EP #65: Scaling Fintech Growth like Southeast Asia’s GCash

EP #65: Scaling Fintech Growth like Southeast Asia’s GCash

About this Podcast

Due to the pandemic, lockdowns, work from home, social distancing, and contactless deliveries have become common terms. Due to these safety hazards, instead of making payments by cash, customers started to pay more online. This saw a surge in both, the number of new e-wallet users and the volume of transactions made. 

This change is set to continue with e-wallets offering users a convenient and swift way of making their transactions online. 

Globe Fintech Innovations is a partnership between Globe Telecom, the Ayala Corporation and Ant Financial, and provides innovative and first-in-world fintech solutions to consumers, merchants, and organizations. It operates two fintech companies, one of which is- GCash, a micropayment service that transforms the mobile phone into a virtual wallet for secure, fast and convenient money transfer. 

To gain deeper insights into how the Fintech sector in emerging markets has evolved and grown over the past year, we caught up with Oscar Patrick Pobre, VP – Decision Science & Data Monetization at Globe Fintech Innovations.

Oscar shared insights on: 

  • The rise of GCash amidst the pandemic
  • Improving customer engagement and retention for an innovative and new product or service
  • How to measure the success of your marketing campaigns and the key metrics to monitor
  • Common pitfalls for marketers to be cautious about

Tune in to learn how the fintech industry is evolving rapidly by adopting the latest developments in the digital landscape.

Episode Transcripts

Miguel Lojo (Host): Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, thank you once again for joining a brand new podcast session today. I am your host, Miguel Lojo, a CSM from that core team, here in the Philippines. And with me today, I am joined by a very special guest. He is currently the vice president and the head with the CRM team from Globe, the tech Innovations, Mr. Oscar Pobre. Nice of you to join us today.


Oscar Patrick Pobre: Happy to be here! Thank you so much, Oscar. 


Miguel Lojo: So I guess the first question I really want to ask you for our podcast today is how are you guys doing? How have you not been here in the Philippines? 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: So, well to be frank the past year has been quite a boom to GCash. So our base actually grew in multiples over the last 12 months so and you know partly it had to do with the pandemic and it wasn’t just GCash, It was you know pretty much all other like digital service providers or you know. So luckily E-commerce, digital banking, and other mobile payment businesses like everyone in this space actually witnessed increasing customer bases and growing transactions. For GCash in particular, you know, we actually outperformed the index compared to our competitors. We grew much more, right? So the next largest, their closest competitor is actually several times smaller than GCash is to the date. 


Miguel Lojo: Yeah. So actually I was doing a little bit of research myself and feel free to correct me on this Oscar because obviously, you know, much more about the business than what I’ve been reading online. So in terms of booms, GCash has apparently recorded a seven hundred percent surge in transactions. A transaction value of over one trillion pesos with daily gross transactions and a value peaking at 7.5 billion and over six million transactions a day, and furthermore, your services have expanded that to reach even overseas Filipino workers so that they’re able to directly pay bills and even transfer cash instantly for free. So, to be honest, I think that has been a very good year for GCash.


Oscar Patrick Pobre: Yes, we outdid ourselves, to be honest, I think, you know, the behavior behind it.


Miguel Lojo: I mean, obviously, a lot of people had to learn to use tree capture, any payment wallet, sort of Payment while using this type of service last year. And I think yeah, it definitely affected GCash’s business but I guess for let’s say for people who are still sort of hesitant or don’t quite know what a payment wallet or eWallet is? What does GCash offer to the market or do you know regular people?


