“Delivering a Connected Digital Experience”: Faylene Bell with Nvidia (Video + Transcript)

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Sukrutha Bhadouria: Faylene is Director of digital marketing platform operations at NVIDIA. She provides global leadership on web technology, e-commerce, personalization, and new digital experiences. Faylene worked with the leading corporations, such as AT&T, Digitas, American Express, American Cancer Society, and much, much more.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Welcome, Faylene.

Faylene Bell: I am trying to tee this up, so hopefully you all can hear me okay and see me.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yes.

Faylene Bell: Alrighty. So that was awesome. I enjoyed Anu’s motivational speak. It was about self-care, strengths, paying it forward. I was like, “Yeah! That’s awesome.”

Faylene Bell: I’m going to actually do a little pivot and talk a little bit about marketing and some digital marketing best practices.

Faylene Bell: So a little bit about me and who I am and why I’m here. I’m actually Faylene Bell. And I work for a company called NVIDIA. We are known very much in the PC gaming space. We also do quite a bit when it comes to high powered computers, and I am a director of digital marketing platform operations. And you’re like, “What is that?”

Faylene Bell: So when you think about nvidia.com, our digital marketing footprint from a website perspective, I’m responsible for the operations behind that, keeping our site up and running, efficient, smooth sailing, 24-7. So that’s my role here at NVIDIA.

Faylene Bell: I have many years of experience in marketing, working across many different brands, really working on digital strategies, marketing technology stacks, providing advice, consulting, running campaigns, running results. You name it, I’ve done it.

Faylene Bell: And I have a whole lot of experience to share about lessons learned in the corporate workspace, being an African-American woman in a male-dominated world. But that’s another talk. Today, I’m going to kind of focus on the marketing aspect and some tips and suggestions that I’ve picked up along the way.

Faylene Bell: I got my credentials in marketing way back when, and as I’ve mentioned, I’ve worked at some large brands. I’ve had really the benefit of living in multiple cities across the US. I’ve spent some time in New York. I worked at American Express. I started my career off in Chicago. I was in Atlanta, most recently. Worked at AT&T, American Cancer Society, a digital agency, and now I’m here at NVIDIA, and I’ve been here in the San Francisco Bay Area for two years now. Been married almost 19 years, and I have two teenagers. So that’s a little bit about me and my background.

Faylene Bell: So I’m going to kind of talk about the topics that I’m going to share today. One, I want to just share more about what is the optimal digital journey from a customer perspective and some best practices and tips and suggestions to align your strategies and then also sprinkle in some industry examples.

Faylene Bell: So McKinsey & Company did this study and released this. And this is probably not new news to many of you because we’re still in a pandemic, even though the vaccinations are out there, and I’m ready to raise my hand and get mine. Really, a lot of companies are still trying to accelerate how fast they should go as part of this digital transformation. How can they take their brick and mortar approach and strategy, make sure it’s online and just be there for customers across all different types of platforms and channels.

Faylene Bell: The one thing I can say is some of the companies who haven’t really focused on this as a strategy for the last couple of years, they’re scrambling. And so they’re also having to figure out how to prioritize all of this work and make this shift. So it was really important to have a strategy in place because you are up against time. You probably have limited resources. So if you’re not necessarily in the digital space, you probably are feeling a lot more constraints than other industries that have always been focusing on a digital platform strategy.

Faylene Bell: Fortunately, I’ve always been in the digital marketing space, so I was probably ahead of my time way back when, and I’ve enjoyed the reaped benefits of us being in this virtual environment because I’ve been busy as ever and being able to push a lot more.

Faylene Bell: So what is the optimal digital customer experience? It’s really about five key pillars that I’ll talk about.

Faylene Bell: One, I think you need to make sure you have a scalable and a fluid web platform. You also need to make sure customer navigation is seamless. No friction. Have a very easy purchasing journey, dynamic and digestible content, and top notch customer service.

Faylene Bell: Getting background noise from somebody on the panel. Hopefully, they mute it. It’s hard with digital, and I can’t see you all.

Faylene Bell: So those are five pillars that I feel really encompass the optimal digital customer journey.

Faylene Bell: So first, I want to talk about web development. Prioritizing your website design and development is key, and it’s really the foundation of anything when you think about digital marketing, digital strategies, having a digital presence. Mobile-first design, no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many brands still build templates, websites, experiences with a desktop mentality first.

