Ways to Create Valuable Experiences for Your Customers
With today's consumers deluged with new media and messages — on any given day, the average consumer will be exposed to nearly 3,000 media messages, of which they'll pay attention to 52 and remember four — marketing campaigns need to be as close to one-to-one conversations as possible. At last month's Digital Marketing Days Conference & Expo in New York City, Christa Carone, chief marketing officer for Xerox, provided strategies to help retailers shift their marketing efforts from one-way conversations to true dialogs with consumers.
Understand the unique aspects of each customer, then reflect that in your marketing, Carone said. Value for consumers comes from their experiences with your brand, not technology. Technology's role is to enable great experiences. A one-to-one cross-media campaign should contain five elements — data modeling, a compelling offer, great creative, follow-up communications, and tracking and feedback — and follow a logical progression of analyze, refine and repeat, Carone said. Here are some examples of brands she feels are doing this the right way.
Best Friends Pet SuperCentre, an Australian pet supplies retailer, recently launched a loyalty program for its customers. When customers signed up for a VIP card, all of their interactions with the brand — transactions, product and store info, website activity, email activity, etc. — were tracked with the goal of creating an individual marketing program for each card holder. Highly relevant communications were then sent via email to card holders. Communications were localized to each store with targeted offers driven by pet type, for example.
The campaign yielded Best Friends Pet SuperCentre measurable results. Member value, store profitability and program measurability all returned double-digit growth over 12 months.
For health clubs and gyms, customer retention is a major problem, said Carone. It's common for a health club to see a 30 percent member defection rate in a given year. It was no different for Elixia, a health and wellness group in Central Europe. To help stem the tide of defecting members, the club mobilized its members into a sales force.
Elixia sent emails and postcards to members which contained a personalized URL (PURL). The PURL was to be used solely for the purpose of friend referrals. Members were incentivized with up to six months free membership for referrals.
The campaign generated a healthy return for Elixia via one-to-one cross-media, said Carone. Here's a sample of the results:
- 27.5 percent of the PURLs were visited;
- 2,500 new members signed up; and
- Elixia's annual revenue increased by 1.5 million euros.
Maine's Office of Tourism wanted to know how a personalized, one-to-one conversation with consumers would impact its business. So it tested two direct mail pieces: its regular tourism book served as the control vs. a personalized mailer customized to the interests of recipients (e.g., included photos of activities they'd be interested in if they visited Maine) based on preferences given to the state on its tourism department website.
To the surprise of none of the direct marketers in the audience, the personalized piece won hands down. It generated a 24 percent increase in response, and a 23 percent increase in Maine's tourism revenues.
And What Not to Do
Carone concluded her presentation by providing a couple of examples of personalized, one-to-one cross-media campaigns gone wrong:
Proving to be a good sport, Carone took her own company to task for its immediate infatuation with Second Life. Do your research to determine if new technologies are fad or function before investing in them, she said. As for Xerox's status on Second Life, Carone joked, “Customers want conversations in their first life.”
Next on the chopping block was the marketing team for movie Saw V. It decided to make personal phone calls to scare people, and at the end of the call let them in on the fact that it was a promotional call for the film. Needless to say this campaign didn't go over too well, as frightened consumers never made it to the sales pitch.
“Avoid the creepy factor,” said Carone in response to this campaign. “Consumers don't like it when people they don't know know too much about them.”