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Personalisation

Mailjet crowns Waitrose winner of best Christmas email campaign…

The email service provider Mailjet has revealed that Waitrose is ahead of its competitor supermarkets in the email campaign stakes, analysing key metrics including the chain’s subject lines, automation, cross-channel marketing and personalisation.

Reaching a total score of 21.3 points out of an available 29.0, this marks the second consecutive victory for Waitrose in the study and represents a significant improvement on supermarket’s performance from last year, rising 10 per cent overall.

Mid-market brands Tesco and Asda closely followed Waitrose’s success, hitting 20.0 and 19.9 respectively, however, Marks & Spencer struggled to compete scoring just 17.4 in total.

With regards to emails prospecting new consumer audiences, the research places Morrisons and Sainsbury’s joint last as both failed to send any communications to consumers who haven’t yet purchased through their online shopping platforms.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet said: “Consumers buy from the brands they build emotional connections with, particularly during the Christmas season. With low scores in critical areas for digital marketing like personalisation and automation, many supermarkets are not making the most of their emails to engage consumers with powerful storytelling.

As Mailjet suggests there has been much discussion on the importance of campaign personalisation this year, just two of the total eight supermarkets surveyed registered a score above 0.0. Specifically, Asda fell short on the top spot for its lack of personalisation, losing five points by omitting any room to add personal messaging to the email in favour of a singularly product-focused, visual structure.

Scotchmer added: “Winning greater share of the market in run up to Christmas holiday relies on having an online and offline campaign that fires on all cylinders. There are opportunities for all of these brands to learn from one another and broaden their use of digital strategies to engage and build loyalty with consumers at this critical period in the retail calendar.”

Guest Blog, Nick Henderson: Traditional demographic data will always have its place…

Traditional marketing can refer to the channel that is taken, or it can refer to the technique that is used to determine what to market and to who. While the channel of marketing has been an obvious transition from postal to online, what hasn’t been so obvious is the rise of utilising digital, rather than traditional demographic, data to make marketing decisions. More than a third of marketers are looking to shift spend from traditional mass advertising to more tailored advertising on digital channels (Salesforce, 2015).

Firstly, it is important to stress that traditional demographic data will always be necessary. Certain services and products have a target audience limited by age, gender or location, for example over-50s insurance, gender-specific products, or location-dependent offers such as a restaurant chain with multiple locations.

With marketers reporting that customer satisfaction and customer retention rates are both key digital marketing metrics for success (Salesforce, 2015), it is even more important to keep up with the ever-growing demand for a personalised user experience. 70 per cent of consumers want a more personalised shopping experience, and 60 per cent of consumers are comfortable with their digital data, such as their interests, being used by retailers so that they can receive more relevant offers throughout the year.

While traditional data has its place in a modern marketing world, this alone is not sufficient to provide true personalisation to your consumer base, and it often fails, resulting in drop-offs during the buying process, and a reduced sense of brand loyalty stemming from feeling unvalued as an individual. Assuming that an entire demographic group all hold the same interests is a huge mistake that can cost you thousands of customers. Not every millennial likes coffee cups with their name on; not every female loves pink; and not everyone living in London wants to see a West End musical. Offers based on demographic data like age, location or gender can result in communications being impersonal and consumers feeling frustrated. Research has found that targeting more specific emails to smaller groups of consumers results in higher open and click rates.

A way that businesses can get around these restrictions is by utilising big data analytics. Big data is a term which refers to a large set of unstructured data that requires advanced analytic techniques to derive meaning. One way to put it would be considering big data as a goldmine – there is a lot of value there but it is useless without the correct tools to extract it. Big data analytics is the process of getting gold bullion from this gold mine – where the gold bullion is the meaningful and actionable insight.  Big data is by no means a new term utilised by businesses, and it has been discussed, and even invested in for a long time. What businesses seem to be missing, however, is the right tools to extract meaning from it.

