Matt Bivons

Head of Growth

Helping consumers live up to their financial potential while delivering accelerated growth

Financial services is a tough industry to compete in. What makes it easier is building a relationship with clients that focuses on products that help them make better financial decisions, are sold and serviced online and by well-trained industry representatives. Earnest has spent the past several years breaking into what has traditionally been perceived as the staid business of financing loans, with a unique data-powered analysis of the loan industry and the consumers who apply for those loans and with a serious commitment to turning those consumers into clients with whom they have good, long-standing relationships.

As a digital-first, online loan company, Earnest optimizes its portfolio of loans to minimize risk and maximize savings for its clients, while taking prospective clients through the application process as seamlessly as possible to support its growth targets. With the company’s rapid scale-up, Matt Bivons and the Growth Team maintained focus on balancing brand and user experience, building trust and learning how to surface the right products at the right time in the channels where they can be top-of-mind for their clients.

“For Earnest, helping clients make better financial decisions and having ‘easier’ conversations about financial support means understanding where they are in their financial journey. We cannot help them achieve a strong financial future (with minimum risk) without knowing their spending habits and financial obligations,” explains Matt. “It also means we’re able to surface the right loan products to clients and prospects, help them get the best outcome and partnership with us.”

Flexibility and multichannel support are essential

In its highly competitive industry, it’s essential that Earnest stands out for the right reasons; reasons not based on price, but rather on its product differentiators, better user experience and attention to servicing clients throughout their lifetime journey with the company. One of the differentiators Matt focused on was how to measure the impact of flexible Precision Pricing, which lets clients choose which loan term is best for them, adjust how they payoff their loans, and ultimately always saves them money.

Matt also looked at cohort analyses, examining how many applicants began the loan application process. These analyses serve as a predictor of how many applicants would re-enter the funnel on subsequent days only to get stuck at specific stages or drop out of the application altogether. Matt and his team would drill into each step of the funnel to understand the problems encountered by the applicants. Getting them unstuck was an exercise in creativity and experimentation to revamp messaging, UX components and the use of a multi-channel approach to remarket customers over email and text.

“We fully understand that people’s lives change over the duration of their loans”, Matt states. “As Earnest matures and launches additional products, it creates the opportunity to cross-sell, which helps us increase our LTV based on the interactions we’ve had with clients on the original product that brought them in the door.”

It’s essential that Earnest stands out for the right reasons - not just price, but experience and attention to servicing customers throughout the lifetime of their journey with the company.

Preciousness is out: results are in

While leading the growth function at Earnest, Matt worked with a cross-functional group of product managers, engineers, designers, analysts and marketers. Additionally, working with partners such as CROmetrics allowed Matt and team to iterate on tests even faster.

Together, they break out different segments of the customer journey and examine opportunities for developing new features or experiments to optimize all the segments. That entails striking a balance between representing the brand and delivering conversion improvements leading to sign-up and revenue growth. “As a former designer, I was taught in school to subjectively concept based on a brief and come up with something great to submit to clients. Then the project ends.”

“Experimenting and getting comfortable with failure is unnatural. You have to flip the script and check preciousness at the door. It’s important to get to a place where iteration is not seen as redundant, but as an opportunity to fine-tune learning and the pace of work and let the data tell the story.”

The impact experimentation has had on my career is exponential. You can not have a career in Growth without it. Products can not sustain without it. Experimentation unlocks value within the product and is a core attribute in sustainable growth.
Matt Bivons

Head of Growth

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