Fiona Bloxam

Marketing specialist

Banking experience

Fifteen years’ employment in banking, of which over 80% experience is in retail banking, and the remainder in business banking. Banking experience includes marketing and communications; market research; product and channel solutions; strategy formulation and strategic planning; financial education programme design and implementation; strategic insights including banking industry analysis – (e.g. competitors and regulation); economic and industry research; corporate social investment design and initiation; and corporate communication and reporting.

Market Research experience

Twenty five years of experience in market research, of which sixteen years were in the banking industry, and nine years’ employment in market research production companies, providing market research to a wide variety of industries.

Extensive experience in research, ranging from consumer and competitor insights to long-term future socio-economic scenarios. Market research experience is particularly in the field of quantitative consumer and business-to-business research, such as market positioning surveys, segmentation research, product needs, competitor analysis, customer satisfaction surveys and socio-political research. Sectors include financial services, FMCG, media, motor vehicle manufacturing.

A to Z knowledge of the market research production process, from methodological design to using the findings in marketing strategies to enhance brand positioning and performance in the market.

Extensive experience in marketing strategy formulation, including five years’ experience in leading the implementation of marketing strategy, and over ten years’ experience in review and refinement of marketing strategies in line with changing demographics, competitor activity, consumer needs, product lifecycles, brand relevance, changing technology, regulation, risk appetite, macro-economic impact on the business model, and other relevant variables.

Strategy formulation has covered the full marketing prospectus, from identification and evaluation of new markets, segments, products and channels; brand positioning and refinement; product range and pricing reviews; changing consumer needs and competitor activities; and, above-and below-the line communication, including suitable media identification for advertising and other promotional channels and campaigns relevant to the target market, for instance, incentives for product trial, rewards for repeat usage, direct sales, agents, referral incentives, below-the-line activities, such as sponsorships, roadshows, financial education and ‘grassroots’ PR activities.

Experience of marketing and research in African countries outside South Africa: Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Kenya (the latter involving pro bono work for Equity Bank in 2002 to guide the marketing team in the research for and design of a marketing, product and brand strategy).

Electronic Banking

Expert knowledge of and experience in introducing, updating and marketing of electronic banking services to entry-level markets. Strategies include differentiated channel pricing, identification of partnerships and distribution channels suited to the target market, the implementation of education programmes to overcome fears of electronic banking and promote ongoing brand awareness, incentives for product uptake and rewards programmes linked to frequency of usage, incentives for new sales referrals by community members, incentives for agents or other partners, and the design and implementation of relevant communication campaigns.

Communication campaigns have comprised launch programmes and regular, lower-level communication campaigns thereafter. Communication campaigns have included traditional above-the-line advertising, (such as advertising on radio, billboards, and newspapers), as well as below-the-line campaigns relevant to the target markets, such as community roadshows, educational roadshows, on-the-ground PR officers for building up relations with the community, mobile marketing, e.g. latest competitions, product promotions and financial tips, free messaging services for customers with non-smart phones to contact the company, sponsorships and local corporate investment campaigns

Examples of financial education programmes include 1) a programme still running on two South African mines, administered by the mines themselves. The programme was devised in 2004 to help mineworkers attain basic financial and banking literacy, such as budgeting, saving, debt, interest rates, how to read their payslips and bankslips, and how to compare banks. It was devised through an initial research study into gaps in financial understanding, followed by the design of a programme and training of mine-nominated trainers. 2) a programme devised for rural, unbanked adults, with low literacy and numeracy levels. The programme was designed to educate rural dwellers about the benefits of banking, and used face-to-face group training.