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Sagren Pather and the rise of Data in Africa
Senior Member

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At the Adobe Summit EMEA 2017, Sagren Pather spoke about Standard Bank’s use of web analytics to become more customer-centric in a session called How to build a customer-focused experience business in the Financial Services Industry.


“Digital marketing is meant to be the most measurable advertising medium but are we being effective about it? Are we confident we understand how customers are engaging with us on our online platforms?”


Sagren continues to reveal the disconnect between research and application saying that, “There has always been a research and insights team in marketing and the various business areas have MIS and transactional data analytics. In marketing, we were using some of the research data, the insight data, and the socioeconomic and macroeconomic environments to inform our decisions, but there was not much in terms of customer behavior informing what we were doing.  


We also had specialist agencies per discipline, each reporting what they were buying in terms of their media type, rather than their effectiveness in bringing the customer into the destination and causing them to take a desired action.”


To counter the disconnect, Sagren is tackling digital implementation across the bank and its platforms. “We first ramped up the implementation and standardisation of tagging in late 2013, and we started seeing big trends. We found that we had an average of 11 million customers a year generating almost 50 million visits, and the majority were shooting off directly onto our transactional platform. We had bounce rates of 67%, which told us our content wasn’t effective enough.


To solve this we needed to understand whether the people working in the organisation were ready for web analytics. Did they know what it means and how are we going to get them to adopt it?

We started running adoption programmes. I started within my own team in digital marketing and extended it to our agencies. We were able to begin to unify the analytics, unify the reporting, and unify the messaging for optimisation.”


Noting that interest in analytics has grown, Sagren expands on the reliability and effectiveness of web analytics saying, “We’re able to tell our Digital Banking business exactly which products are generating leads and we’re able to understand seasonality.


In two years, we’ve increased revenue from our online branch by 300%, and that’s caused the executives to take notice of the valuable opportunity our online branch can bring.”


Bringing it back to basics, Sagren concludes with the foundational requirements for analytics. “Digital Analytics has earned marketing a seat at the business table. It’s become the cornerstone of what we do as an organisation, and also of the marketing environment, where data and insights-driven marketing has become critical in how we engage and service our customers. It will enable how we do retention activity, how we surprise and delight and how we deliver a personalised experience.


My ultimate goal is to speak to a customer as a segment of one. As a customer, I don’t have to love banking, but I need my bank to understand my individual needs and cater to them in a way that is suited to me and my lifestyle. And that’s what being data-driven is helping us do for our customers.”