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Episode 51: Solution Spotlight with Debbie Miglaw – Leveraging A Platform Approach to Communications

In this first episode of our multi-part Solution Spotlight Series, Matt Swain is joined by Debbie Miglaw, Head of Digital Solutioning and Business Development for Broadridge Customer Communications, to discuss how organizations can digitally transform their communications to create seamless, omni-channel experiences through the Broadridge Communications CloudSM.

Matt: I'm Matt Swain, you're listening to the "Reimagining Communications" podcast. In celebration of publishing our 50th episode, we're switching and spicing things up a bit. This is the first edition of a multi-part spotlight series that will run through the end of 2021. I'll be speaking with key leaders within our Broadridge Customer Communications digital team about the current market dynamics and how the modular approach of the Broadridge Communications Cloud is helping our clients modernize their communications ecosystems and ultimately improve customer experiences. Today, I'm joined by Debbie Miglaw, head of digital solutioning and business development for Broadridge Customer Communications. Debbie, thanks for joining.

Debbie: Matt, thanks for having me. Looking forward to today's call.

Matt: Well, Debbie, you're a returning guest for the podcast series, but the world has changed since episode 12. So, I'm really looking forward to today's discussion as well.

Debbie: Same here. It's definitely, we were in person last time as a lot of people I'm sure are telling you, right?

Matt: Exactly.

Debbie: So different environment.

Matt: Yeah. So, Debbie, talk to me a little bit about your background and your role today.

Debbie: Oh, great, Matt. So I am taking on a little bit of a new role here to help with solutioning services around our digital capabilities for our customers, as well as some of our business development and partnerships. So the idea is to essentially make sure our customers understand what our capabilities are and that we can map them to their needs. So, we're not focused on selling products, we're actually focused on solutions that'll meet a customer's need across any continuity of the platform that we have, right? So we'll talk a little bit further about that as we go forward. But a slightly new role that's leveraging a lot of the experience that I've had leading the product organization here at Customer Communications.

Matt: Excellent. And to that point, you've been instrumental to the development and expansion of the Broadridge Communications Cloud. One of the things that I wanted to do over the course of this series is talk about the different components of that platform. Can you give us a high-level overview of what the Broadridge Communications Cloud is and does?

Debbie: Yes, the Broadridge Communications Cloud is essentially a platform and, it's not 100% in the cloud, but it is our approach to the way we bring everything together, a flexible platform that is designed to handle omnichannel communications for our customers. And by doing that, we go through the different flexible architecture, different modules that you can have. And as a result, we're creating a way for our customers to communicate with their end customers across transactional marketing and regulatory communication. So we have personalized content and it's designed and intended for the channel at which the consumer, investor, bill payer, whoever the recipient name you want to call them is wanting to receive their content.

Matt: Yeah, very helpful. And I know we'll get into more detail about those modules through this series, but that's a very helpful context to set the stage. The other thing, Debbie, is that, you know, I recently moderated that webinar, the one entitled, "Chasing Nirvana: Modernizing Your Communications Ecosystem to Improve Experiences." It's a wordy title, but a descriptive title. We had a really good discussion in that about customer journey, opportunities to improve customer-facing experiences, but also looking at the underlying people, processes, and technologies that support it. And I wanted to share a snippet of the conversation where Rob Krugman, our chief digital officer discusses design thinking.

Rob: “From a communication perspective, if you think you're going to be able to change your customer's behavior, you're probably likely to be very disappointed. I think that if instead you take this from the perspective of design thinking, if you think about what needs you're trying to solve, and then go and talk to customers and understand how they want to solve those needs. You're going to come up with a solution that likely will not only solve for their issues, but, most definitely, is actually going to result in a better solution for you, the efficiencies you're trying to realize, the benefits of digital transformation. Focusing on the needs of the person you're trying to solve them for is a good place to start.”

Matt: Debbie, thoughts on Rob's comments here.

Debbie: Yeah. You know, it's interesting the way we kind of look at the communications landscape. So, when we were focused on our communications cloud platform, and those who've heard Rob or myself talk in client meetings or elsewhere, you'll hear us talk about the digital transformation and the journey we've been on as a company, not just the journey our customers are on and how we're going through that at the same time. We're focused on it from the communication space, which allows our customers to then focus on their core business. I always think of like, hey, I'd rather you focus on satellite TV program or financial services as opposed to printing and mailing a bunch of statements out the door. And so with that, we actually had the idea that not everybody wants the same things from a service provider like Broadridge, and so how do we make a very flexible platform where customers can choose to use the capabilities they want?

