QBE, MinterEllison share insights into digital transformation

Two Australian executives share how their respective organisations are trying to tackle digital experience as a business imperative

Sticking to your guns, having realistic expectations on technology rollout timeframes, getting the right people to set the cadence of work, and executive advocacy are all key for organisations looking to successfully digitally transform.

These were just a few lessons presented by marketing and digital leaders from MinterEllison and QBE, who took to the stage at this week’s Sitecore Experience event in Sydney to share their efforts to become more digitised businesses.

MinterEllison CMO, Diane Gates, said rapid convergence across industries has left the legal profession in a state of constant disruption with no shortage of things to do.

To help, the legal and consulting group’s “progressive CEO” has put digital at centre of its strategy and the team has built out a robust transformation plan rolling out in next 12-24 months, including significant martech investment, she said.

The first step in this digital journey was implementing a new website 18 months ago, and the company partnered with Ogilvy and Sitecore on the work. Off this base, MinterEllison is now working on its personalisation approach, using the website to tap insights and analytics on what clients are interested in and why they engage online to further its aims.  

“I’m keen to see where personalisation takes us with our clients. And we’re working with tech to understand digital dexterity – making sure our firm is up for the digital transformation we’re going through,” Gates said.   

But even with a CEO seeing the value of digital, it took a lot of work to convince leadership this was the direction the group needed to go in, Gaines said, adding it took 10 months to get website sign off.

“This included going back and forth to the board several times. As part of that it’s really important to persevere and don’t give up,” she said.

Gates also offered a few key lessons in the process she took to get buy-in. The first is having executive advocacy.

“It’s important to make sure you have an advocate on the leadership/board team to sponsor the project - someone really influential with a voice in your leadership or at the boardroom table who works with you and takes the project through by your side,” she said.

Secondly, it’s vital to keep clients at the centre of everything you do. “Don’t go to your leadership and say this is important because you think it’s something you need to do; you need to back your decisions with fact and research,” Gates continued.

In MinterEllison’s case, this meant interviewing about 30 clients over several months to build a base of insights marketing could then take to the board. A third must for Gates is aligning with the technology team. Fourth, ensure you have solid project management and governance structures in place.

“We had a steering committee backed up by a day-to-day delivery team,” Gates said.

As a final piece, Gates highlighted the importance of consulting and collaborating. “Make sure you’re constantly consulting with leadership and board, and ensure they have a voice in terms of the work you’re doing,” she added.  

Building a digital and content backbone

Over at insurance giant, QBE, its chief digital and innovation officer, Marcus Marchant, has been working to bring together 143 URLs and websites into one Web portal over 18 months. These sites stretched from “brochure-ware” through to highly critical transactional platforms and apps, he explained, and use Sitecore’s digital experience platform as its backbone.

The work is part of a wider effort “digitise the old QBE to make the new QBE”.

“A lot of companies are going through the journey of finding operational efficiency as well as unlocking new value,” Marchant commented. “A key part for that for us is putting in place a digital backbone and set of technology that unlocks our legacy technology across 33 countries.”  

Content has been a strategic element in the work, and Marchant agreed the challenges of having both enough content, as well as the right content, is an ongoing battle for brands.

“Anywhere where you have a consistent gap between expectations and performance, you have a bit of a crisis and how you close that gap through measurement, and test-and-learn, is cause for concern for marketers, especially as you put dollars in more digital places now. That’s a crisis that needs to be solved,” he said.  

In QBE’s case, consolidation of sites revealed content not being used that needed to be rationalised.

“We applied a consistent brand lens to this – we looked at wording, compliance processes behind that,” Marchant continued. “Then going forward it’s looking at the data, seeing what’s working and as we start to personalise more and more, understanding what’s effective.”

And effectiveness is a multi-faceted term. In some instances, content drives sales, while in others, it helps create engagement with brokers, or prompts SMEs to talk to their brokers about buying from QBE.

“Those are very different goals that we look at,” Marchant said, adding content is also often a slow burn in terms of its impact.  

“Quality is so much more important for that longtail, SEO benefit. Yes you need to see it performing in the initial stages… but how it performs long-term is so important.”

Again, collaboration and clear alignment around the goal you’re trying to achieve is key here.  

“Setting up short-term and long-term goals, looking at people’s engagement and what they’re doing on the site, and finding proxies for longer-term engagement are key,” Marchant said. “We are not done by any means, but we’re educating our marketers who are building our content around how they’re measuring and optimising content.”

Marchant said understanding effectiveness is also about education and getting the right people in the right room.

“We have to measure beyond what’s beyond what’s happening our Sitecore platform and that means people sitting in data analytics from people in different transaction systems, mapping it back and seeing the impact it’s having,” he said.  

“That required us to have the cadence in place to have the meetings to discuss the effectiveness, and getting the right people at the table to debate it with you,” Marchant said.

QBE has also built out real-time dashboards to improve data visibility and that customise base on relevant layers to show people the effectiveness of what they’re doing.

“From that, we can expose data that may not be perfect, but lends itself to inquiries and action items we can follow month to month and further drive change,” Marchant added.

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