​ Why Aussie Broadband is going all in on in-house digital capabilities

The challenger telco sees speed and responsiveness as the keys to winning market share from incumbents

For challenger telco brands like Aussie Broadband, the key to being able to compete against dominant players, Optus and Telstra, relies on being quick and nimble with its marketing initiatives.

“The ability to be quick to market and pop up a landing page or be able to turn something around or change some wording has been really helpful for us,” Aussie Broadband GM of marketing, Rebecca Rizzo, told CMO.  

As a small player with only a handful of people a few years ago, the telco needed to rely on external agencies to create and execute its creative. But this has been steadily changing over the past 18 months as the telco dispensed with outsourcing in favour of bringing talent in-house. The move has accelerated its speed-to-market responsiveness.  

Easier access to creative levers means the brand can tweak things as needed, whether it’s responding to the market or customers.  

“When you're working with an agency, it’s just a bit slower and they don't know us as well as we know us,” Rizzo said.  

Whereas legacy providers like Optus and Telstra have more moving parts and far more hurdles to jump through, Aussie can launch a new program and gain a headstart.  “It means we're just ahead of the game and that's what we need to do as a challenger brand in this space,” Rizzo said.  

Shifting to in-sourcing digital skills  

After first moving its Web needs in-house, it was a logical step to bring digital and creative onboard internally too. A case in point: Being closely connected to its local call centre means that when a theme emerges with customer inquiries, for instance, Aussie can respond right away.  

“If we hear something where customers are calling about how to plug in the modem, we can create some videos or make some things really quickly and get them up,” Rizzo explained.  

Aussie knows it can’t outspend the dominant providers so it looks for the gaps and places it can respond while also leaning into its brand awareness. “Speed to market is just so important for us because we can't win in marketing budgets. We can with speed, that’s where we can get ahead,” Rizzo said.  

She acknowledged the brand is still lower on general awareness than it would like, although it invests quite a bit in TV to build this.  

“In the NBN space, we probably invest more than others in TV to get that awareness,” she said. Aussie also focuses on programmatic and catch-up TV, taking an audience-led approach. The programs are all part of the brand’s overarching screen strategy, driven by responding and optimising where it’s seeing an impact.  

“We have quite a big attribution models sitting behind a lot of our marketing,” Rizzo continued. “We’re constantly looking at where our money is spent.  

“Our approach has been working quite well for us because we can move money around depending on performance. And we’re where the audience is and talking to them.”  

Beyond this, Aussie invests a decent amount in digital, social, video and search, a move that’s aimed at “trying to capture as many people as many people as possible,” she said.  

The most recent media move has been into radio. “Aussie hadn’t tried radio before, but it was something I've had a lot of success with in the past to build frequency. TV is simple and radio is a great opportunity really bring home that message. It’s building on TV,” she said. “That’s the strategy at the moment.”  

Aussie’s attribution model  

Yet Rizzo knows attribution across media spend and marketing tactics is only as good as the data that gets put into the model.  

“You have to be really confident in the data that’s being put into it and you have to actually care about the data you're putting into the model. It’s rubbish, in rubbish out,” she said. “You've got to pick the truth, and double down on it.”  

The marketing GM admitted it’s possible to pick a hole in attribution data here and there, but the key is to look bigger.  

“What you want to look for, and what attribution is great at building out, are overarching trends and overarching patterns,” she told CMO.  

For example, Rizzo saw value being found in looking at both online and offline interaction. “Is it always going to be correct in the minutiae? There’s always another element you can push or pull. But it's about making sure you're being consistent, and you're actually putting in the right data set,” she said.  

To head off the coming third-party cookie crunch, one of the things Aussie is investing in is its own customer data. Again, it’s finding more value in having the digital skillset in-house.  

“That in-house team can help set up the right tracking and have the right conversion points,” Rizzo said, adding she’s putting an emphasis on future proofing the brand on all its platforms.  

“We’re investing more in our own data, utilising SMS, emails, push notifications and other forms of data we know are correct and true. That's really where we're going to be doubling down,” she said.    

“By bringing digital in-house, we're bringing in that retention automation as well, building out all of that capability.”  

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