CMO50 2022 #1: 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, 6 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Insurance
  • 2021 ranking 2
  • Related

    Brand Post

    For Suncorp’s Mim Haysom, data is the fuel giving marketers the power to influence. “It’s critical for marketing leaders to have the ability to access and use data to form your narrative for stakeholders, to build business cases, and to prove your impact as a marketer,” the EGM of brand and marketing advises.

    But don’t think for a second this means Haysom isn’t willing to trust her gut. “You need a healthy mix of both. With experience, gut instinct can be incredibly powerful, particularly in steering how disruptive you can be, and how far you can push things. But you won’t secure budget and investment through gut instinct.”

    Pushing the envelope is certainly an apt phase to describe Haysom and her team’s work on the ‘One House’ project. Making the call to spend nearly two years investing in a prototype required a huge degree of trust and collaboration with many external partners, along with many pivots along the way.

    “It took some bravery to stay the course with the project and the vison through Covid, lockdowns and all of the challenges thrown at us. But the results in terms of business, brand and customer impact, definitely made it worth it,” Haysom says. “The campaign has elevated the very important discussion around how to make our communities more resilient to increasing severity of weather events we are experiencing to a national level. At the same time, it has been recognised on the global stage for its innovation and creativity. Winning the Grand Prix for Innovation at Cannes was an amazing achievement for all involved.”

    In all, Suncorp won five of Australia’s 16 Cannes Lions this year. The accolades continued for Haysom and her team in the face of an historic year for Australia in terms of severe weather events, worth more than $1 billion in natural hazard costs. Every one of these 35 events required a pivot in communication plans to support customers, adaptability made even more complex by teams located across multiple states.

    Yet Suncorp achieved its most successful year ever and has continued to deliver great outcomes for the business and customers.

    “Through consistently executing on our strategy over the past three years, and a continued focus on transformation and effectiveness, we took our business from strength to strength,” Haysom says. “We had record levels of NPS, 9.2 per cent growth in revenue to $9.2bn in FY22 for our insurance business, and 15.9 per cent growth in customer funding for the bank business. This culminated in the successful divestment and sale of the bank.”

    Innovative marketing

    Having witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of severe weather events, Haysom has taken bold action firmly into her hands as she works to lead a movement towards risk mitigation across Suncorp.

    The ‘One House’ journey began April 2021 and was about shifting the conversation from recovery to one of resilience. In collaboration with experts, James Cook University, CSIRO and Room 11 architects, Suncorp designed, prototyped and scientifically tested a home to be resilient to bushfires, floods and cyclones. Learnings were aired via a documentary on Channel 9, garnering 299 pieces of editorial and reaching 20 million Australians. The campaign inspired the ‘Build it Back Better’ policy initiative, providing customers with resilient rebuild options if impacted by weather events.

    In April 2022, Haysom’s team then launched ‘Resilience Road’ for the Suncorp Insurance brand, strengthening a series of family homes in one of Australia’s most disaster-prone towns, Rockhampton. “Taking the One House learnings, we demonstrated practical applications to existing homes, capturing the renovation journey as part of an omnichannel campaign,” Haysom explains.

    “Our IP was open sourced online to motivate Queenslanders to make resilience their next renovation. Not settling for the status quo of protection is helping us better serve our customers and creating the conditions for lasting impact.”

    This multi-year resilience strategy has seen brand consideration lift 7 per cent to 48 per cent, elevated NPS from 6.4 to a record 14.4, triggered branded search growth of 204 per cent, and increased home opportunities by 24.6 per cent. New business has also grown 11.6 per cent, and Suncorp achieved home unit growth in the last financial year for the first time in 10 years.

    Importantly, advocacy is influencing industry and government policy. Post One House, the Insurance Council of Australia launched ‘Project Resilience’ to embed resilience into the National Construction Code by 2025. The Federal Government also announced a $600m resilience fund for disaster preparation and mitigation programs.

    “Our work has garnered international recognition and put resilience at the heart of the agenda, which is critical to protect future generations,” Haysom adds.

    Reframing the resilience strategy to Suncorp bank in order to reset the latter’s growth strategy is another of Haysom and her team’s whopper wins. In this instance, work adopted the lens of ‘creating a brighter future’.

    “We delivered a new brand strategy underpinned by the pillars of sustainability and wellbeing,” she says. “We created a new brand platform and omnichannel campaign, ‘Banking You Can Feel Good About’. This inspired new products and customer experiences to support our sustainability positioning, including an Australian-first Everyday Sustainable Account, certified carbon neutral by Climate Active, helping customers monitor their carbon footprint.”

    Off the back of this, Suncorp sold its banking arm in July to ANZ for $4.9 billion, with $1.3bn of goodwill paid above net tangible assets.

    Business smarts

    It’s been a four-year journey for Haysom to position marketing as a unique business accelerator. “As an architect of our Group Business strategy, I helped codify the strategic role of our brands as drivers of growth, enabling marketing originated initiatives to lead change,” she explains.

    This is clearly evident in marketing’s leadership of resilience across the organisation. Resilience is now a pillar of the Group’s three-year strategy, becoming fundamental to future and influencing the entire value chain.

    An example of this in action, meanwhile, is Suncorp’s partnership with Meta on a market-first, live streaming intelligence platform, ‘Suncorp Live’. The platform debuted in response to the North Coast Floods and connected customers to emergency support information and hyper-local updates on where assessors and support teams would be on the ground.

    In July, Suncorp also launched its Event Control Centre (ECC), a market-first insurtech platform, enabling continuous improvement in proactive preparedness, response mobilisation and recovery strategies. “This has transformed claims management, assessment and building strategies to support recovery,” Haysom says. “Relevant insights are shared with industry and government agencies to improve Australia’s resilience.

