How O2 set up a marketing effectiveness team

O2 set up a marketing effectiveness team 18 months ago as it looks to get the best bang for its buck by joining up its customer, brand and commercial divisions.

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O2 is on a mission to makes its marketing as effective as it can be by joining up its customer, brand and commercial divisions and measuring effectiveness in real time.

The mobile operator set up a separate marketing effectiveness team just over a year ago led by its head of research and analytics Sandra Fazackerley. She runs a team that numbers around 80, comprised of people from various parts of the business as well as O2’s agencies.

Nina Bibby, O2’s CMO, describes the marketing effectiveness team as an “entire system” dedicated to understanding how its marketing is performing.

“Marketing effectiveness is an engine. It is not a function and it is not a discipline, it is about what we say, how we say it and how we do it,” she said, speaking during an event at the IPA’s Effectiveness Week. “It is responsible for impartially telling the story of our performance. But they tell the story, they are not the actors in the story.”

READ MORE: Why the focus on short-term marketing effectiveness is bad for brands

To do that O2 appointed Nick Milne to the newly created role of head of marketing effectiveness. The aim was to create a team that could be the voice of the consumer and “hold up a mirror” to the organisation.

Fazackerley told Marketing Week: “We class ourselves as an entire function that is about being guardians of the customer and bringing their voice to the table. We help the business really believe that if it focuses on customer performance the results really come through.

“We are about really understanding the drivers of performance across the brand, right through to commercial. To have an independent function doing that, that doesn’t have territory specifically in profit and loss or brand to piece that together, was a big gap in our organisation.

“It is all about having difficult conversations sometimes, holding up the mirror to say ‘actually if we had spent more here than here or listened to customer insight at the beginning we could have had a different outcome’.”

The first job for the team was to analyse the customer journey from awareness, attractiveness and satisfaction towards the O2 to brand to consideration, acquisition and retention. They then laid out the path so the consumer leadership team could better understand consumers’ relationship with the brand.

The team was also instrumental in O2’s decision to move on from its ‘Be more dog’ campaign to instead focus on ‘More for you’. It looked at whether the positioning was really getting cut-through and resonating with consumers, and found that while it led to high brand love and consideration it did not translate into the choices consumers were making.

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“Consumers loved the brand and Be more dog in terms of its quirkiness but they didn’t really get it and how it translates to what O2 stands for,” explained Fazackerley. “It was difficult at times but [CMO] Nina was keen to review the brand to get a real understanding of the positioning and the emotion and science sitting behind it.”

READ MORE: O2’s marketing boss on why the time is right to move on from ‘Be more dog’

O2 also found that telling people in a rational manner why they should choose O2 over its competitors led to better commercial results. The brand uses marketing mix modelling to do that, looking at the role of its communications at a strategic level to find out what messages cut through with consumers.

“At a time when you have new entrants coming into the market, with Sky Mobile coming in the next week or so and EE and Vodafone investing in becoming the fastest network, we need to figure out how we stand out,” explained Milne.

“That’s why we started that conversation based on evidence around how we needed to evolve our messaging to be clearer and punchier within that consideration layer. This is the link between all KPIs, and translating consumer behaviour into internal metrics.”

Measuring real-time effectiveness

The next step for O2 is to be able to track its effectiveness in real time so it can see at a campaign level day-by-day versus its competitors what is happening in the market.

With that in mind, O2 recently set up O2 META, which stands for marketing effectiveness, tracking and analysis. It gives near real-time data on what customers are saying and feeling about the brand and the impact of marketing on them. It includes analysis from data channels such as YouGov BrandIndex, social media monitoring firm Crimson Hexagon and O2’s own social channels.

We are great at looking back. But we need to start looking forward.

Nick Milne, head of marketing effectiveness, O2

There is a war room at head office with screens showing how the brand is performing, while it also has screens set up in its other offices around the UK and at its agencies. The data is also accessible on mobile devices.

Linking up brand and campaign activity

The brand is also trying to link its campaign activity to its brand. For example, during last year’s Rugby World Cup campaign it rebranded its retail stores with a new logo to include a rose, in a bid to support the English rugby team.

“We are starting to link our work between the brand and customer experience together,” Milne explained.

But there is still room for improvement. Even though the brand was very happy with its Rugby World Cup activity, it did “absolutely nothing” to link it up to its campaign for the iPhone 6, which was running at the same time.

“We could blame that on the England team for their rubbish performance, but as a marketing and planning function it’s great to look at individual campaigns yet unless you look at how they come together then you’re truly not being as effective as you could be,” he said.

“That’s my challenge now, we are great at looking back. But we need to start looking forward and rebalance that. We need to get this view of insight and test and learn, but proving it in real time rather than standing up three months later saying ‘Maybe if we’d done this, we would have got a slightly better return’.”

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