Oscar Patrick Pobre: Right So right. So yeah, so GCash is the number one mobile payment app in the Philippines. We have over thirty-eight million registered users by far the most downloaded Financial App in the Philippines. You know, we have more downloads than Netflix, Spotify, and fiber. So, you know, in terms of the user base, you know, we have it. We are the mobile payments company the Philippines. And so what exactly does GCash actually do, so the one you can send money to anyone right for free? If you’re a registered education user, even online and in-store paper purchasers right there, there are over 1.6 million Merchants that accept it so it’s a mix of online and offline stores. You can pay your bills and we have around 450 billers including all major utility providers in the Philippines including government agencies, you can make purchases on credit, right? So Even if you don’t have, let’s say a balance on your wallet, you can make purchases. If you, if you, if you, let’s say we registered for our G credited service that you could make purchases up to 10,000 pesos, that’s your credit limit. You could, you know, even save and invest money, right? We have deposits and mutual funds within the rights for our deposit product. You know, you could get up to four percent, right? Actually, one of the highest savings accounts in the market that are today and at zero maintaining balance right is typically in the Philippines. You know, this one major, you know, the reason for why many folks don’t have a bank account is because, you know, most people are cash strapped and they may be hesitant to just lock in their money right? So, having zero maintaining balance in early life is a pretty big thing, and yeah, you know, on investing money, right? You can actually buy into funds, right? Covering different asset classes in the ponds, Equities you know money market and you can actually also access Securities from both local and international jurisdictions, right? And for as low as 50 pesos investment for local funds and 1000 pesos or around 20 dollars so, you know, it’s an all-around app, right? You could buy insurance, right? We have health plans, you know, covering Covid and Dengue for us, for as low as 300 pesos of the plan. And, you know, we’re fast becoming your all-around lifestyle app. We recently launched G life, which is a space within the app where you can make purchases directly with That’s right. So we have that one, click payment abilities. You can also find the best deals here and we’re trying to include all the brands that we love.


Miguel Lojo:  yeah, sure. I’m also starting to like going into GCash right now. So yeah, 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: So yeah, so yeah right your money transfer needs, banking needs, you know, Lending, you know e-commerce. You know we try to be you know, in all these spaces so you have just one place to do all your transactions. 


Miguel Lojo: Sounds like a very exciting kind of deal but I guess, Oscar from a marketer’s perspective, you know, as the wallets sound like a very new thing, especially here in the region of SouthEast Asia, how would marketers sort of like look for ways to improve engagement for a product or service that slight eWallets or epayments, right? 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: So First the approach of many of these services and reach Industries may be other payment companies as well. So you know, so customer engagement. It’s a concerted effort by all parts of the organization. Right? And you know these would be maybe a function of ensuring the right value proposition you know, making sure that our products meet the needs of our customers making sure that the UX is intuitive and through lined so that we minimize friction for our users and also making sure that our campaigns and our campaign or our CRM, programs are relevant to users and generate real impact, right? So if we do all of these things that you know, customer engagement will naturally follow.


Miguel Lojo: All right, please go ahead, Oscar.


Oscar Patrick Pobre: So, Actually Michael made a CRM. In particular, we focus on developing and hydrating. Targeted campaigns customer engagement throughout the life cycle. So, if General structures our efforts, you know, across the different phases, you know, from activation to habituation, you’re wrapping up your user activity to the point of becoming sticky, monetization, you know, punch, you’re sticky enough. We want to shift gears and improve your unit economics. And then, you know, if the figure you lose your stickiness, your level of Engagement rocks. We try to retain your right again, try to increase your activity, right? And then resurrected, you’ll see you fully turn really try to have, you know, different campaigns to bring you back to life, right? And you actually, you know, we leverage on both marketing communications and targeted promos to provide especially objectives in each station in our life cycle. Our Communications you know we always try to make sure that the content is very relevant to the context of each user default in terms of the skills and visuals that you can use you know we leverage on the in segmentation and targeting models. Also to determine if we are the best people, we should give this communication through. And you know, we look at you know a variety of different dimensions also and again crafting our message, right? So we try to make sure You know, we correctly select the quit views case our product offering, we’re going to, we’re going to talk to you about, you know what, angle, you know, what aspect of the value proposition to showpiece, what’s the tone of the message and, you know, even what language needs. And so in the Philippines, most people are bilingual, they speak English or the dialogue, the local language. Yeah, sometimes we have our own time like that, right? So, you know, we’ve actually tested this out, you know, figuring out what language works best for what that’s a profile. And you know we also leverage every machine learning, right? And an automated Marketing Solution, right? So as much as possible, we try to leverage all the data points available to predict what message or what incentive would optimize activation and usage, right? And here we, you know, we ended like The Cutting Edge techniques like our methods. 


