How IAG built a martech stack to drive CX in 7 steps

Channel marketing leader shares how marketing technology, content, data and staff alignment are all playing a role in achieving tailored customer experiences

Customer experience is all about achieving intimate moments with a customer in a relationship-driven way, according to IAG’s channel marketing leader. And to do that, you’re going to need integrated technologies, content, clean data and a serious commitment to operational change.

Speaking at this week’s Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Customer Experience Summit in Sydney, IAG’s commercial insurance channel marketing manager for customer and partner experience, Gus Geary, took attendees through the insurance group’s adoption of a suite of marketing automation, CRM, content and support technologies, and how these are vital to delivering the types of modern customer experiences consumers have come to expect.

IAG began overhauling its marketing technology engine in late 2014. Work commenced after its small business insurance brand, CGU, won Best CX Company at the Best Customer Experience Companies List for its mobile-responsive online quote and buy solution for small business companies. The new solution saw a 60-step question process cut down to just eight steps, allowing customers to apply for a suitable policy in under three minutes.

But underpinning this was a huge layer of discomfort, Geary said. As an intermediated business, CGU wasn’t used to servicing customers online, or directly. In addition, the team was facing pressure to support a wider array of customised customer communication and services needs.

“That quote was one point in time; we wanted to understand all points, build one-to-one relationships and do it at scale,” Geary said. “Key was turning to marketing technology and automation in way that allowed us to do this scale and take manual aspects out of marketing.”

IAG’s strategy is to fuse marketing technology with useful, practical information in order to serve this up at the right time to the customer “on their terms”, Geary said. Along the way, it’s had to overhaul processes and get its staff to believe in the reasons for change.

“You need to change the way of working when you need to ultimately change customer experience,” he said. “As leaders and marketers, we have to drive that vision, but ultimately, they [staff] have to believe.”

Here are the key steps IAG has taken to date to achieve this.

Integrate automation into your stack

The first step was introducing marketing automation. IAG has adopted Salesforce Marketing Cloud and connected this with its CMS (content management system), ecommerce solution, and Salesforce CRM platform.The work is being oversee by marketing technologist, Grant Pattison.

“This meant that for the first time, we could record interactions with customers back against contact profile in CRM and build rich segmentation and profiling in order to personalise and be more targeted in communications,” Geary said. “We also set up customer journeys and design trigger-based campaigns that are always on.”

Two key campaigns were undertaken initially: One around quote reminders for customers, the other aimed at brokers to alert them to customers that were underinsured and at risk.

“The cool thing with our broker campaign was we were able to put brokers in a position to proactively engage with the customer, using data-driven insight, to alert them to a problem and then fix it,” Geary said.

Close the loop on marketing and sales

However, this also flagged a disconnect between systems supporting marketing and sales efforts, making it difficult to showcase the value of marketing’s activities.

“We had to become intimate with our sales people and broker business, get in with architects, technicians and solutions to attribute that upsell back to the marketing campaign and close the loop to show value of why we’re doing this,” Geary said.

Make sure your CRM data is in order

Outside of system dependency, another major issue was the data being used to drive activity and insight. “It’s only when using marketing automation that you really expose yourself to gaps in the data,” Geary commented.

An example was contacts in the CRM that lacked information or were inappropriate for marketing on a more personalised level.

“We had to take a step back, work with data team, analysts and sales people,” Geary said. “What we realised was that responsibility for managing the data for CRM was spread really thin - everyone was adding stuff to it but didn’t appreciate the value of it that marketing was looking for.

“We had to go through bunch of education, become best friends, bring them on the journey to motivate them and get them to believe administering data was key to the success of scaling out our offering for SMBs.”

Create and distribute the right content

Getting the right content for key stages in the customer journey is another piece in the puzzle. Geary noted marketing had plenty of content available, the question was how to manage, curate, aggregate, ensure fast approvals and distribute it effectively in the right channels.

“We also had to figure out what content to create, so we turned our attention to customer lifecycle segments, personas, then different phases when they buy insurance,” Geary continued. “We looked at the different experiences at each of those points and how do we support them as a customer and add value by understanding these different phases and turn those customers into advocates.”

Key lifecycle moments identified stretched across pre-awareness through to research, quote, managing service, claiming, and renewals. Against these, CGU is lining up different trigger-based campaigns for those moments that matter, Geary said.

Get marketing’s workflow optimised

To create such campaigns, Geary said the insurer needed to implement a suitable workflow support mechanism. It again turned to technology, adopting Simple HQ’s orchestration technology. This allows teams to collaborate using pre-configured workflows, steps and assigned roles.

“The kicker with this platform is the fact there is a bunch of data underneath the platform that we can leverage,” Geary said. For example, data allows IAG to see how long it takes to go to market, as well as how long it takes to approve a campaign.

“You start appreciating different interactions internally, get more efficient and aim towards the overarching objective of frequency and speed,” he said.

Access real-time insight into digital experiences

Gaining an understanding of how customers are interacting through digital channels was another must and IAG recently adopted IBM’s real-time analytics tool, Tealeaf, for this task. The platform allows it to see how customers interact with Web pages and forms, identifying areas where they may experience friction or challenges.

On top of this, the company is using the Cove objectives and key results platform as an internal tool to share what teams are working on with other stakeholders and functions, Geary said.

Train your staff - regularly

With such an array of new technology at its disposal, Geary said training and educating staff was a pivotal part of getting marketing automation adopted successfully.

“Marketing cloud was tricky to adopt, so we had to have a hybrid of agencies to help skill us then transition and handover,” he explained. “A lot of continuing effort goes into bringing everyone up to speed. It’s one thing to implement a new marketing stack, but you have to have a mindset of owning it.

“There are always gaps and issues; you have to own them. You can’t expect other people to just take care of it. Drive people to the outcome, and that starts with getting them to believe in what they are doing.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook:, or check us out on Google+:

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How service heterogeneity is impacting engagement

Marketers have long known the importance of standardising products to assure quality and consistency. For services, however, standardisation is much more complex.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

Kindness matters in business: why the nice guys finish first

A recent 1000-page Royal Commission report on misconduct in Australia’s financial sector revealed hair-raising stories of excessive commissions, rampant mis-selling and charges levied on the dead. So how do you stop a bank from misleading its customers?

Nick Liddell

Director of Consulting, The Clearing

Myer vs. David Jones: Do cyborgs win?

As two of Australia’s stalwart brands in Myer and David Jones continue their respective journeys through troubled waters, it heralds yet another sign of the shifting business environment and shift towards an experience economy.

Tom Uhlhorn

Founder and strategy director, Tiny CX

International business is closely related to marketing or marketing activities carried out by the company. According to Gitman and McDani...

Eko Prasetyo Utomo X

Salesforce: The age of the marketing campaign is over

Read more

Back in 1968 Holden began an appeal to customers who have an interest in competition. It did this with the introduction of the HK GTS 32...

Ben Tate

Marketing professor: For Holden, brand nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Read more

Your blog post is really good and informative. Thanks for taking time to provide us this useful information with us.Auto wrapping uaeADF ...

Yes Machinery

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this marvelous information.I have taken in numerous things from your post

digitech Classes

Lumen CMO strives to make the brand synonymous with anti-ageism

Read more


Djordje Milutinovich

​Understanding customer experience from the inside out

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in