How a digital transformation helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Stratton Finance CMO shares the transformation that's not only brought customer lifecycle marketing to life, but has also led to a new digital product building new customer audience acquisition


Marketing Cloud transformation

In advance of project roadster’s launch, and as part of wider marketing efforts, Stratton embarked on project with Datarati to roll out Salesforce Marketing Cloud. McEwan admitted the platform integration, which went live 12 months ago, was one of the hardest tasks to date.

“Integrating that into a legacy system is never in the brochures, and the thing I didn’t flesh out enough is integrating world-class tech with an old system,” he said.  

Customer lifecycle management has been one major priority. Through data insights and tech integrations and using Marketing Cloud, Stratton has been able to better provide value in the customer lifecycle outside the moments of buying cars, implementing a full lifecycle program. To help, it’s leveraging industry insights and Carsales data points.

One successful initiative is based on the customer’s propensity to churn and sell a car. Using these insights, as well as the value of their car based on Redbook, Stratton has launched triggered customers communications.

“We also tap into the finance situation with the lender – so for example, your car is worth this much now and you only owe this much,” McEwan said. “At an enterprise level, we’re working with Carsales on closing the loop on customers transacting second-hand cars… building a better profile of customers for Carsales.”

Another tool thanks to Marketing Cloud again uses Carsales data to provide customers with advice on the average time it takes to sell your type of car, and the price it sells for.

“This allows the brokers who get alerts about these opportunities to have much higher quality conversations,” McEwan said.  

These efforts have been a game-changer for marketing’s standing in the business.

“The legacy business had looked at us as generating leads, and then they did all the heavy lifting - which they did. Now we have changed that dynamic,” he said. “Marketing and digital now sits at the front of the organisation, championing tech advances but also why it’s good for customers and consultants.”

In addition, Stratton is using Marketing Cloud to deliver Net Promoter Score (NPS) processes and reporting key customer interaction moments in real time.

“We set benchmarks around fin services, and proposed moments in time where we would take NPS, and it rolled out as it should. Feedback from customers was positive,” McEwan said. “By June, state sales managers were such big advocates, they opted to integrate NPS into incentive payments. And we NPS people we can’t help too.”

What helps is a company mantra of ‘customers for life’. So another metric measured is repeat business, tracked daily.

Along the way, Stratton has learnt some hard lessons about its data capability. “One gap was that you could talk to us the whole time about a brand new Golf, then at the last minute decide to get the Polo. That info was only going into the lender’s application but not update ours,” McEwan said.

“We’ve run into a few brick walls there. We used to be highly personalised, now we’re 55-75 per cent personalised with type of asset you have, address, relevant content relating to what we know about you personally, some life stage stuff, and how often you’ve engaged with us in the past. Repeat is different to people in their first loan with us.”

Some of the biggest opportunities for personalisation have in fact been in Ad Studio within Marketing Cloud for acquisition.

“Our opportunity for acquisition as a sales business has been transformed,” McEwan said. “We used to almost be inbound marketing; we’d put the pool skimmer net in the water and whatever we caught, we’d work through. It’s still somewhat the case and we get a live quote on every car on Carsales. We can’t control the quality or fakes, so we get a lot of leads.

“But the rest of our marketing is more targeted outbound, transforming and building audiences based on the ones we actually want. Using custom audiences and look-a-likes in Ad Studio has allowed us to improve our efficiencies from a CPA perspective, and CPL.”

Supporting this, McEwan has led a migration of thinking about leads and opportunities to what does it cost to settle a customer. It’s another massive change for the business and one that’s elevated marketing’s standing.

“Giving the board and CFO visibility of what it costs to transact customers and showing a positive trajectory on that means we keep getting more investment,” he said.  

Eighteen months after joining, McEwan has a team of 18 now, up from three, covering brand strategy, digital marketing and media, lifecycle retention and digital project. And marketing is now at the very front of business planning thanks to a clear dashboard and targets based on spend, performance and quality. Key measures include customer acquisition, amount of money funded and driving NPS.

“In last 18 months, we report monthly to the board, I suggested a marketing dashboard which tracks investment against our KPIs, which we set every six months,” McEwan said. “As a result, FY19 is the first year the marketing team drove the business planning process for the forecast. We had all the data and opportunity to do it.

“The leads we bring in the door purposely all transact at higher amounts. Conversations with brokers are significantly higher, as it’s a better credit quality customer. The dashboard has transformed credibility of the department.”

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