Atom poaches second First Direct marketer with CMO hire

Digital-only bank Atom has secured its second First Direct marketer with the appointment of Lisa Wood as its chief marketing officer, a move it hopes will help adapt the financial firm’s customer-centric strategy to grow its own business.

Atom Bank will let customers manage accounts entirely via their mobile devices.
Atom Bank will let customers manage accounts entirely via their mobile devices.

Wood, the former head of marketing at First Direct, takes control of marketing, PR, product and proposition development.

She was responsible for growing First Direct’s reputation with younger consumers through more social media-powered customer service initiatives. It is likely Atom will look to replicate the strategy as it hopes to win customers through its pledge to be the UK’s first all-digital bank and be “truly customer-centric”.

Wood’s hire continues Atom’s raid on First Direct following the appointment of its boss Mark Mullen as chief executive in April. Mullen, who was previously First Direct’s head of marketing, will work closely with Woods to ensure the customer values permeate throughout all parts of the business.

He adds: “We’re delighted to have Lisa onboard, helping us create a new digital bank that’s truly customer-centric. She understands how a bank without branches works, and knows what today’s consumers want from their bank. She also has a great deal of experience in developing propositions and bringing them to market in a way that can challenge people’s views of the banking industry. Lisa’s arrival is yet another major building block in our drive to build a truly revolutionary proposition for customers.”

Atom launches next year subject to regulatory approval and will have no bank branches or telephone banking services. Instead, customers will manage accounts entirely via the internet and mobile apps.

The proposition places a greater onus on ease of use and speed for customers at a time when banks have been slow to adapt their offerings to mobile devices. While online banking has been a big focus for the sector, banks such as Barclays with its Pingit app – which lets people send money you someone using only their mobile number – are only now beginning to innovate around the channel. Additionally, technology firms such as Apple and Pingit are looking to rival traditional banks’ dominance with mobile payments services of their own.

Online banking is set to rise significantly in the coming years, boosted by the proliferation of smartphones. According to figures from the British Bankers’ Association, there were 18.6million transactions a week last year through apps, up from 9.1million in 2012.

The appointment comes after the bank raised £20m last month. It hired digital agency TH_NK earlier this month to help shape its design and digital strategy.