As mentioned earlier, consumers are increasingly becoming comfortable with having their online data utilised in return for a more personalised user experience. When comparing the depth of consumer insight that can be derived from a consumer digital footprint to the amount that is utilised in traditional marketing techniques (which is usually limited to sociodemographic data), there is no question that it would enable more effective personalisation. With the right analysis, businesses can gain real-time insight into consumer personality, their hobbies and interests, their life events, and more, all on top of the traditional sociodemographic data, and this is what is required to make the consumer experience truly personalised.

It is unlikely to be the case that traditional data in marketing will become obsolete to businesses, and this data can be used in conjunction with more advanced data mining techniques to enable more personalised targeted marketing based on deeper consumer insights.

On top of personalised marketing, this insight can be used to pre-fill application forms, detect and reduce fraudulent transactions, asses credit risk and boost financial inclusion, and personalise products based on customer interests, saving time for customers and increasing the chances of them completing an application or buying an item.

It’s important to remember that the acquisition process and using targeted marketing is only the start. Following through the consumer journey can go a long way to building customer loyalty. Understanding consumer behaviour based on personality, interests, and life events provides key indicators of what products and services they might be interested in. For example, if a TV and internet provider has real-time insight into its customers’ life events, it could identify which customers are going to university and market their services as a student bundle, ideal for multiple users streaming at once. Likewise, a coffee shop could identify which of its customers have upcoming exams and offer them a revision such as ‘skip the library: get your second coffee free for a stress-free revision session.’ This is just one of an endless list of examples of how businesses can leverage big data insights to create a personalised user experience.

By harnessing the power of big data businesses can personalise the user journey from sign-up, throughout the entire relationship and adapt alongside their consumers’ ever-changing needs. Real and effective personalisation isn’t just offering a football fan football tickets, it’s about offering a football fan tickets to their favourite team on their birthday.

 

Nick Henderson

Nick.henderson@hellosoda.com

0161 694 9747

www.hellosoda.com

 

Nick has over 13 years’ experience in sales and business development in credit risk, fraud and ID. Nick joined Hello Soda in July 2016 during an exciting time of growth for the business, and focuses on one of our core big data analytics products, PROFILE Personalisation, enabling businesses to empower consumers by providing an individualised user experience based on unique real-time insights.

Guest Blog, Thomas Jeanjean: People-based marketing – the death of demographics…

For years, demographic targeting was at the vanguard of advertising strategies. Thanks to the growth of online and digital channels, brands found themselves able to segment an audience by age, gender and other factors, introducing a new level of sophistication to targeting. But as digital and traditional channels evolve at an incredible pace, the race is on to understand customers better than ever before.

Demographics still play an important role in how businesses communicate with consumers – after all, if you don’t have access to basic information about your target audience, you’re definitely missing a trick. But they are no longer enough…

Today’s consumers expect a much more personalised approach, and brands that target solely by the fact that a shopper is, for example, a woman in her 40s, risk their advertising being irrelevant or, worse, coming across as clichéd or stereotypical.

Any brand, whether big or small, has complex and ever-changing audiences that consume and shop in a range of ways. Each specific audience segment needs to be acknowledged and addressed but one size no longer fits all. In an age of personalisation, predictive technology and real-time updates, it’s all about looking forward and understanding the needs and aspirations of customers both old and new.

At this time of year the stakes get higher. As we prepare for peak season – the period from Black Friday through to Boxing Day sales – competition for consumers’ attention becomes even more fierce. Advertising that doesn’t align to their shopping preferences and interests will likely be disregarded in favour of more engaging messages.

The gifting mindset

The holidays, and particularly Christmas, triggers a shift in consumer mindset. All of a sudden, people stop shopping exclusively for themselves and switch to a ‘gifting’ mind-set.

This shift makes marketing hard to predict, but retargeting campaigns allow businesses to tap into the seasonal trend. Only 2 per cent of people make a purchase on their first visit to a site; retargeting is a way to reach the 98 per cent who are still making their mind up. This allows retailers to react to actual shopper behaviour and offer ads based on what they know a consumer is interested in, rather than what they have deduced via demographic segmentation.

