Banking on the personal

As ANZ works towards understanding what drivers will ensure their customers’ banking and financial wellbeing needs are met, personalisation has become a key ingredient in a cultural change at the bank. David Nothling-Demmer spoke to General Manager of Marketing Matthew Pickering and Head of Customer Value Diana Van Nispen.

As with other large corporates, the challenge facing the marketers at ANZ is understanding the customer and being relevant, while making sure the right message is being sent at the right time through the right channels. Included in that is the technical challenge of personalisation.

“The key thing we’ve learned is that it’s not just about marketing technology or personalisation per se,” says General Manager of Marketing Matthew Pickering. “This involves a lot of change management, and an understanding of the whole ecosystem of technology, data and keeping our people up to date with all the changes in this area.”

Keeping everyone happy

Head of Customer Value Diana Van Nispen touches on the learnings that have taken place at ANZ and explains how the bank has kept its customers happy.

“We’ve invested a lot of time into understanding key customer journeys across on and offline channels. We use a mix of data points to gain customer insights into their needs, pain points, and other important moments where the bank can add value to the customer experience.”

The key is turning that into a strategic roadmap for personalisation, then making sure the messaging and the conversations are connected across those different touchpoints. “For example, we have big pictures of these customer journeys on our walls,” says Diana. “And when we develop a particular kind of ad campaign or messaging, we always refer back to those journeys. One of those is the home-buyer journey. It’s multifaceted with lots of different key moments where it’s important for us to guide customers through that process.”

Diana Van Nispen.

Lockdowns and Covid

The changes in customer behaviour brought on by the Covid lockdowns have also brought on new challenges. Many customers are now completely comfortable with doing everything through digital channels and on their phone, but there is a group of customers who grew up using a branch or contact centre and have had to learn a whole new way of interacting.

“We’ve made a big effort in the past 18 months to really understand what those barriers of adoption are, as we help customers through it,” says Diana. “Some of that has been going broad and talking to them at an advertising level, but at the same time trying to develop in-depth content to send to customers, to enable them with confidence when they’re at home – giving them a chance to actually try stuff. The first time you do anything online, when you press that payment button, for example, you may be a little bit anxious, particularly if you haven’t done it before. So, it’s about instilling confidence and reassuring our customers that it’s safe and easy, and in many cases, safer and easier than any other channel.”

Reminding customers how they can manage their money online, related to the relevant products and services available, is an important part of the messaging.

Data collection and privacy

“We adhere to three key principles: being transparent, maintaining trust and making sure the customer has control,” says Diana. “That’s because there’s customer expectation and duty of care for us to make sure that our customer information is safe and secure.”

ANZ has various kind of controls or methodologies in place to ensure that it only uses data in line with the customer consent provided and the privacy policy. That’s reflective of not only local privacy laws but also international once such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). ANZ has developed a centralised privacy hub to make clearer how data is being collected and used for customers.

“We mainly use first-party data to personalise the customer experience,” says Matthew. “You don’t want to serve up messages about products or services that aren’t relevant. 

“What an 18- or 25-year-old might want to see from us is completely different to a 65-year-old,” says Matthew. “If you come to our website and you’re researching a home loan or home loan rate, then it suggests that you’re interested in home buying, so we’ll personalise the web experience to ensure you’re getting content that relates to you. That may be the process of getting your first home or understanding the home buying processes, or it may be somebody who’s interested in KiwiSaver or preparing for their retirement. In those cases, the homepage or different parts of our website, as well as our proprietary channels, will reflect the particular interests of that user.”

ANZ has a lot of first-party data but is very careful about how it’s used. The potential removal of cookies might make customer interactions less perfect, but the bank is waiting to see how that plays out. Matthew’s confident that the bank’s first-party data will still allow a good experience.  ANZ does also use Google and Trade Me targeting as second-party data.

Another great example of being a responsible bank is the use of customer-behavior data to provide bite-size pieces of information, where the purpose is to educate, inform and guide customers, to help them better understand how to manage money, manage credit, pay off debt faster, avoid unnecessary fees, et cetera. That’s all driven by customer behaviour and the use of customer data. 

Matt Pickering.

Digital capability

ANZ has invested early in digital marketing capability. The bank handles its own social media buying and has an in-house production studio. Essentially, that means the marketing team can manage most parts of the digital ecosystem themselves. 

“We can be really adaptive where we need to be, even in Covid times, where we have to check that our social media posts are targeted to the right people on a half-hour’s notice. We do that ourselves, without having to rely on partners,” says Matthew, who’s also developing a capability that will straddle the digital marketing world and the customer marketing world. 

A bright future

Both Diana and Matthew have been with ANZ for a decade, and in that time, the brand has transformed and grown. Ten years ago, the bank didn’t have a strong customer communication programme. The fragmentation of channels over this period has added to the need to listen to and understand customers.

“It’s what we call ‘connected conversations’ – more journey-based, trigger-based conversations,” says Diana. “We call it ‘conversations in the moment’ and making sure that the messaging is consistent across all the different touch points that a customer interacts with.” 

Matthew points to the direct marketing of 10 to 15 years ago, which he believes was more about selling. “What we’re doing now is very much about building relationships with customers and nudging them along, with the outcome being what’s important to them to improve their financial wellbeing.” It’s a fundamental shift towards being customer-centric, rather than brand-centric. 

From a broader perspective, the pair recognise the need to be good at developing propositions and understanding where innovation will drive competitive advantage. “This means having a much more holistic approach to developing the marketing  skills of our people,” says Matthew. “One example of innovative thinking is the ‘Mr. Humfreez’ campaign, the success of which we’ve celebrated. The bank’s had a key role to play in addressing the issue of healthy homes by providing interest free home loan top-ups for installation of heat pumps and insulation, and lending benefits if your home meets a certain build standard.” 

Diana thinks it’s not so much about innovation but a change of understanding.  “I think back 10 years ago versus now, and the-re’s currently a very strong multi-divisional collaboration.”  For these two, marketing has very much become personal.  

This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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