By taming multiple channels marketers are much better placed to provide their customers with a quality, personalised outcome. That was a key message delivered by senior marketing executives at last year’s Adobe Symposium in Sydney.
Marketing leaders from companies as diverse as Virgin Australia, Travelocity and TAL Life Insurance explain how their marketing clouds delivered value.
According to Siva Ganeshanandan – Director, APAC, Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe, “Despite an increasing ability to personalize individual channels, only 38 per cent of businesses are able to do so across all touch points.”
For Ganeshanandan, delivering a cross channel customer journey is akin to a conducting a symphony.
“The challenge that most people are facing is about getting all those different channels of communication aligned so they sound like a great piece of music as opposed to the cacophony that we often send out there,” he said.
While there has been a recent content explosion, driven by the growing need to personalise customer experiences, ensuring it is delivered at the right time in the right channel still presents a challenge, Ganeshanandan said.
Meanwhile the advice from Virgin Australia’s Drew Ascough, was start small and grow in increments.
A progressive layer based approach was critical to Virgin Australia implementing a successful and scalable personalisation strategy, he told attendees at last year’s 2016 Adobe Symposium.
“Start small and build upon that. The results will come.”
Speaking alongside Virgin Australia’s digital marketing and optimisation Specialist, Ady Porter, and 2DataFish’s associate director Jason Fonseca, the trio explained that in order to achieve personalisation Virgin Australia took a progressive “building block” approach.
The strategy, developed with partner 2DataFish, involved segmenting Virgin Australia’s website visitors, taking action and measuring results. These results would then influence the next round of segmentation and action.
“It is very much an iterative strategy, where the result of the measurement will inform the next segmants,” 2DataFish’s Fonseca said. Adding that the strategy has allowed Virgin Australia to drive sales and engagement.
By implementing Adobe analytics Virgin Australia had a solid foundation to commence the personalisation strategy, which could then have other products layered on top to expand the strategy’s capabilities and results, Ascough said.
The platform has also allowed them to demonstrate a proof of concept to stakeholders before pushing it our, according to Acough.
Starting small also meant that the team could get started sooner and make a solid business case for the strategy. “Starting small meant that we could get it out the door much quicker and then expand from there,” Porter said. It allowed for the team to demonstrate return on investment and gain stakeholder endorsement, according to Porter.
Porter noted that the strategy’s success means it is now possible to conduct even more granular targeting and personalisation. While the strategy has improved cross-channel communication, in an effort to make it “seamless across every touch point that we talk to the guest.”
Travelocity: flexibility puts customers in control
For Travelocity, Tony Arbelaez Senior Technology Manager, Email/CRM said the company leveraged the flexibility of Adobe campaign in a bid to put customers in control, with significant results.
He described how his organisation utilised the platform to “listen to the customer, to identify what they’re shopping for the most and bring it into campaign, and act on that.”
Travelocity’s users number in the tens of millions and Arbelaez stressed that other platforms they had used in the past didn’t have the capacity to handle their data, grow at the same pace or integrate content. This lead to great frustration at Travelocity and great joy when they finally upgraded.
“We actually pulled the servers out of the internet room, strung them up on ropes and we beat them to death like a piñata. It’s a true story,” he said.
“We were lucky enough to find Adobe Campaign and we’ve been greatly successful and very, very happy with them,” Arbelaez told the audience.
The three key advantages of the platform were its ability to handle Travelocity’s sheer volume of emails, the built in centralized content strategy and a simplified price structure, according to Arbelaez.
The Travelocity tech manager went on to demonstrate the comparative ease in which they implemented the platform and how it had seen impressive results. The platform, fueled by actionable data allowed Travelocity to put the “customer in control.”
Doing so gathers more first hand data directly from the customer and leads to more personalized campaigns, according to Arbelaez. “Let them tell you what they value most, when they do that your open rates and your success rates of all your campaigns are going to improve.”
Don’t forget Culture
Finally, TAL Life Insurance Customer Analytics and Insights manager Joe Chapman emphasised the importance of culture… and data.
Even for Australia’s largest life insurance company, it was important not to over-strategise, said Chapman.
Perhaps a more important task is creating the right culture and the right data to support the change, he suggested.
“Getting your culture right within the team is probably the key thing. Data is extremely important, and not over strategising and not having overly long road maps,” Chapman said.
The temptation for those looking to implement bold new strategies is to collect all the available data and dive head first into multi-channel, highly personalised customer journeys, according to Chapman. However, it can be more beneficial to focus on the things that align with specific customer journeys.
“Go for the things that don’t necessarily excite you, but are the things that are going to be really good for you and are going to make your system work,” he said.
For TAL, that meant focusing on traditional channels like phone, email, direct mail and sms Chapman explained; “Those are the things that we tackled first and we did them really well.”
While TAL still aspires to create highly personalised multi-channel campaigns, it was important to get the foundation right and ensure their data aligned with the customer journey, Chapman said. Meaning that if data was to be perfect it may come at a reduced scope.
“With the customer journeys that we had in mind, we looked at those and we looked at what the essentials were. We started with ‘we want everything’ to really ‘we want things that are necessary for this journey.”
TAL’s approach at this stage is less data but more relevant and more accurate data. “You can’t just go out there and ask for everything. Because you’ll never get it and you’ll never need it either,” he said.
Right time and place
Adobe’s Ganeshanandan told the attendees, “Quite often you can get the content out there, but not at the right time. It’s a little bit like the static you may hear when you’re tuning into your radio… What happens is people turn off,” he said.
Part of the solution is to consider the problem from your customer’s perspective and work around the customer journey, he said. This means being able to access your data and in some instances incorporating outside data to form a more holistic view. Then the progressive personalisation can begin.
“Once you’ve got a better understanding of that customer, it is time to go and create your cross-channel masterpiece.”