DRMA Spotlight: The Vantiv Advantage1 Jul, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response
Elizabeth Rector says the Ohio-based payment processing giant’s success is based on great customer service and creative technological solutions
Vantiv, based in Symmes Township, Ohio — with offices in Dallas, Houston, Louisville, Tinley Park, Ill., and Lowell, Mass. — has provided innovative payment processing solutions for more than 40 years. The Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member company, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: VNTV), believes the secret to its longevity is understanding its customers’ needs and challenges, and providing great service and cutting-edge technology to make their businesses more convenient and successful.
Recently, we caught up with Elizabeth Rector, the company’s senior vice president and general manager, mobile and E-commerce, which also includes Vantiv’s direct response portfolio of business for this DRMA Spotlight interview.
What is your professional background and how you came to your role at Vantiv?
I have been a CFO, general manager and global head of customer experience for Lexis-Nexis, a global information technology company. I’ve spent a significant amount of time in my career building growth businesses with a focus on the customer experience.
I came to Vantiv to lead two of its highest growth areas — E-commerce and mobile — and we’ve invested heavily in product and distribution expansion. At Vantiv, our focus is on our customers’ customer — and she sets the pace of change in commerce.
She is our pace car. We’re orienting everything about payments around her and about how she wants to engage. That means we’re driving our customers and their brands on a road of engaging with her — how to reach her, how to relate to her, how to accommodate her payment.
For a direct response marketer, this might be engaging with a consumer who saw an infomercial in the morning while getting ready for work. She loved the product and is going to look for it online during a break later in the day — maybe by mobile, maybe online. Or maybe she wants to search to see if it’s available for her to pick up at a retailer on the way home. For us, for our customers, the question is readiness to engage with her across those fronts, to take a payment by phone or online, or even to create an experience that easily drives her to a store after work if that’s what she wants. That engagement readiness, that preparation for a payment transaction, is what our work is all about.
What does Vantiv do for direct response marketers that sets it apart?
We have long-time, deep partnerships in direct response. Whether it’s marketing partners, call center partners, fulfillment partners or others, we’ve made a name in payments leadership by understanding the intricate operations of their businesses and how payments tie in with a focus on the success of a shared customer.
We’ve become the leader in executing recurring monthly models as a result of our work with partners and our customers’ business models. It’s the kind of leadership that we’ve extended to online customers, where the model of monthly-recurring customer engagement is so prevalent.
The companies and individuals leading Vantiv’s response for direct marketers represent more than a half-century of both direct marketing and payment processing expertise. The roots of our core in direct response payments are found in direct marketing itself, and the rich history defined by people like Tim Litle, moving through our business today.
We’re viewed as helping direct response businesses solve problems unique to them: tackling authorizations and recycling; establishing successful recurring payment cycles; managing chargebacks smartly, efficiently and more profitably; and combatting emerging threats, such as fraud and data security.
What’s been one of your most recent successful campaigns?
One great example is our work with a leading beauty/personal care brand looking to implement a monthly subscription offering. We leveraged our work with many brands, particularly online brands, that have led the monthly subscription approach. We brought in our work in recurring and recycling strategies for direct response to help build both an experience and a payments strategy to help them launch this offering in the market.
What are the biggest accomplishments or changes for Vantiv in the past year?
Specifically as they apply to direct response, there have been a few important ones. Continuing to define the industry’s response to fraud by adding key solutions from ThreatMetrix to the Fraud Toolkit available to direct response merchants. The launch of Recurring Engine, our managed-subscription billing solution, which builds off of our leadership in account updating and authorization recycling. And, promoting the international payments dialogue so that our customers’ response to opportunity complements their strategy and is done smartly and profitably and with minimal disruption to existing workflows. Key to all of these accomplishments has been the involvement and leadership of our partner community, responsible for so many important integrations and dialogues on these topics and others.
What do you see as the hottest topics facing marketers in the DR space?
There are many. Omnichannel consumption, or omnicommerce, is going to continue to define a new generation of payments. Engaging those consumers and capturing those payments will be found in defining business and media strategies that surround those consumers and their payments. There is so much competition for consumer payments today, particularly in the area of monthly and recurring subscription. Continuing to manage strong value propositions for consumers while remaining pro-consumer will be key. Capturing share in an increasingly global market is another hot topic. With that also comes a need to double-down on the ever presence of data security and fraud.
There is so much opportunity and there are so many areas of strategy, particularly tied to payments, where we will all be focused.
What are Vantiv’s plans for the next 3-5 years?
Growing our business is going to result from doing a few things very well. First, helping our customers — existing and new — help their customers transact seamlessly with their brands. The everywhere-all-the-time consumer is the focus of this effort. So, whether she is on a mobile device, online or in a store, we want our customers to be able to engage and transact with her — whenever and wherever she’s ready. Leading our direct customers through the sea of commercial changes that will inevitably come to their doors is another key focus — whether consumer behavior changes or marketplace demands, we will help lead. In addition, leading our customers’ payments efforts on the international frontier will also be critical. ■