    “We’ve also established a Group-wide sustainability and diversity committee on which I play a leadership role, prioritising initiatives, setting targets and managing performance in line with Suncorp’s strategic objectives, including ESG and resilience opportunities and risks.

    “Resilience has become a galvanising focus for the future of the organisation, creating a platform to work with partners, customers, communities, regulators and governments to help address the biggest challenge of the next 20 years in the decarbonisation of the planet and the effects of climate change.”

    Data-driven maturity

    Harnessing data to drive better customer behaviours – this time on the road - is another facet of Haysom’s approach. She notes Suncorp’s AAMI Crash Index collects comprehensive data from thousands of road accidents every year and shows fatigue as the third-biggest cause of fatalities. Young drivers are at greatest risk, taking fewer breaks and accounting for 70 per cent of all fatigue related deaths despite making up just 15 per cent of the licensed driver population.

    “I wanted to make young drivers safer as they hit the road on long road trips post-Covid lockdowns and challenged the team to create an innovative approach to get young drivers to stop and rest,” Haysom explains.

    The solution was AAMI RestTowns, a data-led initiative encouraging young drivers to stop and rest every two hours in rural Aussie towns. Using AAMI data, the team identified the longest and most dangerous stretches of road, then selected 52 rural towns based on their local attractions, where young drivers could stop and rest.

    Further data adopted from Facebook, Spotify, Waze and TikTok enhanced insights. For example, using Facebook interest data, Suncorp identified young drivers likely to go on a road trip and delivered geo-targeted travel guides promoting AAMI RestTowns, with a link to a personalised Spotify two-hour road trip playlist based on their chosen route and location. Suncorp also integrated with Spotify, Waze and TikTok data to combine geolocation, time-based and in-car targeting to safely serve up ‘rest alerts’.

    “When they hit the road, our algorithm suggested just the right attraction or the right incentive at the right time, not only creating reasons to stop but supporting regional small business along the way,” Haysom says.

    The initiative helped grow brand consideration of AAMI with 18-25-year-olds to an all-time high of 57 per cent throughout the campaign period, while NPS lifted to its highest level on record (+11). “Most importantly, we reduced accident claims by 29 per cent over the campaign period,” Haysom says.

    Customer-led thinking

    Such data utilisation is illustrative of how far Haysom’s ambition to transform the marketing function to improve digital, data and analytics capabilities has come. “My ambition was to enable truly seamless and data-driven engagements with our customers, and to deliver improved effectiveness and efficiency for our return on investment,” she says.

    “It was an ambitious roadmap and one we have delivered on, with many of the key deliverables materialising in the past 12 months and delivering true transformation for the organisation.”

    Another example is brokering data partnerships with the likes of REA Group, Carsales and broadcast media partners to better customer pain points and reposition Suncorp’s portfolio of brands. The work has improved brand ROI by 22 per cent, providing personalised experiences and reducing media wastage by 23 per cent.

    Transforming customer experiences through enriched data methods has been a further win. To do this, Suncorp implemented geospatial technology to simplify, streamline and pre-populate customers’ online quoting experience. Haysom has also evolve Marketing Mix Modelling to add brand and sentiment metrics on top of channel attribution, enabling more flex to respond to customer needs in real time.

    Knowing the demise of cookies was nigh, Haysom has removed cookies by implementing a customer data platform and adopting CAPI and GA4. It’s delivered 19 per cent greater attribution so far.

    “We’re transforming our customer impact through longer-term value metrics too,” she continues. “We’ve evolved from an historical focus on CPAs to more meaningful relationships, aided by creation of a demand methodology in search, enabling us to increase sales by 51 per cent in Q1 2022 alone.

    “We’ve embedded customer lifetime value bidding in Google to acquire more valuable customers. This has improved return on ad spend from 3.8 to 10.1. We have also transformed our operational infrastructure to enable dynamic delivery.

    “And this year, we transformed our agency partner model, creating a newly centralised production hub in partnership with Hogarth. The new model creates operational efficiency, new and improved data-driven creative capability, agility and responsiveness to customer needs, as well as $6m in production efficiency.

    The array of new capabilities ensured digital marketing programs delivered a sales increase of 22 per cent in FY22 year-on-year, over $300m in revenue and $12m in media efficiency.

    “They have also proved pivotal in 2022, with the natural disasters and fluctuating consumer finance markets requiring dynamic response. If we are going to be the insurer of choice, we need to be there when our consumers need us most, and our transformation has ensured we are,” Haysom says.

    Leadership impact

    Through all of this, Haysom has led a large, multi-skilled marketing team operating in a highly complex environment.

    “There are many unique requirements in our business: A portfolio of 10 brands, integration into a cross-functional, data-driven operation, high compliance demands, and a team split across three geographies,” she comments.

    “In 2021, I launched a monthly engagement survey to derive insights on what our talent needed to be successful. Most significant was to feel connected to the organisation-wide strategy, and to feel they were doing meaningful work contributing to this. To create connection to the broader strategy, in 2021 we created our first team Marketing Day to share the three-year business plan with the entire team and agency partners. Our Group CEO presented full-year results and the Group-wide strategy, which highlighted marketing and the ‘reinvigoration of our brands’ as a key focus area.”

    An in-house ‘Marketing Week’ takes performance to another level with more immersion and content on the Group’s Strategy, the role of marketing in driving success, and mindsets for building a high-performing team. There’s also investment into external marketing education programs, such as ADMA skills assessment, online learning and workshops, to Google University.

    “Our engagement score has lifted from 7.7 in June 2021, to 8.4 in July 2022, and 14 high-performing team members have been promoted into higher responsibilities,” Haysom says. “The team has enjoyed the satisfaction of being a high-performing team, delivering significant impact for customers and the organisation, and receiving industry wide recognition along the way.”

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