CMO interview: Sponsoring a new way to brand engagement at CMC Markets

Asia-Pacific marketing leader at the UK-based financial services firm talks through her sponsorship strategy, brand repositioning, and efforts to tackle big data

Catherine Gallagher
Catherine Gallagher

Sponsoring sporting teams to boost your brand image can seem like a great idea when the team you back is winning. Less so of course when their fortunes turn.

But for UK-based independent financial services provider, CMC Markets, supporting the NSW Waratahs Super Rugby team has helped align the company with a key customer segment and shared values in the Australian market. The company recently renewed its three-year sponsorship agreement, despite the Waratahs coming in 10th in the competition in 2016.

“For the first two sponsorships they actually won - since then it has been more challenging,” jokes Catherine Gallagher, CMC Markets’ head of marketing for Asia-Pacific and Canada.

Gallagher says the Waratahs were selected due to a strong crossover between the demographics of its supporters and CMC Markets’ existing and target client base of sophisticated investors. She says the sponsorship also provides opportunities for hospitality and staff engagement, and hence is confident of the value the sponsorship is bringing to CMC Markets’ brand.

“It is just about going back to our four or five key objectives every year and making sure it is still delivering for us,” she says.

CMC Markets has been operating in Australia since 2005, with Gallagher joining in 2013. Three years ago, the company boosted brand investment to achieve the highest awareness in its segment in the Australian market, despite being only the second largest player.

“We set about really changing perceptions at that point, and it was around the time when we were launching a new release to our platform as well,” Gallagher says. “A lot of what we have done since then in the offline space, in the brand and the sponsorships, has helped build perceptions and increase our association with key attributes around trust and financial stability.

“And we have seen that impact the top of the funnel, in terms of lowering CPAs across the board, and in general, becoming more efficient.”

UK-born Gallagher joined CMC Markets from a role in marketing communications for Australasia for Kyocera’s document solutions division. Where that conglomerate’s marketing focus was clearly business-to-business, CMC Markets by contrast is a technology driven online financial services business, where customers use its platforms to invest in more than 10,000 trading products.

Gallagher says she was attracted to the data-driven nature of the CMC Markets’ offering.

“I was looking for something that had a closed loop when it came to being able to get insights and analysis when evaluating all the activity we are doing in market,” she says.

Building the data story

Gallagher’s current focus is on better wrangling the huge volumes of customer data that CMC Markets platforms’ produce.

“It’s about making sense of the big data and making sure we can manage all those transactions across multiple devices and platforms,” she explains. “We offer three different trading platforms in Australia for example, so we need to ensure we have adequate tracking.”

The goal is to get to a more personal level of communication, particularly with higher value customers.

“We have 10,000 products to trade, so we could go quite crazy in trying to create profiles,” Gallagher says. “The big thing is being able to cluster together on a needs basis some of those profiles, and then making sure we can communicate to them where they feel like it is an individual message.

“Right across the industry, the next step that we’d all like to get to is mass personalisation, where we are able to serve clients exactly the content that they need.”

Gallagher concedes, however, that despite CMC Markets’ existing data-driven stance, there is still much to be done.

“And as that continues to evolve, with more happening in machine learning, there is more that we will want to get involved in as well,” she says.

For the near term, Gallagher will be focused on building greater awareness of CMC Markets’ audiences and their needs, using first-party data to enhance touchpoints. A key goal is to get all data in one place, and accessible in real time.

“That is front and foremost,” she says. “We still want to focus on data and technology being enablers to the overall strategy, but there is quite a lot more that can be done in that space.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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