Case study: Standard Life gains customer insights via new Webtrends software

By Neil Ainger | 5 August 2013

Standard Life has implemented Webtrends Analytics 10 marketing solution, and its Segments and Heatmap tools to aid customer intelligence and targeting, reports Neil Ainger. It is now using it to comply with the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) regulatory changes in the UK and elsewhere in the world to attract business as the rollout continues.

The data analytics Webtrends installation at Standard Life provides customer information from across 600 plus websites and from its mobile apps, having first been rolled out in the UK two years ago to the financial services (FS) firm’s 3.8m UK customers. It is now being used in Britain to comply with the RDR consumer selling and commission changes, and cross-departmentally and internationally having recently been further rolled out last year to Standard Life Investments and to the firm’s Irish and Canadian operations.

Asia and the emerging markets will join the project later this year, asserts Standard Life, when the Webtrends Analytics 10 customer intelligence solution will be launched in the Far East.

The Webtrends software views, tracks and measures visitor behaviour, painting a clear picture of a customer’s interaction on its websites or mobile app. The data captured helps the marketing team at Standard Life understand what customers want to read and see – and just as importantly what they don’t – via a user-friendly dashboard.

The detailed tracking and reporting functions mean that Standard Life's teams can offer more relevant and targeted online content, providing its clients with a better online customer experience. Up-selling and better customer retention and attraction also become possible.

Regulatory Challenges and the Rise of PFM
The financial sector has undergone considerable changes in recent years, most notably with the implementation of the RDR in the UK, which has changed the way people pay for financial advice. There has also been the introduction of automatic pension enrolment in the UK, which will make it easier for millions of more people in the country to save for their retirement via workplace-supported schemes.

Another significant market change is the rise of online financial management or personal financial management (PFM) as it is also known. Unlike new rules and stipulations this has no regulatory end date, but is an on-going challenge that Standard Life wanted to master by understanding its customers better and allowing them to track their pensions, investments, mortgage and other financial instruments with the firm. The continued rollout of the Webtrends Analytics 10 solution allows this to happen.

Technology Drivers
As an insight driven organisation which says it wants to put customers at its core, Standard Life wanted to understand more about the way its clients interact with it online, especially as more and more customers are accessing products online, via the mobile channel and using social media and other new technology to access and research FS products. To understand and master this trend – and cope with the rise of the so-called digital native as younger customers mature – was one of the key driving factors for the project.

Following a full market review in early 2011, Standard Life initially selected Webtrends Analytics 10 platform for the UK market and specified its Segments tool to access in-depth reporting and actionable insights into its customers as this can use demographics and other data to identify different types of customers (and the most appropriate selling techniques). It is also used to direct advertising spend. The Segments analytical software helps the company to ensure that its decisions and direction are now based on actual customer behaviour, leaving less space for errors and more room for customer satisfaction.

Over the course of two years, the relationship between Standard Life and Webtrends has gone from strength-to-strength as both parties have strived to build and improve Standard Life’s digital operation, as evidenced by the planned rollout of the software in Asia and across other emerging markets in Q3 and Q4 2013.

Standard Life has consulted with Webtrends installation consultants and technological team throughout the project to ensure rapid deployment and will again be relying on them for the imminent Asian rollout. The vendor’s services experts typically work with internal client teams and users to define, implement, test and provide best practice tips throughout a partnership and have striven to do so with Standard Life as well.

The firm says it has witnessed great results in terms of user engagement with its sites, and expects the same results as the rollout continues globally. “The power that Analytics 10 can provide, the scalability and ease-of-use of the platform means we have the capability to answer the questions an online business might ask,” said David Scott, director of group platform and customer data strategy at Standard Life.

“What impresses us most about the solutions that Webtrends offer is the openness of the platforms they run on. We have also had great support from their team of experts, which has encouraged us to extend our partnership further, embedding the Webtrends software development kit (SDK) for the mobile channel too.

According to Nick Sharp, vice president and general manager for Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) at Webtrends, the greatest barrier to adoption of digital analytics is a lack of investment and understanding by internal teams. “It is not the tools that provide insights, but the people,” he explains, while praising the involvement of Standard Life’s internal technology and customer support teams. “The businesses that are succeeding in analytics today are those that have invested in extra resource, either through in-house teams or outsourcing to an agency.”

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