Driving Customer Engagement & Action Through Relevant Emails

Angela Cheong
Oct. 16, 2013 by Angela Cheong

Data + Tech + Messaging = Customer Engagement

Email is not just a tactic. It’s a strategic communication channel, one that’s capable of generating an immediate response. With more digital channels, campaigns and data, messaging is becoming more complex, but managing that complexity can lead to deep, long lasting and engaged customer relationships.

Messaging can fall into the categories of being focused on the product, brand or offer. Data enables customer profiling, advanced segmentation, precise targeting, dynamic customization and unique 1-to-1 messaging.

Matt Vernhout, Chief Privacy Officer and Manager of Deliverability at Inbox Marketer outlined the parameters for his presentation at Interact 2013 with a formula for customer engagement – leveraging a combination of customer data, messaging technology and digital messaging.  Through a series of case studies, he highlighted how brands were able to more successfully engage customers.

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Case Study 1: Walgreens Demonstrates The Value of Combining Data Sets

By getting data from the Centre for Disease Control, Walgreens was able to provide value for their customer database by sending coupons to people in places of high flu density.  Walgreens’ success stems from the following:

  • Going beyond clickstream
  • Combining data sets
  • Profiling, segmenting and targeting customers
  • Leveraging on insights to drive behavior change

Case Study 2: SureBaby Provides Useful Information for Mums-To-Be

SureBaby, an online community for mums-to-be places subscribers into automated stream. Aside from sending a welcome message, SureBaby tracks the progress of their subscribers’ pregnancies and sends relevant emails based on the number of weeks a mum-to-be is pregnant.

Case Study 3: Petro-Canada Reactivates Customer Purchase Behavior

Petro-Canada runs a Petro-Points Loyalty Program for customers and enters declining purchasers into an email program. Through the automation of a dynamic eFlyer that pulls products and offers based on customer location data and postal codes, Petro-Canada were able to streamline their team and channel resources to more needed areas, going from a team of 7 to 3 people managing the program. A third of declining purchases also went back to their normal behavior.

Matt talked about how it was necessary to set up a messaging blueprint once so as to fully understand the program and what data can tell you.

Relevant content is critical, so optimize messages / campaigns, and send messages based on behavior by:

  • Automating data flow (2 ways)
  • Automating messaging
  • Using triggers and business rules
  • Designing for all devices

Case Study 4:  Publix Created A Sense of Urgency With Real-Time Messaging

Publix, a supermarket chain, created a sense of urgency among customers for their products by allowing them to sign up for alerts the moment fresh fruit reached shelves.  An engagement stream was created where customers received six touches over 31 days through email and SMS. There was a retention stream, where customers received relevant product eAlerts, as well as a loyalty stream.

Publix was able to succeed in their campaign through dynamic customization. They created personalized content using dynamic blocks, were relevant and the smarter messaging approach they took led to customer engagement and behavior change.

Case Study 5: M&M Meat Shops Targeted Behaviors To Change

Having done a lot of research, M&M Meat Shops discovered that while their customers’ lifestyles have changed over the last decade, the company had done little to keep up with those changes.  With the goals of increasing shopping frequency in a key segment and upselling new products and categories, M&M Meat Shops decided to move away from the “one size fits all” messaging approach.

They created an eMax eFlyer, which was one publication that was intended to satisfy 10 objectives. The eMax eFlyer incorporated 20% loyalty messaging, 10% new product features and 20% on brand and lifestyle messaging. It had content geared towards:

  • Purchase: Recipes, Product Suggestions
  • Segments: Content, Images
  • Shopping: Promotions, Offers

Matt concluded his presentation by emphasizing the need to tap into data, technology and messaging to become a leader in the industry:

  • Combine and condition data
  • Set up message automation and triggers
  • Segment audience to deliver relevant messaging

While personalization appears to be key to customer engagement, Matt was also quick to warn about the creep factor – mainly don’t freak your customers out by sending them information that is too personal. Remember Target?

Yep, we do too. No one wants to be confronted by an angry dad, so pretend that you know less than you do so as not to creep out your customers in sensitive situations!

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