How Greenstone is uniting IT/marketing in the name of audience management

Australian online insurance provider shares how its evolving from tag management to an end-to-end customer data platform and the implications on marketing's relationship with IT

Two years on from deploying tag management, online insurance site, Greenstone, is looking to close the loop and achieve a single source of truth on customers and prospects by rolling out an audience management platform.

Greenstone is a marketing and distribution company for insurance products including RSPCA pet insurance, Choosi, Real Insurance and Australian Seniors Insurance Agency. The group was formerly branded under Holland Financial Services.

Greenstone senior manager of digital, Mark Dawson, told CMO the business rolled out Tealium’s tag management solution, iQ, two-and-a-half years ago across its websites. A core reason for choosing Tealium was that it integrated with Google and Adobe platforms, both of which are used by Greenstone’s marketing function.

As a result, tagging websites takes just one member of staff less than an hour, and has allowed Greenstone to look at audience streams and collect all digital customer data in one place.

Thanks to the success of its tag management efforts, Greenstone is now turning its attention to Tealium’s audience management solution, AudienceStream, and is plotting a trial rollout of the platform across one or two brands by the end of the year.

The decision to rollout an audience management platform will enable Greenstone to close the loop between digital customer and lead management data intelligence and its internal CRM and customer databases, Dawson said. It also opens up new avenues for using customer data to find market leads and better ways of communicating, he said.

“Tealium allows us to simplify existing processes. At the moment, we do email marketing, display marketing and so on in separate silos from a technology point of view. The challenge is having the people we communicate via email with also see a display ad,” Dawson said. “Having that unified data layer allows us to talk to the same people across different channels.

“The benefit we expect to receive is that it will allow us to unify a number of different channels under one platform and allow us a consistent form of communication with potential customers and leads, providing a better experience for the customer.”

However, the plans represent significant change for the business, not only in terms of technology, but in how marketing and IT teams operate. While digitally derived customer insights reside in the marketing and digital function, end-to-end audience management requires linking into the company’s wider business intelligence team as well as IT systems, Dawson said.

An addition challenge is that Greenstone’s databases are custom-built and bespoke, meaning work needs to be done on enabling data to flow between customer and BI systems and the audience management solution proposed for marketing. But given many customer sales are still completed in the call centre, data integration between marketing and the rest of the business is a vital next step.

“These days, technology is not the problem, it’s how you align different parts of the business and get data out of silos,” Dawson said. “More and more, IT and marketing are having to rely on each other, whereas 10 or 15 years ago, we were separate departments. Part of the challenge is finding technology that speaks to both what IT are doing and how data is stored, as well as what marketing wants to do and bring customer data into so we can find new leads and better communicate.

“This will unify channels under one platform and gives us a consistent focus of communication with customers and lead prospects - providing platforms talk to each other.”

Dawson said marketing and IT have come together in recent months, and his team is working to ensure IT is across what marketing is trying to achieve. The good news is there’s also interest from stakeholders across the business and executive buy-in for proposed plans.

“We found we are both heading in the same direction, but not talking as much as we needed to be,” he said. “There is a realisation that we are both trying to do the same thing. With IT, they have other priorities too… so we’re working on how we start to deploy this [audience management] given constraints of resource, time and so on. But everyone is excited by the possibility of the platform, so it’s a matter of getting a test up and running so we can see some positive results.”

More widely, to secure investment and executive buy-in to marketing’s plans, Dawson said his team looked at potential conversion rate uplifts as a result of having the platform in place.

“It’s new territory for us, so we did have to put estimates around the table saying to show the impact on resource hours, or streamlining a solution,” he said.

Dawson said there is no hard date for a platform launch, but the test pilot is expected in November/December.

“We know it’s the direction we want to head in over the next six months, so it’s about getting that test up and running so we can make the most of it,” he added.

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