Faylene Bell: You need to think about how customers are looking at your experiences on their mobile device. And that’s where you start. Then you supplement with desktop, but mobile-first is critical. Responsive web is how many companies are doing that from a web platform perspective.

Faylene Bell: The second thing, chatbots. So you might get these little irritating pop-up chat. You’re like, “What is this?” It’s actually a service. It’s managed by rules behind the scenes, and there’s logic behind that. And companies use strategies to inject the chat at places where it makes the most sense within the customer journey.

Faylene Bell: If you’re on the billing page, that might be a great place to inject a chatbot because customers may have questions about their bills, or they might need help with troubleshooting. Well, it may make more sense to inject that dialogue there to help customers overcome their task, whatever it is they’re trying to achieve versus just having a generic chat on the home page.

Faylene Bell: I’m not really trying to do much on the homepage other than look around and try to figure out the navigation. So there’s strategies behind when the chatbot should appear. All the logic behind the scenes or rules in place, it’s very critical to make sure that’s included in your strategy on both mobile and desktop.

Faylene Bell: The third thing is when you think about the web, your design is really key. Of course, you need to have bold colors. You need to also make sure all of your design elements from a UX perspective are accessibility approved.

Faylene Bell: Think about… there are millions of people that are visually impaired or hearing impaired. They actually use devices such as screen readers to help read out loud all the content on your site. So you actually have to design and develop tools so that accessibility is not an obstacle for customers to engage with you on your site.

Faylene Bell: Push notifications. We get a lot of these sometimes when you’re shopping. It’s a strategy behind that as well just like chatbots. When does it make sense? When is it too much? What kind of material, what kind of information should be pushed to customers? Opting in is absolutely critical and to that entire strategy behind push notifications.

Faylene Bell: And the last thing I’ll just mention, GDPR, and you may be like, “What is that?” So this is really something that was driven out of the European environment. When you think about data protection, making sure me, as a consumer, I can opt in, and I can say, “Hey, I want you to share all my data with me that you have on me. And guess what? I want you to delete that.”

Faylene Bell: That’s, at a high level, what GDPR is all about, and companies have to adhere to that. You’ll see those banners showing up on the sides. Do you want us to track you? Can you accept the cookies? Delete the cookies? All that’s connected. You need to make sure you’ve got the infrastructure in place to support that.

Faylene Bell: In Europe, there’s laws. There’s hefty fines. Here in the States, we are adopting it more and more and eventually, it will be global. Everyone will be doing it.

Faylene Bell: Just some industry examples. I’m not going to go too deep. I do have a limited window here on timing, but Disney really does a great job when you think about responsive web design and their experiences across multiple platforms and what they’ve been able to actually put out there to date.

Faylene Bell: The next thing I’m going to talk about is seamless experiences. Creating a seamless digital experience, again, more so of an emphasis now because it’s less about brick and mortar. It’s more about the online presence and what you’re doing.

Faylene Bell: So companies have to build a cohesive presence and make sure that you’re able to pick up the customer journey regardless of what channel they’re tapping into. Many people… I’ll start off on my mobile device, looking at Neiman Marcus, shopping, which I shouldn’t be doing, but I do a lot of that because it’s COVID. I then log into my laptop, join a bunch of Webex calls for work. During lunch break, I might go to the Neiman Marcus site, get busy, distracted, back to working. In the evening. I’m picking up my iPad, back on Neiman Marcus. I’m one customer, and I’ve just hit up Neiman Marcus on three different platforms.

Faylene Bell: It’s important to understand where I am in my journey and all the different touch points that I might be using on a regular basis. So that’s important when you think about the seamless experience across those.

Faylene Bell: Some players in the market that are killing it when it comes to seamless experience, to me, Apple. Just look at the experience offline, online, integration, definitely things to think about.

Faylene Bell: Purchasing journey. So I’ve had the pleasure of working for many brands that e-commerce was a very big initiative. It was about how we can generate online sales and make conversions from visitors, prospects, and even customers. So there’s four key things, I think, when you’re thinking about the digital experience, the journey, and things that companies need to make sure they’ve incorporated.

