Driving digital marketing effectiveness

CMO asks five marketing leaders from the travel, tourism, retail, tech and financial industries to share how they're working to optimise digital marketing success

Effectiveness of digital marketing is firmly in the spotlight as economic conditions tighten and costs go up.    

In the latest of CMO’s Food for Thought series, we ask five stellar marketing chiefs from different industries: What investments have you made over the past year to improve the performance of your digital marketing activities?  

Lahnee White

Chief marketing officer, G’Day Group  

As digital marketers leveraging insight, technology and the best digital minds to drive scaled and meaningful outcomes for customers is paramount. We know when we get this right, business performance also grows.  

For us, that comes down to really understanding our customer and being as targeted as possible with our spend. So much so, that last year we purchased the number one paid app in the Australian app store, WikiCamps, an independent community of our core customers. Essentially a review platform, this geo-rich user generated content gives us a wealth of information on the behaviour and preferences of those we are targeting.

Credit: Lahnee White, G'Day Group

We are also investing heavily in people and insights. We’ve established an in-house data science team to focus on optimising our media investments via attribution and media mix modelling. Uplifting the value of existing customers via CLV regression modelling, and the introduction of lifecycle modeling to support customers throughout their relationship with us, has been another focus. Like any highly commercial organisation, the ability to measure and to pivot our strategy quickly based on performance is critical.

Last year, we built an in-house digital agency, with our team focused on our key objectives and managing end-to-end activity; from strategy, to building campaigns, to media buy and optimisation. Having this capability in-house means we can be nimble, quickly reacting to market forces. We also have control and access over our data and tools enabling agile optimisation of performance, and the ability to leverage this performance data across other business projects

Importantly, we’ve also invested in technology. We made to move away from Adobe to the Google stack and structured our accounts so we can best leverage the automated bidding tools available. We then took it one step further by scanning the global market for emerging technology to secure the competitive edge.   

We’re now leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)-powered capability with a bespoke algorithm built on our unique brand assets and delivered in a fully automated system to rapidly scale commercial outcomes.  

We’re playing the long game with SEO, investing in carefully curated keyword content that lifts our organic reach. Through Covid, while the tourism industry was in lockdown, we were smart in this space, turning our attention to our content strategy. While we couldn’t open our properties to tourists, we were able to repurpose staff to write content. This is now paying dividends with our paid and organic strategies working in partnership to deliver strong results.  

In short, our strategy is about truly understanding our customers and investing in people, decisioning and technology, so we can be targeted and agile, making our digital marketing budget work hard for business returns.  

Jane Betschel

Head of marketing and digital sales, MYOB  

Data is at the heart of everything we do in marketing. Our category is very competitive so we are constantly looking for ways to optimise our marketing processes to drive effectiveness and efficiency, including assessing how we can better use data to improve digital marketing activities. Here’s a short overview of ways we’re investing in the crucial role data plays in our marketing activity.   

Credit: Jane Betschel, MYOB

Digital tools and channels: We are purposeful about the martech tools we test and invest in, given the cost to implement and integrate them into our suite, and the time and onus it puts on the team to learn new tools. We have also invested a lot of time in cultivating relationships with our digital channel partners, which has proved beneficial. Through our regular catchups and performance updates, we can access data that informs and improves our strategies and tactics across our different channels.  

Personalisation: The nature of our business means we need to personalise our marketing to many different industries as well as companies of all sorts of sizes and maturity stages. We use several audience layering approaches in our social channels to ensure there’s minimal overlap across audiences, and by connecting our Salesforce and Ad platforms, we can provide targeted messaging to specific audiences. Another effective method we find is using data on customer product usage to drive more personalised journeys or drive adoption with existing customers. We would rather send a handful of very relevant messages than communicate on areas the customer has already mastered.  

Then there are ways of working. Investing in internal data sharing and tools to support this can improve marketing through the acquisition funnel and drive product adoption. Our digital marketing team use API tools to automate reporting and pacing across all ad platforms, which we find improves visibility of the customer journey from lead to sale.  

Lastly, I’m really proud of the transparent and supportive culture we have in the MYOB marketing team. Sharing wins, recognising brilliant work and showcasing learnings from experiments means we all can learn something new every day. In turn, this will only help us continue to improve our digital marketing performance.  

Emma Campbell

Chief marketing officer, Tourism Fiji  

The digital space is just so important in tourism. Our goal is to have our website fiji.travel as the primary source of information for travellers planning a trip to Fiji. It is full of rich content about our destination and is seen as a source of authority.   

