"Ineffective marketing" hits iSelect results

"Ineffective marketing" hits iSelect results

While hampered by its marketing strategy, the company was still able to improve conversion rates and a new CEO is upbeat for recovery in the year ahead.

Car insurance and financial advice comparison group iSelect (ASX: ISU) registered a sharp downturn on its balance sheet during FY2018, but management is adamant the company is back on a growth trajectory towards historic profitability levels.

In an announcement today that also included news that interim CEO Brodie Arnhold had been promoted to CEO because of "positive momentum" under his leadership over the past four months, iSelect reported a 2 per cent drop in revenue to $181.4 million for the 2018 financial year.

While the company recorded a statutory EBIT loss of $12.9 million (compared to EBIT profit of $22.6 million in FY17), underlying EBIT was within guidance at $8.5 million.

The drop in revenue was primarily driven by iSelect's health and energy & telco segments, citing negative impacts from "ineffective marketing" that led to lower leads, as well as general market volatility. However, a refocus on core operations did lead to an uptick in conversion rates.

"The challenges that our business faced in FY18 have tested the resilience of our team and our underlying business model," says Brodie Arnhold.

"We have refocused on our core capabilities centred around delivering our customers real value in their buying decision. We have also successfully rebalanced our marketing spend over the last quarter of FY18, and into FY19, to increase higher quality leads for a lower spend."

Arnhold says the new executive team is proud of the company's strong focus on conversion in the last quarter of year, which as a trend has continued through July and August.

"Even though the business was impacted in FY18 primarily by a miss-step [sic] in marketing that skewed too heavily to traditional media, this is being re-balanced with a focus on efficient, targeted marketing spend that is supporting more optimal lead profiles being generated," he says.

"We are determined to continue focusing on what makes our business great, delivering on our technological initiatives to provide an engaging experience and real value to all customers."

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