So, I mentioned earlier kind of like anywhere you want to go along the continuum of that platform, or pick and choose the pieces. And so we can create a solution out of those different components because we built it to be flexible and just use those components. So, whether it be open APIs, a cloud-first platform technology structure, some of those things are what we really had in mind because we want to make sure we're providing the right service and right capabilities to create that omnichannel experience. Because again, we're all trying to support that print to digital and transformation types of journeys, and that's what we did it with that in mind. That's essentially, I think, what Rob was speaking to.

Matt: And Debbie, I think the interesting thing from our discussions with clients is often we have already made a significant investment in X. So we don't need your platform or the entire platform. And I think that's where it becomes really interesting to have discussions about which modules of the platform can support existing investments or vice versa. How the platform can be the baseline communications ecosystem, and then we patch in through APIs or otherwise to other pieces of their product offering.

Debbie: Yeah, it's definitely true, Matt. And I would actually say, in some cases, I think we've surprised a couple customers who, you know, were set on using their current capabilities they had but realized they weren't evolving them and that we had essentially moved forward. Because again, we're focused in this one area of communications to fit in a larger ecosystem. So that's led to some interesting conversations of why would they continue to invest in something versus they could leverage something we have, especially if it fit with an API into, you know, maybe it's a Salesforce connection that we're giving or something like that, where they can leverage platforms they already have, but leverage us at the same time for that investment. So, it's been an interesting dialogue for customers and sometimes we're a fit and on occasion we're not, and how we actually integrate when we're not, that still gives them the services they need, whether it be, you know, print output, digital component, email services, whatever it might be.

Matt: Yeah. Great point. So, here's another comment from Rob where he's talking a little bit about being smarter with the communications. I'd love to get your thoughts on this one as well.

Rob: I think one of the things organizations need to do is, they need to really look across their book of campaigns and figure out how they're intertwining that information so first of all, they're not overwhelming people with content. Because that's one of the big things that we do know, is that when you do that, channels become much less effective and it becomes noise. And so, how do we actually create a communications program that doesn't overwhelm people and doesn't send them too much information?

Debbie: Yes. So one of the things we look at with content and channels is really around how do we give that right information to the right place, but at the same time, what is it our customers are trying to solve for? Some of the things that we've looked at and top of mind, I'll say, for the larger organizations, they're communicating multiple times. So it's kind of Rob's point, it's a little overwhelming. And so what we're seeing is a need for aggregation and consolidation of communications and making sure that you're communicating the right information at the right time. And so it's not as overwhelming. When we look at that, we have some capabilities around aggregation or enterprise-wide preference management or consolidated communications that are working really well in certain markets today. So we have a nice focus in some banking areas, some financial services. We're also looking to adjust this a little bit in insurance and healthcare verticals.

So other verticals such as utilities, telecommunications, things of that nature, they're really focused on bills and payments. So collection of that payment is really important, making sure the services stay on. And so for them, it might not be so much about the multiline of business or consolidation, it might be about delivering wide, so delivering to the online banking channel. So you can go view and pay your bill at a bank, for example, or to other newer channels. Adding SMS for payment reminders, things of that nature are more valuable to them. So every vertical kind of leverages those different capabilities in a different way. So, in some ways, everybody can use the same capabilities we have, but there's different needs that they have and we might tailor the way we execute a little differently for each vertical market.

Matt: Well said. And Debbie, you had mentioned content through the right channel at the right time. Katie Liebel, one of the other panelists in the webinar had some similar comments and I just want to have you listen to those here and we'll get your thoughts as well.

Katie: The takeaway for me is you've got to meet the customer where they want to be. And, you know, there is a kind of a baseline right to play that is around giving them the right insights, the right information, making it clear and easy to understand. But, to really start to differentiate in this space, I think the winners will move to that, kind of, higher level in the hierarchy of needs, if you will, and, you know, create some really engaging and delightful experiences that start to anticipate customer needs. And that are seamless across the channels.

