Vaughan Owen, Chief Marketing Officer, Acquired.com
Today more than ever before, businesses need to look for new places to unlock additional revenues and margins. This search isn’t new and finding that competitive edge gets harder every day. And the more efficient the business is, the more it has to search for small, incremental improvements to processes, people and systems.
The modern CEO is challenging every small aspect of their business, opening their business models to customers and developers, really listening to their feedback and adopting these changes with a view of “try, and if you fail, fail quickly, get up and try again”. Every part of the business is up for grabs, breaking tradition, inventing new models and partnerships, squeezing out every last drop of opportunity – these are the changes needed to remain ahead of the competition today.
Despite so much energy being spent on finding new ways to extract value, there are still unchartered waters: payments. Today’s CEOs still see payments as a necessary evil, an annoying cost of doing business. And yet every CFO worth their salt will tell you that payments (and the underlying transactions) are the single source of truth in doing business. Lost in layers of old legacy technology is a treasure trove of transactional data that unlocks value for any organisation.
The payments industry itself is being disrupted, as regulation and near-constant technology disruption exerts pressure to evolve. Regulations such as PSD2, GDPR and open banking, coupled with advancing technology such as AI and robotic advice, are driving traditional players towards “marketplace” banking, or banking-as-a-service (BaaS).
This is pushing payments providers to make a choice between being a value-added service provider to customers, or simply the connection point between customers and third-party providers, modern-day explorers smashing down the traditional banking status quo with bold, new customer-led products. The success of current banks and payment providers will depend largely on how quickly they adjust to these conditions and their ability to innovate in response.
The secret will be a sincere interest in third parties and taking a fresh look, not only at their marketing models but, more importantly, their operating models and leadership. Traditional incumbents caught up in legacy technology and bureaucracy, after all, are not as agile as challenger banks and fintechs. In 1999 the top brands were Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM, followed closely by Nokia, Marlboro, McDonalds and Mercedes. Things look very different today, and the days are numbered for those not developing every day and modernising at scale. It will not come as a surprise that today’s incumbents may not be tomorrow’s leaders.
This is especially true given that players such as Google, IBM, Apple, Samsung, Facebook and Microsoft are exploring the introduction of their own payment platforms, establishing trust by using their mega brands and their deep understanding of ecosystems, user needs and subscription revenue models. In this new world, you are the product, a valuable dataset of opportunity.
So, what does this all mean? With the boardroom conversation shifting to find better ways of understanding customers and challenging current operating models, payments provide an opportunity to grow your bottom line. Payments remain the lifeblood of any business, and the good news is that there is a journey of discovery throughout the ecosystem of transactional data that is lined with gold nuggets. You just need to know where to look and have the right team to help you unlock it.
Does your current payment provider help you do better business? Do they understand your unique needs? And are they simply taking margin, or helping to unlock real value?
Using deeper data understanding, partnerships and award-winning technology, Acquired.com is disrupting the payments status quo, delivering exponential hidden margin through better payment strategies.