How IAG is kickstarting a digital marketing revolution

IAG's head of digital technology and martech platforms reveals how the insurance giant is centralising and transforming marketing with a people, process and tech overhaul

The need to reduce campaign delivery from 22 weeks to a matter of days has kickstarted a direct marketing transformation at IAG that sees the ASX-listed insurance giant not only replacing and centralising its core marketing technology stack, but also rethinking its customer approach.

IAG head of digital technology and martech platforms, Brent Burgess, said marketing technology was historically the domain of each division under the umbrella group.

As previously reported by CMO, IAG’s business brands, for example, encompassing Swann Insurance,  CGU and WFI, had built out a Salesforce Marketing Cloud, while the personal insurance division, including NRMA, SGC, SGIO and RACV, ran campaigns out of an on-premise, IBM Unica platform.

Having a distinct approach to martech is just one of many examples of IAG’s devolved operating model, which built up over the years through acquisition and organic growth.

Burgess’ remit upon joining 18 months ago was to improve and centralise digital marketing capability so campaigns that took as long as 22 weeks to execute could be undertaken in a matter of days in a more streamlined way. The decision has led to IAG replacing both Unica and Salesforce platforms in favour of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud offering, but it’s also triggered changes that have ramifications group-wide.

“We kicked off a direct marketing transformation looking at the typical things: People, process and technology,” Burgess told CMO. “It was evident our processes weren’t as lean and efficient as they could be, so we first looked at that area.

“In addition, we had a number of different technology stacks. You also had lengthy approval processes, briefs and reverse briefs back from agencies, sign-offs, all adding up to that campaign time. Plus the technology wasn’t marketing leading when it comes to digital marketing.” 

Then there’s the wider IAG objective to become a more customer-focused organisation. In late 2015, the group restructured into two customer-facing divisions: Business and Consumer.

It also introduced a Customer Lab, incorporating customer experience strategy, product innovation, data and insights, brand architecture and new business incubations and venturing. The ultimate ambition with the new operating model is to be able to adapt more quickly to the rapidly changing business environment IAG now faces.

Step 1: Establish the team and remit

In replatforming marketing, the first step for Burgess was to build a cross-functional team tapping into existing internal resources. Burgess’ role sits under IAG chief customer officer, Julie Batch, who has responsibility for all customer-facing technology including CRM and engagement tools. Core technology infrastructure and capability, meanwhile, sits under IAG COO, Mark Milliner.

Burgess used an open selection process internally, appointing former direct marketing strategy manager, Anthony Marquette, as marketing automation lead.

“It’s an interesting team formed around a mix of skills,” Burgess commented. “Anthony comes from a traditional marketing background, not a technology one. He’s a strong marketer and a delivery focused individual, who’s great with people and the business. It was a conscious decision to hire someone internally into that role.

“Then we have a mix of traditional business analysts, plus marketing technology people, who understand data as well as the platforms. We also have a tester helping with validation of the data.”

Step 2: Choose the technology

It was clear two platforms, one of which remained on-premise, would hinder marketing innovation and agility. As revealed at the Adobe Summits in the US and Australia, the company has chosen to migrate to Adobe’s Marketing Cloud.

IAG had already been using Adobe Analytics across the majority of digital assets, and Adobe Target for A/B testing. Under the new contract, the group is rolling out Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as a shared instance across Australia, New Zealand and potentially Asia, as well as Adobe Campaign for campaign management and automation.

IAG signed the contract in August and had the first campaigns live in December. Work started with two cross-sell campaigns for NRMA, SGIO and SGC, chosen both for their relatively low-level of complexity and risk, but also because they offered up significant business value.

“To get two campaigns out by December while going through all the organisational change and challenges of standing up a new platform was an amazing effort,” Burgess said.

IAG’s group plan is to migrate all IT capability to the cloud, but it’s easier said than done. Although martech will be run via software-as-a-service, Burgess said the business wasn’t yet ready from an APRA and compliance perspective.

To future-proof the martech platform, his team designed the martech instance in such a way that it can be hosted in the cloud at a later date.

“It was challenging, but I think we’re one of the first customers that can show a seamless deployment between on-premise and the cloud,” he continued.

Up next: 3 more steps towards digital marketing success from IAG

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