To remain competitive in an increasingly multichannel world, many businesses are exploring a new mix of channels to reach and engage potential customers. This includes a number of payment companies. Trustwave Holdings Inc., Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss P.C. and Square Inc. are three examples. Compliance and data security provider Trustwave launched a beta test of an interactive online community called Trustwave TrustKeeper Community for select financial institutions and their merchants. The Electronic Payments Practice Group of Jaffe recently introduced the ElectronicPaymentsLaw.com law blog. And when Square founder and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey agreed to host a series of upcoming Let's Talk town-hall-style community meetings, with local merchants serving as panelists, a more traditional side of Square was revealed.
In speaking about these recent initiatives, Peggy Bekavac Olson, founder and Principal of Strategic Marketing, said, "They're trying to educate, influence and establish thought leadership among their constituents, which are prospects in the marketplace. There are different marketing tactics they can employ to go about that process, and it doesn't have to be just one marketing tactic. The goal for all three is to get their name out there, to build brand awareness and recognition, to build their reputations."
Before kicking off the multicity Let's Talk campaign in August 2013, Dorsey stated, "The growth and success of a community depends upon the people who support it. We're eager to meet business owners, listen to their stories, introduce them to one another, and unite their neighborhoods." Businesses interested in attending the community sessions can register online.
For Trustwave, stepping out of the box into a moderated social network was a natural extension of its ongoing commitment to client and merchant education on data security best practices. "Our new social network helps demystify that process by opening communication among small businesses, financial institutions and security experts in an effort to help businesses both achieve PCI compliance and solve other data security issues as technology and payment processing evolves," said Doug Klotnia, General Manager, Compliance and Risk Management at Trustwave.
Once the new online community is out of beta testing, businesses affiliated with Trustwave will have an opportunity to white label the online community product and bundle it with existing merchant services, the company stated.
Sharing critical analyses of regulatory and legal issues, as well as business opportunities related to electronic payments, are topics covered in articles authored by Jaffe partners and attorneys and posted on the law blog. "ElectronicPaymentsLaw.com is an ideal forum to stay connected with our click-of-a-button society," said attorney Holli Targan, Chairperson for the Electronic Payments Group. Payments industry professionals can receive email updates by subscribing online.
When testing new marketing tactics, it's important keep in mind that today's tech savvy prospects delete unwanted messages with the click of a button and can easily block future interactions from designated companies. "There are lessons to be learned by reaching out to merchants in nontraditional ways," Olson said. "The real key is building a positive impression about your company."
Priming payments industry prospects with quality content marketing is an approach that seems to resonate well with most prospects. "Content marketing is the creation and sharing of valuable information, insights or advice on issues that matter to processing customers or the marketplace that you serve with the purpose of promoting your business without promoting your business," Olson said, noting that her quarterly e-newsletter, loaded with practical tips, attracts business.
Creating an online community similar to Trustwave's may be a good idea for ISOs, but Olson believes payment companies can take it a step further. "If I'm an acquirer or an ISO, why limit it to PCI?" she said. "Why aren't you making a customer community that helps them with PCI, problems closing their batches at the end of the day, dealing with chargebacks, and all kinds of business and operational issues that maybe traditionally have been done through a call center?"
Olson added that any number of customer service functions can be integrated into a social media platform to deliver more value to the end customer. And investing time to keep the conversation two-way can go a long way toward strengthening customer relationships.
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