Archive for Marketing

Direct Mail Revisited – a ‘New Old’ channel to market

Businesses have long relied upon digital channels (largely due to targeting potential, speed of delivery, trackability and costs). However, this has created its own problems (overloaded inbox and poorly timed retargeting etc.).

All acquisition communication however delivered needs to be built on engaging propositions that are interruptive and relevant.

Clients are still, of course, being challenged to expand the customer base whilst at the same time be less dependent on Social Media as the dominant alternative and that is one of the main reasons direct mail has returned to being a serious component in the media mix.

Targeted direct mail, based upon analysis and insight, creating prospective audiences, which can be segmented for tailored communication can get through the daily media clutter of life, that surrounds the consumer. A blend of consumer characteristics: lifestyle, affluence, demographics and life-stage are used to refine these audience segments.

One of the strengths of direct mail and print, in general, is its ability in this ‘attention-deficit world’ to hold a reader and tell a story that connects to an individual, overcome any potential objections and stimulate a response to engage with the brand via a website, contact centre or retail location.

The combination of the right data at the right time with the right message, using the medium of personalised direct mail will open-up new audiences who were previously lost.

A brand can test, evaluate, interpret the results and gain an understanding of the impact of direct mail and where it fits in the overall marketing strategy and media mix.

Get in touch with us at Anaylin to discuss how we can help.

Data versus creativity: which side are you on?

The argument over which is more important – data or creativity – has been raging for decades. Marketing data experts at Anaylin, share their unique right brain/left brain perspective on the data versus creativity debate.

There is still a big divide between marketers who feel data has no role to play in creativity and those who believe data is vital in enhancing creativity.

Many advertising professionals believe that data is stifling and diluting creativity. Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of BBH, claimed in Marketing Week this year, that creativity has been side-lined in favour of data, making brands risk-averse and ads boring. Marketing has forgotten to “engage with people’s imagination and soul” he argued.

Professor Brian Cox, in an interview with Campaign magazine, disagreed. “Data is knowledge. Data is never bad. It’s never restrictive,” he said, adding: “If you just throw mud at the wall is that a more effective strategy because you will get it right occasionally?”

Data can inform us about the relationship customers have with a brand. It can also reveal insights into customer attitudes towards the purchasing category and channels. An understanding of these customer motivations can guide the angle of persuasion and tone to take in the positioning and messaging. For instance, in insurance services whether to focus on fear, the level and speed of service, or price.

So, data brings strong evidence to a creative proposition and increases the effectiveness and relevance of a campaign, while reducing the risk and minimising costs.

But data in marketing without creativity can feel routine and cold. A straightforward approach might get some good results, but only a fraction of what it could achieve. Data cannot stir feelings and create emotional bonds with the consumer. That is the role of creativity. But creativity without data can be chaotic and will rarely reach its true potential.

Data unlocks new insights about customers and culture; and great creative comes from those fantastic insights.

So, data shouldn’t replace instinct and ingenuity. It should be used to refine and boost the creative process by stimulating and directing creative energy in the most productive way.

Data doesn’t reduce creativity, that usually comes from lack of time because of the pressure on businesses to act faster – often simply because technology makes it possible! This focus on speed is reducing the time spent on the creative process and researching the likelihood of success.

Channel selection also has a part to play in the extent data can marry up with creativity. There is a limit to the story you can tell and what customers are willing to consume in certain channels – consider twitter, online video and other digital and social media versus printed advertisements and the reborn medium of direct mail.

We need to create the right balance between data and creativity and treat both disciplines as equal partners. A measured creative testing and learning approach will accelerate arriving at the optimum creative approach. A recent report* by management consulting firm McKinsey supports my view. It reports that marketers who use data to inform creativity have growth rates twice as high as companies that don’t.

When we combine the insights gleaned from data analytics with the power of human instinct and imagination we will create effective and successful marketing campaigns that appeal to the head and the heart.

Data-informed creative marketing should be the goal.

Retaining customers and increasing their value under GDPR

There is no doubt that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has made prospecting and customer acquisition more of a challenge.

Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Post GDPR maybe it will be even more expensive! Therefore, it is paramount for brands to retain the customers who are already contributing positively to the bottom line and just as importantly to discover which ones have the potential to grow.

However, it is key to employ customer data analysis to discover…who are these ‘good’ customers, what do they look like, are there any further growth opportunities within these customers or are they maxed out (e.g. what is your share of wallet in each customer spend category).

Other opportunities for growth within your base may well come from some discovery analysis across the data and market research etc. Are there other customers who look similar in many ways but are not on the same level of contribution or displaying the same patterns of behaviour yet, what do you need to say and offer them to change that and look to cross-sell and upsell?

Getting your data sorted and accessible is fundamental to any analysis project so that the relevant approaches and techniques can be deployed to understand who is most likely to buy which service/product and use this to target direct communications and trigger best next actions across the digital and contact centre channels.

Sometimes it will be ‘external factors’ such as an individual’s media consumption, or their interests and attitudes rather than their transactional history, that help to understand their needs and we are able to use such data attributes from data sets that we licence in many analysis projects.

Often growth is stunted at the very start of a brand relationship or customer journey because new customers do not use or activate the service. Knowing why someone does what they do is often the missing link. Organisations will often be able to look at the first product purchased and then to look at what other people did who bought this first etc. etc.

Therefore, capturing why customers bought what they did helps to pitch the next communication/offer using motivation and language which the recipient recognises. Obstacles to activation are very useful too (e.g. unclear set up and how-to instructions etc.) and can also lead to actions and communications to get the customer underway.

To maximise customer lifetime value, we work with our clients to understand and map out the range of customer journeys and identify when is the best time (e.g. understanding email opening times, previous web behaviours etc.) and what is the best message to convey. Often, this involves capturing and integrating the customers’ behaviours across all channels (to increase our understanding, track the success of the campaign and importantly to be able to re-contact if they drop out of any buying processes) to ensure a data driven customer experience.

Our involvement also means working with our client’s other partners across digital and non-digital media to help them increase their understanding of the existing customers, targeting digitally and non-digitally look-a-like prospects.

Beyond customer growth, it is also important to understand customer churn and customer lapsing (make sure churn and lapsed are defined and understood internally). Not all customers are equal, and this also is true of all lapsed or switched customers, and so you need to identify which you want to reactivate or winback.

It is also important to capture at the point of leaving or via surveys, why they are lapsing or leaving (e.g. service failure, life circumstances change, price etc.). Depending on what you discover, you may be able to devise remedial service improvements and develop appropriate and effective reactivation, retention and possibly win-back plans… Anaylin has plenty of experience in all these areas of working with clients and their partners in planning who to target, what to offer and how to execute across many industries.

In addition to the client data management and customer data management systems, Anaylin also offers a fully orchestrated multi-channel campaign management solution to ensure the messages are getting to the right customers at the right time and through the right channels.

Anaylin is a customer data management company that applies customer data analysis and insight to bring sense and value to your data. We subsequently help clients prioritise and execute strategies and action plans. We are steeped in experience of growing customer value and in customer retention and enticing them back.

Do Not Sacrifice Relevancy for Real Time Marketing

Are you sacrificing relevancy for real–time marketing and personalisation?

It has become easier to use real-time technology to seemingly target the right person at the right time but so often this is not supported with the right message or right level of relevancy . This is because the ‘right message’ via real-time personalisation is often blunt and lacks impact as it is invariably based on what the visitor has just done in a given channel.

For some brands this is step forward, but in reality, the right message often requires more right-time customer intelligence (capture, analysis and data joining) to better understand the context and reason for the visit and why the visitor abandoned the visit etc. and where the customer or prospect relationship is at. This deeper understanding will not only increase the relevancy but will also drive marketing uplift from your real-time and right-time marketing efforts.

For example a visitor/revisitor looking online at a new mobile phone may require a very different experience and messaging depending on whether it is possible to join this data up with e.g. their contract renewal date, previous history of looking at early cancellation terms and conditions, their latest poor NPS score, whether their usage has recently increased or decreased significantly etc. This need for enhanced understanding also applies to many other industries and customer expectations are that brands have a joined up picture too!

Connecting the channel data, intelligence and customer contacts is a challenge that we at Anaylin are increasingly being asked to meet for our clients. Whatever your aspirations are in the area of ‘right-time relevant’ marketing, Anaylin can support the data integration and management, the customer journey planning and advise on the technology landscape in striving to meet right time (with relevancy) customer relationship marketing

The Importance of the Personal Touch in the Digital Age

We are sure you spend a lot of time devising and implementing ways to improve the multi-channel customer experience.  These days that will involve a particular emphasis on the brand’s online performance.

Anaylin certainly do, and it is exciting to build ‘insight-driven personalised’ solutions with our partners, such as Celebrus and Signal.  But we must remember that digital is not the only game in town…a lot of browsing and purchasing still takes place in physical outlets and over the telephone.

In fact, at a recent meeting with an insurance brand Anaylin shared some experiences and facts from multi-channel approaches. The clients seemed surprised when we suggested that we often find that the inbound telephone channel option gave a far higher return on investment than online.

Simply put, even though the costs per conversion are more favourable online, when you measure it, the immediate profitability and long term CLTV are often much higher for inbound telephone sales.   This is because of the ability to cross-sell, upgrade and even retain business when you have human interactions.

Of course, further analysis will undoubtedly show variations by customer type, channel preference and needs, but the opportunity to optimise is huge.

Here are two real-life examples of which call for a more sophisticated channel approach:

Example 1. Brand X:

  • Online purchasers bought 1.1 products (base product plus value add-ons) per transaction
  • Telephone purchasers bought 1.35 products per transaction

Example 2. Brand Y:

  • 5% of online purchases held 2+ products
  • 7% of telephone purchasers held 2+ products

So my message is simple…

  1. Be careful not be cannibalise profits by simply pushing for the most seemingly efficient channel and take a more holistic view of business ROI. In fact, get your campaign analysis team together with channel operations and finance and work out what the true costs and returns are
  2. Know your customers’ preferences and target accordingly. You may find purchase segments such as: a) Decidedly digital b) Mixed c) Mainly offline) programmed to use the channel where the best offer is
  3. Do not underestimate the value of one to one human interaction where listening and interpretation of needs is at its most powerful

Finally, perhaps as some enlightened brands have done, test offering the discount offline!



The Rise of ‘Offerholism’ and the Price of Loyalty?

Customer Loyalty is still a ‘holy grail’ for many brands and it has become increasingly difficult to achieve is this world where marketing and offers are in your face 24/7 across an ever-increasing set of media. In fact, Anaylin think there is a growing trend of ‘offerholism’, where for some if your product (even luxury and premium brands) is not accompanied by a promotion it is dismissed very quickly.

Loyalty schemes have and continue to be a way of enticing repeat purchases and ‘brand of choice’ but fundamentally despite the success of some Loyalty Schemes, do they amount to ‘bribery’ and an unnecessary or difficulty to manage overhead and fuel the ‘margin spiral’?

Some Loyalty schemes we have been asked to review in the past have simply been a means of hiding poor product performance, poor service, etc. We often found that they were attracting promiscuous ‘offerholics’ and not rewarding the value-driving behaviour that the business really intended.

Therefore, we have recommended substantially changing the scheme mechanics, closing it down or even telling some major brands to avoid going down the Loyalty Scheme entirely and focus on customer strategy, customer engagement, growth and retention.

Improved Customer Insight via customer analytics is the key to Brand /Product/Service Innovation and differentiation. Bringing this customer insight to market via data marketing and delivering the right service with the most relevant positioning/messaging to the individual’s circumstances, at the right time, through the right channel(s) and at a price that clearly represents value for the individual is the best form of driving loyalty whilst optimising your marketing spend.

Now is the time to act and rebuild customer loyalty at the right price for the business! Data is now available more readily, is easier to ingest and analyse and means that ‘Real-time intelligence can combine with Right-time/Real-time multichannel delivery to deliver and track ‘real and valuable loyalty’.

If you wish to discuss or know more contact Neal Rimay-Muranyi