“As marketers we used to think of owned, earned, paid being discrete buckets, and now we acknowledge because of [mobile connectivity] they are completely blended,” said Lara Balazs, senior vice president of North American marketing for Visa, in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.
As most companies recognize, the marketing world has changed drastically over the past decade. No longer can a company rest on owning the traditional TV, print and radio media space, because consumer attention is now drawn just as heavily to non-traditional outlets such as social media and on-demand video.
With this in mind, Visa has turned to its many partners, particularly the NFL, to keep its marketing message front and center in the eyes of its customers. For the 2015 Super Bowl, Visa opted out of doing an expensive commercial and instead created a viral sensation with a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as he set a world record catching one-handed passes from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees while simultaneously demonstrating the ease of Visa Checkout with his other hand. Passing on an expensive Super Bowl commercial in favor of a nontraditional campaign was a bold move for a global brand — a move which paid off in spades when #CheckoutODBrees came in as the second-most-shared item globally and the most-shared item in the U.S. on Super Bowl Sunday.
“This disruption has heightened the bar for Visa. We stand for ‘everywhere you want to be.’ We have to meet consumers how and where they want to pay,” said Balazs.
Disruption isn’t just a marketing buzzword for Visa, the electronics payment space has also been altered quite drastically in the past few years by entrants like Google, Facebook, Bitcoin, Paypal, and more.
“So many industries are being disrupted and electronic payments are part of it,” said Balazs. “Companies you didn’t even expect have entered the payments space.”
The aforementioned Visa Checkout is a new product Visa has rolled out to make it easier for an increasingly connected consumer to make payments online. Checkout has reduced what used to be a long-form process for each online purchase down to a couple clicks of your mouse or finger taps on your screen. Visa’s goal is to make the payment process seamless.
“People are holding their phones, not their wallets. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just allowed the customer to use what’s already in their hands?” asked Balazs.
Visa’s marketing team recently partnered with Accenture on its Connected Car concept and brought in another of its partners, Pizza Hut, to test drive a new mobile-marketing campaign focused on anticipating customers’ needs. In an intriguing display of ease-of-payment convenience, individuals were able to order and pay for pizzas from their vehicle, and delivery of those pizzas was then synchronized with customers’ arrival at the restaurant. Talk about a win-win!
When you pull out your Visa card or use Apple Pay or Visa Checkout online, it is easy to forget that Visa is a vast payment ecosystem, processing millions of transactions per day between banks, merchants, and consumers. While Visa understands that it is critical to stay on the leading edge of technology and convenience, in the end its business is built upon trust and great partnerships.
“We are only at our best when we are partnering with banks who offer our products and merchants who take our products,” said Balazs.
Are you a marketing executive or CEO looking to learn from the industry’s best and brightest brands and most innovative disruptors? Join us for GrowthBeat August 17th & 18th in San Francisco and hear Lara Balazs share more about Visa’s compelling growth story and strategy for 2016 and beyond.
Below: Lara Hood Balazs of VISA & Tamara McCleary of TamaraMcCleary.com discuss disruption by new and old brands in the electronic payment space at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat.