CMO50 2020 #11: Mim Haysom

  • Name Mim Haysom
  • Title EGM brand and marketing
  • Company Suncorp Group
  • Commenced role May 2018
  • Reporting Line CEO, insurance product and portfolio
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 103 staff
  • Industry Sector Financial services
  • 2019 ranking 26-50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    In today’s world, it is paramount marketers respond quickly to a changing context, be it a weather event such as a bushfire or flood or pandemic, says Suncorp’s Mim Haysom.

    “Gauging consumer sentiment and needs and responding in a relevant and timely manner is critical to our customers’ experience and ultimately our success,” she says.

    So it’s not surprising Haysom nominates curiosity and creativity as key skills she’s working to foster across her team. “As marketers, we need to be constantly curious about our customers, our macro environment and how we can use technology to better connect with our customers and create get experiences,” she says. “And we need to think creatively around how all those things come together.”

    Being open to challenges and bravery are further vital skills in the modern marketing arsenal. “We need to be constantly challenging the status quo, thinking about how we can do things differently, and be brave enough to try out new ways of doing things,” continues Haysom.

    “And we need clarity and focus. Having a clear purpose and a clear ambition enables you to prioritise and focus on the big ‘rocks’ or innovations that will truly drive transformation.”

    Business smarts

    It’s not just marketing purpose Haysom is striving to inform in order to drive transformation at Suncorp: She’s thick in the weeds of future go-to-market strategy, too.

    In March 2020, Haysom presented a five-year brand strategy outlining recommendations for the future state of Suncorp’s brand portfolio over the horizons of one, three and five years. The paper addressed the potential impacts of new technology such as emerging fintechs and driverless cars, along with the changing economic environment brought about by climate change and pandemic implications. Potential new growth segments off the bac of changing consumer behaviours were also in the mix.

    “These are all elements critical to understand not just from a marketing perspective but for the organisation in order to develop new products, propositions, and potential opportunities to reshape, and optimise the portfolio for improved business and customer outcomes,” she says.

    As part of the project, Haysom engaged the customer insights team to dig deep into Suncorp’s customer and market data to uncover new growth opportunities and an enhanced segmentation framework to inform the targeting strategy for each brand. New segments were identified for each brand across the portfolio, made up of demographic and behavioural elements, enabling focused targeting, while development of propositions, product innovations and branded experiences further differentiate the brands and help increase customer value and business growth.

    With strategic partner, Kantar, models such as TURF analysis and needscope (attitudinal) segmentation were also introduced by Haysom to test and validate the role of each of the brands within the portfolio.

    “The TURF analysis informed key senior stakeholders on the number of brands feasibly sustainable within each market, a key data point to informing the role of each of the brands, and potential opportunities to change the shape of the portfolio over time,” Haysom explains.

    “The paper informed challenging debate with key stakeholders including finance, risk, product and portfolio on discussions including the shape of the portfolio, investment levels and the product innovation roadmap.”

    With all stakeholders engaged and aligned with the strategy, Haysom’s paper was successfully endorsed and the plan is well into execution. And as a result, Haysom’s remit has extended to include strategic partnerships.

    Commercial acumen

    This sort of executive influence is a far cry from what Haysom encountered upon joining Suncorp in May 2018. Upon commencing her role in 2018, she says a significant amount of work needed to be done to convince stakeholders of the value of marketing, and to shift the function from being viewed as a cost centre to a revenue and growth driver.

    One of the first steps for Haysom was articulating ‘performance’ as a key strategic pillar. She then embarked on reframing all performance metrics and the reporting cadence to the executive team. The initiative put firm emphasis on demonstrating the impact of investment levels on both long-term brand equity and short-term acquisition metrics. The latter included implementing ESOV reporting, brand equity tracking and monthly performance aligned to overall business targets, not marketing metrics.

    “We needed to apply a new set of metrics to a highly complex business, and to apply new ways-of-working in a marketing team of over 100 to deliver on the new reporting cadence and framework,” Haysom says.

    To support this ambition, Suncorp adopted Blackwood 7 ‘Market Mix Modelling’ across its mass brands. This provided new capability that has helped the marketing team develop an optimal media investment mix. The model provides new predictive capability and removes reliance on standard and potentially out-of-date regression models, Haysom says.

    And it’s subsequently uncovered a wealth of insights into the performance of media channels. This has elevated the focus around a performance-driven culture, positioning the marketing team to deliver best possible financial outcomes for brands and products into the future, she says.

