Heritage Bank tackles trigger-based campaigning with cross-functional approach

GM of marketing for customer-owned banking group shares how deploying a new campaign management solution is paying customer satisfaction dividends

An inability to produce targeted, trigger-based communications to customers has become a problem of the past for Heritage Bank after deploying a new campaign management platform.

Heritage Bank is a customer-owned bank, with foundations in Queensland’s regional areas going as far back as the 1870s. Its general manager of product and marketing, Jane Calder, said an outdated direct marketing approach, which required teams to manually pull lists, clean data and coordinate before sending, had limited the brand’s ability to conduct tailored, trigger-based activity with customers.

While Heritage Bank has some customer segmentation in place, basic on-boarding for a transaction account, trigger-based campaigns after a certain number of days to activate a debit card or encourage credit deposits, converting to e-statements or win-back campaigns were untapped because each required a separate campaign.

“With financial services, there are these known playbooks of obvious trigger points we couldn’t get to,” she told CMO. Unstructured data and campaign development across teams added time and complexity to how campaigns went to market, and it could take 4-5 weeks for activity to get underway. In addition, communications were mass produced.  

Following a broad market scan and tender, Heritage Bank chose to bring on SAS’s Campaign Management platform, kicking off rollout in March and going live in August this year. The platform has allowed the team to kickstart a series of trigger-based campaigns in market.

“We now have a list as long as your arm of new campaigns to roll out, and we are picking out the ones that make sense for us to do first and foremost,” Calder said. “It’s a mix of sales, cross-sell, service enhancements, all with a view to deepen that customer relationship.”

The rollout process required the team to make sure data controls were in place with third-party partners for activity use. Fresh arrangements had to put in place, for example, for sending data to the bank’s insurance partner to undertake modelling.

“As well as the campaign management implementation, we had a lot of other relationships to dot the Is and cross the Ts from a data governance point of view,” Calder said.   

The initial focus since going live has been on outbound campaigns via EDMs, SMS and direct mail. “We have a quite complex matrix for each campaign based on which trigger, channel, and outcomes being sought and investment needed to drive an outcome,” Calder explained.  

Heritage Bank has now scaled up from 14 mass marketing campaigns annually to 40 targeted campaigns a week. Calder said another highlight was minimal opt-outs, particularly on insurance, where Heritage Bank has put in place propensity modelling to drive sales.

“We’re pleased with the results – in terms of sales outcomes, but also using it to clean up our data, as we’re putting a Census wash over the top to ensure we have good customer data,” she said.

For Calder, the key win is the ability to scale up and do more campaigns, and drive more value to achieve revenue gains.

“That comes through with better conversion rates and more opportunities that we’re able to target through different types of customers,” she said. “Because our communications are far more relevant and targeted, it’s more resonant with the consumer, and we’re looking at our customer satisfaction and advocacy levels, too.”  

Team collaboration and skills

To get the work done, marketing partnered with IT, the data team and an enterprise office project manager. Calder said she was fortunate her IT leader had worked globally on these sorts of projects before, and the pair joined forces from the beginning.

“IT was on-board from the get go. Also, a lot of IT people putting in a data warehouse often don’t see outcomes unless something like this program comes into play,” Calder continued. “They could see the way the work they’d done was having a business outcome.

“Bringing them on that journey, so they could understand that what they were doing was driving that outcome, turned the lightbulb on for that team. So we didn’t have major roadblocks at all.”

The work has also required new skillsets within the marketing function in terms of data analysis. Heritage Bank’s direct marketing manager has also taken on the project full-time, a role that required training on the customer intelligence suite and upping the ante on third-party relationships. SAS assisted with a series of test campaigns, and consultants supported the internal team.

“It is moving a marketer used to doing EDMs and a creative bent to being all about the data, the insights and what we can do to drive value,” Calder added. “It’s really extending the skillsets of the marketing team to do this trigger-based communications.”

Calder said the priority is to address as many elements of the financial services life stage playbook as Heritage Bank can, then start to expand the capabilities to other channels. Inbound is next port of call and integrating with the CRM platform, followed by integration with digital channels.

Read more about how other brands are tackling more targeted marketing:


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