How Ubank’s CMO leverages AI and Robotics for better CX


Jo Kelly is the Chief Marketing Officer at UBank joining the team in early 2015. In an interview with Connect Intelligence, she shares her wisdom to future marketers as well as how she leverages technology to improve customer experience.

Q: What’s one best, or as you prefer to say ‘next’, practice tip you would give to someone working in marketing in a bank?
I would encourage people not to be constrained by their role or title. If you do that, you’re just operating as a functional leader rather than one that’s really going to transform an organisation.
Take time to understand the broader organisation and where you can collaborate and add value.
Further to the collaboration point, don’t be afraid of innovation. Find a way to get involved in it and shape it. It will likely end up being one of the most valuable and rewarding parts of your job.

Q: How has the recent rebrand you lead helped UBank stand out from the clutter?
Prior to our rebrand in 2016, many people knew us for our great rates. This is, of course, something we’re really proud of, and we continue to offer our customers some of the best rates on the market. But we knew we needed to stand for more. In an increasingly crowded home loan market, we needed to demonstrate how we were different from the competition.
We landed on a new positioning around Just the Bank You Need because we’re all about delivering a simpler, better, smarter experience to our customers. And removing all of the frustrations and pain points that get in their way.
It’s also given us a great platform to have a more meaningful and differentiated conversation with Australians about the dream of home ownership.
Our goal is to encourage people to re-think the dream and define it for themselves rather than being swept away by the appeal of a big home with an even bigger mortgage. We want people to “borrow less, and live more” which is a very unique approach for a bank and something that has absolutely helped us stand out from the crowd.

Q: What are the skills and knowledge you wish to instil in the next generation of marketers?
The next generation of marketers needs to really understand performance metrics. Given the focus on KPIs and outcomes, it’s critical to understand how the marketing function contributes to your organisation’s objectives. With media buying in particular, you have to immerse yourself in it and be able to explain it to anyone and everyone within your organisation.

Q: How does UBank leverage technological advances to reach its consumers?
We’re reviewing and testing new technologies as they come onto the market to find the solutions that are going to help us deliver for our customers.
In May of this year, we introduced RoboChat, the first chatbot in Australia to help customers with the home loan application process.
With this innovation, we’ve leveraged artificial intelligence to help us automate responses to the simpler, more routine questions people typically ask when applying for a home loan. The support is in real-time and allows customers to quickly and easily get support so they can finish their application faster.
For us, it wasn’t about leveraging this technology to cut costs or head count. It was simply about improving the customer experience – both with the fast access to information and by freeing up our advisors to have more time to help customers with more complex questions.
This is the way we view all technology enhancements – how can it help the customer? Pure and simple.

Q: How has being an out-of-the-box thinker benefited you and inhibited you in your role?
Being an out-of-the-box thinker has definitely benefited me. Firstly, from a cultural point of view, it has allowed me to connect with different leaders in the organisation, which in turn has made my role richer and my contribution more meaningful.
It’s also allowed me to consistently do work I’m really proud of with a great team of people.


Jo Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, UBank will be expanding on her interview at Brand Forum, 21st and 22nd February, 2018.

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