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For UK-based savings & investment app Moneybox high-performing ads are key. Senior graphic designer Mayumi Hashimoto joins us in this episode to talk about the approach the team takes to create and test performance marketing ads. You’ll also hear about their recent rebrand, and how they lean on outsourced help when necessary.
0:00 - Intro
1:55 - Marketing and design team structure
4:15 - Marketing focusses at Moneybox
6:00 - Working with an agency and freelancers
9:00 - Tools of the trade
10:05 - Working with a motion designer to create ads
12:40 - An example of a recent project at Moneybox
16:20 - Measuring success
22:40 - Autonomy and the idea backlog
23:30 - Working on reactive short-term projects
24:40 - Main challenges
27:35 - What Mayumi loves about her job & next steps
30:45 - Wrapping up
Charli: Welcome, everyone to a new episode of Inside Marketing Design. I'm your host, Charli. I'm the marketing design lead at ConvertKit. And I started this series because I really wanted to take a look at how marketing design teams, how marketing designers function and work on projects at different tech companies. So in each episode of the show, we take a deep dive into how marketing design works at a tech company. And in this episode, we're taking a look inside marketing design at Moneybox. Moneybox is a saving and investment app in the UK. It's one where you connect your accounts and it will roundup your purchases, and put them into various saving and investment accounts. I've been using it for a few years now, actually. So I was really excited when their senior graphic designer Mayumi Hashimoto wanted to come on the show and share a little bit about how marketing design works at Moneybox. Now, Mayumi has a really interesting background actually, of getting into design. She started out in her career learning about dental technology, but made the shift to design because that's where her true passion lies. She's worked in Japan as well as in the UK and has worked on editorial teams, on a marketing team at a department store. She has a really varied background that she brings to her role as senior graphic designer at Moneybox. Moneybox is based in London, it has about 125 employees. And in this episode, Mayumi and I talked a lot about into team relationships and working with people on projects. How Moneybox team comes up with different campaign ideas and run tests to figure out which work best. I think it's really great episode. I think you're really gonna love it. So without further ado, let's get in and take a look inside marketing design at Moneybox.
Welcome, Mayumi. I'm so excited to have you here on the show. As I said in the intro to the people, but you didn't hear me. I'm a user of Moneybox myself. So, I am excited to talk to you and hear more about the marketing side of things. It's gonna be great. Let's start off by talking about the team structure at Moneybox. I assume you're part of the marketing team as the senior graphic designer. And how many other people are on the marketing team with you?
Mayumi: So there's seven of us on the marketing team. And it consists of marketing, head of marketing, performance marketing manager, social media manager, PR and comms manager, myself, and a motion designer.
Charli: Cool. So you're the only really like marketing designer on the team?
Mayumi: That's correct.
Charli: Wow. So, how many other designers are in the company? Like on the product side, then?
Mayumi: It's split into the product design team and marketing design team. And at the moment, there are, we've actually had quite a lots of new comers. So I actually don't have the actual number in my head, but it's, they probably have like seven or eight.
Charli: It's quite a difference then.
Mayumi: It's bigger, yeah. It might be five or six.
Charli: Yeah. It's kinda similar for me. There's well, not quite the difference but there's three product designers at ConvertKit and then there's just me on the marketing side.
Mayumi: Oh, on your own?
Charli: Yup, all on my own. Just like you. So you'd be surprised actually at how many people, I guess, I'm talking to where the marketing design team is sadly often a team of one, but you know, we get through it somehow. Do you operate at Moneybox as a design team itself? Like does the whole design team get together for meetings and things like that? Are you included in that sort of stuff?
Mayumi: Yes and no. We actually did a rebrand late last year, which took place around end of summer, autumn, five to six months. We worked together because we need to make sure that everything was consistent. And, but generally we work separately.
Charli: So you don't often have like a meeting time where you will get together once a week, that sort of thing, unless there's a big project, like the rebrand happening.
Mayumi: Yes, exactly. But sometimes I'll do like quality checking just to make sure the graphics that they're using within the app is on brand.
Charli: The marketing team focus on at Moneybox? What would you say are some of the main areas of work there?
