In this post I plan to explore that in more detail, but before we start let me quickly tell you that Econsultancy will be in ANZ’s hometown, Melbourne, for a complimentary roundtable event on November 13th.

The discussion topic is Behavioural Marketing and it’s conducted in collaboration with IBM Marketing Cloud.

Exclusively for client-side marketers, there are still a few spots available – so book here now.

The four pillars of marketing

In February of last year, ANZ promoted Carolyn Bendall to be the Head of Marketing, Australia Division and there has been a flurry of marketing activities across its digital channels since.

In a recent blog post, Bendall outlined a ‘four pillar’ marketing strategy which describes in detail how ANZ spends its marketing budget on digital media.

As ANZ’s annual media spend in Australia is estimated by Nielsen to be around A$56m, a third of which is spent on digital, ANZ’s four pillar model is a great case study of a strategy to ‘go big’ in digital.

Bendall’s post describes the strategy well, but instead of reviewing it at a high level, it’s more interesting to see how ANZ is executing on each of the four pillars.

This way, we can see the strategy in action and learn about how we might use ANZ’s ‘pillars’ to improve our own digital marketing.

1. Experience

The first channel is customer experience, which involves mapping and managing customer journeys and making sure that all interactions with the brand are as smooth as possible.

But where can we see it in action?

One of the recent advertising campaigns, ANZ’s Buy Ready Home Loans, is a great example of how improving customer experience can both help the business and the marketing.

In the ad, two homebuyers are competing for a property. But the husband and wife team using ANZ already have their mortgage sorted out and so they can make a bid on a house straight away, beating their competition.

It’s clear that ANZ found that the delay in getting approval was causing friction in the homebuying process, so it positioned a mortgage product around helping customers achieve their goal (i.e. buying a home).

Focusing on customer goals, as opposed to business goals, is central to a strategy to improve customer experience.

But what is interesting here is that the ad doesn’t even mention the product, it just shows the effects of what a good customer experience strategy accomplishes for the customers.

So how is this digital?

Well, the ad is on YouTube, but I don’t think that is what makes it part of the digital strategy.

Instead, I think that ANZ’s effort to wrap-up a relatively boring product, mortgages, into an interesting story makes it easier to share and promote on social media.

And as digital is becoming the universal way in which people find out about and research our products, it’s becoming as important to tell your customers what you are improving as actually doing it.

So instead of thinking of customer experience as just an internal exercise, it is important to note that, in our new marketing landscape, great customer experience can also be used to show potential customers how much we are considering their needs.

2. Content

ANZ has also made a big push into content marketing. Shortly after Bendall started as Head of Marketing, ANZ launched a new online media publication, Blue Notes.

And to run it, ANZ hired an award-winning journalist to head the editorial side and now employs more than a dozen editorial staff to produce content.

Blue Notes is not just a company blog which just promotes the bank’s products, though.

Instead, ANZ has built a newsroom to support the site whose mission is to produce content which is truly interesting to its target customer base.

Here are some recent articles:

  • Can Australia meet Asia’s growing dairy demand?
  • Embrace digital, lift profits (interview with a CapGemini consultant)
  • How the TPP will turn Japan’s fruit & vegetable market

And, sure, these are interspersed with some articles by people who work at ANZ, but totally absent are the fluff, promotional pieces so often associated with brand journalism.

The lesson here is that we need to break out of habit of basing our content marketing on what the company wants to say and, instead, work it into what our customers are interested in.

ANZ’s Blue Notes is a great example of this sort of thinking.

3. Data & Analytics

ANZ’s third pillar, data and analytics, is difficult to examine from the outside. How can an outsider tell whether a company is really using data well?

Well one place to look is its ability to discuss its customer base using statistics. In her post Bendall mentions that, in Australia, 2013 was the year where time on digital surpassed time watching TV and that 47% of all online time is spent on social media.

And, in its 2014 annual report, ANZ specifically breaks out that 21% of its retail transaction and credit card products were through digital channels.

But more interesting is ANZ’s awareness measurements of its Australian Open Instagram campaigns.

Bendall is quoted here saying: “We saw really strong results from this including a 24-point lift in ad recall for those exposed to our paid Instagram posts.”

These sorts of stats are underrated in digital marketing. We typically like to talk in things we can easily measure – impressions, clicks, CTRs, and conversions – but fail to search for the data and analytics which show people outside of marketing whether we are really making an impact on our consumers.

And we need to use this approach towards analytics to get more support from the business.

It’s habitual for marketers to complain about lack of budget, but by really diving in and getting the statistics that other people care about we should be able to make much stronger business cases in future.

4. Omni-Channel

And finally, Bendall points out in her post that the breadth of channels is another pillar we need to consider, and one which adds significant complexity to marketing.

This is important because though our businesses are not changing, the way people find out about them and access our services have changed to a great extent. The future of how we consume and use media is already here, and it is up to brands to catch up.

Examples of the omni-channel pillar in ANZ’s strategy are not hard to find.

Just go on any of its social media channels and you can see that ANZ is actively reaching out to customers through sporting events, festivals such as Sydney Mardi Gras, and even helping potential customers out on a rainy day.

And it’s important to note that although ANZ actively promotes these activities across social channels, it rarely mentions the bank’s products until prompted by a question.

In this way, ANZ is able to be omni-present in its customers’ digital lives without being annoying!

Again, as marketers we need to move away from looking at each channel as something that we use just to deliver a consistent, brand-oriented message.

Instead, as ANZ demonstrates, it’s possible to get our brands into the hands of our potential customers and let them decide through social engagements whether we are saying something that they care about.

And, looking over the last three months of social fan growth (courtesy of Socialbakers), it looks like the strategy is working.


There are a lot of things to learn from ANZ’s four pillars of marketing.  Through real-world examples we can see that it focuses on delivering improved customer experience, an innovative content marketing strategy, data and analytics, and high-quality execution across channels.

And, ultimately, these four pillars are about acknowledging that our customers’ behaviours have changed and marketing need to change as well.

That is, instead of thinking about marketing in terms of traditional pillars such as print, TV, events, brochures, and ‘digital’, we need to think about these new pillars which have emerged and execute our marketing strategy accordingly.