It’s important to have a vision but remember to start small and prove the value of data-driven marketing quickly.

That’s the advice from Patrick McQuaid, General Manager of Customer Data and Analytics at NAB.

NAB started to overhaul its marketing operations two years ago, investing heavily in data and analytics, re-engineering martech stack, adopting agile methodologies and moving away from product marketing to journey-based messaging.

Speaking at ADMA Data Day in Sydney earlier this week, McQuaid detailed the progress his team had made and what he would do differently next time.

One mistake NAB made was pick a use case around loyalty.

“[It was] a surprise and delight use case, which marketers loved, and I think our customers loved as well, but a really slow burn in terms of ROI,” McQuaid said.

“A loyalty case means trying to increase your lifetime value of the customer and there’s not necessarily a real call to action. So we lost an important stakeholder group with that use case — finance.”

McQuaid spoke candidly about what he described as his failure to engage to NAB board.

“Arguably we failed. We have a lot of BAU investment that has come out of my expense line and come out of the marketing expense line to drive this. We have not captured the technology investment from NAB,” he said.

McQuaid said he has now focused on providing more “value drops” by finding use cases that require minimal investment and will deliver value straight away.

“Think big, have a vision, know where you are going to go, work on the architecture, but you have to start small and pick the right use case,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of working with your technology partners throughout a digital transformation.

“We have one of the largest marketing teams in Australia and we still did not have enough people to execute everything and build the new system or build the new transformation,” McQuaid said.

“So you have to augment, you have to find good martech partners and work with them. Or you break the business while you’re building the platform.”

Securing support

Also speaking at Data Day was Steve Lok, Head of Marketing Tech & Ops, at The Economist, who encouraged the audience to start small when seeking support for data-driven marketing experiments.

“People may not actually really understand what you are trying to do from the very get go,” Lok said.

“Forget about talking about technology, personalisation, AI-led — which continues to scare people — because it is a very difficult concept to both understand and internalise and then disrupt and transform the company. Run it from a campaign basis — which is what we did — and then build from that.”

Lok suggested marketers use the following script: “If you give me $100,000 to do something, I’m working against a CPA of X, I’m going to get 2,000 subscriptions back from it and it’s going to be lifetime value positive. Will you let me run this as a campaign?”

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