Mayumi: The main areas would be the performance marketing ads where we aim to get new customers to join us. So the core channels that we use for ads would be like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. So yeah, that would be the main focus.
Charli: Yeah. And is that then one of the main things that you find yourself designing? Is a lot of add materials?
Mayumi: Yes, so a lot of ads and also just organic social assets, such as like social media images, customer comms. So it could be like emails, new blog images. Yeah, things like that.
Charli: Yeah. What other sort of things do you work on as part of your job? Do you design for the marketing website for Moneybox?
Mayumi: Yes, I do work on the images. So if we have like a new product, we'll have like a new hero image for the page and illustrations. We rarely do any printed work. But earlier this year we actually had an underground ad that we ran for four weeks. So I got to work on that, which was quite nice. I've never worked on an, you know, ads on the train.
Charli: Did you get to see it yourself on the tube?
Mayumi: Yes. Took many pictures while people are staring at me,
Charli: I love it. In my first graphic design job, I got to design a billboard that was on the highway as we would approach like going to work. And so it was really exciting for me every morning to see my own billboard that I designed.
Mayumi: Oh, wow! That's amazing. Did you take pictures?
Charli: I definitely took pictures, yes. But because it was on like a highway, I had to take them from a moving car. So it wasn't quite as easy as perhaps taking them on the tube. So you designed the imagery for the website, but not the website itself? Does someone else handle that.
Mayumi: Yes, the website itself or the rebrand itself was done by external branding studio. What'd you call that team?
Charli: Like an agency?
Mayumi: Yes, an agency. And I was responsible for like implementing all the design and refreshing all the logos and every.
Charli: All of the places.
Mayumi: Marketing materials.
Charli: Yeah. That's interesting. So did you kind of manage that, that process working with the agency? Were you required to give a lot of feedback on the brand and like newbie steering?
Mayumi: Yeah. Yes, exactly. So we worked on, we actually have characters in our brand which took us a while to like come into agreement. How we want to develop it, basically. And yeah, so we had a lot of back and forth. They would come into our office and we have lots of meetings to discuss on the direction.
Charli: We worked with an agency when we rebranded ConvertKit, the company I work for, a couple of years ago too. It was just not something that anyone internally wanted to tackle and we thought it was best to outsource it.
Charli: Do you work with external designers for any other things? Like, is there any other designers who aren't really on the team, but that you might work with on projects? Kinda like this agency?
Mayumi: We might work with some freelancers if we have quite a lot on our plate. So in the past, we've hired illustrators and motion designers and usually myself and the motion designer manages the freelancers.
Charli: Yeah. So like managing that project when you have freelance on it. Yeah. And who decides when you have too much work on, I suppose? And when you're going to bring a freelancer in? Do you sort of put your hand up and say, hey, I think we should get freelancer on this, or do you have someone who project managers things? And sees those spots?
Mayumi: I think our head of marketing usually has quite a clear understanding of how much work it is. And so she would usually suggest, let me know if you need, if you might need an extra hand, we can always hire someone to help.
Charli: Yeah, that's good. Do you find yourself making sure though that you keep the projects that you're really excited about? To keep those internal, to make sure that, that you work on them?
Mayumi: Yeah, I mean, I'd like to work on every single thing I do.
Charli: I know, yeah.
Mayumi: Like, I don't want to give it away. Like yeah, but sometimes it's just physically not possible.
Charli: Yeah. That's like something we have to accept as a solo in-house designer, right? We can't do everything, yeah.
Mayumi: But usually I try to work on anything like more complex stuff and try to give simpler projects to external.
Charli: Yeah. I think that's a pattern I've been noticing is that a lot of companies will keep them more design-thinking, complex stuff, like you said in-house, but then send off anything that's perhaps more like a process to go through. Like you've just gotta mock up this image or whatever. You'll send that off to someone else.
Charli: What tools do you use as part of your design workflow at Moneybox?
Mayumi: Well, to manage the project we use, we use mondays.com. That's where all the team knows what everyone's working on. And in terms of myself, as a designer, I use Facebook Ad library to research what the current competitors are doing and just to be on trend as well, and to get inspiration. I like to go, whenever I have like a creative blockage, I'll go to Dribbble or Pinterest to get some visual inspiration.
