An Interview with Magdalena Kotek


GE Capital’s Marketing Leader of Global Financial Solutions speaks with FST Media about the significance of data and business intelligence in developing successful commercial marketing strategies.

FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Kotek: Our focus will be to simplify the customer experience and our internal processes, deliver value to our global customers and grow our assets, in addition to meeting the regulatory and compliance requirements of the countries where we do business. 

FST Media: What emerging trend or innovation will have a significant impact on commercial banking?

Kotek: Mid-market companies are increasingly expanding to foreign countries to grow and acquire assets and talent. Global lenders, like GE Capital, that operate across multiple countries can be valuable partners to them. For instance, we work with our customers to simplify processes and operations, in addition to our legal frameworks including terms and conditions across different countries. This has led us to change the way we organize our customer teams to better serve these global customers.

FST Media: What technology and tools allow you to ensure the customer journey is seamless across global markets?

Kotek: We use our CRM and portfolio management tools to understand our global relationship with a customer. We have a set customer strategy and we use this to coordinate our global customer teams. Ultimately, this means we can work as a global team to ensure the customer’s needs are met. We also ensure that we continuously update these systems so that we have relevant data and the best information possible.

FST Media: What role do big data, analytics and business intelligence play in GE Capital’s marketing strategy? 

Kotek: Data is a critical element to develop winning commercial strategies. This starts with a comprehensive understanding of new markets for entry. We use third party and internal data to analyze and identify attractive market segments. We will use this data to effectively deploy sales people and then once a market is launched, we analyze the results of our commercial efforts. We focus on originator productivity so that we can understand the most and least effective behaviors. Also, we regularly analyze customer and value proposition activity and we use predictive models to identify attrition and new prospect targets. We combine all of this insight to create and refresh our go-to-market strategy.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Kotek: GE drives innovation through several channels. We encourage customer-facing teams to identify ideas that would serve our customers better and we have developed a “Fast Track” to bring these ideas to senior leaders for discussion and quick action. Recently, we have also launched a set of tools and principles called “FastWorks” which is based on learnings on how entrepreneurial startup companies get innovations to market faster. Small working teams create hypotheses on market needs. They develop minimally viable products and quickly bring a product pilot to market so that we can learn, iterate, and hone in on what customers actually need and what they will pay for. 

FST Media: How do you see the rising roles of chief digital and marketing officers impacting the traditional function of senior technology executives? 

Kotek: Marketing and digital leaders are identifying customer and market needs, and they are working collaboratively with technology executives to find the right way to address these needs. For instance, the US marketing team realized that mid-market customers in the restaurant industry were looking to save costs in their operations. Together, the marketing and technology teams, in partnership with GE Lighting, developed an app for restaurant franchise owners to identify cost savings from lighting for their franchise restaurant chains. 

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the best advice you ever received?

Kotek: The best advice I have ever received is to take risks and learn from them. Success is all about challenging yourself with new projects and investing in yourself to build your skillset and grow. It is also important to build expertise. This could be in a customer segment, function, industry or product – or a combination of these areas – and it will help you to deliver more for your customers and your business. 

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Kotek: I am thankful for the people I have been lucky enough to work with and for the fact that we have achieved more as a team than we ever could have achieved as individuals.