Turbulent times have forced companies to rethink their marketing approaches. Here, Ryan Ferguson, head of media agencies at Google Australia and New Zealand, explains how HBF boosted its digital efforts with personalised messages to build brand awareness and sales with the audiences that mattered most.
For nearly 80 years, HBF has been a major player in Australia’s insurance market. But when COVID-19 hit and almost 10,000 Aussies dropped their private health insurance, HBF accelerated its digital strategy to reach younger audiences.
Facing increased competition in the Western Australian heartland, the company made a concerted push to increase its presence on the East Coast — a market where it had little to no brand awareness. So HBF knew it needed to rethink its strategy to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
Reaching relevant audiences on digital
Looking to meet more potential customers where they spend their time, HBF focused on digital channels. The company teamed with Google to launch a digital campaign using the Google Marketing Platform stack, which gave it a unified view of its marketing efforts across search, display, and video. Using tools like real-time analytics and audience lists, HBF was able to serve personalised creative to specific in-market audiences and to optimise campaigns on the fly.
For example, HBF used Display & Video 360 to build and serve data-driven creative to its core audiences of “switchers,” or potential customers who weren’t currently insured by HBF. Using top search terms and information from its most popular landing pages to inform the copy, HBF created ads that educated its audience about different health coverage options.
After data proved that different search campaigns were performing better on different devices, HBF allocated its spending accordingly. The team also saw strong performance in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, which encouraged them to adjust their budgets to prioritise these states.
The benefits of a digital-first marketing strategy
HBF’s strengthened digital-first approach resulted in steady month-over-month membership growth. Digital sales and revenue increased by 296% and 305% year-over-year (YOY), respectively, and cost per action (CPA) fell by 48%.
By focusing on digital, HBF maximised its reach across channels and devices, moving to the connected level of the digital marketing maturity curve and giving the company a competitive advantage during trying times. “Embracing a digital-first marketing strategy where we’re willing to test and learn has been essential in gaining a competitive advantage and achieving growth,” said Vici Richardson, head of acquisition at HBF.
Brands and marketers looking to expand into new markets and grow their digital maturity should follow these rules to achieve the best results: