For the past two years, Travelex have been undergoing a major digital transformation, as data and martech developments have opened doors to greater possibilities for customer insight and innovation. Heading up the Global Performance Marketing department at Travelex, Chi Igboaka and her team are delving into the data behind the customer journey, and transforming the way Travelex understands and communicates with its customers.
Making The Martech Commitment
“The areas of focus for me were bringing in the right capability to enable us to be able to talk to our customers, and bringing in a tool that would enable us to consistently understand our customer’s behaviour on our website.” Ensuring that the Travelex brand had the technological capabilities to manage their increasing data pools was the first priority. But taking the initial, sometimes expensive step to invest in martech is one that requires careful consideration by marketers: “… the main question that I had from other businesses looking to bring in a similar type of tool was: is it worth spending this much on a tool that we won’t be able to use right away?” Says Igboaka. But the introduction of the web personalisation tool Qubit provided Travelex with the ability to begin managing their customer data. “It takes time to collect that data, and the longer you have the data for, the more valuable it is. And now, where we’re currently in the throes of planning some testing within our digital channels, we’ve been collecting this data for nearly two years, so we now have two years’ worth of data that we can use to help inform us of what those tests should be.”
A Cumulative Process
But developing a tech stack is a complex, time consuming and expensive process, and while it offers an unrivalled opportunity to break down a business’ data lakes, it opens up another box of challenges for marketers looking for a straightforward, encompassing view of their consumer. “The tech stack is based on your needs at that time. And because of that, it’s not necessarily as structured.” Says Igboaka. “We didn’t sit down and ask: ‘What do we want our tech stack to look like in 2017?’ We said, ‘we need to do this now, so what technology do we need to build in- how can we integrate it?’ That’s why we have 40 points of integration.” But an incrementally developed system of marketing tools offers businesses the opportunity to gradually build up their data pools without putting all of their eggs in one basket. In the case of Travelex, it has meant that the team can start putting that data to work while still continuing to mature their strategy. “Foreign currency can be challenging to sell, because people generally only go on holiday one or two times a year. The window of opportunity is pretty small: if you don’t have that understanding of the customer when they want to buy currency, you’re basically burning money.” Being able to start acquiring and processing customer data as needed has been instrumental in Travelex’s digital transformation.
The introduction of the Global Performance marketing team was also a big step towards Travelex maximising their digital footprint, since it saw the coming together of the key marketing sectors within the same team. “When we started, those areas weren’t collaborating… For me the most important structural change has meant that all these areas- PR, content, social, SEO- they have moved within marketing.” Says Igboaka. “Having all the areas together, under the same remit, they tend to start sharing their learnings. It’s a great way to make sure that all their goals align across those areas.” Having a strategy which simultaneously feeds into and is supported by all areas strengthens the approach and allows for a more deeply integrated plan. “By having a shared goal it meant that when we were building our content marketing plan in 2016, for example, our content manager was talking to the SEO agency, talking to our head of PR, talking to our social media, effectively making sure that we are doing the right thing across the board, building the right content that’s going to help us reach that goal.” Once the whole team is on board with a single goal, the process becomes much more streamlined towards an efficient plan that makes the most of the talent at your disposal. “The content that you want to build is content which the PR teams can go out there and talk about, which can be shared on social, which will help drive SEO. So our content will build from the bottom up, and then what we should come out with is four different channel plans, but all building towards the same goal.”
Chomping Through Your Challenges
So what are Igboaka’s tips for businesses who are in the process of commencing their own digital transformation? “One of the things that my team do really well is to think big, act small. It’s all about looking at the bite-sized achievements that we can make today.” She says. “Yes, we want to have single customer view, yes we want to have that data warehouse, but given that we don’t, how can we use the tools within our remit to drive action and success today?” While the initial steps towards digital transformation may seem slow, by efficiently breaking down your objectives, sharing goals across your marketing department and making the most of your tech stack, you can create a transformation strategy which will turn your data into a digital triumph.
Chi Igboaka is a finalist for the FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards on the 9th Feb, nominated for the “Digital Star” Category. We wish her the best of luck!