MarTech Interview with Nikhil Behl, CMO at FICO

Nikhil Behl, CMO at FICO chats more about the ”new” normal and how it’s making marketers prepare better for different kinds of adversities in this chat with MarTech Series:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Nikhil, how has your CMO journey at FICO evolved?

It’s been quite the experience! In my 25 years in the technology space, I’ve spent over seven of them as FICO’s head of marketing. In my role, I lead the marketing efforts for our industry-leading FICO Score, as well as our cloud-based applied intelligence platform and analytic software. FICO was founded on the premise that data-driven insights, when used intelligently, can improve business decisions to advance human experiences. We have an immensely successful analytics software business that helps enterprises uncover new opportunities, make timely decisions that matter, and execute them at scale.

What are your thoughts on how the key B2B marketing trends will shift in 2022 and beyond?

Due to the pandemic, companies were forced to go fully digital. This transformation to a digital first, and in some cases a digital only experience, enables organizations to use all the rich data available to them to deliver an unparalleled, hyper-personalized customer experience. To deliver these types of experiences enterprises need to: 1) find the correct tools to collect data, 2) learn how to augment that data, 3) use advanced analytics on the data to gain insights, and 4) take those insights and operationalize them at scale. Once this happens, they need to tune and optimize the experiences in real time and allow the cycle to repeat itself. The importance of “respecting the data” and creating value for the customer will always be a top priority.

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We’d love to hear more about the role of predictive analytics and predictive systems / AI in the overall B2B and B2C marketing sphere? 

The demand for digital solutions, data, and AI systems will only continue to grow. 2021 showed us that the new “normal” is constantly evolving, so marketers need to prepare for unexpected adversity by staying close to customers and by looking for new opportunities. Predictive analytics and AI can help organizations know their customers better than they ever did before. And not only can the data and analytics enable enterprises to deliver more personalized experiences, but it can also give them the ability to uncover new opportunities they never even knew existed.

How can marketers today boost their core personalization tactics and techniques? There are a plethora of tips and martech tools available to them today, yet, often some of the most basic fundamentals get lost in this maze. Your thoughts?

Personalization will continue to be key, so the real deal breaker for the consumer is a non-unified personal experience. Organizations are realizing that they need to provide customers with a consistent, intuitive, and unified experience. They need to look at the entire customer journey from end-to-end. To stay competitive, banks must be able to create a consistent, integrated experience across all channels – meaning that a customer can start a loan application on their cell phone, finish it on their computer, and visit a branch where employees have real-time data in their systems. It’s important to make sure the customer self-service and bank employee channels are connected. A curated customer experience can also include building friction into a process when necessary – in banking that can mean taking the necessary steps to verify someone’s identity to prevent fraud – or being personable even in digital, automated interactions that feel interpersonal to create a meaningful engagement. 2022 will bring an evolved marketing focus on humanizing interactions that lead to outstanding customer experiences.

As B2B marketing evolves to become relatable to the needs of a target audience, what are some of the pitfall’s marketers need to watch out for?

It’s no surprise that data continues to be invaluable to organizations, both internally and externally. Data provides organizations, like banks and financial institutions among others, the insights they need to meet customers where they’re at. Part of using this data in a way that creates a seamless customer experience, means employing new technology, such as AI-enabled solutions. However, data aggregation, portability, and data responsibility will become even more important and can be a pitfall for marketers if they’re not careful. Companies must adopt a mindset that ensures all automation is balanced with ethics and social responsibility. The more data you have, the bigger the responsibility.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing and martech tips and best practices before we wrap up!

A final thought here is on delivering a better tomorrow for everyone. Customer-centricity has become a popular branding tagline for many companies over the past few years. From a financial institution perspective, providing positive experiences and truly caring about the financial health of customers means allowing a greater purpose to guide your business actions. While banks and financial institutions cannot solve the broader problem of individual financial health, they can be part of the solution by providing financial education. I believe that working towards a higher purpose is in the best interest of every marketer, regardless of industry, and should be a best practice.

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FICO operationalizes and enables enterprises to deliver best-in-class customer experience. We improve internal operations, increase sales, drive profitability, and build customers for life. Today, most people know us for the FICO Score, the most widely used credit score in the US. But what many don’t realize is that we also sell analytic software that helps companies uncover new opportunities, make timely decisions that matter, and execute them at scale. Most leading banks and credit card issuers rely on our solutions, as do insurers, retailers, telecommunications providers, automotive companies, public agencies, and organizations in other industries. FICO holds more than 200 U.S. and foreign patents on technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning that goes back almost two decades.

Nikhil Behl is the CMO at FICO

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