Credit: Emma Campbell, Tourism Fiji

Since borders reopened, our website has had a heavy focus on giving people confidence to travel to Fiji post-Covid, moving forward we are refreshing our brand and our content focus will be highly inspirational content. We replatformed our website during the pandemic to Kentico, which has given us the flexibility we need to make regular updates with all the benefits of a strong digital experience platform. With the brand refresh, we are also revamping site design – a significant step forward from a design standpoint, ensuring we create a more enjoyable online experience.   

We recently onboarded Host/Havas and the Havas Media team as agency partners globally across creative, digital and media buy. This is allowing us to create a branded content strategy that works across all touchpoints and drives people primarily to site. Moving forward, we are working on a digital roadmap with investment in our martech stack to gather further information about our potential travellers. We’ll be encouraging them to sign-up and have meaningful engagements with us in digital spaces, so we can better understand them and continue the conversation.   

As Tourism Fiji doesn’t ‘close the sale’, we are reliant on our tourism industry and trade partners to take leads we send and convert. We want much better visibility of the whole visitor journey so we can better understand the role we’re playing in the final transaction. So attribution is a key focus moving forward.   

To round all of this off, we are focusing heavily on capability building. In Fiji, we find marketing graduates are getting an introduction to digital marketing, but it’s not comprehensive enough. On-the-job training is critical. We have a small but mighty digital team based in the Nadi HQ committed to learning and growing in this space. Havas’ CX team are consistently identifying ways to support this team on their development journey, ensuring digital solutions we put in place are sustainable and can be truly owned by the Fiji-based team. 

Liam Loan-Lack

Head of marketing, CMC Markets

Drawing on my experience at My Muscle Chef and now CMC Markets, I have learnt that to achieve a best-practice approach to measuring the incremental digital marketing return, one must adopt a three-prong approach.

Firstly, invest in understanding what personalisation tangibly means for your organisation through a cohort-based segmentation approach to customer value. Secondly, invest time unlearning the ‘compartmentalisation’ of digital. Finally, invest time to reduce the unstructured test-and-learn mentality commonplace in digital marketing – instead adopting a formal experimentation process.

For an ecommerce brand, it is key to understand what behaviours create a high-value customer. As customer acquisition costs rise, it’s important to balance those with the likely Lifetime value (LTV) of newly acquired customers. To achieve this, a segmentation is required, where the existing customer base is segmented based on total, lifetime value through a recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) value analysis.

Liam Loan-LackCredit: Liam Loan-Lack
Liam Loan-Lack

For example, if we know a high-value customer is statistically likely to place an initial order with a certain basket composition and represent males 35-45, we can personalise advertising effectively. In addition, we can bid in SEM to be more aggressive for new customers likely to become high LTV.

Sadly, many marketers overcomplicate personalisation with sophisticated targeting and creative variations that don’t achieve incremental ROI. An RFM analysis prevents this overcomplication as it forces us to focus on features which matter.

Secondly, while Binet and Field’s paper, The long and short of it, has established the need to balance long-term brand building with short-term activation marketing, it’s had the unintended side-effect of ‘compartmentalising’ channels into distinctive roles. Many channels now have the capability to deliver on the broad reach – the definition used to distinguish ‘brand’ from ‘activation’ media. The reality is lines have blurred to be nonsensical. Digital marketing should not only be measured within a seven-day window. It can still develop brand outcomes through broad reach to all category buyers.  

Finally, if you are unfamiliar with terms like ‘under-powered experiment’ or ‘sample mismatch’, it is likely you have an unstructured test-and-learn mentality. To solve this, I advise moving to a formal experimentation process, which is rules-based and provides potential to affect all digital channels. One of the best time investments I can recommend is adopting the IAB experimentation principles and establishing a cross-functional working group to prioritise tests and adjudicate on results, thereby reducing conjecture on what is truly incremental return.  

James Wood

Marketing director, Oliver’s  

Firstly, we completely redesigned and rebuilt our website from scratch. This allowed us to make a huge leap forward in our SEO, and structured data, to be able to maximise organic digital marketing performance. We’re now able to optimise and build on this foundation.   

Credit: James Wood, Oliver's

Secondly, we appointed a media agency following a rigorous pitch process. I believe you really need trusted partners to execute and Alchemy One have proven to be an outstanding partner for media, bringing excellence from day one.  

We’re also experimenting a lot this year in digital. Whether it’s channels, creative, advertising strategy, promotions, app, content marketing, we’re lucky being a small team with agile partners that we’re able to invest this year in learning about our audiences and the market through experimentation.  

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