping. We want to understand the journey that users are on and the things that they feel and the way that they behave, but huge amounts of that discovery is trawling through absolutely loads of really, really, really dense policy really trying to get into the nuts and bolts of how does this mechanism actually work? If I want to the emotional resonance if I wanted to take out a mortgage because I want to buy a home to protect my family and secure my future. We can design for that. Understanding how you get from, we are an institution we’ve decided on this product and that product is going to be set up in these different ways and all of the thinking that went there, how we can connect all of that so that everybody feels like this is a valuable opportunity to go for. That’s the bit that can be challenging.

Noz Urbina /UC  18:49

Yeah. So that and that brings us back to your to what jumps out of your your kind of your first block of thoughts was it’s that middle ground of how do we bring content planning, alignment messaging architecture, what is what is the what is the value proposition of this product, in terms that the that the audience is going to resonate with the audience? What are the priority of those and how did that how do those messages need to play out across a journey? Having that upfront so that you know, that was the kind of the heart of the design of it 100 design movement needs we’re part of the design team. So we need to be there when you’re thinking about designing this product as early as possible. Having content part be part of that discussion, not content like okay, let’s write a blog post. But thinking about messaging architectures and thinking about matching the intended audience of the product with the messages that are going to make that product attractive and interesting and comprehensible to audiences.

Robyn Eastlake  19:57

Yeah, absolutely. You know, pretty common to everywhere is the sort of battle cry from content people, please bring us in earlier. Move across broken glass to please get into this product earlier. And that’s still true. I think we still fight those same battles. You still have the well, yes, we need to define the messaging but actually the core messaging of this proposition we’ve already done and dusted six months ago we just kind of didn’t tell you about it. So can you work out a way to present it so you absolutely still have the challenge of how do we get out of presentation layer and back into what are actually the kind of structural elements of this proposition that are do we actually understand what our users intent is? We have this data as a as a financial services institution. We all absolutely tons of it loads and loads of it. But are we realizing any value on that data? So I think one of the things when you’re in that space is, who do I find? Who are the people that have the keys to that data? What are they doing with it? And what other stories can it tell me that we’re not even looking at just Yeah. So

Noz Urbina /UC  20:58

I have found that the and I’m I get scared sometimes that our podcast listeners will be scared of me will be bored of me bringing this up, but I have found that the the journey is that thing that if we can. The way I’m gonna say it differently this time is rather than saying like, let’s do a journey map to figure out the content. Let’s look at the onboarding process, and kind of stealth stealthier content requirement, journey mapping into that, so I just want to look at you know, so you’ve got this product, what’s onboarding going to look like or what is what is evaluation look like? Or what is the comparison comparison process look like? And kind of just call it you know, process analysis just trying to understand all this brilliant product work you’ve done. And but and then that gives you something that they will be interested in discussing, but also kind of gives you the insights, you need to build a more robust content strategy underneath.

Robyn Eastlake  21:57

Yeah, absolutely. I think the piece around the the elements where we’ve kind of had success, but also the conversations that are really challenging to have and challenging from the perspective of why as a content strategist talking to you about this is often around, you know, so propensity modeling, what is the probability people that want to take this thing we still tend to divide our thinking into, here’s a whole bucket of people who are already our customers. We can give them some stuff, we can kind of upsell them, and that’s great and they’re having a nice time and we can iteratively improve the experience they have with us and sort of hope they don’t leave at the meantime. And then we’ve got a whole bunch of unknown people. We’re not really sure we kind of know there’s a market out there for this because they’re currently banking with another incumbent or challenger bank. That’s great. Really, it’s the bit in the middle. We’re talking about all the things that we know all the kinds of people like you modeling all of that stuff, all of that intent that sitting there in the consideration phase in the I kind of want to try out this this place because this is my money and I’m super emotional about it. So I’m not just going to move it around every two minutes because that’s scary. What are the things that are actually going to take me over into No, this is the right place for me. And one of the things that are going to frighten me off.

Noz Urbina /UC  23:11

So what do you feel has been successful? What in those in those instances because you’ve had, you’ve had a many splendored background with many different types of organizations, big and small. So what do you think the companies that had success? What did they do differently?

