Previously Oakam’s Head of Digital Strategy & Customer Experience, Julie’s expanded role will bring closer alignment to product and marketing strategies.
LONDON, 14 August 2017 – Oakam, a digital micro-lender for the UK’s unbanked and underbanked consumers, has appointed Julie Haugen to Chief Product & Marketing Officer. Most recently, she was Oakam’s Head of Digital Strategy & Customer Experience, playing an instrumental role in the digital transformation of the business. In her new position, Julie will drive customer-led digital product innovation through closer alignment of Oakam’s marketing and product teams.
“Marketing is no longer just about clever ads but a critical push-pull tool offering data that helps us better understand our customers’ needs and in response, deliver innovative solutions that create value and help them get ahead,” said Julie Haugen, Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Oakam. “Bringing together our marketing and product functions will ensure that the customer remains at the heart of what we do as we continue to expand and enhance our digital proposition.”
Spurred by rising global smartphone penetration, particularly among consumers at the bottom of the pyramid, Oakam sees an opportunity to achieve international growth. Haugen, who has a depth of experience leading the product development agenda for large global technology brands including Skype, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, was brought on to support this transformation in 2015.
Julie has played a central role in Oakam’s digital growth over the past two years, including the launch of its award-winning mobile app in 2015, and the subsequent rollout of Oakam Grow in 2017. Oakam Grow applies the concept of gamification to micro-lending, offering a series of money-saving rewards to influence or nudge the development of positive financial habits like on-time loan repayment. For Oakam, this move has already resulted in a 16 percent improvement in on-time repayment, while the ability to more closely and regularly monitor customer behaviour has enhanced its underwriting and risk management algorithms.
The digital delivery of Oakam’s loans has made micro-credit more accessible, affordable and convenient than traditional alternatives such as doorstep loans and rent-to-own schemes.
In her new role, Julie is looking to grow her existing team with the addition of senior project management, business development talent and UX designers.
Julie’s product roadmap through the end of 2017 includes bringing to market larger loans at lower rates for accredited customers as well as access to emergency funds. The ability to expand Oakam’s product ladder is enabled by the behavioural insights delivered through Oakam Grow. Additional goals for her team in 2017 include achieving a 200 percent increase in customer applications, doubling app usage among active customers and expanding digital transactions by 50 percent.
“Oakam’s mission is to put customers in control of their finances. To us, this means that their involvement in the product creation and development process is non-negotiable,” said Frederic Nze, CEO and founder of Oakam. “From the beginning we’ve co-designed our products with our customers, and mobile has allowed us to do it better and on a larger scale. The ability of Julie and her team to turn customer insights into innovative solutions will be a game-changer as we set our sights on extending credit access to even more consumers.”
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