NRMA turns to analytics, CRM for growth

NRMA Motoring Services is digitising its flagship magazine, Open Road, and investing in analytics, geo-location and in-app purchasing to drive sales and advertising opportunities

NRMA Motoring Services is turning to CRM, e-commerce, analytics and geo-location technologies to better engage its membership base and create new cross-selling opportunities for its diversified suite of businesses.

Speaking to ZDNet, NRMA Motoring Services head of publishing, Emma Cornwell, said the push to better engage with members will be spearheaded by a new customer relationship management application to be rolled out across NRMA Motoring's businesses.

The new CRM app will create "one source of the truth" for the company on its members, and will be used across the organisation's car rental, accommodation, travel services, and vehicle services.

The customer information contained within the new CRM system will bookend with another major initiative underway: the increasing digitisation of NRMA's 91-year-old motoring magazine, Open Road.

The publication, which is issued in print to 1.5 million members six times a year, is being turned into a multimedia app available across Apple, Android and PC-based devices. 

The goal, according to Cornwell, is to eventually migrate as many as 500,000 readers off print and onto the app, saving NRMA in excess of $1 million per year in publishing costs. Using Adobe's cloud-based applications the company also stands to save on shorter publishing times, and the ability to quickly update, add or remove content from the app.

However, the real benefit is in how the app will integrate analytics, in-app purchasing, and geo-location services and also link back to NRMA's upgraded CRM suite, to allow the organisation to deliver more targeted advertising, the ability to track how readers engage with content, and enabling readers to click and purchase products and services in-app.

"Anything you see from an editorial or advertising perspective will be able to be purchased without having to leave the app — it will link into our storefront," Cornwell explained.

"We are working on geographical targeting so that if someone leaves their house in Mosman then opens our app in Coffs Harbour we can serve geographically targeted ads to that person both for our advertisers and our businesses."

According to Cornwell, NRMA's investment in its publishing business will help drive growth in other parts of the organisation, as well as potentially lift the profitability of its Open Road publication. 

"We have objectives and strategies to get people to engage with our different businesses as many times as possible during the year, so what [the digital investment] does is allow multiple touch points during that period so we have more bites of the cherry. There is a direct link into all our businesses," she said.

"There is that immediacy and it is trackable in terms of back-end analytics. We know how long people are looking at stories, if stories aren’t working we can drop them out or if videos aren't working we can upload them again.

"We can look at which positions for ads work for advertisers… we can be more strategic and we can be more agile because we know how it is working at the consumer's end."

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