Robyn Eastlake  23:31

I gotta I gotta preface this with successes slightly cyclical. So I think we, I think a lot of things that faces that I’ve worked in have been those kinds of big transformational bits. So we tend to you’ve spent a year in the terrifying discovery phase and then there’s a sort of sharp and take a breath and I think goes live and as much as you’ve done your homework and you’ve mapped it all and you’re very confident there’s still a oh, goodness, this is gonna work. Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple of days where it happened. I think the difference there was in terms of how we spent everything that was really connecting with people it was really making sure that we absolutely from day one it stuck to our guns of we are doing structured adaptive content. We are going to build your content model we are going to embed that in the design system. There is no b that’s what we’re doing great. And I think well, yeah, that can feel pretty, that can feel pretty, pretty difficult. But the way that we kind of navigated that I think was that you don’t need to if you go in with this is all of the complicated stuff that we need to do to make things simple. You will get two reactions, you will get a couple of people that go on that’s amazing. And you’ll get a whole lot of people go That’s terrifying. We’re not doing that. That sounds expensive and challenging. So could we just build this website? Thank you very much. So probably keeping, there’s an element of keeping the complexity within the group of people that absolutely need to understand this complexity. And then much like we kind of have our Lego bricks really you’re kind of showing somebody this part showing another team, this part showing another team this part. So everybody is pulling in the same direction, but nobody is overwhelmed by kind of the big scary thing. So I think that made a huge difference in just being able to have the conversations to get stuff off the ground. When it came to actually kind of thinking about our audience’s intent and the things that they needed our content to do. Really, we have to obviously as content strategist, we want to make sure that we’re producing the right content that runs counter to this that I have a digital experience and it needs to say absolutely everything about my business it needs to do it. It is a broadcast channel. We’re still kind of in brochure wear world as much as we think we’re not we still are a bit we’ve got all this literature that sits in a branch and then we can also send you stuff in the post and then we’ll just PDF it all over the internet. There’s still a huge understanding that that’s the way that content is and that’s how experiences are built. So actually asking people to come with us and say, a huge perception. Yeah, exactly. This, this huge, huge idea that that’s how it works. That’s the model and it’s great. And really what we were trying to go after in this project was you have lots of traffic and lots of stuff. You don’t have the right traffic, it’s not doing anything there is no value content. So I think it’s projects that we did at Aviva and embedding a structured content model in our design system in our CMS and actually kind of in our teams to make that work. And then probably in pockets of the work that we’ve done in other places has really been about concentrating everybody’s mind on the value that content can add, not the volume that we add. So yeah, converting the right people. Yes,

Noz Urbina /UC  26:42

you’ve made a unit you you. Thank you, there’s a lot in there. But one of the one of my favorites is you alluded to the right traffic. You know that I and I remember this I’m not going to name names, but I remember working on this with with very, very, very big banks who weren’t just chasing the clicks. It was just get up in the morning. See who hit me and it was and that was it. You know, you got the hits. You got the hits, you did your job, bonus in the box. And that kind of thinking is so destructive for the long term. It’s

Robyn Eastlake  27:17

a wall territory it’s if we get our got you know, lots of girls are still always around. Get a billion people to this app, get a billion P get a billion hits to this thing. We’re not interested in million and we’re not interested in 500 million. We want a billion hits to this thing over however long and that will do because we know that a proportion of that we will find some business they will come with us and we will make some money. But it’s really, really expensive to do. It doesn’t create good experiences. And so I think that’s where you still end up with this kind of elasticity in sort of the size of teams and businesses appetite for content strategy because they see it as what’s what we’re going to do is going to come in and we’re just going to create more and more and more more stuff. And that’s great if they currently have one of their hit hit a billion clicks, metrics, but not if they’re thinking more that we need to differentiate ourselves and customer experience. How do we do that? That doesn’t? It’s difficult for them to understand where does content fit in? Both of those camps?

Noz Urbina /UC  28:12

Yes, yeah. No, it’s It’s difficult to change the mindset what what are we here to do? Are we are we here to get attention? And it creates a vicious cycle because if you have this chasing the wrong metrics, you can throw good money after bad and spend quite a lot and then go people go, Oh, well, you know, content. Me, because last time I read last time we really invested in last time we tried to throw a lot of content to the wall. It didn’t stick the way we would have liked and a lot of content people if they know what they’re doing are going yeah. Absolutely. That’s why we wanted to be more strategic with with how we did this. i You mentioned structured content, adaptive content. A lot of people and a lot of the OmnichannelX audience are hearing those words and trying to go there in terms of benefits. How would you articulate how the you said that that worked? Well at Aviva, how would you articulate that the benefits from that so that people can say not, as you said, we want to go in adaptive modelled because that is like it’s nonsense language to a lot of the stakeholders. So how would you articulate the benefits to try to how did you articulate the benefits to try to get that supported?