Charli: Yup, I'm a big fan of Dribbble myself as well. And what about, what tool do you design in? Is it the Adobe suite? Sketch, Figma? What are you using these days?
Mayumi: Mainly, it's Illustrator. So Adobe illustrator, Photoshop is the main thing that I use and for motion designer, it's After Effects.
Charli: Cool. How do you and the motion designer work together? Obviously, the fact that there's a motion designer on the team tells me that Moneybox places a lot of value in making videos, making animated graphics and that sort of thing. Yeah, what's your working relationship like?
Mayumi: So basically, mainly I, when we're making new performance marketing ads, which is usually videos, I come up with the rough storyboards or present it to head of marketing and everyone else in the marketing team to get some feedback. And I sometimes like communicate with the motion designer to see if this certain motion is company saving or not. 'Cause we always need to make sure. We have a very short timeline. So we always need to make sure that it's feasible within the timeframe. And I I'll give the illustrator file. And he does is he does the magic.
Charli: The magic. The magic touches to it. That's cool, yeah. I like, I find myself wishing sometimes that I had a motion designer to work with because I actually studied motion design at university. So I have a bit of motion design background and I end up trying to do some things myself, but like honestly, sometimes I feel like it's probably not worth my time. 'Cause it takes me so long to do it. 'Cause I'm not an expert in it, but yeah. I think having motion and having moving stuff is really important, especially for ads, right? They've got to be eye-catching.
Charli: What about the copy for the ads? You said that you put together the storyboard, Are you sort of writing what will go on the screen or whatever in the ad as well?
Mayumi: Sometimes I've given already like given copies, sometimes not. So I'll just come up with the copy and I'll ask for any suggestion from like social media manager who is really good at writing, so yeah. That's where all the, I tried to get everyone in the marketing team involved when we're reviewing new concepts. So it's basically like a dummy copy for me. Because I'm not a writer. And yeah, if they have like better suggestions, then I'll just yeah. Implement that.
Charli: I love that. I tend to do that same thing too. I'll sometimes I'll write dummy copy. That then ends up actually being used because I like got it right.
Mayumi: Yeah, which is a nice feeling.
Charli: It is a nice feeling. Especially 'cause I don't know, as a designer, I don't consider myself a writer, but writing is actually a pretty important part of what we do.
Charli: Let's talk about a project at Moneybox. Where does it usually come from? Like how does a project usually start?
Mayumi: Usually, the brief would be like, so we'll have a problem. And we all try to discuss how to solve the problem. That's how it kind of starts.
Charli: Can you give me an example of like a recent problem that you've had?
Mayumi: Something that we've worked on is we wanted new female customers. We wanted to target female customers and in order to do so, we came up with an idea to focus the ads on gender investment gap. Which talked about like only 21% of the investors are female in the UK. And that worked really well. The message was to say, let's close this gap. We make it easy to invest. Sign up now.
Charli: You all got in a room then to discuss this problem and how you're gonna solve it? And this angle, I suppose, of the investment gap and closing that gap is what came out of that conversation?
Mayumi: Yes. Yeah, okay.
Charli: So, what happens next then?
Mayumi: What happens next is I will make a mockup or like a rough storyboard. It could be like a quick sketch and have it reviewed by the performance marketing manager and the head of marketing. And based on the feedback I get, I will refine it and actually design the material and it gets animated by our motion designer.
Charli: What's the handoff process, like to the motion designer? 'Cause this is not something that I do. I hand off to a developer. 'Cause the main thing I designed is a website or like web pages at ConvertKit, what's the handoff look like to the motion designer?
Mayumi: So the motion designer is involved in the whole discussion and the storyboard. He is aware of what's to come and I give him the end product. Sometimes, I'll have an idea of some movements or motions that I have in my head while I was making the storyboard. So I communicate that to him. He has a really good of what I have in my head and how he wants to communicate that with motion design. Usually, he just executes it the way I want. And I don't know, we're both with, we always end up with something that we're both happy with.
