Data, data everywhere: How NAB turned information into insights

National Australia Bank and Domo combined forces to help the bank's marketing team make full use of customer information.

NAB marketers were trying to make sense of what they were seeing. Millions of customer data points, thousands of actionable insights and unknown numbers of opportunities were potentially passing them by every day.

The marketing executives at Australia's big four bank knew they needed to standardise their approach to managing the performance of their various channels. Which of their tactics was working? Which of their digital channels required the most attention? They knew searching for the truth wouldn't be easy.

"It's one of the key challenges facing marketers today," NAB's Dylan Keath says. "I think the important thing for brands to do is to focus on getting the right fundamentals in place [to] deliver better insights for our customers."

Keath says marketing teams facing this dilemma have to stitch together fragmented data sources “and democratise access to this structured data” if they want to “take action based on true insights”. They need to steer a course through their fog of data.

At the end of last year, NAB embarked on a project to establish a framework for their digital marketing activities. To help them on their way, they enlisted a “data visualisation partner”, Domo. The US-based software business helps companies make sense of their data by standardising processes and creating bespoke performance management dashboards – information that can be seen and understood by anyone who needs it.

“We brought together a small group of our key analytics and measurement people and asked them to come up with a simple framework that focused on identifying an agreed set of single metrics for each of our marketing tactics,” Keath says. “We then broke these out further into diagnostic metrics that support these KPIs.”

Useable data

Domo’s lead on the quick-fire project was Dr Kevin McIsaac, the company’s Sydney-based Business Value Consultant. “NAB wanted transparency into the outcomes of its marketing organisation,” McIsaac says. “Within two weeks we agreed on what the metrics should be. We worked out what they wanted to measure and helped them sort through the data. We brought in about 14 data sources. In the end we came up with some solid metrics that management could understand.”

McIsaac says it took the NAB/Domo team about three to four weeks to get the data in shape before they could start producing some useful visualisations. “They had a bunch of different ways of dealing with data. Within about six weeks we rolled out a couple of the dashboards. After eight weeks, we had a complete product.”

McIsaac says the benefits for NAB were apparent immediately. “We sat with an NAB campaign manager and showed her these relatively straightforward dashboards,” he says. “We showed her performance figures and where her money went and what some of the results she was getting and what the cost of getting a result was. She went, ‘This is great! For the first time I now know what I should be asking my agency.’”

“Marketeers need to adopt a true A/B testing/optimisation mindset.”

McIsaac says all of this work is just the start of a process for companies such as NAB. He believes it’s the first step on the journey to data enlightenment. “Our next step is to match offline data with all of that digital data,” he says.

Keath says NAB is looking forward to finding effective ways of analysing data generated by its offline marketing activities. “Our view is that most things are measurable, as long as you design them to be measured effectively,” he says.

“You take an offline B2B channel like events and you clearly articulate what success looks like – for example, engagement or opportunities – and set KPIs based on these. You then need to design your event so you can accurately track these KPIs.”

The key to success when tracking data, Keath says, is making sure you measure the right things. "You have to be outcome focused," he says. "Even if you can't track a final sale or conversion online you have to create KPIs, often leading indicators of your desired eventual outcome, and then design your campaigns to measure and drive those.

"Marketeers need to adopt a true A/B testing/optimisation mindset. If they do, then the vanity metrics will soon fall away for more accurate measurement."

Domo’s McIsaac says B2B marketing departments everywhere need to do a better job of finding data transparency. “You know, marketing spends a lot of money on stuff and doesn't always do a great job of demonstrating what it gets back. My view is [this kind of work] is only the first step in a journey to be mature in performance management.”

Further reading: Who owns martech – marketing or IT

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