Price comparison site MoneySuperMarket has flipped its approach “from revenue to relevance” as it puts greater focus on customer experience and driving long-term growth.
The brand had been sending millions of emails to customers each week, regardless of whether they were relevant, which chief customer officer Darren Bentley likens to “throwing enough mud at the wall in the hope some of it sticks”.
Talking at the Festival of Marketing yesterday (11 October), he said: “Our approach to data-driven marketing, our eCRM, was absolutely revenue ahead of customer experience. In 2016, we sent 800 million emails to a pre-GDPR opt-in base of 10 million customers, and each piece of communication was sent to around three million people.
“If we had a particular offer we wanted to promote and we had marketing permission to speak to that customer then that customer was going to receive the offer, regardless of how relevant it was to them individually or whether it was in the context with which they were engaging with the brand.”
If you focus on relevance the revenue tends to follow.
Darren Bentley, MoneySuperMarket
To illustrate the sheer volume of emails the brand was sending, he likens it to trying to have the same conversation with everyone in Milan’s San Siro football stadium.
“Can you imagine talking to everyone in a football stadium and having exactly the same conversation? We were doing that 40 times over and two to three times a week,” he explained.
“The challenge was it was creating revenue; we were hitting our revenue targets but it wasn’t customer-centric. It wasn’t set up to drive long-term engagement and it certainly wasn’t set up to drive long-term retention and we didn’t believe it was a sustainable approach to marketing.”
MoneySuperMarket has now shifted its strategy and it will only communicate with a customer when there is a clear signal they might be interested. As a result, MoneySuperMarket sent 200 million fewer emails in 2017 versus 2016, while also growing CRM-driven revenue by 12%.
It now has 700 data points that drive its segmentation, which helps the marketing team understand who a customer is, what it is they’re trying to achieve and therefore how it can best tailor messaging and content.
“For example, if a customer is engaging with us about a credit card we won’t start sending them home insurance or travel insurance offers. That’s common sense, right? But it’s common sense that it’s easy to lose sight of when you’re hitting revenue targets and you’re growing revenue while being irrelevant.”
In hindsight, he admitted, the reason the brand was hitting its revenue target was because of the sheer volume of activity it was sending.
“If you focus on relevance the revenue tends to follow. But if you start chasing revenue when you’re focused only on the revenue, then over time you’ll drift away from relevance and that will be to the customer’s detriment and that’s absolutely where we were.”