How did ANZ bring data and content together to personalise its digital customer experiences? Chaminda Ranasinghe, head of digital sales and marketing at ANZ, will answer this question at the Adobe EMEA Summit in London on 10 and 11 May 2017, during his session, “People Core Service: Amplifying Data, Insights, and Action.” (Click here to register—please note that Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company.)
We caught up with him for a preview of the session, and began by asking how ANZ’s vision to transform the customer’s digital experience took shape.
Ranasinghe: In the beginning, ANZ’s digital marketing practices were all about getting as much coverage as you possibly could, and, as such, the team used to joke about trying to “paint the internet blue.” There was very little thought given to who our audience was and how we were going to target them. Of course, we had high traffic numbers, but our conversion was poor.
Now we focus on driving personalised and relevant content in real time, as well as managing the conversation in a consistent manner through the different channels and journey points of a customer’s relationship with us. We have also looked at how we can really scale the use of data and be more sophisticated and targeted so as to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Having consistent personal relevance and real-time experiences has led to some great successes, thanks to a combination of great data and strong content.
CMO.com: How has ANZ’s use of data grown in sophistication over the last 18 months?
Ranasinghe: One of the important things we have done is combine our different data assets, which were previously held in siloes. We have a lot of customer data, like all banks, and we have started to connect all the dots to make it more useful.
For example, our traditional banking data—such as demographic information, products the customer might hold, and transaction patterns—is great, but without context and relevance it is useless. We have enriched this data by overlaying it with digital behavioural data (e.g. cookie-based information, which we previously held separately), and with third-party data, such as information on whether they are a customer of a partner of ours. Having this holistic view gives us a richer understanding of who our customers are, what they are looking for, and how best the bank can help them achieve their goals and objectives.
We are using this knowledge to improve the experience across all of our digital channels, providing an immediate and more relevant experience when and where the customer wants it.
CMO.com: What sort of insights were unearthed as a result of this data, and how did they inform the content created?
Ranasinghe: Some of the findings are quite surprising and interesting. For example, we found recently that there is a strong affinity for travel-related messaging during work hours. You imagine that people think about travel during their downtime, but we now know that people dream about their holidays during their hours at work. We have also found that we get stronger responses from using iconic Australian images such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in content targeted to users with overseas IP addresses, such as expats. These may seem trivial, but they make a big difference.
We have also found that some of our credit cards with travel benefits work really well when targeted to certain areas, for example, the “fly in/fly out” mining community in Western Australia.
We also have greater success early in the week for certain segments of people who have existing relationships with us. We would never have identified this if we had just continued to do blanket campaigns rather that targeted test-and-learn initiatives.
What all of the above examples show is that you could never deliver this sort of personalised experience for customers without accurate data combined with engaging content at scale.
CMO.com: What impact have you seen as a result of personalising content?
Ranasinghe: We’ve seen a significant improvement in our customer engagement and conversion as a result of our personalisation programme. For example, we have a current campaign running in partnership with a large shopping centre, and we have about 1,800 permutations of content personalised to the audience. The click-through rate (CTR) is about 30% higher than the industry benchmark.
We also ran another self-optimising campaign recently, using about 20 different creatives. The CTR was about 25% higher than the control we ran.
We are personalising through machine learning, not with an army of people, because you would never be able to do 1,800 different permutations of creative content using just people power. Using data with the right tools and expertise means the opportunities become far greater.
CMO.com: Why hasn’t ANZ taken action to pull its data and content together before now?
Ranasinghe: We have tried for a long time to get this right, and I think it’s down to a number of things. Banks aren’t necessarily the most adventurous when it comes to trying new things, but there has been a cultural shift, a willingness to test and learn, which has been a key part of our learning. This, along with the maturity of the team, the technology, and the toolkit we now have, means that we can do more.
Of course, success breeds more success—people get hungrier. It has become almost self-motivating rather than something we have had to push upon our teams.
CMO.com: How important is personalisation for brands today, and how do you see this space evolving?
Ranasinghe: We already have about 60% of the customer journeys on our website personalised and targeted, and we are striving to get to 100% in the next year. Brands need to be relevant to survive and succeed in today’s world.
Look at the likes of Nike and Coke—these great names used to survive on the strength of their brands, using the swoosh and the iconic red can. They have had to personalise their customer experiences. Just look at the Coke campaign with names on cans, or Nike personalising shoes to suit individual preferences.
You have to be relevant, and that is no different when it comes to digital experiences. If you don’t personalise experiences and can’t be relevant when it matters to the customer, you are no longer able to compete in the market in which you operate. It is one of the most critical things you need to do as a modern marketer—to use data to build personalised one-to-one experiences with your audience.