MarTech Interview with Liam McCance, Chief Strategy Officer at Singlife

“With ride-sharing and gaming companies entering the financial industry, we will see an adoption of technology coming from various other industries, making for an exciting space to watch.

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Journey into Tech

Hi Liam, tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to take up the role at Singlife?

My journey into technology was through Marketing. I began my career in an Advertising agency before joining a new AdTech start-up, which was my first professional exposure to technology. Through this role, I really understood the intersection of Marketing and Technology. My interest in technology grew from there, leading me to pursue opportunities to provide my Marketing skills to early-stage companies with a Fintech focus.

One of those companies was an interesting start-up called Yolopay which was building a product to help teens and parents manage pocket money through a prepaid Visa card. Singlife eventually acquired this business and during the sale process, it became apparent that Singlife was also leveraging the intersection of Marketing and Technology to change the Insurance sector. Its vision to unlock the potential of money for everyone was something that really inspired me to join the team.

You are one of the most active executives in the industry. What are the most unique challenges you face in your industry and at the workplace? How do you tackle these?

Our challenge (and advantage) compared with the others in our industry is that we’re new. This means we aren’t a household name, and we don’t have the same global brand recognition, deep pockets or even the customer base as of our competitors. Our challenge is, therefore, to continually think differently and drive innovation, creating products that customers really want. From there we refine that process and drive growth at scale.

Tell us how you work with technology. What Marketing, Sales and Messaging tools do you use for your business?

We use a stack of tools and platforms including the bigger names like Salesforce for both the Customer Service and Marketing suites. Internally, almost everything we do is documented in Confluence, which has, truth be told, taken some adjusting for me, but it’s great to have all the information and decisions generated from our fast-moving teams residing in one place.

Anyone who works with me knows I love WhatsApp because of the ease and immediateness that comes with the messaging app. Similarly, we believe our customers also love engaging on WhatsApp and receiving their answers on the spot without being stuck on hold or having to speak with an operator who isn’t familiar with their queries, so we’re building our new customer service around the platform with full integration with Salesforce.

When you look back into the past, which Marketing Technology platforms and tools do you really miss having or working with?

Not sure! I really ever stop and say, “Wow I miss ICQ, Blackberry Messenger or MSN” or any of the Marketing tools back in the day. However, when social listening tools first hit the Marketing industry, the volume of conversations you could see for insights was great and of course, the willingness of people to respond was fantastic.

Customer Success and Experiences

Tell us something that fascinates you the most about creating opportunities for Singlife customers.

The financial apathy that can set in for consumers never ceases to amaze me. When it comes to how I manage my finances versus how I purchase products for the rest of my life, I will often spend time deliberating, comparing prices, or consider switching providers. But for a good portion of my financial life, I settled with the incumbent provider because the assumption is that it is too difficult to move despite the potential financial upside.

This is fascinating because, it tells me that the industry is either not spending enough time developing products that customers really want or it is not making them fit seamlessly in the places where they spend most of their time on, such as mobile devices.

Which industries and titles subscribe to your Fintech-based Marketing solutions?

To maximize our reach with different consumers, we’ve developed a flexible and open set of Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) that enable us to work with other online platforms to sell Singlife products. This is a strategy that e-commerce companies use to good effect, creating more avenues to reach new customers. An example of this is our partnership with PolicyPal, where customers can easily sign up for one of our insurance policies on their website.

How do you analyze your Marketing offerings in comparison to your competitors in Insurance and Banking? What makes your Brand Marketing solutions unique?

Rather than focusing too much on our competitors’ Marketing efforts, we want to concentrate much more on the pain points that consumers face. From our research, we know that the number one pain point that Singaporean consumers cite is not having a high enough interest rate on their savings deposits. It’s this type of insight that drives our offering and also the reason why we created the Singlife Account.

Insights and Predictions

One epic moment from the decade (2011-2019) that changed your outlook into tech landscape.

Primarily, the shift of consumer services and financial platforms to become mobile-first. This underpins what we at Singlife are striving to achieve—being a truly mobile-first financial Institution. Instead of creating products with web experience and then shoving them in a mobile setting, we create products from the ground-up, thinking about how customers will interact with these products on a small screen.

As an example, we will be launching a new term life product designed particularly for this setting. With just three questions to answer on an app, customers can get insurance coverage within minutes with bite-sized sums assured and more frequent payments.

What are your predictions for your industry and technology markets for 2020-2024?

In our industry, the lines between those who can provide financial products will continue to blur. With ride-sharing and gaming companies entering the financial industry, we will see an adoption of technology coming from various other industries, making for an exciting space to watch.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

One startup I’ve been keeping an eye on is our partner, Railsbank, an open banking and compliance platform helping Fintechs and incumbent institutions to build and sell Fintech features on their products. I’m also interested in small teams that are making great headway in this space, such as Hong Kong-based Planto who have identified a critical consumer need and have a fast-moving team that iterates on the fly.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

I’d be interested to hear from leaders at Salesforce who are very effective at B2B Marketing.

Thank you, Liam! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Liam McCance is the Group Chief Strategy Officer of Singlife and oversees all corporate strategy for the company. Prior to that, he was the Chief Marketing Officer of Singlife.

Having had an illustrious career in marketing and almost two decades of experience across various leading agencies, assisting global clients in making the right marketing decisions, he transitioned to the fintech space and has since been instrumental in making financial services more convenient, transparent, and accessible.

singlife logo

Singlife is a Singapore-based financial institution that aims to unlock the potential of money by making financial services more convenient, transparent, accessible and affordable. Licensed in 2017, Singlife has since been innovating its solutions to meet the evolving needs of customers and to provide a full suite of connected financial service offerings, reshaping Singapore’s financial services industry.

In November 2019, Singlife launched the first insurance savings plan with a Visa Card to spend. Singlife was awarded ‘Start-up of the Year’ by the Insurance Asia Awards in 2018 and continues to give their customers a seamless integrated financial experience.