Mobile optimisation

Today the path to purchase involves multiple devices including tablets, personal desktops, work computers and, of course, the mobile phone. In this multi-screened world, mobile has become the ultimate platform for these ‘cross-device’ shoppers to complete their purchases. So much so that people who use multiple devices to shop are at least 20 per cent more likely than average to complete a transaction on mobile. Particulalry as Christmas shopping fever strikes, people will instinctively act through the closest, most convenient device to buy this year’s ‘must have’ gift.

Here in the UK, over 50 per cent of all eCommerce transactions now take place on mobile and a staggering 2.5 million of us are buying on mobile every day. But just because these transactions are taking place on mobile, it doesn’t mean that the consumer journey is confined to the small screen. Many marketers struggle to track and uniquely identify individual shoppers across devices and therefore can’t tailor their experience accordingly. Consumers view a brand’s websites, apps, and online ads as part of the same experience meaning that marketers need to implement an effective cross-device strategy to be able to meet customer expectations and to optimise advertising. The key to cross-device success lies in a people-centric, not demographic, strategy.

What all of this means is that a site not optimised for mobile represents a missed opportunity and could result in a loss of custom, as exasperated shoppers abandon baskets in search of smoother experience elsewhere

As a rule for businesses looking to implement an effective mobile site, the fewer clicks a consumer has to make between adding something to their basket and making a purchase, the better. For example, allow customers to check out as a guest or, if someone has to make an account, ask them for as few details as possible, in the first instance.

Get ahead of the game

Demographics should still be factored in to campaign planning, but should be approached as just one piece of a complex jigsaw. Individuals need to be viewed by marketers as more than just an age, gender or geography. But incorporating technology, like re-targeting and attribution modelling, that are based on behaviour rather than assumption means businesses can target the individual, and not the sum of their parts.

So forget demographics and start targeting people. They’re the ones buying products after all. For growing businesses in particular, every single person is an opportunity and these steps are the first along the path to eCommerce success this Christmas, and beyond.

 

Thomas Jeanjean is regional managing director of the MidMarket business at Criteo. Prior to this, Thomas served as managing director for France and Southern Europe at Criteo. Thomas has over seven years’ experience in performance marketing and a wealth of experience working with fast growing small to medium-sized businesses.

Forum Insight: 5 top tips to closing big money deals…

There are a number of viable reasons as to why decision-makers across a broad range of sectors ultimately lose out on big money deals; many overlooking the simplest of techniques that can either make or break a business relationship. Here, we break down the fundamental tips to help you sell your services…

  1. Let the client do the talking

Inevitably, to provide the very best service for your existing and potential client base, it’s crucial to find out exactly what the client is looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can to hone in on what their needs are. By asking questions, not only will this benefit your end by acquiring a better understanding; however, the client will also feel they are being productive and part of the solution.

  1. Personalisation goes a long way 

    Remember that clients say things for a reason. If they volunteer that they can’t talk right now because they are getting ready for a social event taking place on a Saturday; on your follow up call, ask them casually how the event went. Although you shouldn’t pry or send a gift, by casually asking about the event, you show that you pay attention to details. Knowing how successful the party was will prepare you on how to approach the conversation.

  1. Be enthusiastic

Your client feels passionate about what they do, and if you show that you are passionate and enthusiastic about providing them the solution they want, you’ll get the client on board. An enthusiastic attitude is sure to open many doors for you.

  1. Play it simple 

    Speak to them on their level, not yours. Keep the conversation simple and get straight to the point. If your client understands what you can do for them, they are more likely to hire you. If you try and dazzle them with industry speak, you’ll lose them, and lose the contract. You may find that if you are speaking to a perspective client on the phone, stand up. For many people, standing makes them get straight to the point. 

  2. When should we get started?

A straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no hinges on far more than just the specific closing sentence or question, reps often struggle with wording their deal denouements. Does this sound too pushy? Too weak? Should they ask a question, or use a statement instead? But just like there’s more than one way to peel an orange, there are several strong ways to close a deal.