Charli: That's cool. That sounds like a really good working relationship. I feel like I have that with the developer I work with too. There'll be times where I'm like, I want it to kinda like scroll like this and I'll do some sort of hand motion and then he'll be like, okay, yeah, I know what you mean. And he'll go make it happen in the code.
Mayumi: Yeah, definitely. I think that's how we work as well. Like, I can't even make this part. He'd be like, yeah, yeah. I know what you mean.
Charli: Yup, yup, exactly. Do you and the motion designer, I don't know, have daily stand ups or something like that to check in with how you're doing on projects?
Mayumi: We have like a weekly creative catch-up where we discuss what we're doing on that week and making sure everything finished on time. And we also have like a separate one-on-one with me and the motion designer. Like a creative brainstorm session where we bounce off ideas and yeah.
Charli: Okay, so you start a project with this brainstorm around how you're gonna, like what approach you're gonna take to solve this problem. You and the motion designer will basically work together on getting that thing made. The ads go out there. How do you know if they've been successful? Like how do you measure them?
Mayumi: Well with the digital marketing, it's very easy because it's measured by the conversion. How many customers we've actually acquired. We only count the numbers when we, when the customer actually starts using the app.
Charli: Okay. So it's not just a download, is when they actually like.
Mayumi: When they actually, exactly. So actually when they put the money in and start using the app. That's for performance marketing and for social or like blog, it will be the views, the likes, interactions that we get, comments. We also have like an in-app campaign where we aim to get cross sell. So for customers who are using stocks and shares, we might want them to use lifetime ISA and an account that helps you buy your first home. So we run like two different sets of like test campaigns and see which one works best. And so that's also like a conversion, like if someone actually opens up a new account, then yeah. That's how we measure success.
Charli: I've definitely received those in-app campaign messages myself.
Mayumi: Oh, have you?
Charli: Yeah, for sure. Do you do testing with other ads as well? Yeah, just curious to know what you do with the campaign and if you test different approaches against each other.
Mayumi: Oh yes, definitely. I think the main focus when we do new ads, something that we need to always keep in mind is that we're learning every time we put out a new ad. And we'll AB test sometimes to see which one works best, it could be like an illustration versus person or something that looks techy versus like cutesy illustration. Or like, it could be testing messaging. So we'll use exactly the same image, but using the different message copy. To see what works best or what doesn't.
Charli: That's really fun. I mean, I find that really fun, that side of things.
Mayumi: Oh yeah. I find it really fun as well. It's like all psychological, isn't it? It's not always the best designed ad that works best, but yeah, it's interesting what people find. What kind of design influences someone to take action.
Charli: Totally. Can you think of any examples of, I don't know, some time when it surprised you the results of a test?
Mayumi: Surprised. It was like the most, so we have this lifetime ISA product, which is for helping new first time buyers to save for their first home. There was a time when we didn't have a motion designer for a certain period of time. So I had to make a slide show, which was like, like four frames, no motion design at all. Actually, that worked really, really well. It's probably sometimes because the lifetime ISA messaging can be quite complex. There's a lot of rules and regulations that we need to explain it within the app. Not having the motion design probably helped them simplify the message in a way. So there was nothing distracting. It was quite text heavy. So I think it kind of worked in our advantage to have it still.
Charli: Yeah, interesting. Do you get, how do you get to access this data and know what's working and what's not? Does someone on the team like produce a report or can you log into some sort of data system and see it? How does that work?
Mayumi: Yeah, so it's basically the performance marketing manager who takes care of all the analytics and he will report to us about what ads work best and what kind of areas we should be focusing on based on what we've learnt.
Mayumi: And I also have access to, so we use AppsFlyer to see all the metrics and yeah, I'm still in the learning phase, but yeah, I have access to it too.
Charli: Okay, so that's sort of how the success of a project is measured and the success of the design you've done and, you know, learning which version worked best. What about you as a designer on the team? How has your performance measure? Do you have, I don't know. There's so many different goal systems, right? OKRs, KPIs, all of these different, different terms. How do things work at Moneybox?
