B&T’s Melburnian Breakfast Club With Bupa & Tealium

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B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

It’s fair to say that Melbourne doesn’t get enough love from B&T but, earlier this month, the team headed down to Victoria for the second edition of our Breakfast Club, Presented by Tealium.

A packed crowd at The Glasshouse, just a stone’s throw from the MCG and Rod Laver arena, gathered for a delicious breakfast starting with pastries and coffee before being treated to the main event of scrambled eggs, baked vine tomatoes, spinach and lemon butter with crumbled Persian feta, bacon or smoked salmon.

But all eyes were diverted from the food on offer once Kieran Smith, Tealium’s director of solutions consulting was joined on stage by Ed Aspinall, Bupa’s head of customer analytics and his colleague Binnu Verma, the company’s customer data platform & digital analytics manager.

Together, the trio discussed how Tealium’s customer data platform (CDP) had a transformative effect on Bupa’s business, allowing Aspinall and Verma’s team to connect the data from the disparate parts of Bupa’s sprawling business. The company employs around 15,000 people in Australia, including the staff that run its care homes — whom Aspinall described as “remarkable.”

An operation on this scale, producing reams of online and offline data, would prove a challenge for most data management tools. But by working closely with the Tealium team, Aspinall and Verma explained how they managed to get the Bupa team onside with the CDP and how it has and will continue to transform the business.

The first step in getting a team of internal stakeholders onside to implement a CDP was to ensure you have a clear understanding of your business objectives and strategy. Nailing these two points will enable your team to prove the value of a CDP to those in control of the company purse strings.

Fortunately, Aspinall and Verma said that Tealium’s prowess and versatility — particularly for an enterprise-level business like Bupa with a range of different functions — allowed them to easily demonstrate the value a CDP would have for all areas of the business. However, when it came to selecting the early use cases, Verma and Aspinall said that they prioritised those use cases that could demonstrate the most value and could be deployed in market the fastest.

As such, the team started with using Bupa’s data in Tealium to create a new personalisation system within the sales pathway. Verma explained that customers dropped off as they passed through the sales funnel but, using data gathered from around the business in Tealium, the sales team was able to create more personalised and relevant touch points and messaging. This meant customers were re-engaged more reliably and were far more likely to convert.

However, this work required Aspinall and Verma and the rest of the 20-strong team at Bupa to engage with stakeholders from around the business with different priorities, levels of technical expertise and even openness to new ways of working.

“Technology can be really hard, but people can be even harder,” said Aspinall.

To avoid potential pitfalls and clashes, the Bupa team explained that they hold quarterly business reviews with stakeholders and have regular, open conversations with the different teams. They also explained that a CDP can be disruptive within organisations as it connects channels and teams that had previously existed in separate silos and that this places lots of demands on the teams.

“It can be tempting to try and impose control over different business units,” said Verma.

“But at Bupa, our team wants to be an enabler, rather than a controller. It’s very important to bring different teams on the journey together from marketing to privacy and beyond.”

Of course, it wasn’t all straightforward. The team explained that while Bupa collects vast amounts of data, it comes in remarkably different forms and is often incompatible with each other. Overcoming these data inconsistencies required working with all sections of the business closely and lots of long work to clean up the data. This work, particularly with offline data, was the part that Verma and Aspinall found the most challenging but, in the end, the duo said it was well worth the investment.

But, as they told the crowd wrapping up the event, they’re far from finished with Tealium and its CDP. Verma said that there are still plenty of existing data sources that can be integrated into the CDP to help Bupa get a 360-degree view of its customers. In fact, there is so much data, Verma said that she is working on three-year roadmaps to get everything sorted.

Aspinall, meanwhile, explained that he is looking forward to scaling the CDP across Bupa even further and integrating different parts of Bupa’s tech stack for even more exciting customer interactions.

The B&T Breakfast Club will return — stay tuned for details.

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