Matt: So as you heard, right information through the right channel, easy to understand, engaging. Do these sentiments resonate with you, Debbie?

Debbie: Definitely, Matt. That's a common theme. When we talk to clients, we want to make sure they are able to have that content targeted across any of the channels. And when we say that any of the channels, we have over a dozen channels that you can deliver to. So that's a lot of content to manage. Also kind of ties back to Rob's comment. And so we really designed our platform with that in mind, which is leverage that content and target it to the experience you're trying to create at the channel the customer wants to receive their content. That is definitely a resonating theme across all of our customers and the way we look at the business.

Matt: Debbie, I asked you this question two years ago for episode 12, I’d be curious your thoughts today. How do you expect the communications market to continue to evolve in the coming years?

Debbie: Yeah, it's interesting. In some ways, the landscape's the same and in some ways, it's different. Obviously, there has been a dramatic shift for digital transformation in the two years. The COVID has fueled essentially that acceleration, people working remotely, can't be in the office touching things, people aren't driving places, all those kind of things add into a different world. You and I talk a lot, you have a lot of data about the QR codes, right? We sort of laughingly joke that it took that to make it a common thing at restaurants. And now all of a sudden, everybody knows what it is. Some like it, some don't. They see it, they click on it, right? Or they use their camera and move forward. So there's things that are definitely going to be changed as a result. So we see acceleration, customers are wanting to move faster and they're trying to figure out how to do that. And it's hard for big companies to really pivot and move.

So with that in mind, we have a lot of things that customers are looking at to move. One of the areas, though, when we look at communications isn't just the digital transformation, or sometimes you and I are talking with customers about, you know, consulting and some of those things and the printed digital bridges, goes a little bit step further. How do you actually take the data that we have and make it more valuable? So a lot of times people are using data and it's just for compliance reasons, right? They're storing it, forgetting about it, doing something. We're seeing a lot more about that. We're also seeing a lot of interest in how do we create better solutions for clients that add to a 360-view of the customer? So some of that we can do today, but some of it might be partnering with our customers' other providers.

So, for example, they might be taking social media data and doing something different with it than what they're doing with their transactional data. And what we're finding is they're not necessarily connecting the dots and there's a need to do that. So I'm looking at you on the screen. So, you know, Matt calls up and he's talking to a customer service rep or a financial advisor or whoever he's talking to. And they now could actually put all of that. They know that you sent a tweet because you were unhappy about something. They know you did a Facebook post, but they also are looking at your statement and they're seeing things on there. Maybe you're at a billing company and your payments are late and you're frustrated about it. Putting all of that content together in the fingertips of someone who's servicing you as the customer is a lot of what we're a need to evolve for.

And so there's a lot of activity we're doing around this to kind of understand how we do that better for our clients, how we use that flexible architecture to plug and play with other vendors that are out there to create that holistic view. We see that as definitely a trend, as well as what I mentioned before, we're already in the process of pivoting around the enterprise preference management for clients with multiple lines of business, as well as that aggregation and consolidation to take many communications down to fewer that are more valuable, right? So that they actually have real content, contextual, relevant information that the customer wants. So those are really, like, you know, upfront. We're also looking at things in that analytical space using machine learning like a lot of our customers are starting to do as well. How can we take that to improve the communication? So now you take your feedback loops, especially through digital, but also print as well. Take those feedback loops and create a different set of communications going forward. And there's a lot to be done with the newer technologies in this space.

Matt: Yeah. Great points. I think of the reporting analytics module as part of that feedback loop as well.

Debbie: Definitely.

Matt: So, Debbie, thank you so much for joining this first edition of the spotlight series. Really appreciate your insights.

Debbie: Thank you so much for having me, Matt. Look forward to catching up with you again. Hopefully, it's not two years.

Matt: Exactly. I'm Matt Swain, and you've been listening to a special edition of the "Reimagining Communications" podcast. If you like this episode and think someone else would too, please share it, leave a review, and don't forget to subscribe. And if you're ready to reimagine your customer experiences, consider the Broadridge Communications Cloud, an end-to-end platform for creating, delivering, and managing omnichannel communications and customer engagement. And finally, to learn more about Broadridge, our insights and our innovations, visit broadridge.com or find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.