The journey to bring personalisation to TelstraSuper members

Marketing chief shares how he's worked to differentiate the brand by personalising engagements with its members

It has been 15 years since Australian workers were given the ability to choose which superannuation fund would manage their retirement nest egg.

While many funds have used that time to create sophisticated marketing functions to attract and retain members, the ability for them to differentiate in the eyes of customers has at times proved challenging.

For TelstraSuper and its executive general manager for marketing and digital, Jean-Luc Ambrosi, that challenge is compounded by being tied directly to one of Australia’s most well-known brands, and the expectations that come along with that.

“We are attached to an organisation that has completely transformed itself from a telco to a technology company,” Ambrosi tells CMO. “While we were doing a very good job, there was a need to change and a need to become a fund that was technology driven as well.”

Since joining TelstraSuper six-and-a-half years ago Ambrosi has been on a journey to reinvent how the business markets to its members, with the goal of offering a truly personalised service. As a profit-to-member business only open to employees of the Telstra Group and their families, Ambrosi says the pressure to offer personalised service is very strong.

“What differentiates us is our ability to get a lot closer to our members,” he says. “Because if we did ‘one size fits all’, then we are just like any other fund.”

While Ambrosi’s journey began with the realisation that TelstraSuper needed to reorganise its marketing around digital channels, he had inherited a brand identity that was resolutely analogue.

“Our brand was not geared for digital,” Ambrosi says. “We had old fashioned colours which never rendered well, and our logo was very long - you can’t have a long logo on social because social tends to use cube-shaped images.”

After hiring Cato Brand Partners to reinvent the company’s visuals, Ambrosi and his team then set about revamping its digital presence, including its content management system.

“We were completely locked in a system with no flexibility,” Ambrosi says. “It had no ability to personalise any information, no ability to nudge members, no ability to be flexible in its templates or wireframes.”

After evaluating possible solutions, the company settled on Sitecore as its new platform. Ambrosi says he was impressed by Sitecore’s promise of technology infrastructure that would evolve over time as TelstraSuper’s members’ needs evolved.

With those elements in place, Ambrosi and his team set about building segmentation models within the TelstraSuper member base. But rather than just look at their life stage, Ambrosi set about understanding aspirations and disposition.

“Retirees are not all the same,” Ambrosi says. “Some have different ambitions, and some are better prepared than others. So there are a lot of flavours to retiring.”

By understanding the members better, Ambrosi says TelstraSuper has been able to align that knowledge with functional and behavioural data to get down to his desired ‘segments of one’.

“It is about building a series of communications that make sense to where they are at any point of time, to define what was happening with those people and how should we communicate to those people,” Ambrosi says. “When you add segmentation to those two data sets, that is when you get to a segment of one.”

This effort was recently recognised internationally when TelstraSuper was named a winner of the 2020 @Sitecore Experience Awards in the ‘Most intelligent content optimisation’ category. This global award recognises brands that have built customer-centric digital experiences.

The next phase of activity will see TelstraSuper bringing greater automation into its marketing program.

“And that is the journey, to embed personalisation throughout the process using automation,” Ambrosi says. “And as we automate certain data sets that drive actions, we can concentrate on new ones that we haven’t actioned yet.”

The end result is TelstraSuper is having one-to-one engagements with 98.5 per cent of members.

“It was the ability to be relevant to members was what was going to make a difference,” Ambrosi says. “And members who are digitally engaged are more likely to stay with us.”

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