CMO50 2021 #2: Mim Haysom

  • Name Mim Haysom
  • Title Executive general manager, 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 108 staff
  • Industry Sector Financial services
  • 2020 ranking 11
  • Related

    Brand Post

    Suncorp Group’s Mim Haysom has a mantra for her team: What gets measured, gets done. And it’s this approach that’s helped ensure effectiveness from marketing’s efforts over the past year.

    “What has worked for us is being very clear on our ambition, clear on what success looks like, getting the metrics around that right and then measuring and optimising to achieve the effectiveness goals we set ourselves,” the marketing and brand chief says.

    “Having the right metrics in place, and having robust science, data and analytics underpinning those metrics also helps with building stakeholder credibility, giving stakeholders the confidence to invest, trust and believe in the power of marketing to drive business outcomes. This has become a virtuous circle as the more we have proven our effectiveness and results, the more we have been able to invest in marketing driven growth.”

    Innovative marketing

    And it’s the key to CMOs being able to drive big bold bets too. One of the more disruptive, bold marketing ideas Haysom and her team have had the confidence to pursue this past year has been ‘One House’. The concept was grounded in the desire to do more to help customers better manage against loss and damage.

    “I’ve long believed we should work with customers to improve their lives rather than simply communicating policies. Given the prevalence of natural disasters in recent years, I wanted to initiate a project to help this generation, and future generations, understand how to design and build more resilient homes,” Haysom says.  

    To realise the vision, Haysom created and funded a task force to shift Suncorp’s focus from recovery to resilience. Together, they designed and built a liveable, affordable home that could withstand major weather perils in collaboration with leading minds from James Cook University, the CSIRO and Room 11 Architects.

    A model was built and tested at the Cyclone Testing Station and the Bushfire Burnover Facility with the entire process captured in a documentary aired on Channel 9 and YouTube. Supporting the experiential activation was the ‘Build it back better’ campaign, which promised to apply the resilience learnings from ‘One House’ to every home Suncorp rebuilds.

    The marketing impact was swift and significant and included more than 630,000 visits to the information hub online, earned media reach of over 8 million, and 253,661 views of the documentary. Suncorp also received inquiries from influential stakeholders such as councils, building authorities and companies. Suncorp NPS improved 8.9 points to its highest ever, and demand increased, with quotes up 4 per cent.

    “One House was a very ambitious and unique idea, however it was embraced and supported early throughout the organisation given how strongly it was anchored to our brand and organisation’s purpose: To build futures and protect what matters,” Haysom comments.

    When she presented One House, Haysom worked hard to demonstrate how the approach could positively impact customers and communities, as well as provide Suncorp with a platform to advocate with government on building codes and resilience.

    “All of our leadership was really excited by the opportunity,” she says. “Having an idea that had our purpose at its core, and clearly provided the opportunity to have a positive impact more broadly, made it a success.”

    One house also showed customers not only want to learn more about how to protect themselves and their properties but will gravitate to brands who support them in this endeavour, according to Haysom.

    “We will continue to build on the work we’ve done with ‘one house’ and lean into building resilience, innovating and advocating in this space for our customers and communities,” she says.

    Data-driven approach

    To further support the role of AAMI protecting communities and to create positive customer impact, Haysom and her team identified opportunities to employ data in a way that could help reduce the number of road accidents over long weekends.

    ‘AAMI Warning Spots’ was a nation-wide campaign grounded in data and aimed at raising awareness of notorious accident hotspots across Australia. Multiple data sources, from the AAMI Crash index to Spotify’s advanced geotargeting to pinpoint the precise location of drivers, were used to deliver world-first in road safety messages.

    “Matching Spotify’s data with AAMI’s data we targeted drivers near accident hotspots and warned them of oncoming dangers ahead through Spotify ads,” Haysom explains. “‘AAMI Warning Spots’ were designed to hit the right audience of younger drivers at the right time and place, forcing them to pay attention.”

    The campaign launched on the Labour Day long weekend and ran again over the Easter break. Six of the most dangerous locations along the 242km stretch of the Great Ocean Road were included and bespoke targeted ads created for main hazards associated with each hotspot. Reach numbers were restricted to Spotify listeners, but 64 per cent driving through targeted areas were served the ads, with a 94 per cent completion rate.

    While the campaign achieved 92 per cent positive sentiment towards the AAMI Brand, plenty of earned media ensued and a Bronze Lion at Cannes, Haysom says the greatest achievement was the commitment to helping reduce accidents on some of Australia’s most loved roads.

    Helping Suncorp harness data from multiple sources and pull together a single profile is the rollout of a customer data platform. Use case opportunities include improved media effectiveness through better use of first-party data, offline through to online retargeting and supporting digital adoption.

    “We are also focused on delivery of our customer experience management program, which will enable real-time decisioning, and a seamless customer journey across channels so we can realise our personalisation ambition,” Haysom says.

    “While the marketing industry is facing significant regulatory change and a ‘cookie-less’ future, the insurance and finance Industry is facing even greater regulatory change as Royal Commission outcomes continue to be rolled out, including ‘anti-hawking’ regulations. This legislative change will impact telephony channels, putting increased pressure on marketing and digital to drive growth.”

    Using first-party data for personalisation and cross-channel capabilities will play a critical role in mitigating the impact of such a change for Haysom, “a change I view as both a challenge and an opportunity”, she says.