Robyn Eastlake  29:34

And that particular project in that place where it was really interesting, and I think this is probably something that that Compass has come across a lot. You go into business, because the business is bought the thing, we bought this piece of kit, and it’s going to be like Field of Dreams. And we are going to embed this new tool and it’s going to magically solve all of our problems and we’re going to make personalized contextualized content. It’s going to be super relevant. And they get stuck. There’s often a kind of dream everybody gets sold of you are going to be authoring content on an iPad or via Alexa and it’s going to be amazing. without really thinking about you know, we don’t really have the infrastructure to support this thing. We don’t have the content structures to support this. We don’t have teams in place to create it who are thinking about content as an asset is still thinking about pages and you know, very kind of confined experiences. We don’t have understanding within our design teams that can support that at scale. And technology don’t know who we are, who are these people and why have they come to knock on my door. So that particular piece was really about saying if this is your goal, if this is about you want to reduce what you have, because I think we started that project with I think it was sort of day one, you turn up and they said we’ve got we’ve got a million pages and we don’t have a CMS and we don’t really know what there is. Good luck. And then you feel a bit sick and you have a little cry, and then you go okay, what are we going to do? So once we kind of had a fair assessment of actually kind of what do we have lots of digging and back end work of actually what does this experience look like? Because no one’s really sure. Then it’s about if your goal is really about personalized and contextual and you don’t want to hire 600 content people to try and operationalize this thing, then we have to change the way that we think about content to start with. We’re going to have to take a little bit of ownership away from some people who have felt very comfortable with this is my product vertical and this is my content and this is what I’m going to do and ask people to really put themselves in a customer experience. Ask them to think a little bit more about embedding those goals around contextualization within their department KPIs and ask us to trust you know, ask them to trust us a little bit. So to be able to do that we took the business’s goal was always take the highest value piece of content and state that we have. That’s where we’re going to start. And we’re going to hope for the best. We had to please don’t do that. Let’s take a really small area where we’re not going to cause a lot of trouble. We’ve looked at our content model. We’ve looked at our content types. We believe that if we do this experiment over here, we would be fine, but we just show it incrementally. People need to see they needed to see success fast and how you define that is interesting, but making sure that you feel calm with the idea that it’s going to some experience is going to go live it’s going to crash on day one that’s just going to happen because you’ve changed everything and everyone’s gone. We don’t like it’s terrifying because we’re thinking new design language, new content, new absolutely everything. But showing that everybody says it but it’s true. Unfortunately showing that success small trust you and then you can kind of start to roll the machine out to other areas of the business. But yeah, getting to that point. That’s the difficult bit. Once you’ve got one out the way then you’re okay.

Noz Urbina /UC  32:50

Yes. Yeah, I cannot echo enough how that pressure is there. too. Okay, well, let’s take the crown jewels, experiment on them publicly. And you’re just going no, that’s exactly where we don’t want to be doing our initial experiments on on truly innovative processes and new ways of working. It can be very it can be very frustrating like no, we want to invest first, in this place where it isn’t where we’re making all our money. It isn’t where we’re getting all the traffic and ring fencing something safe an actual build and test approach and kind of getting that we’d like to say, treat content as a product. Absolutely. And so like getting to a build and test mentality where this is a safe place for us to have a beta. We’re gonna we’re gonna do a public beta. And then we’re gonna get feedback and then we’re going to assess that. Then we’re going to you know, try to do something a bit more 1.0 ish. And that, I think that’s really great advice. Thank you. Okay, so we’re, we’re in the homestretch now. So I really want to, I guess I haven’t I’ve been working a lot in pharma lately, kind of healthcare and that’s those kind of things. So I haven’t been on a farmer and a finance project and while finance content AI what have you seen thoughts to share any experiences anyone doing anything interesting. This for me, it was I remember back when we met when we were working together at the bank. That was we were talking AI then. And you know, people always think that AI was invented, you know, 24 months ago. And Neil were talking about how to how do we optimize a chatbot? How do we prepare content for AI? And algorithms? What’s what’s the current state?