Miguel Lojo: So, wow, that was a lot to take in Austria and some very, very insightful points there. Like I would like that. You mentioned that you do a lot of segmentation and a lot of research when it comes to the content and when it comes to, you know, sending the right message to the right person with the right context I am assuming there. So right now, I’ve given all of that and, you know, given every single sort of example that you just shared with us, 

Just like, what would you say our key metrics for? For any marketer, like, look out for, especially when they went there looking at, or what they’re thinking about things like fun, then segmentation targeting personalization, maybe even machine learning. So, a lot of that gets lost SAR limit, the date they work, right? So what, what should a marketer look out for when you’re measuring results here?  Right. 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: So yeah, actually, when I would recommend having a suite of different metrics like depending on, you know, put in your time to understand and you can monitor and drive, right? But ultimately all these metrics lead towards Right? In the case of the geocache, this is customer value. Sustainable customer value. Yeah, that’s a function of different kinds of metrics as well. Like customer value is given by, you know, For example, accuser or use Ace activation rates or lick transaction frequency, tension, things like that, you know, customer be measured metrics that measure the level of Engagement of a customer and then we also have Financial metrics, right? The transaction, value Revenue, margins, all of that, right? So we see it as a balance between these two types of metrics, right? And actually, each of these metrics that I just mentioned has further sub Networks. Right? And let automatically write the metric that you look at depends on, you know what the objectives of your campaign are, right? Is it like an activation or a resurrection campaign ID in which case you’re looking at activation rates, you know, new space application rates, you know, if it’s a, you know, a retention campaign? We’re looking at the frequency and diversity of your transactions. And if it is monetization, you’re after GPb revenue and margins. And yeah, Actually, you know, the deeper, you go, you know, the closer you get to, you know, the main drivers of your North Star, right? So we also make a distinction between leading and lagging indicators, right? So that the lagging indicators like customer profitability, or let’s say long-term retention, you know, these are actually the metrics, they’re closer to our North Star, but they take so long to observe. And in general, their Hardware, do you know attributes Like the specific actions, right? So let’s go. Yeah, yes yes sort of think about our goal, right? But it’s kind of a bit removed from the things that we do day today. So you know, we look at leading Educators, right? You know, things that are immediately attributable to our actions that come in conversion, right? So these are acids to observe more directly attributable to order for our actions and strategies. And in general, like we, we focus on driving and eating And Acres with our campaigns. But we also observe over longer time Horizons you know to see how well these translate to our lagging indicators and then ultimately our journalists are right. So right hook. 


