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CMO50 2016 #8: Carolyn Bendall

  • Name Carolyn Bendall
  • Title Head of marketing
  • Company ANZ
  • Commenced role 2012
  • Reporting Line Managing director, products and marketing
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 104 staff, 8 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Financial services
  • 2015 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    When most people talk about innovation, they tend to focus on technology or digital improvement. But for Carolyn Bendall, the biggest innovation that’s occurred since she took over ANZ’s local marketing function four years ago has been the shift to customer centricity.

    “People have been talking about being customer centric for ages, but I think we have got to point where we’re there and understand what it really means now,” she says. “This focus on designing and understanding a customer experience end-to-end, mapping out that journey and managing and delivering to that is a huge innovation.

    “There’s no doubt technology and digital play key roles, but the way we think about marketing and how we bring things to market is not just technology. It’s the way we work, the team members we have, and our approach.”

    From her first days leading the Australian division marketing team, Bendall has set out create a culture of continuous improvement, where ongoing measurement provides actionable insights that drive stronger ROI and improved business performance. Instrumental to this is building a marketing planning, performance and insights capability, creating an insights loop that extends from customer research and insights through to campaign measurement, optimisation and ongoing go-to-market development. This has also helped ANZ identify priority customer groups, and seen customer champions established via executive sponsors across divisional leadership teams.

    “We have an alignment around who are our priority customer segments that means any customer experience or journey we design isn’t just about marketing execution, it can be about channels channels, products, risk or credit implications,” Bendall says. “That helps us be very clear about the insights we need to understand how the whole organisation focuses on a number of priority segments we want to be known for and succeed in.”

    More recent initiatives improving insights include introducing a 25,000-strong customer community online, called Your Say, giving the bank a mechanism to engage in co-creation with engaged customers. The ambition was to embed the customer voice in all parts of new campaigns plus product development and services improvements, and it’s already helped inform enhancements to Internet banking, a new home loans calculator and school ready tool.

    Another step forward has been actively monitoring customer feedback on ANZ marketing performance. These insights are then fed into campaign development and ongoing optimisation. For instance, with the recent ‘Job Ready’ campaign aimed at the young segment, the group was able to lift weekly sales by 14 per cent and saw a 104 per cent total uplift in campaign recognition by optimising while in market.

    Another demonstration of a data-driven approach launched by ANZ in April was new activity aimed at helping startups set up shop in a day. The startup ecosystem idea, labelled ‘Be Business Ready in a Day’, was based on buyer behaviour research into the mindset and fears of new startup customers and led ANZ to develop an online tool providing everything a new business owner needed to launch. Supported by an integrated campaign, the program of work delivered 1700 sign-ups, 12 per cent ahead of target, and further built up ANZ’s credentials in the small business space.

    “We have so many more effective ways of listening to customers,” Bendall says. “Alongside customer insights, there are social channels, we’re linked more into complaints and feedback, and we have the Your Say panel where we actively monitor and listen to customers, which brings insights to the surface we can evaluate and determine if we need to incorporate them.”

    Bringing digital and data together

    The change to customer-led marketing isn’t just about tapping consumer insights, it comes back to how teams collaborate. In recent months, Bendall has united her data and digital teams into one unified function, giving them joint responsibility for amplifying customer insights and analytics to deliver best-in-class marketing programs.

    The team incorporates the analytical marketing function, or former below-the-line team, which had been investing heavily in customer analytics and capabilities such as next-best conversations and trigger-based engagement through channels such as email, social and SMS. It also includes the digital marketing and sales division, which had been more focused on acquisition marketing.

    “While it’s early days, we knew the time was right to do this,” Bendall explains. “There are a lot of underlying synergies around the data, analytics and reaching our own customers in external digital channels as well. For example, we’re looking at more customised advertising to our own customers, not just direct marketing.

    “The previous era about was getting platform and capabilities in place, sorting through providers and vendors and navigating all the complicated systems we have at ANZ. Getting the basics done allow us now to think about being more integrated and how we bring together direct and targeted advertising and more customised advertising to cohorts of customers.”

    With the level of specialisation required in different channels and capabilities today, there are inevitably going to still be those who consider themselves direct marketers or digital marketers. But Bendall says interaction is at a point now where employees actively operating as squads, learning and sharing.

    To keep attracting and nurturing the right talent and a high-performance culture, Bendall has established a Strategic Workforce plan. Five pillars sit underneath this: Marketing culture model; strategies workforce capability plan; external positioning of marketing at ANZ to attract talent; succession planning; and a focus on diversity and inclusion.

    The need to be always-on has also seen test-and-learn move away from being a line item to a continuous thread in market optimisation approach and culture. In addition, Bendall has embedded disruption live into the daily team rhythm, encouraging staff as well as agency partners to bring forward insights that can be acted on immediately.

    The other aspect of customer insight is achieving a better level of understanding around the interplay of physical and digital channels. “It’s not just about flipping over to the new, it’s the interplay between the two that’s important, and that’s much more complex,” Bendall says.

    Brand purpose

    Another emerging area of opportunity Bendall highlights is how companies think about brand engagement and purpose. “We’re becoming more conscious about our brand behaviours, what we’re doing and how we can authentically and relevantly do things as a brand,” she says.

    “That’s also because of consumers. There’s got to more to it and you’ve got to be authentic and relevant to consumers. And you need to have a real purpose to why you’re doing things. Wonderful communications and strategies extend from that, but you don’t start with that.”

    This has been a big learning from ANZ’s work with the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras over the past three years as the event’s principal sponsor.

    “What started as a relatively minor sponsorship is now a central part of the brand strategy and DNA,” Bendall says. “It’s important to staff and customers and incredibly important to the community. That gives us an opportunity to continue to behaviour differently and do things differently as a brand.”

    Being results minded

    Through all of this transformation, Bendall has worked hard to ensure marketing is commercially focused and positioned as a business driver, not a communications function. One thing that’s helped is econometric media modelling, which quantitatively illustrates the impact different media channels have on driving business.

    “The other thing is even when you’re talking about brand investment or leveraging sponsorship, I’d usually look to demonstrate alongside that direct customer conversions or direct acquisition activities and how the two work together,” she says.

    Digital media has been instrumental in marketing’s ROI progressing, and Bendall notes about half of ANZ’s Australian marketing spend is now in digital, up from just 10 per cent years ago. She points out category digital marketing efficiency has improved by 30 per cent in 2016 alone, and data-driven marketing programs are delivering 2.3 times the amount of expected growth in FY 2016, with portfolio response rates more than doubling in the past year.

    Adding to this mix is social, and today, ANZ has five channels in play, all holding different roles and with a clear purpose, Bendall says. But for ANZ, it’s not always about leading the pack.

    “There’s always this push and desire to be first in the market, but we are not for any of them in the banking category,” she says. “We took time to be purposeful about when and how to use each one.”

    For example, it was only when the GayTMs campaign came to market that ANZ launched on Instagram. “We needed a highly visual social channel and it worked beautifully,” Bendall says.

    “It’s easy to jump on a stack of bandwagons at the same time in marketing, but it’s important to be clear and purposeful, and continue to have that risk appetite. Of course you also need to realise things may not work and that’s fine, as long as you take the lessons from it.”

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