How a CMO, CIO and CFO data alliance is helping Tatts Group transform its digital marketing game

The chief marketing officer of wagering and lotteries business talks through the group's digital transformation plans, and how she's working with the CIO on customer relationship management and data strategies

Megan Magill
Megan Magill

Tatts Group CMO, Megan Magill, has a great working relationship with her CIO counterpart. It’s a circumstance she puts down partly to business conditions, partly to the transformation remit set by her CEO, Robbie Cooke, but mostly, to common interests.

These interests revolve around two key areas of transformation for the wagering, gaming and lotteries group: Customer engagement, and data utilisation.

“As a group, we’re going through a real period of change,” she tells CMO. “Mandy [Ross, Tatts Group CIO] came across to the business the same time as I did, and we were both looking at our respective areas and what needed to change, so we’re in a similar space and mindset.

“We also have some similar challenges – when we were identifying key things to work on first, these were areas where there’s a lot of crossover. How to open up opportunities thanks to the change coming through the group is important to both of us, for instance.

“When you are new, it’s easy to see the changes coming in and start doing them.”

While Magill agrees marketers always want technology to be or go faster, the understanding she has built up by working with her CIO of the challenges the IT team faces, what it takes to go through transformation and what the group as a whole wants to achieve, has made it easier to balance demand with reality.

“And that’s all about communicating,” she says. “Being aligned on vision and where we are going as a business makes the [CMO/CIO] relationship an easy one.”

Collaborating on customer data

Utilising digital platforms for customer opportunities and growth, along with the leadership, project methodologies and cultural mindset needed for omnichannel success, are key priorities for Tatts Group’s CMO and CIO.

The first sizeable collaborative project has been CRM. Magill has built up CRM resources within her central marketing team, as well as worked with the CIO on bringing new platforms into the business. These are servicing two of Tatts’ core business units - lotteries and wagering - from a campaign management point of view and managing customer relationships across the board, she says.

The second and significant area of joint focus is data. Magill and the CIO, along with Tatts Group CFO, have formed a steering committee to drive a data transformation project.

“Data is so important to all three parts of the business,” Magill says. “We’re working on it together so we not only have the technology platforms and reporting structure required, but also so that we’re accessing data and being proactive with that from a marketing point of view. Our CRM team has been instrumental in that.”

The first step was identifying all data sources and a strategy for managing those in a proactive way.

“When you’re first standing there looking at this huge amount of data, it has to be about having people in the right place with the right tools,” Magill explains. “First, we had to step back and look at what we had – where it sat, who was responsible for it in the business, and the platforms to retrieve the info to use it proactively.”

As a highly regulated industry, data governance is a huge component of that strategy.

“We devised a group data strategy across the business, and instrumental to that was the CIO/CMO/CFO steering group. We looked at what we needed, how to use it and who in the organisation we had with the capability to take responsibility for looking into how we use data and report back,” she says.

Tatts Group has made the platform upgrades and is now able to service these with data from a CRM point of view, Magill says. The next big step is connecting customer data in the back-end with front-end data as far as what people are doing on Tatts Group’s site, and using these insights more successfully.

By way of example, Magill says marketing is tapping data to test campaigns and in particular, how to better utilise information about its customer base. It’s then bringing these insights into social and targeted advertising in order for channels to work more closely together.

“An example could be someone who’s not yet bought their Powerball ticket who usually does and there’s a draw that night: We’re targeting them through those different channels, then looking at what’s working, whether it be SMS or social,” Magill says. “They might be a retail customer without the app, so we’re targeting them via Facebook advertising.

“It’s about multi-channel activities and targeting, testing which ones are working, in what combination, and when.”

Creating a centralised marketing function

Laying the groundwork for business change and growth has been the name of the game for Magill since she joined Tatts Group.

As a marketer with 20 years’ experience, Magill has sat in plenty of different seats around the marketing, media and advertising table. She started her career in media agencies locally and then abroad, before switching to in-house marketing at the UK-based travel retailer, Compass Group. After a stint at Wotif Group as marketing manager, then GM of brands for five years, she joined Tatts Group two years ago, initially to look at the business brand strategy.

At the time of her appointment, Tatts Group maintained lots of brands, including seven wagering brands, many created as state-based or retail offerings covering specific jurisdictions and regulations. The group operates across three categories: Lotteries, wagering and gaming (B2B) solutions.

Magill worked with brand consultancy, Hulsbosch, to analyse the wagering and lotteries businesses, which had already been brought together from an online perspective, to determine whether this was the best long-term plan for the organisation and its customers. Based on those findings, Tatts Group separated wagering from lotteries.

UBet was launched in early 2015 as the omnichannel brand for wagering. Magill says there is still work going to roll that out to retail as well as transition customers from the old properties.