Miguel Lojo: So essentially what you’re saying here is that there really should be a primary focus when it comes to key metrics, whether it might be Financial, whether it might become a new eye that always has to be clear. What you’re, you know, doing work well for whatever purpose, it is in your jobs, not North Star, which is something that you will know, trademark the GCash is definitely something all marketers, right? Yeah yeah. But one thing I think marketers might not know, it’s a fault, right? Like people don’t know what they don’t know. What are some common pitfalls that you think marketers need to look out for? Or especially when it comes to dealing with an equality fight campaign. 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: Right. So right, so actually yeah. Yeah. Over my years of experience in English space. Yeah. I have stumbled across a number of pitfalls that many marketers make so I suppose the first on my list would be not measuring Delta select, Delta is the symbol for change. So they look at campaign conversion rates without considering Baseline activity. Right? So for example, I launch a campaign as he takes upgrades and I assume a hundred percent of that big upgrade is due to me, right? But what I don’t see right is, you know, if I do not do the campaign, how many, or what? Percentage of people would have done that Nativity. Anyway, so you always have to account for that, right? Maybe in the form of say, you have a test setup. You have the best. Let’s say treatment. Basic rule base, right? You know, and the only difference between the two is the treatment, right? And any differences in your KPIs after you do the experiment, rapping with the campaign between the treatment and control base. That’s your, that’s your development, right? So always, look for Delta. And I suppose related to that it’s, you know, it’s being satisfied with initial results, right? Not either rating. It’s so unlikely that you stumbled upon the best strategy on your first try. So there’s always a need for insulin. Yeah. It’s not an ideal where exactly? I mean like you know, if you’re lucky, I suppose, right? But you know, there’s always room for improvement, right? Even small operations due to limits. So, I would recommend Applying a champion Challenger finger, right? So in this kind of framework, like the champion would be the treatment, that that’s your best. Bet the Challenger would be, you know, alternative treatments that you’re good with the next best treatments, right? So you launch both of these treatments, right, right. But the champion being your best bet would have needed the larger share of the sample, right? And then, you know, You examine, right? Which champion is performing The Challenger, right? If ever the Challenger wins, he becomes a new Challenger Champion, right? And then you have to come up with a new Challenger, you know, hopefully, that is the champion. If not, then we find observing company performance. So we found it. So, this would apply to any campaign. So, initial results might not be sustained, you always need to refresh. Your contains a Bassam, anything yellow. One last point, I think over-engineering updates, right? So there’s a tendency for marketers to apply every bit of knowledge and insight from customer reports into their campaigns. For example, ‘Well, if research cells, users are skewed towards being female, say 15, the image of 25 to 35 and maybe the BPO industry. So some work that you know they would tend to design a campaign around this specific profile. However, you know this specific segment might only be a fraction of the base so you would end up leaving a lot of value to just focus on the specific profile and in fact, you know that profile might not even be valid. So combinations of gender age and Industry averages don’t necessarily prescribe real people, right? So, you know, for example, the party and what is named Mohammed Wang? Right? So that’s not a common person. Last name in the world, right? So despite that you know you don’t see many people with that name and right? So, the more specific and inside is the less likely it actually applies to the base and we’re less likely it’s even cooler. So instead focus on Obviously who incites learning about insights, that’s good. Yeah, Larry is that? Yeah, I’d like to recommend big learning from campaign results and experimentation right? And establish causal relationships. So these are the insights that you take home with you and Actually create value from your career campaigns. 


Miguel Lojo: Sounds perfect! And, I mean, I like what you said about the sort of, you know, the kind of sin or the kind of mistake that some marketers do, especially when it’s like analysis, paralysis already. When you have all these different learning or insights codes, the code that you get and these sort of wanna use all of them, all in all, your future campaigns. But then you do raise a very legitimate, quite like, you know, hot Love those insights will apply the base for to your entire list of users. So that’s definitely something for us. Marketers need to know to get the practice I guess or get better at it. So essentially Oscar we are almost at the end of our session with fruit this afternoon rather. So far. Oscar has shared so many insights on money, wallets. And Even just being like a steady and consistent marketer in today’s App Riddle world. So, Oscar, I guess one last question I have from NetCore would be what do you see as the future of CRM? More e-wallets than in general.


Oscar Patrick Pobre: Right, right. So what I’m seeing, Marketing automation has more programmatic always-on campaigns, and unless one-off campaigns and, you know, Reliance on artificial intelligence for these decisions makings less humans in the loop. All right, so actually if I may make a Fearless forecast sure there is this technique is called reinforcement learning, I’m predicting. It’ll be the AI marketing buzzword of the future. Right. So basically it’s an algorithm that you could use in automated recommender systems, right? So you know what makes the Force McClure name better or more powerful than traditional methods? It has Automated experimentation, right? That they see the machine-like, it decides how to learn on its own and it balances, right? But it balances exploration of new strategies with the exploitation of existing winners, right? So, it’s like the Perfection of the champion Challenger framework and, you know, if we have such a cool, right, you know, marketers would be able to focus more on content generation, right? Because this algorithm, it’s So just the vision is like, you know, you can have this tool decide on what Journey or what company is best for what customer right and you know, it’s going to want to look for more options, right? It’s going to ask for more Journeys, more strategies for the best the users so that they could find the optimal strategy right. And then you know, as marketers we can focus more on content generation, right? Rather than that, I decided on targeting strategies and such.


Miguel Lojo: Perfect! Well, those are some final thoughts from Oscar. Oscar, thank you! Once again for joining us this afternoon. It was a pleasure having you over. Thank you for all of your insights. 


Oscar Patrick Pobre: All right, Thanks a lot man! Yes, of course. 


Miguel Lojo: And to everyone listening, I hope you learned a lot this afternoon and I knew who you were all keeping safe and hopefully staying at home. Thank you so much again! This has been a NetCore’s Podcast. 


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