Robyn Eastlake  34:50

I keep I sort of, I think over the last sort of six months or so I kind of sway wildly between very optimistic and this is a big fight. What are we going to do? And I think that will probably stay that way for a little while. I think within there are there are certain barriers to adoption and how we can roll AI and automation out that really need solving. We’re not gonna overcome those quickly. I think when you I saw one this morning, a response from a chatbot that told an audience that it had children and everybody kind of went, Oh, this is crazy. And it will Yes, but you can kind of understand content, how it got there. But when you try to think okay, but now we’re going to put the same kind of thinking into financial services. It’s the certainty that’s the problem. Creating experiences or really down into kind of the details of content design editorial within financial services. hedging your bets is sort of key, the amount of you will spend months having conversations around May could should, might perhaps, could be suitable for you. Certainty is a problem because it’s all about making sure that the user feels in control of that decision making at all times. Whether that’s true or not, is you can put things in front of them and you can serve them things in an interesting way. But if we’re going to be fair and balanced and actually kind of play by the rules, then making sure that we avoid absolute certainty is critical.

Noz Urbina /UC  36:14

So when I say absolute certainty, this is are we in the context of users getting generated content? Yeah, I think if we let’s zoom back for a second, because there there’s a I have many kinds. And so there we have our recommendation AI category like tagging I just good old fashioned machine learning algorithms that are doing personalization. And then we have the new breed of generative, like speaking to you AI. Yeah. And so I’m getting that you’re kind of talking in in that space of how can we safely allow something to generate responses for users?

Robyn Eastlake  36:59

Yeah, I think when a lot of the conversation at the moment is around Gen to bear because that’s the kind of hot topic that’s the sort of sexy thing in front of users, putting it in front of users. This view that, Hey, why do we need content people? Why do we need people answering the phone? Why do we need people answering web chat what we can just replace it with computers? There’s a huge school of thought with that and you can understand what attractive financial proposition but it’s I think it’s the chatter around that is probably more terrifying in the reality. I think there’s too many barriers so that actually coming in at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t. The areas that we you know, financial services institutions have for a long time, can use the algorithms and will continue to do so they’ll become more sophisticated all around predictability. Ranking probability of purchase conversion, all of those things, how we leverage and harness all the data that we have apply that to the experience that users are having, because that’s kind of the bit that’s missing at the moment is we have all the stuff we can use it to we don’t use it in a particularly nuanced

Noz Urbina /UC  38:04

way that leveraging the data to actually do something. How exactly

Robyn Eastlake  38:07

how do you how does this start to feel valuable for users? What is the width? There’s still the line of how do you walk right up to creepy but never cross it? What is the role that the content will have in the future in terms of explaining some of that work? How well it does it I think that’s really important if we’re going to calibrate trust appropriately with those experiences, because we’re going to use so much more of the things we already know about you. And at some point, we’re going to have to be really open about the fact that that’s what we’re doing that how do we do that in a way that is understandable? It’s comprehensible by lots and lots of audiences because we’re talking hugely diverse audiences. And how do we create an environment where people can sort of test and play around with that? It feels very emotional. My money is an emotional transaction. I don’t just go and check my bank account, because it’s part of my daily routine in the morning. I do it because something’s happening. I want to feel good I want to feel sad, I want to feel prepared. I have all of these emotions I’m bringing to that. So if we are going to and we are going to be in this space where all of that predictability the thing the kinds of experiences that we create become more personalized to me. How do we make sure that users still feel in control of that process? They still are in control of their decision making. We’re open about that. And they feel good about that the line between I can make my own decisions about my own money. Thank you very much, versus I am making decisions because the computer told me to Israel I’m so how we perceive that within businesses how we operate so that and how we design for that. I think is a really a really kind of mixed space and I’m not sure there’s there’s always the smartest people I’ve ever worked with ever work in somebody’s business if they have to do so much with so little with lots of big scale legacy tech loads of complicated stuff going on. I have no doubt and I feel very optimistic that the checks and balances are in place to make sure that that works, right. But we’re going to see some climbers along the way for sure. Yeah,

Noz Urbina /UC  40:13

I am still an advocate of and it’s very unpopular because I’m very pro a pro AI very, I’m very anti just sticking for our customers. I’m i I’m always trying to get organizations to think, right, okay, there’s a million things we could do upstream from that with AI when it comes to planning and insight extraction and drafting, customer journey mapping and personas and there’s so many things that we could do to make everything that we’re doing with people so much faster and better. If you go straight to how many heads Can we roll by throwing AI at the client directly? It’s just seems to be the most high risk. Is it high reward? It’s it is probably high reward, but it’s high risk and it could be more reward. If you had people who you’ve paid and hired and have experience working with these API’s to accelerate and enhance and multiply their output. Isn’t that so much better than just you know, firing and hoping and hoping this new piece of technology will will replace them? Yeah,

