CMO interview: Hitting the ground running at Suncorp

New EGM of marketing and brand Mim Haysom is helping drive the financial services and insurance provider's transformation

There has been no ease-in period for Mim Haysom, Suncorp’s CMO/EGM brand and marketing of just three months. Haysom has already helped deliver a new app, and is leading the marketing to bring 12 separate brands together under the one Suncorp Group.

But this is hardly surprising both for Haysom, who was the previously the general manager of M&C Saatchi, nor for Suncorp, an organisation which has been dedicated to transformation over the past year.

“Suncorp is on quite the journey of transformation, I’ve been impressed with how innovative the business is and how quickly it transitions to delivery on the overall strategy,” Haysom told CMO.

Haysom leads Suncorp Group’s marketing function, with a team of 120 across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, around three key responsibilities: Business, brand and team.

“This means driving business outcomes and growth, creating brand love through creation of value and great brand experience for our customers, and building an empowered and high-performing marketing team who are leading the market in creating technology and innovation capabilities,” she said. “The bus is transforming, and I’ve had to get the strategy up very quickly.”

The strategy is to roll out Suncorp as the master brand nationally, and to shift from operating as 12 separate brands, to a group of brands that provide meaningful value to customers. Suncorp owns the AAMI, Bingle, GIO, Shannons, and APIA brands, among others.

“Strategically, we need to connect the brands in a really clear way to deliver value for our customers. Suncorp already started on that journey to create awareness, and we’ll be introducing integrated experiences and services for customers at a group level in the very near future," Haysomsaid.

“So, exciting things are happening. We’ve launched a new app, which gives customers a single view of all of their relationships across all of the Suncorp brands, that is a first to market. We are developing ecosystems with key partners to provide customers with end-to-end services in the key moments that matter, like buying a car or a home. We’ve also launched a reward and recognition program within the app. It’s all part of a strategic shift to how we deliver value to customers.”

Earning her stripes

Prior to the client-side marketing role with Suncorp, Haysom spent four years with M&C Saatchi Sydney as managing partner, leading the Commonwealth Bank account, before moving to the position of general manager a year later.

“I did a marketing degree and went straight into advertising agencies, where I’ve spent the majority of my career. I’ve been pretty fortunate to work on a great breath of clients, which gave me a broad perspective in solving business problems and building brands,” she said. “About eight years ago, I started working on ANZ bank, and I also worked on CommBank and other financial services clients. All this led me to this opportunity with Suncorp.”

Over her career, Haysom has seen a lot of change, but she believed there has never been a better time to be a marketer because now, thanks to better data and metrics, marketers are getting a seat at the strategy table.

“The dynamic of the marketing team has changed more in the last five years than it has in the last 50 years. Marketing always been responsible for the brand and for business outcomes, but more so than ever before we need to be strategists, content creators, data analysts, technology experts, innovators, business influencers, and leaders,” she said.

“That’s a lot of hats we have to wear. But being more accountable is a good thing, it gives us a seat at the table in terms of business strategy and where the business is going.

“I love that we have the opportunity to transform how we do things, and transform the CX using data and technology, it’s an interesting and exciting time to be in marketing. I love than Suncorp is truly customer-focussed and customer-led as an organisation.

“We are really encouraged to get out and talk to customers and experience the positive difference we can make in people’s lives. It gives the whole team a really clear focus.”

Predicting intent

One of the trends Haysom is noticing in the industry is marketers spending more time on trying to predict intent.

“We are moving from backward looking and remarketing, to predicting intent by gathering and understanding customer signals to really identify when they are going to buy before they buy,” she said. “Also, people are better understanding individual customer value, predicting their future value, and invest appropriate amounts to acquire them depending on all that.

“The brands that will be successful are the brands that built the most to intelligent models to forecast future value and acquire those customers."

Experimenting is another key pillar of activity, and Haysom saw experimentation with content as crucial for modern marketers.

"We have customers with attention spans that are shortening, but who are increasing consumption of content, and that’s a critical tension point. It gives us the opportunity to accelerate the quality of the media and creative effectiveness,” she said. 

While it's only been three months, Haysom said she has already chalked up several highlights in a career filled with highlights, including being integral to the GAYTM campaign.

“Creating the original GAYTM campaign for ANZ was a highlight at a time when financial services weren’t really talking about diversity and inclusion, and that campaign continued for another four years, and has been one of the most acclaimed and awarded in Australia,” she said. “Being GM of M&C Saatchi when it was awarded the most innovative company in Australia last year by The Financial Review was another highlight.

“It was a brave move also moving from agency to client side, so that’s definitely a career highlight.”

Read more of CMO's in-depth profiles of marketing leaders:

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