An Interview with Carolyn Bendall


FST Media: What are your priorities in the next 12 to 18 months?

Bendall: My first priority is to focus on the culture within the marketing team, and how the function is changing to ensure we are evolving all points along the value chain to reach our customers effectively. My second priority is to ensure that online is involved in core channels and platforms, and social is becoming core to these initiatives. We are continuing to evolve our digital channels, especially the mobile platform. Thirdly, I am focusing on harnessing ANZ’s ability to use data-driven insights to deliver customer communications. Finally, we are focusing on the customer experience via a detailed customer segmentation structure within the team. We assign ‘Customer Segment Leads’, who are expected to be evangelists on their segment, and to drive awareness within ANZ. This includes understanding how the segment is communicating, making decisions, which mediums they use, and how other parts of ANZ can meet their needs via product and distribution options.

FST Media: What role does big data and analytics play in ensuring ANZ meets customer demand for personalised products and services?

Bendall: Data and analytics plays a critical role in meeting customer needs, each customer expects us to know about them and to be able to respond in real-time with relevant communications.

ANZ has the platforms and systems in place to capture this data. ANZ also conducts an “A–Z Review” with key customers, and has been doing this for approximately seven years now. It is very powerful to harness this detailed customer information from interviews, however on the flipside our customers now expect us to respond on that information in relevant and timely ways. It is a value exchange.

FST Media: How do initiatives such as goMoney and the new Grow app deliver value to the business and achieve customer centricity?

Bendall: These initiatives are central to how most customers want to interact with us these days – for everyday banking, and even wealth management. These applications need to keep up with how customers evolve in the future. Our investment is focused on understanding what customers want to do next within our apps, and delivering on those expectations.

FST Media: What is the relationship between IT and Marketing in delivering a holistic customer experience?

Bendall: Having the right people on the marketing team is transforming, in a similar way that our customers are transforming. The skills becoming more prevalent on the team include more analytics, and in some cases, more technical backgrounds.

Our Customer Segment Leads’ primary role for example is to understand the customer mindset, map the target experience and work closely with their counterparts in digital,  technology, product and other  teams to build the propositions.

On a broader scale, we are employing more staff with strategic skills that can drive these cross-functional relationships, rather than just traditional marketing skills sets.

FST Media: How do you map the customer journey to lead organisation-wide transformation?

Bendall: The customer journey can be very complex, spanning multiple touch-points and many years. Having very good research is a good starting place, and having input from other parts of the business is also critical. ANZ’s marketing team is structured to ensure we develop agreed target customer experiences for our priority segments and align the transformation across the business.

FST Media: What tools are most effective in achieving maximum customer engagement across retail, commercial and corporate banking?

Bendall: Data-driven, real-time insights are key in achieving customer engagement. Our social tracking tools also measure customer sentiment and enable us to respond quickly.  We have another tool called  ‘Real-Time Customer Feedback’ which is a very effective for in-the-moment customer engagement. For example, our home loans process now engages our customers in feedback tools at each step, and in many cases we turn that information around immediately to the home loan specialist to respond to the feedback (as well as their manager from a sales management perspective).

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Bendall: I define culture as “How we do things around here” and I am very deliberate in how I speak to my team about involving and understanding the customer. Culture is also driven by how we recognise people, and I have established   recognition programs that acknowledge people who are transforming the way we work.

FST Media: What value have you found in mentoring women within ANZ?

Bendall: I spend a lot of time mentoring women within ANZ. Women make up 50 per cent of the population and form an even larger part of my  workplace. I mentor and coach women to develop their confidence and maintain a good work-life balance. At ANZ there is a strong focus on flexibility, and in return, we are able to attract, hire and retain extremely talented people.

FST Media: What are the executive skill sets that are essential to succeed as a CMO in the future?

Bendall: The role of the CMO is a much larger role than it used to be, and it all comes down to leadership. However, the key skills that a CMO needs to include the ability to capture data effectively to influence other parts of the business in delivering what is needed for the customer.

Resilience is also very important – the ability to manage change and lead people through change is also a focal part of the role.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Bendall: As a marketer, I think of it as my personal brand to be remembered. I would suggest that my brand is authentic, real and passionate about people.