Robyn Eastlake  41:25

we play around now we’ve had over the last 12 months or so we play around in teams with how can we make what we do more efficient, we without really kind of letting letting the machine loose on our output in quite the same way. You know, we’ve been in the space for a long time now. Of we have our we understand the experience we understand the data content is information and data all packaged up and delivered in multitude ways that we can’t even imagine yet. We we kind of have a good idea of what we want to do in that space. It’s really we lose the if we start to tip too far into it. Well, we’ll just generated by all the output. We’ve got all of this efficiency that we can create over here we can go so much faster, we can go bigger, we can change it quick more quickly. I think it’s asking people to be in a much more innovative space when it comes to content. We haven’t just built content model content model finished machine runs website exists, app exists, everyone’s happy. This thing is moving and shifting all the time. You know, right at the top of this conversation we were talking about kind of, you know, next generation and you know, you know audiences, particularly the financial services space, they’re coming into a space that is full of challenges. It’s full of incompetence, full of absolutely different ways to think about money. They’re going to think about experiences in a different way. They’re going to ask them to do different things. So any content modeling and structured work that we do any kind of policies, we set ways of working frameworks, all of that has to be able to move really, really fast. That’s a space that we can absolutely use the great big mechanism that can process large amounts of data incredibly fast and give me insights. That’s what I want. Don’t Don’t let it write poetry for me. Don’t Don’t let it do the artistic part of what we do. That’s the bit that will always create a value add on top. And so I think we’re probably going to see a have a sense, I like the idea. And I’ve seen it spoken about a bit that I think we’re probably going to end up with sort of two tiers of, of content, we’re going to end up with the term stuff, the generative stuff that the machine kicks out and it starts to kind of eat itself slightly. And then stuff that’s got humans involved, the real stuff that we’re digging and we’ve really thought about that’s the stuff that’s going to become even more valuable. Artisanal

Noz Urbina /UC  43:32

organic content. Yeah, it’s the table.

Robyn Eastlake  43:37

Absolutely. Even if it is, you know, we are still thinking ultimately about this is alone. Is it right for you? What do you like it? There’s so much we can operationalize and structure around that. But in a world where we’re generating so much more content more quickly than my brain can ever imagine. The stuff that’s had a human in it, that’s the stuff is gonna make the difference because the technology evolves, but our brains don’t evolve that fast. So how can we the people that will win are the ones that can get that balance right? And quickly, because you’ve got all of that beautiful, delicious machine learning in the background that’s making you that’s enabling you to do that

Noz Urbina /UC  44:15

quickly. Yes, leveraging the collaboration of human machine. Absolutely. Yeah. So I actually think about the numbers are out I don’t think I’ve read these out in the podcast yet. I’m gonna pull out some numbers. There was there was one quote, I’m still quoting the business infrastructure lead, who worked on the Chatbot with us, you know, 15 years ago. And because I remember he said, all that all the efforts they made to optimize the AI for the chat bots. The main thing that moved the needle on success was tagging the source content properly. You know, prepping your shortcodes that and I, for me, it’s the simple, like, it’s sort of dropped for me a couple months ago, I was going so we have an intelligence and you’re going to feed it stuff that a human would have trouble understanding. Because it’s not properly tagged, structured, explained. deduplicated, audited, etc. And then you’re going to want that machine intelligence to create great, better content out of it.

Robyn Eastlake  45:16

Obviously right. That’s how it works. Yeah, exactly.

Noz Urbina /UC  45:19

As opposed to why don’t we fix the stuff we’re feeding the machine so that it, you know, makes sense and is deduplicated and properly organized so that that machine intelligence can have a chance of properly reading this stuff and that for me, that’s just intuitive. But so I got from, from Sebastian Buback, who was a Senior Principal Research manager in the Machine Learning Foundations group at Microsoft, and who was saying that they’re seeing 1,000% gains in in performance when they move from optimizing the algorithm and whacking the AI and, you know, coding it and recoding it and smacking it till it gets better to going okay, why don’t we just give you a proper textbook? Like, will index link tag structure, each bit of content, and you can read it and you’d be good little student AI, go to Content University, and then come out with your degree and then you can talk sensibly, and they are that’s where they see 1,000x better, you know, as opposed to literally saying two or 3% improvements, trying to garbage in quality out. Absolutely.