Mayumi: In terms of a designer, I think delivering high quality work within the timeframe is very important. With the brand refresh. It was really important to make sure that everything was coherent, consistent, and yet to deliver something within quite a tight schedule with a very limited resource, myself. It was quite a challenge. It's just me. So yeah, and I feel that it was quite a successful rebrand that we carried out. It's not in metrics, but I guess, I think a good example is the app store image rebranding. So we usually have a certain number of people dropping out from that screen after accessing the app store. And basically, you need to make sure that we don't drop it any further. And that was one of the scary thing when we were rebranding. I was very worried that it might go down, but we maintained and it's it's working well.
Charli: Yeah, for sure. And so that's, was those goals that you set at the side of the project as well, that you knew as you were approaching this rebranding, that this was potentially a problem area of people dropping off after getting from the app store. So that was something that you set in advance that you knew, whatever we do, we want this to not drop down.
Mayumi: Yes. And that's something that can be improved. Like right now as well, there's always room for improvement. And that's something I wanna explore as well.
Charli: How much autonomy do you have over projects that you work on? 'Cause obviously a lot of it would come from the performance marketer, like needing this ad for this thing. But is there space for you to take action on just ideas you have for yourself as well?
Mayumi: Usually we basically have like a weekly marketing prioritization meeting where we discuss what we're focusing in the following week. So I may suggest an area I wanna work on. And if the head of marketing feels that is something we can prioritize, then we can go ahead. If we have other things that we need to prioritize, it will go into the backlog.
Charli: Yup. And if you're anything like me, you have a backlog that's like pages and pages long.
Mayumi: Oh yes,
Charli: Do you ever sometimes revisit that backlog and think, this just isn't relevant anymore? I should probably do this now.
Charli: Yup. That's just how it goes. As a marketing team, do you set like team goals for the quarter or something like that and then you set personal goals for how you feed into that. Is it structured like that or is it more on a project basis?
Mayumi: I think usually because the market changes a lot and we introduce like new products, it's quite reactive. And so we'll say like, for example, the current situation, when the investing the stock market performs really badly. We might say, okay, let's focus on lifetime ISA ads instead. Or like as a company, like we'll try to introduce something like new features and yeah. So it's actually quite hard to predict in the longterm. So I feel that we usually work on short-term projects.
Charli: How do you feel about that? Do you like the short term, like rapid deadline approach to things?
Mayumi: Oh yeah. I think I quite thrive in a very fast-paced environment, so it works for me.
Charli: Okay. So the short deadlines, aren't a challenge for you, but what are some of the challenges that you face in your role? What are some of the difficult things that either you as a designer or Moneybox as a marketing team are working through at the moment?
Mayumi: Personally, as a designer, I think it's quite challenging to always come up with something refreshing, something new, engaging ads on a weekly basis. When you're in the company or when you're working too closely with something, sometimes it's really hard to think outside of the box. So we tried to have like a monthly creative meeting where we involve everyone in the marketing team, ask them to bring one or two ideas of like ads. It could be something that they've seen somewhere and we'll have like an hour where we throw like ideas, bounce it off of each other. And that really helps like open your eyes and do like, you know, just new, different angles of looking at things.
Charli: Yeah, totally. And yeah, that that's really important as well, I think, to get other people involved. So it's not all on you always to be coming up with all the ideas 'cause other people's inputs are worth it as well. Any other challenges to touch on that the marketing team's facing?
Mayumi: Because we're such a small team, I think it's always, it's quite important for each of us to take ownership of the process that you're assigned to. Sometimes, I think if myself including, it can be easy to like, you face a problem and you kind of leave it.
Charli: Because it's not the resource to work through and solve it right then and there, you mean?
Mayumi: Yeah. Because you feel like you're not the person to resolve it, but in fact, you should, ideally, you should find a person who might be able to solve that problem and deliver, basically.
Charli: Yeah, yeah. Like there's an element of ownership that you have take on being on part of a small team, especially.
Mayumi: Yeah. That's the challenge on something that we can develop on.
Charli: Yeah. Well, how do you feel about where marketing design fits or marketing in general, I guess fits within the company at Moneybox? Does it have quite a big impact? Do you feel quite respected by the rest of the team?
