Since 2007, TotallyMoney.com has become one of the biggest credit comparison sites in the UK.
I recently sat down with CEO Alastair Douglas to get his thoughts on the company’s success, future challenges and consumer-facing finance in general.
Here’s what he had to say!
In one sentence, describe the product/service your company offers.
Essentially, TotallyMoney.com helps consumers get a fairer deal when applying for credit.
We offer personalised search results, ranked according to what the best credit product is for them.
What sets TotallyMoney.com apart from other comparison sites?
Our company is driven by a passion for making the credit market fairer for consumers. We’re independent and unbiased and on a mission to help every UK credit card holder save money.
It’s amazing to think that 15m people have never even checked to see whether they’re eligible for a better credit card deal – if they had the same attitude to comparing credit as they do to switching car insurance or energy provider they could be saving a fortune.
Without vast TV spend, how do you optimise your media mix to stay competitive?
We’re a lean, agile business, and we take a data-driven approach to our marketing. We measure the performance of every campaign we build and follow an iterative cycle of improvement.
We move quickly in the market to explore new opportunities across all channels – building, measuring and most importantly learning quickly is more important than whether individual ideas or campaigns succeed or fail.
To stay ahead of the competition, we’re starting to tap into the possibilities that machine learning and big data can offer.
You place a lot of focus on producing long-form content – how do you measure its success?
Our content marketing is about building brand awareness and connecting with our target audiences.
By taking a creative approach to the subjects of value for money and better decision making, we’ve overcome the inertia and resistance to personal finance topics.
We’ve moved out of the personal finance sections and into the lifestyle pages of national publications. We measure success by the coverage we receive and the interest and interaction we see.
How is the business adapting to the rise in mobile use over desktop?
We adopted a mobile-first approach to product development and marketing over two years, and we first saw visits on mobile phones eclipse desktop visits in October 2014.
Today, more than 70% of consumers use our service on mobile phones with another 10% using tablets.
We’ve invested in understanding the challenges of context and interaction on mobile devices and refined the user experience accordingly.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in future for consumer-facing finance?
The internet is an unstoppable force that weights things in the favour of the consumer; it gives them direct access to all the information they need, rather than having to rely on self-appointed experts.
Therefore, the biggest challenge for consumer-facing finance is to align themselves with what customers actually want, rather than focusing on short-term profits.
This change is the biggest challenge because many businesses are not set up for it and stuck in the past.
How does regulation affect innovation in customer experience?
We support the FCA’s drive to ensure that customers are treated fairly. Regulation exists to protect the consumer interest.
We take a customer-centric approach to building better user journeys; we embrace regulation that makes the market more transparent and ensures a level playing field for all.
Finally – what’s the best thing about your job?
It’s got to be the people I work with; it’s a smart, energetic team that works hard, shares responsibility and celebrates success together.
There’s a great sense of unity that comes from everyone working together to change the credit market for the better.