AFIA deploys marketing automation for better customer communication

AFIA serves both large established financial services companies.

The Australian Finance Industry Association (AFIA) represents the voice of more than 100 providers of consumer, commercial and wholesale finance services working closely with key stakeholders such as Government, regulators, consumer advocates, small business advocates and other industry associations.

Headquartered in Sydney Australia, it serves both large established financial services companies as well as smaller and emerging financial services businesses across Australia, with associate membership available to accounting firms, management consultants, software companies, training businesses and lawyers.

It’s a complex business with many moving parts – but had traditionally relied on spreadsheets and what was in people’s heads for member contacts and insights.

It meant there were a lot of gaps and no single source of truth about engagement activities with its members and also that AFIA was not as nimble as it wished to be in terms of representing members.

AFIA recognised it needed a modern marketing platform that could capture all the information about members, support day to day marketing activities and ensure fit for purpose data governance practices were in play. As AFIA relies on a small team, with many competing priorities so it needed the platform to be intuitive and simple to use.

Dynamics 365 Marketing ticked all the boxes.

The marketing automation platform – which was rolled out in a carefully phased deployment became the central repository for member information and the single source of truth of member information that AFIA required. With the guidance and help of Microsoft partner, 365 Mechanix, it took three months to implement the platform and first populate it with verified data. Shortly after that, the first marketing module was deployed which allowed AFIA to send personalised and tailored email newsletters to its members and stakeholders.

That has totally changed the cadence of communications with members. Dynamics 365 Marketing allowed the AFIA team to use templates featuring distinct and recognised designs allowing more frequent and engaging communications to members.

Connected and effective

AFIA – which also uses Office 365 – benefitted from the integration of Dynamics 365 with Office, which allowed its nine staff to work from home, but remain connected, engaged with members and effective during the pandemic. The platform has also ensured that the CEO has been able to continue to communicate with stakeholders and members.

In February 2020, AFIA switched on the event management capability in Dynamics 365 Marketing – as luck would have it, just in time to pivot from physical to virtual events. But instead of flying blind about which members were tuning in and engaged by its online offerings – AFIA now has access to the data that revealed that in greater detail.

Now it has that information as soon as an event takes place.

Much richer member insights are also available to AFIA’s CEO, so that when she engages with a member she has a clearer understanding of what the member has been doing and how engaged they have been by AFIA’s events and campaigns.

AFIA also integrated Dynamics 365’s events management capability to the online payment gateway, Stripe. This was a gamechanger in terms of member experience. Previously it took about 24 hrs for the account receivables team to manually transact the event payment and confirm this with the member. The delay caused members to reach out and check if their booking had been accepted or received; which has now been resolved.

AFIA’s marketing manager is able to regularly analyse the data; reporting on open rates and click through rates, which were not previously available. That insight is then used to shape future marketing campaigns to maximise impact.

The transparency delivered by the platform has also supported AFIA with its regulatory and compliance obligations, such as maintaining a statutory register of members. In the past, some of that data was held in paper records – now the member registry is only ever a click away.

To ensure maximum benefit from the digital transformation, AFIA has worked with staff to ensure they understand the importance of the system, the need for accurate and timely data – and also that they understand what information needs to be captured in Dynamics 365 and what does not – so it doesn’t get bogged down with inconsequential information.

AFIA is currently exploring other modules within Dynamics 365 Marketing, with the next cab off the rank the Voice of Customer which will help streamline data capture and ensure consistency in terms of what is collected.

With the digital marketing foundations in place, AFIA is eager for the chance to continue to enhance its offerings to members, and to support its staff day to day so its Members can:

  • Continue to promote simple, convenient, innovative and affordable credit to finance Australia’s future.
  • Foster competition and innovation in Australia’s financial services industry, which enables members to grow, expand and thrive as key participants in lending and other markets.
  • Generate greater financial and economic participation by consumers and small businesses in Australia’s financial system and economy and improve social participation as a means to create financial wellbeing.


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