Case study: How Improving Marketing Ops Saved Us Millions And Made Time For Strategy
The Australian Financial Services industry has been heavily scrutinised for the last two years by a Banking Royal Commission and regulators, which have identified deficiencies in operational risk management and financial advice businesses and caused the banks to pay billions of dollars in fines and remediation to affected customers. Against this backdrop, one of Australia’s “Big 4” banks wanted to overhaul its marketing risk and compliance management framework and optimise its creative agency cost base.
The bank implemented marketing operations platform Simple to address these issues, create a consistent branding and governance regime, and provide a picture of overall marketing activity and the resources taken to create it.
“We don’t have control of the work going into our agencies,” a senior marketing operations manager told Simple.
“We need to improve our strategic planning so that we only give our agencies fully formed ideas that are going to move the dial. Our current way of working is delivering lots of tactical campaigns that aren’t strategically aligned, and this is driving rounds and rounds of amends.
“This leads to significant costs over and above our agency retainers and we’re not getting the most out of our marketing budget.
“Because of the regulatory environment, we also need to be 100% confident that all activity in market has the right compliance and legal approvals.”
Simple was used to elevate the strategic rationale and quality of briefs to agencies by rigorously ensuring all the required information was supplied and re-using existing corporate information – such as customer segmentation — reducing admin.
Two approvers – one from Advertising and one from Brand – were required for all briefs to external agencies, ensuring all work met strategic priorities and was on-brand, eliminating misaligned work.
Out-of-scope agency costs, which had been as high as 50% on top of the agency retainer, were reduced to zero, saving millions of dollars.
Rounds of creative review were reduced from as high as 17 to just 5 on average: 2 in the concept stage and 3 for creative assets.
“Feedback from the team is that they’re doing less work, but it’s more strategic and higher-quality,” the manager told Simple.
Marketing processes governing the creation of all types of marketing activity were documented and streamlined in Simple. More than 88 marketing processes were consolidated into just 27, simplifying and standardising operating procedures and saving marketing team members time by eliminating unnecessary steps.
An approver matrix was embedded into Simple workflows, tiered to match the complexity of the campaigns requiring approval, reducing bottlenecks in the creative review process and shortening lead times.
Improved Agency Oversight
Agencies were onboarded onto Simple, and requests to agencies were closely monitored and reported on in Simple.
This enabled the Bank to track its mix of marketing activity on measures such as brand activity vs sales activation in line with recommendations for financial services brands, as well as eliminating out-of-scope work.
Internal Creative Studio Management
Internal studios offer a significant cost advantage over external agencies for some marketing requests. However, requests to the bank’s internal studio were often incomplete, and significant internal creative resources was used to follow up.
By managing requests through Simple, the studio manager was able to prioritise and manage requests more efficiently, the time to market fell and the overall volume of output went up.
Creative Review Best-Practice
Simple also delivered time savings and happier marketers due to online markup and creative review processes in Simple that capture feedback and amendments for all jobs alongside the creative asset. Eliminating additional time spent collating, checking and managing feedback by email let to time-savings as high as 21% — approximately a day a week per person – for some teams.
“The marketing team love the markup tool in Simple – it’s a massive time-saver compared with email, documents and spreadsheets, especially the mobile functionality,” the head of marketing operations told Simple.
Operational Risk and Compliance Management
Finally, Simple workshops were used to implement operational risk controls and ensure compliance with Financial Services regulations.
In the first year of using Simple, campaigns that met compliance requirements increased from 67% to 100%.
“Previously the correct process wasn’t being followed consistently. Now we know what’s happening and have been able to provide training where required. We’ve had 100% compliance for 11 months out of 12,” a senior operations manager said.
“Without Simple, I think it would be a nightmare,” a marketing manager told Simple. “I know if I follow the workflow in Simple, I’m compliant. It makes my job a lot easier.”