Commentary

Engaging The Disengagement Battle


Moderator Tara Clark, senior director, Lifecycle Marketing, Zillow Group, with panelists Vanessa Boutwell, director of consumer engagement marketing, Logitech; Megan Crilly, specialist, email marketing, TransUnion, and Liam Savage, customer marketing specialist, Virgin Holidays.

Clark: 2018 was a crazy year for Zillow, we’re coming off a major infrastructure investment in email meant to break down the walls between email and push marketing, in particular. We had Gmail sorting experiences. This was the first year that we kicked off SMS pilots, in particular in areas where we offer Zillow Piloting, which is a program where we will buy homes from users and sell them. That’s a new down-funnel market offering from Zillow in certain areas. We kicked off personalization pilots around that. Our machine algorithms and machine learning opportunities blew the doors off this year for us. We figured out the right way to recommend homes to people.

A listed home is a commodity. Our competitors are trying to get the same home to home shoppers. We think about how can we do that quickest, in a way that feels the most personal, most innovative. That’s something we’re thinking about in 2019. It all harkens to personalized experiences and deeper engagement.

Vanessa: The structure of Logitech is to be a multi-brand, multi-category company. We’ve done that through acquisitions. We have our core, mice, keyboards. Everybody operates in their own swim lane. We have our gaming line, our music, and Jaybird, based in Utah, they sell fitness headphones. Our last acquisition is Blue, which is microphones.

Global brand equity sits across all these teams. My team, consumer engagement marketing, sits within global and equity. How can we generate more revenue across these teams and build better relationships with our customers. In order for us to be more personalized in our marketing is to build the right infrastructure, consolidating our databases, so that we have one single look at our customer, also migrating to a single ESP, and, finally, building a preference center so that we can understand what types of content people want but also give exposure to our other brands.

People want email [consolidation], at this point I’m trying to manage [the fact that] everybody wants in. A big part is involving our IT team, having the support is crucial. They’re actually funding the project. Structurally setting up with IT and with marketing is key. Decision tree going forward is a challenge. There will be hurdles. Merkel is helping us with the migration. How do we maintain our data? We’ve just kicked off the project a few weeks ago. It’s taken us eight months to get to this point. We had a small RFP process. Now we’re getting going. We’ll be able to share learnings about what’s working well among the different channels.

Meg: We’re part of the TransUnion interactive team, which is the branch within TransUnion focusing on B2C, trying to get consumers to purchase credit protection products or identity protection products. Marketing team is focused on acquiring customers. We don’t have multiple people sending emails, just our team. I feel lucky. Works with product team, innnovations, and technology team..

Challenges are resources and prioritites. Trying to balance getting initiatives that you want through. For 2019, transitioning our data over. Get data to ESP, big factor to be better able to figure out why people come to us in the first place. How did they get into our email system and how do we give them the right message, the right reason to look at our products. It’s totally internal, trying to get all the data pieces that we have access to and figure out a way to safely send them over to an ESP.

Trying to be proactive in marketing, don’t wait until you have a crisis. Get something in place now or start thinking about it now. Most people don’t think about credit until they purchase a house. We’re trying to make our messaging more pro-active instead of reactive. [Going forward] our biggest thing is more targeted messaging, we’re working toward a more shot gun v. sniper approach. Trying to get people on a one-to-one basis rather than doing the batch send out.With data, will be able to talk to people when they need to be talked to and what we can provide them.

Liam: We are a UK-based tour operator. We sell packaged holidays. Our main destinations are the U.S., Caribbean, some Middle East. Team of four people. Recent change is massive redevelopment of customer journey strategy, using our CRM agency. We’ve managed to deliver over the lasts three years this really key business strategy. Helps us understand customer, deliver more unified communications previous to the journey. Customers would receive 35 communications from different areas of the business. They would look horrible. Being from a Virgin brand, that kind of brand image is key to us.

We’ve managed to rebuild all of our communications and feed them through Adobe campaign RESP. This allows us to look at frequency and messaging throughout customer journey. My role has been to develop on top of that a personalization strategy. Segment customers on their intent. You could have customers just looking at destinations, hotels, pricing. We need to understand what that customer wants at the time of the email send. Using our vendors to optimize open rates. The personalization piece came from our sale campaign last year. We used our tech vendors to increase revenue by 49%, web traffic by 85% over year before. Set ourselves a big challenge by over-performing.

That is the basis of our personalization strategy, it’s about taking that further and making sure that we can redevelop these ad-opt comms that we send into an always-on, automated approach and using vendors like Frazier to increase our open rates and Moveable Ink to drive content, it actually gets easier. One of the main things that we can do now is feed in our live offer API using Moveable Ink. At the time of open, customers can see live pricing for a destination that’s relevant and we’re almost at a stage where we can do that on a scale of one to one.

Most of our business is offline, whether it’s retail or in the customer center over the phone. So what we found is a lot of customers want a two-way conversation. We have to make sure our emails are following those rules. Being able to look at website engagement is key, being able to track destinations they’re looking at so we can feed them the right thing. Make sure our communications are triggered on behaviors. Every click on an email is another way we can get more data on the customer. That feeds into itself so you pass them down the funnel until they get ready to convert.

Tara: How much autonomy do you have to buy vs. build? There was a very strong build culture at Zillow. What can be built isn’t always what should be built. Have you overcome that?

Liam: We have an IT team that sees the tech that we use and says, ”Are we going to build that for you?” And we still wouldn’t have it in another year. If you are able to get that new technology onboard and save your IT team some time, that’s a lot easier.

Vanessa: We’re leveraging Merckle to configure Adobe campaign for the first 12 weeks and then training up our IT team and building that infrastructure internally so that we can fully migrate the rest of the company. We’re using IT to help build but using experts in building capabilities and using capabilities externally as well.

Tara: Journey mapping and getting started. How did you go about that process, Liam?

Liam: We worked with our CRM agency and it was straightforward. For our team to do it alone, we’d be doing it still today. Only challenge we had for the customer journey was the look-to-book window. We are a considered purchase similar to a higher-priced item, our window can be anything between 30 and 90 days. To be able to map that engagement throughout that journey and make sure we are diverting customer to a conversion is the hardest bit. 

Tara: [We are all talking about] infrastructure, segmentations, cohorts, personalization, buzzwords. We know we need to do and move toward. Last pieces of advice?

Vanessa: Look at strategic pillars to align all these brands and companies. Building a B2B strategy for the organization. Attend conferences to get ideas. Learn how to change business models. Step back and see how to do we do personalization. The infrastructure piece was so critical. We will be able to be more personalized once we have the foundation elements in place. Baby steps.

Meg: Yep,  don’t take a big bite out of that cookie. Focus on segmenting right now. Figuring out what our three main personas are. We had some outside help come up with a report for us on who are our top three types of people, how do we communicate to them, create content for them that gets them to do the next step.

Liam: Quick wins: looking at basics, making sure you’ve got your data structured right, making sure you’ve got good single customer view and then experimenting and building on top of that.

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