In the second part of our conference round-up we discover what brands can learn from broadcasters, turn our attention to retargeting and find out how to re-engage with lapsed email subscribers
What Retail Brands can Learn from Broadcasters: A Case Study With Halfords
Michael Reeves, Business Development Director at Red Bee Media
We’re all familiar with the huge growth of video content: by 2018, according to Cisco, it will account for 79 per cent of consumer internet traffic. Kids aged between 11 and 15 now spend six times longer than adults watching content on YouTube and Vimeo. The lesson: video is now the engine driving online consumption. But how do brands create content that cuts through the fog and clutter to draw consumers in?
First, says Michael Reeves at Red Bee Media, take a tip from broadcasters and establish a clear editorial position. “Have a united theme, opinion or attitude that enables you to bring disparate content initiatives together – something that makes your brand’s content consistent and distinctive.”
Secondly, tell a story. But be aware in this context that content doesn’t serve the same purpose as traditional interruptive advertising. Plenty of marketers, notes Michael, have been trained to get in and out fast with their messaging in order to capture the attention of distracted users. The purpose of video content, however, is to draw users in to a brand and keep them engaged. “You need a clear narrative structure that hooks them in and takes them on a journey,” says Michael. That means treating people as audiences rather than consumers and providing them with stuff that’s useful and entertaining.
This was the strategy underpinning Red Bee Media’s work with Halfords, who were keen to supplement a wealth of useful, trusted content about cycling with something compelling and fun.
Enter a character called the Bike Whisperer in a series of online films. Played by Canadian comedian Tony Law, the Bike Whisperer is the Zen-like spirit of cycling who possesses mysterious healing powers and communicates with machines via their bells. Funny, sharable and cleverly calibrated to generate warmth for the brand, the videos received a raft of enthusiastic press coverage as well as 800,000 views on YouTube, equivalent to two years of watch time. Half of those views were earned organically and Halfords saw a 13.7 per cent increase in digital sales year on year.
Michael’s takeaways for brands who want to incorporate video into their marketing: make content creation a regular part of your calendar and integrate it into the customer experience strategy. Hire a team who can actually create the stuff. Plan content according to your audience’s interests. Look for efficiencies and be authentic. Harness the knowledge and enthusiasm of the people already working for you. And, as Halfords did with the Bike Whisperer, don’t be afraid to take a chance.
Transforming the Customer Lifecycle – Marketing Automation That Gets Results
Chris Clapham, Managing Consultant EMEA at Silverpop, an IBM company
In the far-off days before digital, a customer could stroll into a shop and, if they were a regular, the sales assistant would know who they were and what products they favoured. Nowadays digital marketers can segment their audiences and personalise their communications. But how do you get down to a segment of one? The answer, says Chris Clapham at IBM Silverpop, lies in automation.
With the right data, marketers can produce automated communications that are relevant to the customer and time-saving for the marketer. Just make sure you’re transparent in your intentions for using that data and that you have clear consent from users. Chris advises campaigns that are meaningful as well as personalised. Birthday messages are a prime example. The key: make sure your users are getting a good experience in return for the data they’ve supplied.
Breaking Down Retargeting Myths and Recognising the Pitfalls
Davina Dunlea, CEO at Chalk Social
Only two per cent of consumers convert during their first visit to a site, according to research from Millward Brown. Retargeting represents a solution but, with consumers anxious about privacy, appropriateness and wary that they’re being stalked by ads as they move round the net, retargeting also poses some specific challenges.
The key to successful retargeting, says Davina Dunlea at Chalk Social, lies in understanding that it’s grounded in relevance, not intrusiveness. Pay attention to the frequency of your retargeted ads. “Consumers don’t mind retargeting if it’s appropriate,” says Davina. “In a survey by Warc.com, consumers said that online ads were of interest on the initial viewing. But by the fifth time they were ‘inappropriate’.”
Davina also stresses sensitivity when it comes to the context and location of retargeted ads. In print you wouldn’t place an ad for luxury chocolate opposite a feature on poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Retargeting vendors rarely pass back domain names,” says Davina. “Why not? You’re buying that ad inventory. Why can’t you see exactly where your ads are?” Alongside relevance, she stresses the importance of good taste. Most of us do not, after all, want to log in to Facebook and be confronted with ads suggesting we could do with shedding a few pounds.
Retargeting can also present challenges when it comes to attribution: last-click modelling has a tendency to artificially inflate ROI. In some cases, notes Davina, 95 per cent of those conversions would have happened anyway. And yet, done right, retargeting remains a powerful tool. “It’s incredibly important for you to continue to learn what consumers enjoy about your brand. Don’t think this is something that just applies online. You should be using this in all your digital activity.”
Sophisticating Your Local Brand Engagement
Bruno Berthezene, UK Country Manager at Solocal Group UK
Is local the new global? With 34 million local searches made every day in the UK (and a significant growth in the number of searches that include the phrase ‘near me’), brands are increasingly focusing on opportunities for satisfying the demands of nearby consumers with immediate needs.
Bruno Berthezene at Solocal Group UK explained how marketers can engage with local audiences more effectively. With 88 per cent of consumers researching online before they convert and 83 per cent making their final purchase in a bricks-and-mortar shop, it’s an online to in-store journey and the onus is on a seamless experience. Highlighting examples from Solocal Group UK’s own client roster, Bruno offered some tips on refining that experience. These include implementing a store locator on your mobile website (half of the UK’s top 50 retailers don’t currently have one). Online appointment booking is another effective strategy and for many consumers there’s now a basic expectation that they should be able to click and collect. Most important of all, says Bruno, make sure you’re visible in local search results and engage the customer with useful content.
The Art of Re-engagement: A Footasylum Case Study
Jenna Tiffany, Digital Marketing Strategist at Communicator
“Once upon a time,” says Jenna Tiffany at Communicator, “there was an enthusiastic subscriber just waiting for your email to land in their inbox. But after a period of time and a number of irrelevant emails which didn’t appear to take into account their previous behaviour or transactional history, they started to question whether your emails were really meant for them.”
That isn’t just bad news for the disengaged subscriber. Brands sending unopened emails risk being penalised by their ISP for not providing relevant content. That can have an impact on deliverability to active subscribers and damage sender reputation. But how, given a large and diverse email audience, can brands maintain an engaged subscriber base? The answer is personalisation.
For Footasylum’s re-engagement programme, Communicator began by profiling inactive subscribers and looking for trends. Among their findings was the discovery that a large number of female subscribers hadn’t opened an email in 90 days, indicating a lack of personalised, gender-specific content. Some hadn’t opened anything for 12 months. The solution lay in more tailored, female-oriented content. A first email generated Footasylum’s highest open rate in 12 months. A second was then sent to those who hadn’t opened the first, and contained special offers. Overall, the campaign re-engaged with 13 per cent of Footasylum’s lapsed subscribers – 11.5k people.
Jenna’s takeaways: analyse users’ past behaviour. Create specific customer journeys. Tailor content and personalise the experience. Monitor performance and test. And keep put the customer at the heart of your strategy.
By Jon Fortgang and Estelle Hakner