Faylene Bell: When you’re shopping online, you want to have trust, reliability, those basic things like assurance that where I’m trying to purchase is legitimately your company. Don’t take me off to some wacky little domain that has nothing with your URL on it. You need to be consistent with those experiences.

Faylene Bell: Clear action items in the checkout cart, adding a cart, simple UI thing that so many brands miss the mark. Make it very, very easy for people to know, “This is what I need to do. This is how many items I have.”

Faylene Bell: And connecting with customers, and I’ll say this over and over again. Do not hide customer contact information. Make it very easy for customers to call you, email you, chat with you, something, but a lot of brands hide it. And there’s cost reasons behind that. It’s expensive to have call centers up and running and providing all the support, even now. So that’s been the strategy behind why you don’t find it as available on a lot of sites.

Faylene Bell: Progress bar. When you’re going through that purchasing journey, it’s helpful to know where you are. It’s also helpful to have a lot of auto-completion logic built in. Why am I having to enter the same information or my shipping when I already told you and clicked the box that said, “It’s the same as my billing.” Auto-populate all that information.

Faylene Bell: And then, offering a guest checkout. Not everyone wants to sign up and register as a customer, so give customers and prospects that opportunity to do that on the end after they’ve made the purchase.

Faylene Bell: Examples of players that are really doing this really well online, Amazon.

Faylene Bell: Let me talk about dynamic content. So it’s important to have content that’s digestible. People do not want to read a bunch of stuff. They want to watch videos. They want to get bite-sized information from brands. Think about even TikTok. 15 seconds is enough. You don’t need necessarily a lot, a lot of content. So this is the trend. It’s going to continue to grow and definitely be more prominent.

Faylene Bell: Metrics from… I’m a marketer, core to my heart, been doing it for many years, and you’ve got to have metrics and marketing logic and numbers behind what it is you’re doing and why and how you’re tracking it, and use that information to help make decisions about content that’s working, content that’s not working, more content that’s needed

Faylene Bell: Examples. Think about Netflix. You have Recommended for You. There’s content, there’s logic behind that. Why is it recommended for you? What did you watch last? What are those bite-sized pieces of information and content that you see, and you are just so accustomed to it, you don’t realize all the logic behind that. That’s great marketing.

Faylene Bell: Customer support. Last but not least, you’ve got to provide top notch customer service. Those that are best in class when it comes to customer service, they respond back to any inquiry within 3 hours or even sooner. Some, 12 hours, 24 hours. But even if you can’t respond back with a yes, no, what the option is, invest in automated, generated types of tools that can automatically send a message to anybody who responds or sends you an inquiry within a minute, “Got your information. We’ll be following up. Something, something, something.” Very simple things. You’d be amazed at how many brands and companies skip right over this.

Faylene Bell: I have been also fortunate to work with a lot of brands that have a lot of metrics behind tracking customer feedback, customer satisfaction scores, net promoter scores. You get those little surveys at the end. It’s like, “Hey, how are we today? Did we accomplish what we said we were going to do?” You scale it from 1 to 10. Half of you might have never realized there’s a lot of logic behind that. And a lot of that is feedback on how we adjust our customer service needs based upon the results from those surveys and the information that’s tracked. That’s important. It aligns to great customer service, based upon what you’re saying is not helpful or is helpful.

Faylene Bell: And the last point, don’t hide information. Make it available to customers. Ritz Carlton does some great customer service efforts online and offline.

Faylene Bell: So in summary, some key takeaway points. I think it’s important that you make sure you are profiling your points of differentiation across digital channels in a way where customers expect things from your brand. Enable customers to self-serve and solve common challenges. It will drive satisfaction and loyalty.

Faylene Bell: And then having a long-term mindset, building a framework for continually improving, adapting, and excelling in a changing world. And this is also a personal career tip I share with people that I mentor.

Faylene Bell: You need a flexible mindset as well when you’re working in these changing times and environments. So don’t start a job having that mental mindset where it has to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Two weeks from now, I might need you to do 7, 8, 9, 10, and then I’ll give you a little bit more in another month. So you got to be able to adjust fluidly to change.

Faylene Bell: That’s all I have for you today. Thank you so much for your time and allowing me to come on your platform and share more. And I do have a website, faylenebell.com, if you guys want to reach out to me.

Angie Chang: Thank you, Faylene. I love your podcast as well.

Faylene Bell: Thank you.

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