MoneySuperMarket is testing a “better balance” of marketing investment that focuses more on long-term brand metrics and better aligns marketing with business objectives.
The price comparison site has previously “invested heavily in the latter stages of the path to purchase”, according to marketing director Lloyd Page. But it is now running tests in a number of locations on the impact of “rebalancing” that spend more towards the brand.
“We’ve been hugely successful in [shorter term investment] and there’s no desire to remove any of that success,” Page tells Marketing Week in his first interview since taking on the role. “But there is an opportunity to understand our marketing effectiveness more broadly, in the round. And also the objectives the business has.”
MoneySuperMarket has overhauled its marketing strategy in recent months as it looks to improve engagement and loyalty amid shifts in the wider price comparison market. While previously, players in the market tended towards a focus on cut-through and saliency, there is recognition in the industry that as growth slows the main players need to differentiate.
For MoneySuperMarket, that has involved ending its long-running ‘Save money, feel epic’ messaging in favour of ‘Get money calm’. That aligns with a wider shift in the business away from a focus on price comparison and onto how it can ease financial anxiety.
While price comparison remains a key part of that, MoneySuperMarket has launched new services such as bill monitoring and a credit scoring service. The aim is to help people feel more in control of their money and relaxed that they have made the best financial choices – whether on which credit card to take out, their energy supplier, or car insurance.
“It was a saliency thing, now it’s how do we evolve our strategy,” explains Page. “It is driven by technology, increased competition and the choice paralysis that consumers can sometimes find. With everyone’s lives becoming busier and more demanding there was a clear opportunity for MoneySuperMarket to play a more meaningful role.”
It is early days in that new business strategy, with MoneySuperMarket only starting to talk about it two months ago. But data from YouGov BrandIndex shows customer perceptions are starting to shift.
Its index score, which includes metrics such as impression, quality and value, is up by 4.4 points over the past eight weeks to 22.6, putting it just 0.2 points behind Comparethemarket. Its value ranking is up 7.1 points to 23.7, moving it ahead of Comparethemarket, while quality and impression are also increasing.
Page claims the business is also starting to see an impact. Engagement among users (measured as number of visits) that have signed up for the credit score service is six times higher than those that do not. Engagement among price comparison site users is notoriously low, with more users visiting just once every 12 to 18 months when a particular service, such as their car insurance, needs renewing.
“The early signs look to be very encouraging…as to how we can play a more meaningful role and evidence that we are helping customers,” says Page.
Having launched with a big brand campaign, created by Engine, MoneySuperMarket is now focusing its advertising on these new services. Press, radio and outdoor activity for credit score started in May, with a TV ad set to go live on 8 June. Bill manager will go live later in the year.
That TV ad will follow a similar approach to its brand campaign, “bringing to life” financial anxiety and how MoneySuperMarket can help alleviate that anxiety.
Having shifted creative direction, MoneySuperMarket is tracking in-market reaction to it, as well as metrics around brand health and visits to the site. And it is using econometrics to measure ROI, brand power scores and how it is driving brand equity, as well as if the customer experience matches up to expectations.
“Ultimately, creative effectiveness plus media mix plus investment will drive how effective you are going to be,” he concludes. “Plus a health blob of judgement, gut, and the knowledge of our partners Engine and the marketers that are here.”