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Next Generation Campaign Management August 18, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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10 comments

Campaign-management technology has long been associated with the creation and deployment of outbound marketing campaigns. It’s time to change that. Marketing can no longer afford to simply act as a bullhorn pushing the product du jour or blasting cross-sell and up-sell offers.

Marketing experts have been talking about ad overload for years now. Simply put:

  • Consumers are overwhelmed with ad content.
  • They are tuning the messages out.
  • Response rates are declining while costs are rising.

Marketing organizations must evolve by shifting their communications strategy away from one-size fits all push marketing to a more customer-centric strategy that leverages the increasing proliferation of addressable channels and strives for responsiveness to individual customer behaviors. This shift requires marketing organizations to get beyond the old-style outbound campaign construct and seek to engage customers and prospects in a cross-channel dialog that builds upon their past and current behavior (I refer to this new style of marketing as interactive marketing). To do this effectively, marketers need technologies that enable them to:

  • Listen to all information provided by customers and prospects — both explicit and implied.
  • Understand past and present information to determine the best possible marketing action.
  • Communicate in a compelling, timely, and relevant manner.

What’s more, technologies must enable marketers to interact across inbound as well as outbound channels in an integrated way. Enter next-generation campaign management.

Characteristics of Next-Generation Campaign Management

Helping marketing organizations achieve this transition requires marketing technology providers to step up and outside the box. Campaign management is no longer about segmentation and list pull. Next-generation campaign management technologies must emerge that:

  • Are customer-aware. The key to listening is the ability to capture what a buyer is saying — both explicitly and implicitly — and to process that information to determine what to say next. This requires a campaign-management solution that has the capability to leverage and process both a customer’s past history, as well as present situation, in order to make predictions about likely future behavior.
  • Provide centralized decision making. Capturing both what the customer says, as well as how he responds to what you say, is fundamental to the shift to interactive marketing. That means next-generation campaign management solutions must provide a centralized decision-making capability that determines the best marketing message to extend in outbound and inbound marketing channels — online and offline.
  • Enable cross-channel execution. Your buyers interact with you across multiple channels and expect both a consistent and seamless experience as they move between channels. Anyone involved with a customer experience initiative knows this is a hard problem to solve. Next-generation campaign management solutions can help. By enabling cross-channel (inbound/outbound, online/offline) execution and providing the fundamental capability to compile a comprehensive marketing communication and response history, next-generation campaign management can help drive message and treatment consistency as well as a seamless experience as customers interact with the enterprise.
  • Integrate marketing operations. In any mid-sized or large company today, effective interactive marketing along the lines of what I’m describing has a lot of moving parts and requires collaboration across many disparate groups within the marketing function. To ease these challenges, next-generation campaign management must help marketers improve collaboration and facilitate cross-channel planning, design, execution, and measurement.
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Recalibrating The Meaning of “Relevant” March 11, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Database Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Online Marketing.
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3 comments

Have you ever refinanced your mortgage only to be bombarded by offers to lower your mortgage rate for six weeks after you closed on your new loan? This happens because financial services companies are purchasing “triggers” from credit bureaus that indicate you have had a recent loan approval. The problem with these triggers is that they are not timely. By the time the marketing communication gets to the customer, it’s too late.

Relevance = right message + right time + right place

Perhaps it is a cliché, but it’s a good one. Too many marketers focus entirely on the message component of relevance. For these marketers, “place” is typically an outbound channel and “time” is based on the internal campaign calendar – not the customer’s needs. To be relevant, marketers must step outside the confines of the functional silo that they are responsible for and think outside in – from the perspective of the customer. In addition to targeting the message itself based upon a customer’s stated or implied needs, relevance requires:  