    For example, in FY20 the marketing mix model informed the business case endorsed to inject additional marketing investment in two of Suncorp’s national brands, AAMI and Apia. Within six months, Apia’s brand saliency increased by 10 points, while awareness in its heartland Victoria lifted by 3 per cent and consideration grew 5 per cent.

    AAMI’s increased investment meanwhile, resulted in an uplift in awareness in key markets during the relevant period including 8 percentage points in NSW and 4 percentage points in Vitoria.

    “It also enabled us to evaluate in real time the investment decisions we were making during the uncertain COVID environment,” says Haysom. “Our data-led approach to marketing investment decisions has led to the business approving an increase in total marketing budget year-on-year for FY21, quite an accomplishment in a tough cost environment and challenging economic conditions.”

    Customer-led thinking

    In reframing the business strategy from marketplace to multi-brand, and in the pursuit of better CX, Haysom’s team has recently spearheaded a rebuild of the AAMI app.

    “AAMI customers were being directed through the Suncorp app to access the rewards portal and other digital functionality,” she explains. “Our business case was to build customer experience functionality within the AAMI app and create a fully immersive AAMI experience.”

    Partnering with digital and ecommerce, Haysom’s team designed an experience aimed at better reflecting the AAMI brand personality supported by new functionality to lodge and track claims, view policies across the Suncorp network, renew insurance policies, update details and access benefits and discounts under the AAMI Lucky Club engagement program. 

    During development, Haysom challenged the team to tap into their ‘trailblazing’ mindset, resulting in an App Hack run in collaboration with the Digital Labs team in late 2019 to find an innovative idea for the AAMI App. “It was a great opportunity for marketers at all levels to not only be part of an innovation initiative, but also provided a personal development opportunity for the marketing team,” she says.  

    The winning idea was to build Roadside Assist into the app providing customers with an ‘uber style’ experience where they can track how far away Roadside Assist is once requested after a breakdown. Weather alerts matched to customer postcodes were also part of the latest version unveiled in September.  

    Since the May release and at time of CMO50 judging, the AAMI app had averaged an App store rating of 4.57, reflecting the improved experience for customers.

    “When COVID hit, we fast-tracked Web chat capability to further improve accessibility for customers, going live within two weeks of lockdown, rather than the originally planned four-month lead time,” Haysom adds.

    Innovative marketing

    Well before the crisis however, Haysom was working to articulate a marketing strategy centred around five key strategic pillars: Brand equity, portfolio management, performance, transformation and customer value.

    “There is complexity in identifying and developing effective customer engagement programs for each brand to cater for their very different customer segments,” she comments. “Across the portfolio of nine brands, we have a range of initiatives tailored to specific customers. These include broad programs for our mass brands such as Suncorp’s partnership with Netball Australia and AAMI’s partnership with AFL, and tailored programs for our niche brands including APIA’s partnership with Five Good Friends and Shannons Club.”

    As an illustration of successfully tapping this customer thinking to deliver marketing dividends, Haysom says her team has built further commercial success around the Shannons brand by adopting a holistic approach.  

    “Recognised as local and global best in class for speciality car insurance, Shannons’ niche customer base requires more than just good insurance policies, they want the knowledge that they are engaging with a brand that is equally as passionate as they are about motoring. Shannons Club is designed to tap into that passion and create a community that enables motoring enthusiasts to unite around their shared passion for cars,” she says.

    As well as its unique product insurance proposition, Shannons is supported by full journey mapping and touchpoint analysis with careful understanding and scripting at each point for call centre, social media and direct communications. Through the Club, its members also have access to news, shared community videos, forums, upcoming motoring events, competitions, e-sports and exclusive access to the Shannons Club TV channel.

    “What’s most unique about the Shannons Club are the immersive experiences we create for our customers,” Haysom says. For example, the Super Rig tours regional areas bring unique motor enthusiast experiences to live events. Over the last two years, 125 events have attracted more than 109,000 enthusiasts.


    Overall, Haysom says she’s been confronted with so many ‘firsts” in her role in the last 1-2 years. But she claims the most immense has been pivoting Suncorp’s entire sponsorship program across the portfolio of brands from at-event activations to online experiences for customers during the pandemic.

    This included running the first-ever online Shannons Auction, partnering with Netball Australia and Netfit to provide online experiences for young netballers to keep them connected with the netball community, pivoting the APIA Good Times Tour to a virtual event, and partnering with AFL to create great engagement experiences for the AAMI customers and AFL fans.

    “We also repurposed those unspent activation leverage dollars, to give back to the community through a donation to the Smith Family to support families and kids with technology for home schooling,” she continues.

    “All of these things we’d never done before, and we did then all at the same time, in the space of only a couple of weeks.”

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