Panel: 3 brand lessons in harnessing data management platforms

The Warehouse, Volt Bank, and Medibank talked DMPs at the Salesforce World Tour to share how they've endeavoured to harness data

Data is the foundation tool enabling brands to build trust with consumers. So what does it take to actually put it to use in building personalisation and engagement into your marketing and digital efforts?

During the recent Salesforce World Tour in Sydney, marketing and digital leaders from Volt Bank, Medibank; and The Warehouse Group, shared how each has worked to corral data into tool that each can use build trust with consumers, what engagement has looked like off the back of their investments, and the three big lessons when it comes to using data effectively.

Building trust in data

Volt Bank is the first digital startup bank in Australia to receive a banking license since early 2000s. Its senior digital marketing manager, Kim Kooren, said it's using data via a data management platform (DMP) to create awareness and connect with customers.

“Every startup faces challenges in acquisition and scaling up. When we started, we didn’t have any awareness, and we are still working on this, but we are nearly at the stage of brand consideration,” Kooren said. “The most paramount thing is trust. We must establish trust with our community via out Volt Labs. Ultimately, the community will share their trust with us, along with their needs and their pain points. Data security and privacy is critical for us to instil this trust."

Volt Bank started with a blank canvas. It didn’t have any data, which was seen as an opportunity to build everything from the ground up with the best tech, tools, and people.

“The challenge is around the data we are gathering, to own it and accelerate to the market. We use the DMP to control and manage the data for transparency and security," Kooren said. "Before the DMP, we didn’t own any data and relied on ad agencies for data, which has a low data trust. This resulted in ineffective data and campaigns - we were spending more for ineffective messaging.

“Now, we own the data so we can send the right message at the right time, creating meaningful CX. We can build out segments, suppress data we don’t want to use, and search for lookalikes. We now use more than five data sources, enriching the DMP, with all our associated channels connecting to the DMP.

“Of course, building a platform and collating data does not happen overnight, but Salesforce is very aligned to a start-up culture. We now have a full marketing stack and DMP in less than 2.5 months.”

C-suite buy-in

For Johnathon Goh, platform lead at Medibank, one of the big challenges was to sell the purchase of a DMP to the CFO. The key message was to reduce media spend year-on-year, and deliver exponential efficiency.

“We are going into a year of massive change, with private health insurance reforms. Working with Salesforce, we took a pragmatic ROI approach to sell this into the business,” he said. 

Medibank’s aims for a DMP were: Suppression, to stop members from seeing acquisition ads, which resulted in poor CX; ad frequency at scale, how to manage it compellingly; and a reduction in media costs, so spend better and more wisely.

“We now have a unified data environment, pooled in a single source of truth, so it’s easier to build campaigns and build audiences across ad spend. We can identify members in real time,” Goh said.

"Because we can get that data in real time, as soon as a member joins, we can suppress them from any sales advertising. We can stage our advertising and isolate to one single prospect or member at any one time. We don’t want them seeing too many ads if they’ve just bought."

After only four months with a DMP, it is starting to pay off. Importantly, positive data governance is now building on trust, for one single source of truth that gets updated, in real time now across Medibank's DMP and ad studio, Goh said.

“This makes for better CX, and we can stage manage the next part of the customer lifecycle journey. It used to take three weeks to refresh current customers, making it a nightmare for targeting.  We are already 1.3 times over our targets, so we are keeping the CFO on side, and keeping customers happy because they are not seeing too many ads," he added. "With a DMP we can stop seeing fuzzy images of our customers, we are seeing them clearly.”

Aiming for customer centricity

The Warehouse Group is another organisation on a journey to customer centricity with its DMP.

The New Zealand retailer has 258 stores and large online presence, with two million people coming through its ‘doors’ every week. Chief digital officer, Michelle Anderson, said the amount of data it can collect is massive, as is the role a DMP can play to help them activate against this data.

“Our vision was to deliver a fully scaled and integrated marketing capability, deliver for customers, as well as for our portfolio of brands and shareholders,” she said.  “We want to understand our customers and deliver the right message at right place, at the right time.  

“With the DMP we can activate and engage with our customers, make things personalised and retain to them to deliver lifetime value."

Rightsizing the media mix was an important part of the strategy. "We used to look at conversion, but we are now going broader to understand our audiences from awareness right through to consideration and beyond," Anderson continued.

"We can now offer more targeted media, build brand perception and strength by creating connections, and we have journey maps across all our brands, using data to connect the journey, no matter what the touchpoint. We now know how our marketing is driving ROI, and understand how every dollar delivers return out the other end."

Twelve months ago, The Warehouse Group’s marketing was fully fragmented, using many platforms, was very product led, used a variety of different agencies, and only played in the conversion part of the funnel, with few metrics.

“A year later we have a fully integrated marketing team, and we have a unified view of customers focused on the lifetime value of customer, driving ROI," Anderson said. “We have a full Salesforce house, with the DMP as the brain that takes the signals in from all the different areas and helps us understand the customer and the journey, to get the right messages out.”

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