Supreme Winner 2023

Faced with industry-wide challenges around low consumer trust and engagement, Spark recognised an urgent need to come up with an innovative strategy to protect its customer base in a fiercely competitive market.

Sparking successful strategy

As the largest telecommunications company in New Zealand, Spark has the most to lose when it came to competitors looking to grow their market share. So, it was clear the brand needed a strategy that would help build up customer trust and offer real value.

Enter Made For You Review – a campaign built on using data held internally by Spark to help customers get the most out of their plans.

Businesses with extensive data often know more about how customers use their products and services than their customers do. But large scale, siloed, disparate data sets make this difficult to access and complex to analyse. And, most businesses use data-driven insights just to benefit themselves.

With the company up against a widespread mindset of distrust, and trust in telecommunications companies at a five-year low, the strategy helped fight against the global decline in belief that telecommunications companies “do the right thing” and the view that telcos care more about profits than customers (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2021).

Due to low engagement and confusion, customers weren’t actively reviewing their usage or aware when other options better suited their needs. Research commissioned by Spark highlighted that New Zealanders needed more help to ensure their services were ‘right-for-them’, with top reasons for switching being the plan not suiting their needs, the provider not proactive in suggesting better offers, a perception of previous provider as expensive or generally ‘not feeling valued’. 

MFYR presented customers with an annual personalised check-in programme, offering customers invaluable insights into their own behavioural patterns and plan usage. This approach was carefully crafted to ensure alignment with the broader business goal of enhancing customer value and setting Spark apart from its competitors.

MFYR is the largest and most complex data-driven customer programme ever delivered by Spark, and leads the way as a use case for business-wide transformations improving customer experiences.

The company’s frontline teams played a critical part in the tactical mix for this programme. In a business-first for Spark, the business built multi-channel capability giving call-centre and frontline teams access to every customer’s individual personalised review. Developing API capability between Adobe and the frontline CRM system to dynamically populate an online link to view each customer’s email into the customer dashboard meant the frontline could quickly understand customers’ needs. 

Central to the strategy was the utilisation of Spark’s vast data resources to proactively assess whether customers were on suitable plans. This innovative approach directly addressed the common and reoccurring issue of customer confusion and the lack of understanding of their existing plans, creating a more informed and satisfied customer base.

In recognition of the diversity in customer engagement preferences, the strategy seamlessly integrated the online and offline realms. This adaptability catered to the needs of the 25 percent of customers who opted for assisted channels, ensuring a consistent and coherent experience across all interaction points.

The idea seems simple from the outside – ultimately offering personalised recommendations on a grand scale while maintaining accuracy and relevance.

However, actually implementing this strategy required extensive systems development and automation, ultimately making MFYR the most comprehensive customer programme ever undertaken by Spark.

Integrating complex data sets to deliver unique value demanded meticulous data engineering efforts. It was also important that Spark offered its customers a frictionless experience across both online and offline channels which required the integration of various platforms, such as Adobe and the CRM system. Bringing together the expertise of the team, this feat was successfully accomplished.

One of the key lessons from this implementation was the realisation that a long-term commitment to customer programmes bore more substantial fruit than short-term campaigns. MFYR’s success also paved the way for the development of Spark’s Know Your Customer dashboard, fostering better insights and engagement. The one-click change forms, designed to simplify customer journeys, were also useful in subsequent campaigns.

The strategy’s effectiveness was gauged through rigorous validation processes, including a control group, customer surveys, and post-deployment analyses. The feedback from customers highlighted the emotional impact of the strategy, conveying sentiments of appreciation and value, in turn enhancing the perception of Spark among customers.

As such, it emerged as a standout entry and a worthy Supreme Winner at the 2023 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards, showcasing its potential to drive meaningful change within the telecommunications industry.

Supreme Winner, Excellence in Data Insights Strategy, Excellence in MarTech Strategy, Excellence in Marketing Communication Strategy & Excellence in Utilities/Communications Marketing Strategy


Marketing Initiative
Made For You Review

Marketing Partners
Proximity New Zealand

Judges’ Comments
“This is a triumph for the power of what marketing lead initiatives can achieve in a complex business environment. The clear business solution addresses the age old issue of churn across the industry and unlocked an entirely new approach. The strategy and its delivery was hugely impactful across all marketing disciplines with impressive cross functional teamwork marketing, sales and customer experience, leading to repeatable sales outcomes. The intelligent use of data to know the customer more intimately and enable them to act on it, gives the lever to the consumer to self-manage and enact with the business in a new way.”


(Supreme Marketing Excellence Award): ASB, Brother, Dosh, Engineering New Zealand, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Foodstuffs New Zealand, Lion New Zealand, McDonald’s New Zealand, NZ Post, Silver Fern Farms, TAB, Te Whatu Ora, Zuru Edge

(Excellence in Data Insights Strategy): ASB (Helping Customers Become Savers), ASB (Level Up), Fonterra Brands New Zealand, Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission

(Excellence in MarTech Strategy): Kiwibank, Mitre 10 New Zealand, Sky, Trade Me

(Excellence in Marketing Communication Strategy): ANZ (How ANZ got Kiwis talking…), ANZ (Good Energy Home Loan), AA Smartfuel, ASB, Foodstuffs NZ, Hnry, IAG, Kiwibank, MTF Finance, NZ Mountain Safety Council, Southern Cross Health Society

(Excellence in Utilities/Communications Marketing Strategy): Contact Energy, Frank*Energy, Skinny

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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