Robyn Eastlake  46:33

And I think that’s, we need so many more of those examples and stories. It’s the thing that when you are that’s always what you’re trying to express is that like making things simple, isn’t that simple, but sometimes it is. It’s we’re back to the idea of kind of pockets of brilliance. There are kind of teams that get it and you can sell your kind of we need to fix the basics of this thing. We just need to, you know, what do we create, how do we create it, how we structure that properly, then we can kind of do it we like to a certain extent, we’re going to learn so much more. We’re going to go so much faster, but that’s not the sexy bit. That’s the bit that requires some engagement with the idea that content isn’t quite what you think it is. And this meeting is not going to run where I’m going to turn up with some delicious wireframes and it’s all going to look beautiful, and we’re going to click through this prototype and it’s all magic. It’s it’s going through structure and metadata and intent and all of those things that feel that can still feel like a foreign country for content to be in in some places. So I think it’s always find the people that are thinking like you connect with them quickly. And just get on the train like you’ve always said to me and it always rings in my ears that like content is a moving train and you just have to get on it at some point. That’s exactly true for for AI. I think for content within financial services. We have to we’re gonna have to fight sort of harder than ever before, I think to get in those spaces. innovation teams, often they’re spun up they sit in, in sort of war rooms, which are the term I hate, but they sit in, you know, parts of the business that are closed off from everyone else so that they can experiment and it’s all closed. But that’s where we kind of need to get in because I can’t have you come up with your experiment and then bring it to me and you want us to apply this to all of our unstructured, messy content that we’ve kind of sorted had forever. That that way crazy lives.

Noz Urbina /UC  48:24

So there we’ve come back to the question from earlier. What are arguments that you can make for we need a content model we need to tag stuff properly. One of them is you want all this AI stuff to work? The AI super nerds are telling you fix your bloody content. Basically, yeah, okay. Yes. And getting in touch with those people which which transitions us beautifully to How can people follow you or get in touch?

Robyn Eastlake  48:49

Oh, well, you can always find me stalking the halls of LinkedIn on a very, very regular basis. But you can find the ADP list as well. And I’m always happy to chat through any sort of content design content strategy, content ops, issues, or just if you want to have a rant about stuff. here for that to ADP

Noz Urbina /UC  49:06

list. I’ll check that out. So that’s cool. mentorship, mentoring is an awesome thing. I respect the fact that you do that. I think that’s awesome. So ADP, ADP list. You can check that out and those those mentors are plenty. And okay, so any final top tips for people striving to start their initiative? How would you say goodbye? What’s your parting shot here? I think

Robyn Eastlake  49:29

before you even before we try to figure out what the the problem with content is talking to enough people in our business that are going you are going to come across and asking them just what do they actually perceive content as there will be an ontological problem in that we don’t all know what we mean when we say content. And somebody over here will think it’s one thing and somebody over here will think something else. If you’re trying to spin up an initiative in that environment or you’re coming into the business fresh and you’re trying to make anything move within that chaos. It’s always going to feel tougher than it needs to be. So it doesn’t need to be super structured. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time. And it doesn’t need to be it kind of its own taxonomy project in and of itself. But you do need to get a good enough baseline understanding of what does everybody think but I do, what do I actually do? And how do I set my sphere of influence? This is what we’re here for. This is the stuff that maybe we think about in the future, but we don’t care about right now. Give everybody a clear proposition of what you do. That’s going to make it a heck of a lot easier to find your allies to find your advocates to find your detractors. And you’re selling that consistent story all the time without without doubting yourself too much because these are big. These are big machines that have been around for a pretty long time and they can be complicated. So not worrying about stuff we don’t need to worry about. We’ll worry about that in three years time. If we can get this stuff working. What’s the thing we’re doing now? What matters? What value do we add? And that’s the story that we tell everyone. That’s where I would start with.

Noz Urbina /UC  51:00

Fantastic, Robyn, thank you so much. I really really appreciated having you on the show. It was wonderful. I think we’re gonna have to have you back sometime. Love to wonderful. All right. Thank you everybody. Remember to remember to like this episode, share it with your friends. And if you’re on a platform that supports it, do subscribe. And hit that bell. So I’ll see you all next time and have a good rest of your day okay.