NEW YORK: Visa, the payments firm, is taking advantage of the shrinking gap between product options and digital marketing channels to engage consumers in new ways.

Lara Hood Balazs, Visa's SVP/Head of North America Marketing, discussed this topic at VentureBeat's Marketing.FWD Summit 2016.

"Product and marketing, I think, are more than ever one and the same. You have to think about them in that way," she said. (For more, including examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Visa closes the product/marketing gap.)

Digital convergence, she continued, is driving this process – with profound implication for Visa's business and attempts to connect with consumers alike.

"At Visa, we think about it on two fronts. One is marketing – and all of us are seeing things go from physical to digital. So, where you were buying print and out-of-home [ads], now you're buying what's going to show up here [on digital]," said Hood Balazs.

"And, then, from a product standpoint, in my industry – in payments – you are all used to paying with plastic," she added.

"Well, now you're paying with your mobile device; you're paying with your watch; you're paying online with a couple of clicks. So we've seen this physical-to-digital convergence in product."

Payment tools from Visa, for instance, are integrated with Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – making them available everywhere from smartphones and tablets to digitally-enabled wrist watches.

And as those gadgets increasingly shape the way that many consumers access content, so Visa has an opportunity to combine marketing messages with showing off its payments technology.

In-stadium experiences at the 2016 Super Bowl, shoppable YouTube videos and "cinematic pins" on Pinterest, the social network, are just some of the examples of the brand's activity in this space to date.

"A lot of it is thinking about being friction-free. So, in payments, we're constantly thinking about [the idea that] the payment used to be this bolt on," said Hood Balazs.

"And it was, as you were shopping online or shopping in-store, the least favourite parts of the experience. So one of the things we do in catering to consumers in a non-creepy way is: we make it easy for them."

Data sourced from Warc