  • Timely reaction or response to customer actions. Although some marketers are experimenting with trigger-based communications and on-site customized messaging, the prominence of these tactics pales in comparison to the weekly or semi-weekly campaign pushes. The beauty of these tactics, however, is that they can be automated.
  • Cross-channel integration. Your customers don’t care that you are only responsible for email and not the website or direct mail and not the call center. When a potential customer clicks on a search result or an online ad and lands on your generic home page or receives an offer in the mail and calls customer service to inquire further, he expects a seamless handoff. Yet, creative elements often dominate conversations about integrated marketing rather than a focus on what the customer is trying to achieve as he traverses the channels. The result of this oversight? For the customer, it often means dead ends and unnecessary frustration. For the company, it means lost opportunities and, possibly, damage to the brand.
  • A programmatic approach. Did you know that maximizing individual campaign response might be to the detriment of overall program ROI? That’s right. Sending more messages may generate a higher response, but how many others are simply tuning out? The current industry standard in the retail sector is 1-2 email messages a week. Amazon differentiates itself in the inbox by not always being there. An email offer from Amazon might be, “A brand new Leonard Cohen CD is available. Since you have enjoyed Leonard Cohen in the past, we thought you might want to know…” This programmatic approach requires different metrics than the campaign-centric approach – for example, program engagement over time or revenue per customer (not campaign).

How [poorly] integrated marketing impacts experience October 23, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Online Marketing.
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6 comments

I recently treated myself to a new laptop. A Sony Vaio – it’s chic, sleek, and tiny. After I got rid of all of the marketing crud – you know, the start up gobbledygook and free trial software, I fell in love with it. I love it so much that I also fell for the “Register and save 20% on accessories” offer that came in the slick little catalog insert in the box.

Sony Discount
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I went to the Sony registration site, fully expecting that after I provide a few nuggets of personal information I would be launched directly into a shopping experience worthy of Sony Style. Unfortunately, that was not my destiny…

First off, the entry form breaks all kinds of standards. For example, the birthday field isn’t marked as required but must be because, after several failed attempts with no error messages, I finally entered it and my registration was accepted. Whew! Now I’m ready for my Sony Style shopping experience…. Sadly, I was disappointed again…

Sony Confirmation

Now what? How do I get my discount? After three days, my hunger for the cool accessories had not abated so I called the 800 number provided on the catalog. The polite individual I spoke to informed me that I should receive an email with a discount code. “No ma’am, you can’t order the accessories now and get the discount. If you ordered online, you should receive the email in a few days. If you don’t get it, give us a call back.” Sigh…

Finally, after 11 days (!!) I got the long awaited, “Thank you for registering” email. Here’s what it had to say:

Thank you for registering your Sony product on our web site. This email confirms you have successfully registered the following Sony product on our web site: VGNTZ150N

Name: Elana Anderson
Issue Date: 9/25/2007
Model: VGNTZ150N
Serial Number: N/A

A Special Offer from Sony Card:
1500 Reward Points after your first purchase*
http://www.firstusa.com/cgi-bin/webcgi/webserve.cgi?partner_dir_name=sony_1500&page=cont&mkid=6RS3v

No, I don’t want a credit card! I want my 20% discount! Refusing to relent, I called the 800 number again. This time I explained my situation and the service representative agreed to take my order and give me the discount. Mission accomplished – FINALLY! What should have been a simple seamless process took two weeks.

Lessons learned

What does the Sony brand engender for you? If you are like most then great design, high quality, stalwart brand probably top the list. But my experience gives me a view into the inside: big organization, internal silos, and politics. The campaign I described here doesn’t have that many components — it shouldn’t be THAT hard to get right. But, this kind of campaign does touch different parts of the marketing department (people who probably don’t know each other and sit in different offices) and the broader business.

My advice? If you can’t get a simple integrated program like this right then don’t do it at all. Why? It damages your brand when you mess it up.

If you are running campaigns with multiple components that cross organizational silos then you need to organize the stakeholders and nail the process down. Understand the steps, define the handoff points, map the time between them. In the end, it’s all about the process. Ideally, a campaign like this is automated. But, sufficient testing is required up front to make sure it works. And, don’t forget to put some process checkpoints in place so that if something breaks along the way you get an alarm bell. You can have great creative (Sony does) but if the process is disjointed you lose business and look foolish.