    “I recognised the need to future-proof our digital and customer marketing capability and unlock commercial value from current and past investments in data assets. While Suncorp has previously made significant group investments in data, the scope of these investments has not included the connectivity to customer experiences in activation and customer-facing channels.”

    Business smarts

    Managing a broad brand portfolio brings plenty of other marketing and positioning challenges, and many of Suncorp’s brands compete directly with each other. Historically, the brand strategy took a siloed approach, and while it had delivered success, Haysom knew strategically she could do more if her team approached brands more competitively.

    To do this, a fresh multi-brand portfolio strategy was developed by identifying unique positionings for each brand. This included specific target segments, geographical focus, customer experience innovations and considerations for resizing of investment required for each brand to compete. The strategy was endorsed by the board and the ‘Role of the brands in driving growth’ became a key strategic pillar in overall group strategy.

    “This was a twofold success with a significant increase in marketing investment and endorsement of a program to improve customer experience through product and digital innovation,” Haysom says. “The strategy also influenced our organisation-wide culture, with a new focus on ‘customer obsession’, and executing brilliant brand experiences.”

    Work with portfolio and digital teams has seen several innovations executed. For example, with its AAMI brand, the group introduced a competitive base offer with modular options, such as excess free glass, Emergency Home Assist, and Accidental Damage, to appeal to customers seeking additional cover. Digital improvements, meanwhile, include using geospatial data during the quote process, plus telematics and AAMI Motor Connect to digitally engage and reward customers for safe driving. The brand rethink even led to ‘AVA’, Suncorp’s AI-enabled digital employee.

    “The strategy has delivered significant momentum and growth for the business, with FY21 performance posting a cash profit after tax of $1.064 million, an increase of 42 per cent on prior year,” Haysom says. “Gross written premium growth for consumer insurance was 5.6 per cent, far out-performing our major competitor. These are results our group CEO directly attributed to our refined value propositions and marketing driving consumer insurance growth.”  

    Commercial acumen

    As Suncorp’s largest mass national brand, AAMI clearly plays a critical role in the portfolio. But as Haysom points out, competitive pressure around price as the most important factor when choosing insurance had seen AAMI lose its stronghold on value positioning.

    Haysom’s response was simple: Explain AAMI’s full value so Aussies would question whether they’ll be covered if they choose cheaper competitors. The team worked with creative partner, Ogilvy to deliver the ‘AAMI does’ campaign, introducing the character, Keith, to bring to life the value proposition through fun, memorable scenarios of what life would be like without AAMI benefits.

    Creative crossed all media, including into Suncorp’s Tokyo Olympics broadcast partnership with Channel 7, and was supported by robust business casing that saw AAMI’s marketing budget increase 50 per cent year-on-year.

    “What is different with this campaign is that when you overtly go out and say you do, then you need to deliver, and deliver in meaningful and relevant ways,” Haysom says. “Over the last 18 to 20 months, we’ve really focused on getting close to the customer, understanding how their needs have been changing as a result of the fast changing and challenging environment presented by the pandemic, and responding to those needs.”  

    Off the back of the campaign and this focus, AAMI brand equity is up and it’s now rating the most considered brand nationally.

    “‘Keith’ and ‘AAMI Does’ won the hearts and minds of Aussies and the confidence of our company leadership with exceptional commercial results,” Haysom adds.

    People and capability

    Through all of this work, Haysom says driving improved marketing ROI has meant continuously developing high-quality people and enabling them with market proven analytics and tools. While teams need to be versed in analytics and brilliant basics, she’s structured resources for specialty services by creating ‘Brand Teams’ and ‘Centres of Excellence’ focused on customer marketing, digital marketing, audience management, content, and marketing planning and operations.

    An in-house marketing science team has also developed a bespoke ROMI framework, providing a full view of marketing performance. Performance is assessed across short-term and long-term brand and retail outcomes for each brand, spearheading business investment decisions. An AI capability through Suncorp’s partnership with Blackwood 7 further enables the team to optimise media across five of its mass-market brands.

    To date, this this has seen gains of up to 19.8 per cent in additional monthly quotes above plan and reduced CPA by 17.6 per cent.

    “This has driven strong results and given the CFO and his team great confidence in our modelling capability and investment recommendations,” Haysom says.

    A bespoke quote customer value scoring model was developed with the pricing team and integrated into the ROAS bid strategy to improve things further. Off the back of this, a ROAS bidding experiment generated a 12.6 per cent increase in average value per quote and 26 per cent higher value prospects compared to the CPA approach. The team is now running a value-based bidding strategy across search campaigns.

    But soft skills are vital to team performance too, and Haysom is one of many who sees agility as a skill outlasting the global pandemic that increased its importance.

    “Through the pandemic, the team needed to pivot our program of work across 10 brands to not only ensure we were giving customers the information they needed quickly, but to support our partners and pivot all of our sponsorship and event activity pretty much overnight,” she says. “The very nature of our industry has meant that we have always had to have agility built into our mindset and ways of working – when there is a weather event, as an insurance company we need to move fast with communications for customers, but the breadth and the depth of the pandemic impact was on another level. The team’s agility enabled us to react at pace, support our customers, and keep momentum in our business through a very challenging environment.”

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