Industry Spotlight: Is this the end of the email discount?

Consumers and marketers alike enjoy a good old email coupon. So much so that various studies have found a staggering 20 – 30 per cent of marketing emails now feature a discount, voucher or giveaway based incentive; and, understandably, evidenced by their tenure as a long time favourite in a marketer’s archive.

The critical factor in the promotional arena is the perceived level of exclusivity to the recipient, and this goes hand-in-hand with how well past data has been used for personalisation. But in the absence of perfect execution, is there still a place for incentive-based email? Here’s a closer look at its pros and cons in today’s digital landscape.

 

The Pros

Quickly gain brand traction: There’s no faster way to boost subscriber rates than by offering a strong incentive or freebie, and is also a great method for brand exposure and starting conversations. Krispy Kreme growth hacked their email list by 71 per cent thanks to their “Friends of…” campaign offering free doughnuts in return for referrals to family and friends.

Boost product uptake: Flooding the market with fast moving consumables is a powerful way to generate recurring demand. Freebie uptake is admittedly less effective in Services and SaaS where tactile value is not immediately realised on redemption. Creating urgency (time limits or download quota) is an effective way to boost uptake in these markets.

* Something to say: Don’t let competitors get a word in – end it with a promotion! Being delightfully creative is one thing but doing it consistently is another. A discount or voucher keeps you in the foreground and provides something worth saying while working on your next marketing masterpiece.

* Build an audience profile: A strong promotion is a big opportunity to profile new and existing data. Carefully consider the requisite fields and leverage that data in future to create a continual improvement cycle.

 

The Cons

* Change in list composition: Yes, you’ve increased subscribers by a million percent but your list composition will be drastically different. One-off giveaways tend to attract low lifetime-value subscribers so solid expectation management and segmentation is essential.

* Demand fulfilment: Even the best laid schemes go awry and with digital especially, things can quickly get out of hand. Oversubscription will turn a potentially positive brand experience into a bad one. Be upfront about quantities and don’t let promises go unfulfilled!

* Effect on brand positioning: Your email subscribers are often your most loyal customers so cheapening the brand with precipitous promotions is ill-advised. If you are positioned as the market premium, then a subtler incentive that does not implicate future pricing and brand perception is required. Don’t over-promote at the expense of brand.

* Risk of escalation: Competitors will soon catch wind of aggressive promotions (they have definitely subscribed to your email) and will soon respond with their own incentivised promotions. Discounts are easily countered and squeeze margins over time, so focus on the experiential, creative and personal instead.

 

Takeaways

Arguably the biggest positive for promotional mailers is the ability to use past insight to make ever-more effective campaigns with a greater degree of personalisation. Choosing not to customise campaigns to the recipient’s exact needs comes with the tacit understanding that everyone is entitled to the same advantages – and where’s the added value in that!

There are still benefits to the old-school, generic incentive but they are contextual, and highly dependent on industry and brand positioning. Giveaways can elevate new brands and quickly establish voice in new channels, but established names beware.

So while the coupon survives to fight another day, its rule as the marketer’s darling is certainly contested. Its day is certainly not up yet, but the mindset must soon evolve to stay relevant. And as other marketing tactics such as native and inbound continue to mature, so must email.

 

Words by Ross Carroll, senior email marketing manager at Fat Media

Discovering content the most popular method with consumers…

A recent report conducted by the US video platform company, Rapt Media, has found that the majority of consumers prefer to find content themselves, even if the content sent out is personalised to the individual and their preferences.

Surveying 1,000 consumers, the report analysed consumer attitudes to marketing content and revealed that 43 per cent completely reject online ads, and an overall 95 per cent claimed to take some action against receiving ads. Moreover, 67 per cent complained that brands are sending too much content; 55 per cent stating that much of it is not relevant; and 46 per cent claiming that the content information comes across as ‘pushy’.

Read the full report here