Mayumi: Yeah, I think so. Definitely because the main focus of the company as a whole is to have more and more users and that's what we're mainly responsible for.
Charli: Yeah, cool. I always wanna check that 'cause I feel like sometimes, marketing design especially can sort of come secondary to product design in tech companies because tech companies are often focused on like building the product, you know? So that's great. I'm very happy to hear that. And what are some of the parts that you love most about your job at Moneybox? What do you love about it?
Mayumi: I'd say the favorite part is being a digital marketing designer, because it's so easy to measure your success or failure. It's both challenging and rewarding at the same time. And that's something you can't of experience if you're working on publishing or any printed media. There's no way of measuring your success. I mean, in some way you can, but it's not that obvious.
Charli: And it's not as instant too, right?
Mayumi: It's yeah, that's correct. That as well.
Charli: So you have this background working in editorial, agency type stuff. How do you feel like that's fit in to your job now?
Mayumi: I think having like a very diverse background helps because as an in-house designer, you're asked to do so many different types of design from digital to print and I'm confident in print and digital, I've been a web designer as well. I also have a marketing background also when I worked for a department store as a digital marketing director. So that's helped a lot as well.
Charli: Yeah. It's all like fed in together, right? To be part of this new role. Cool. What do you see as like your next steps? Because you recently got this promotion, right? Congratulations by the way. To senior graphic designer. What's the next thing that you're gonna work on? Or like skill you wanna refine?
Mayumi: I think as a designer, there's always room to grow to become a better designer. But a skill that I feel like I need to develop is the leadership skill. I'm not usually the type who is very like affirmative or like sometimes I find it hard to lead. As I mentioned, like, I'm not really good at speaking in front of people. So if I had to lead a meeting, it's quite nerve-wracking for me. So, but I think that's something you can work on. You just need to get used to it. And that's basically what I'm working on right now.
Charli: Yeah, I love that. And I hope that part of being here, you are being a leader right now for your company in sharing this. I think that's really cool. Do you see Moneybox hiring another graphic designer on the marketing team anytime soon? Or I guess, 'cause you've got the freelances and agencies that you work with, maybe you just continue to draw on that?
Mayumi: I do see maybe in the future of like a bigger marketing team. Because the company has grown so fast. We were like 60 when I joined a year ago, 60 of us.
Charli: So you've doubled.
Mayumi: And now it's a hundred. Yeah, we've doubled in a year. So I can see our like marketing team growing it even further as well.
Charli: Yeah, love it. Well, thank you, Mayumi. This has been really interesting for me to hear about. Is there any last thoughts you wanna add to share with people?
Mayumi: Well, Moneybox is a great app. I was actually a Moneybox user before I joined the company. Before I even knew there was a job for it. So yeah, I've always been a fan and it is a great app to help younger generations save and invest.
Charli: So anyone listening from the UK, check out Moneybox. There'll be a link in the description on YouTube or in the short notes if you're listening to the audio version. Mayumi, do you wanna shout out any places people can find more of your work online or follow you for more of your thoughts?
Mayumi: I am on dribbble.com. So if you search Mayumi Hashimoto, you should find me.
Charli: We will link to you as well on there. Thank you, Mayumi. It's been been a pleasure having you on the show.
Mayumi: Thank you, Charli.
Charli: All right, thank you for listening, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this episode. This was one of those episodes for me that really underscored how, even though we're all designers on marketing teams, our focuses can be so different. Where Mayumi's focus is a lot on campaigns and ad assets and graphic assets, that's so different to what I do at ConvertKit. And you know, this is one of the reasons why I wanted to make this show was to hear about what it's like for other designers on marketing teams at different tech companies. I hope you enjoyed hearing that too. And as always, if you did enjoy the show, please head on over to Apple podcasts and leave us a review. It'll help us rise up the ranks through design podcasts and get this to reach more people. So the more people can get insights into marketing design. Remember too, that Inside Marketing Design is available in both audio and video forms. In video, on my YouTube channel, CharliMarieTV, and in audio in whatever podcasting app you use. You can search inside Marketing Design there and subscribe. Thanks for tuning in everyone. And I will see you next week in the next episode. Bye.
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