We continue our series of conversations between respected bloggers from a range of fields and experts from Adobe. These unique encounters will offer insight into how end consumers feel about digital marketing, including how and when targeting is effective, what makes for an appealing campaign, and how marketing affects whether these all-important influencers spread the word about specific products and platforms.
Our featured blogger for this quarter is Sarah Pennells (SP). Sarah set up SavvyWoman.co.uk in 2009, after becoming frustrated that none of the financial information online seemed to be written with women like her in mind. SavvyWoman aims to help women become a little richer by helping them invest, save for their retirement and deal with bumps in the road, such as divorce and debt. As well as online content, SavvyWoman runs seminars and events aimed at demystifying money and investing. The site has been shortlisted as number five in The Times’ “Top 50 websites to save you money.”
Sarah is also an award-winning broadcaster and journalist who regularly appears on the BBC as a financial expert. She’s written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including Stylist, Yours and Good Housekeeping.
Sarah spoke to Adobe’s Michael Plimsoll (MP), Industry Marketing Director. He is seasoned, innovative marketing strategist focused on driving efficiencies and improved return on investment through the better use of data and analytics. Follow Mike @MichaelPlimsoll
SP I’m Sarah Pennells and I’m a journalist. I’m the founder of a money website for women called SavvyWoman.co.uk. I’m here at Adobe’s London offices as part of a series of interviews where I talk to a number of leading voices in digital marketing. I’m here with Mike Plimsoll at Adobe’s offices, and we’re talking about data personalisation.
If you look at advertising away from financial services, so there’s ads that follow you round when you’re browsing online. A lot of people say they don’t like them, but then if you look at the click-through rates, for example, they’re much higher. So, is there this thing that we don’t like the idea of a company having all this information about us, but actually neither do we want to fill in the same form 15 times or go through five pages to get to the bit we want to? Is there a bit of a difference between what we say we like and actually what we like?
MP There’s absolutely a difference between what consumers say they want and what they actually like. We look at customer preferences, where they go, “Oh, I don’t want you to e‑mail me or contact me other than once a month.” But actually, when you look at it, they like to engage once a week.
So sometimes that does differ. There’s definitely this trend that we’re seeing of consumers expect you to know things—if they’ve given you a piece of information before, they expect you to use that to help them in the future. And this is what I mean about acting responsibly with data. If I, as a consumer, give my bank some information or an online retailer, for instance, I don’t expect to have to re-enter that over and over again.
I expect them to hold that and then create a better experience for me but use it responsibly. These ads that track you round the internet, yes, I’m seeing less of it, thankfully, these days. Many years ago, well, I say many, four or five years ago, all too often you would go on to a website, look at a couple of TVs or something, and you would just be tracked round the Internet, saying here are the five last products you looked at.
I remember talking to a lot of companies about you know what they’ve looked at. The customer knows what they’ve looked at. What’s the value of that message? How you can say you get an extended warranty if you buy an electronic device from us or something like that rather than just showing the—
SP I must confess sometimes when, say, I’d been on a site and I bought something and then it would tell you “you just looked at this”, well, yes, I just bought it, I’m not going to buy another one! Or else it would say you looked at it and you decided you absolutely didn’t want it, no, thank you very much, and then the next half-dozen visits there would be this say dancing TV or whatever. And then it would just be, hang on a minute, don’t you understand what I’ve just done?
MP The worst is when you get an e‑mail or a display banner saying that you can get it cheaper after you bought it. I think the root cause of that—there are a couple of things—is lack of integrated data. We hear financial services and every industry going, well, how do we bring data together to create true omnichannel experience?
We hear about customer data platforms, which is a big buzzword now, alongside data management platforms. Because actually if you can connect those, then you can stop that experience from happening because your data becomes connected. It also requires a bit of people and process skills because it requires, again coming back to this notion of the responsibility of the marketer to understand that there’s the right time and the wrong time. And thankfully a lot of the companies I talk to these days understand that, and they go, you know what, If a customer says they’re not interested, we’re not going to waste our marketing spend going after them again. We’ll listen, and we’ll stop.
SP Thanks very much, Mike. Well, for more insights and to see more of our interviews, go to blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope.