Loews, Elicit, Spotify Win People-Based Marketing Awards

Loews, Elicit, Spotify Win People-Based Marketing Awards

Loews Hotels, Elicit LLC and Spotify are the winners in the marketer, agency and media categories, respectively, of MediaPost’s first People-Based Marketing Awards.

The awards celebrate people and organizations that excel in leveraging technology, data and platforms to reach real people vs. objectified industry descriptors, such as “consumers,” impressions, metrics and KPIs.

Loews Hotels

Loews won for developing a communications strategy based on people’s personas. The strategy was developed and executed by Loews agency Havas Helia. It utilized people’s past behaviors to create persona types Loews could use to reach people based on their perceptions of luxury, purchasing habits, attitudes toward sports -- and, perhaps just as important, their media habits.



Loews, a luxury-boutique hotel chain known for offering a high level of personal service, created personas such as “weekend explorer couples,” “confident business travelers,” “serious planners,” “luxury jetsetters,” “vacationing families” and “Loews loyalists.” All were targeted with specific messages, offers and media known to reach them effectively and in the right contextual environment, including a heavy emphasis of email leveraging its first-party data.

Importantly, the persona typing enabled Loews to talk to each persona as part of a human customer journey. Dubbed a “SmartJourney,” the process effectively flights messages across media that develop an ongoing narrative about planning and staying at a Loews hotel.

In one example aimed at luxury jetsetter personas, the communication plan begins with an email offering opportunities to “upgrade” their experience via room upgrades and luxury options like spa treatments.

That is followed by Loews app notifications offering additional “pre-stay” options to drive reservations for fine dining, spa treatments, etc.

That messaging is followed by a “non-digital” experience, of actual  “high-touch” service, including personal attention during their stay. This is followed by SMS messaging notifying the persona when their room is ready, etc.

The final messaging in this persona-based narrative is another Loews notification offering a special “chef’s tasting” to confirm their participation in-app.

The approach is proving successful, with email engagement rates projected to be up 40% over last year, while revenue-per-available room and rebookings are projected to be up 20%.

Elicit LLC

Elicit, a performance and data-science-based agency in Minneapolis, won the first-ever People-Based Marketing Award in the agency category for developing a unique tripartite approach to understanding and reaching people. It draws on data, technology -- and, perhaps most importantly, customer insight and experience.

Elicit dubs these teams “geek,” “nerd” and “suit.”

Elicit’s geek squad is headed by technology solutions consultant Mark Gonzales. Its nerd team is headed by data scientist Liam Hanham, while the suit organization is run by Michelle Thomas, an insight and customer engagement strategist.

The "Geek Nerd Suit" approach, which is outlined in a book of the same name authored by company CEO Mason Thelen, CMO Brooke Niemiec and COO Chuck Densinger, combines their disciplines to break down marketing status quos and create a unified definition of each brand’s “customer” that runs across their business, including custom technology solutions that work in their existing environment, as well as personalized treatment strategies for specific customer groups.

A good example of how this approach works is a campaign Elicit executed for anti-virus software marketer McAfee, which was looking for a people-based approach to marketing.

The team began with an assessment of McAfee’s current technology stack, marketing processes and data assets to help McAfee create a strategic road map for improved consumer understanding. The assessment uncovered a few areas that would ultimately need to be fixed in order to deploy a people-based marketing approach:

  • · There was not a consistent definition of a customer.
  • · All marketing communications were focused on the product lifecycle rather than the customer lifecycle.
  • · There was no end-to-end customer experience strategy informed by data and research.
  • · There was no customer analytics foundation to provide business users with insights into customer behavior.
  • · Reports were hard to access and sometimes inconsistent (especially when from different sources). They were also heavily focused on financials.
  • · There was no customer data model to link critical information together in one place for easy access.

The result was a customer-focused strategy that led to:

  • · A new data warehouse platform enabling McAfee to create a data-enabled culture in which business users, analysts and executive stakeholders could access data and reporting.
  • · The creation of a single view and definition of McAfee’s customer built from more than 30 customer attributes derived from transactional data.
  • · The transformation of McAfee’s marketing strategy, based on a revamped customer lifecycle worth billions of dollars annually.


Spotify won one of the first People-Based Marketing Awards in the media category for leveraging a fundamental human attribute -- the connections we make from listening to music -- in a scientific, data-based marketing solution.

Spotify’s streaming music business gives it a deep understanding of the role music plays in people’s lives, including the brands they connect with. By leveraging the first-party data on what its users stream, then matching this info to people its advertising brands are trying to reach, Spotify has enabled human connections through digital marketing.

In its award submission, it offered real-world examples that illustrate how it leverages its popular playlists to form one-on-one relationships for brands.

To drive awareness and generate buzz of its MY17 Sportage, Kia sponsored Spotify’s “New Music Friday” for an entire week. The sponsorship included a Homepage Takeover, native media driving Spotify listeners into the Sponsored Playlist, and in-playlist media (audio, video and display) to help resonate the auto brand’s message of Sportage's distinct styling and innovative technology.

The program boosted the brand’s awareness 30%, with lifts in both perception, as well as purchase consideration, too.

To build awareness and purchase consideration for BIC’s Soleil Shine razor and deepen the emotional connection with its audience of women 18-34, Spotify created a custom experience reaching listeners with authentic, personalized messaging. That included Spotify moments such as “Summer,” “Girls Night Out” and “Getting Ready.”

Based on their playlist choices and listening dayparts, Spotify listeners received specific custom-media drivers. These drivers led to a BIC Soleil-branded hub on Spotify featuring influencer playlists and “Make Your Own Sun” microsite, where listeners could explore influencer content.

The campaign generated 22 million impressions with its target audience and drove a more than 80% lift in brand awareness.



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