“We’re working on lotteries at the moment and what that looks like from an umbrella brand perspective, as we have a lot of brands that have come from state licensing and so on required in the past,” she continues. “We’re also looking at the B2B side from a brand strategy perspective.”

It was Magill’s consultative brand role that saw her engaging with people across the business, and which ultimately prompted the launch of a centralised marketing function. Historically, marketing has been separate units within each business division.

“There was also a very traditional approach to marketing at Tatts Group. We started as a bricks-and-mortar retailer and from an expertise point of view, as I found these weaknesses, we looked at putting in place a group marketing team, which now sits centrally within the business, and works with partners internally,” she says.

Today, a host of marketing capabilities, including CRM, loyalty, and digital acquisitions incorporating social, search, content, performance and optimisation, are run out of a centralised function. Magill says the team has been in place for 12 months but only recently filled the final seats. Some resources already existed in the business, while others have been recruited externally, including SEO, SEM and social expertise.

Magill was also appointed group CMO in September 2015 to reflect the centralised function.

As data analytics onsite becomes a critical and central part of the responsibilities of the centralised marketing team, and particularly the utilisation of CRM for acquisition and retention efforts, it’s vital that Tatts also bring these capabilities together with its agency partners, Magill says.

“We’ve been bringing agencies in and making sure the central team know who they are and vice versa, and to make sure we’re working collectively, instead of running in parallel,” she says. “Education is a big part of the channels too, and understanding what our capabilities are and how best to use them.”

Embedding innovative thinking

Taking a more modern, digitally- and data-driven approach to marketing is another part of the centralised marketing team’s agenda, and to do that, Magill says is embracing innovation and disruptive thinking.

By way of example, she notes the great work already being achieved with customer insights and digital campaigns through Tatts’ SAS platform, including targeted EDMs in-app messaging and SMS.

“A lot of our focus has been on test-and-learn,” Magill says. “It’s important to have that culture in place in the business and to try again, and we’re working on opening up so we’re not so guarded and engaged in trial and error. It’s about giving the team the confidence to fail, as well as approaching this on a small scale first. If it does work, we try again, if not, we leave it.”

To help, Magill has put KPIs in place making test-and-learn part of the team’s role.

“That makes them feel more comfortable and that they can experiment,” she says. “It’s then about bringing the rest of the business along with us to see that it’s OK. Sharing results is important too, and making sure people know what we’re doing and why, then how we can learn from that. Communication is huge for us – not just as a team, but with all of those involved.”

One initiative to drive innovation was Tatts Group’s marketing innovation challenge in November. This called on marketing teams to pitch an innovative idea for the chance to win a $300,000 budget to bring it to life. Concepts had to meet a business or brand challenge, and tie in with improving the group’s mobile or omnichannel experiences.

The company received 54 responses in the first round, 10 of which were selected for workshopping. The top five idea owners then pitched these to about 100 people within the Tatts Group, as well as a judging panel including chiefs from main agency partners, Carat, Y&R Group and The Monkeys.

Two ideas were chosen: Brand portfolio manager for the lotteries business, Ben Johnson, secured funding for his ‘Winning happens’ idea, while lotteries brand managers, Kristin Fairley and Jessica Dillon, also received $300,000 for their ‘Data Generated Numbers’ program.

Magill says the initiative was about finding the balance between innovation and business-as-usual, and putting the resource and budget new ideas. She now expects this to be an annual program.

“We wanted to open up the culture and capabilities to bring that innovation to life and provide a licence to be innovative,” she says. “The whole program was very positive; it wasn’t just about two ideas, but promoting that culture of innovation and thinking differently.”

Priorities in 2016

Having established the resource and technology foundations, Magill says 2016 is about giving them space and scope to push marketing to the next level. A key priority on the list is content, and Tatts Group is currently looking at platforms across the group for content delivery.

“We’re working on strategies for two businesses that in the next 12 months we’ll build on,” she says.

Attribution modelling and understanding which channel combinations provide better efficiencies in terms of customer engagement and true marketing ROI is another major emphasis for Magill.

“Omnichannel is key, and we’re looking at our customer membership strategy across both businesses,” she continues. “How we approach loyalty and rewards where that is centralised, and bring into the mobile app.

“We have such different customers and broad scale, so one large project is customer membership.”

Throughout all of this, it’s important to keep fostering a culture of test, iterate and learn, Magill says. It’s for this reason that she believes the top attribute required by the modern CMO is an openness and willingness to change.

“This is change both in terms of your own strategy and your way of thinking,” she says.

Secondly, a marketing leader must be a “people person”, and understand the team as well as give them the capabilities to do their jobs as best they can, she says.

Thirdly, relationships are very key – both in the business and externally, including those with agencies, media and industry partners.

“It’s vital to manage and retain these,” Magill adds.

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