Performance marketing: 5 tips to compete with the best
In the battle of the brands, small and mid-sized businesses are often seen as ‘Davids’ to the larger, more established Goliaths of the retail world. Whilst it is true that smaller retailers have the agility and resourcefulness of the boy in the story, it has not been as easy for them to take their giants down. Research shows that despite their flexibility and nimble ways of working, over half of all SME retailers in the UK are not expanding internationally.
This is set to change. Now, new technology means that mid-sized businesses are becoming equipped with the tools they need to grow. Performance marketing in particular is one way for these businesses to compete with larger companies with huge marketing budgets on a global level, at a relatively low cost of entry.
Making the most of a moment
An effective use of a performance based approach is ‘moment marketing’. Moment marketing is about understanding that customer-centric marketing is not just about targeting the right people, but targeting them at the right time. Seasonal ‘moments’ such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, for example, have become annual consumer shopping peaks. Figures show that sales of health and beauty products were up by 51 percent on the Sunday prior to Mother’s Day in 2015, and in the week prior to Valentine’s Day there was a 115 percent uplift in sales of flowers and gifts. With propensity to spend so high in these moments, they are the perfect time for marketers to develop campaigns to drive sales.
Knowing your customer inside out
Whilst moment marketing is driven by seasonal ‘hooks’, it is important that retailers keep their customers at the centre of campaigns. Marketers need build customer personas, helping them get a better understanding of who is buying on the other side of the screen. Understanding a customer means not only knowing their age and gender but also what their challenges and pain points are, what success looks like for them and what keeps them up at night. From here, marketers can find patterns in consumer behaviour and, ultimately, predict what they want to buy next.
Adding seasonality into this mix can, depending on what a browser has looked at or purchased, help determine what the shopper will buy next. For example, someone who has been identified as a new parent from previous purchases may be more likely to be buy a mother’s or father’s day gift for their partner.
Once predictions have been made they can then be transformed into creative campaigns. Crucially for mid-sized retailers, these campaigns do not need to involve big budgets but should focus instead on creativity. Smaller businesses can use email retargeting or social media, for example, to bring campaigns to life.
Personas are important, but after making predictions, campaigns are only as strong as the channels used.
Mobile is vital for reaching customers on the go. This is particularly important during holidays or public days when consumers are most likely to not be at a desk or at home to access a PC. During Christmas 2015, over 30 percent of online sales in the UK were made through mobile devices. Last year, average mobile activity during the week of 21st December was higher than any other week of the holiday season. In fact, it peaked at 59.7 percent of all e-commerce traffic versus 40.3 percent for desktop.
Ignoring mobile is no longer an option for mid-size businesses. As competitors become increasingly sophisticated in this area, it is important that smaller retailers keep up and benefit too.
Measure success, not cost
All businesses, no matter their size, need to keep an eye on costs.
However, to make smart assessments of marketing spend, marketers should move away from thinking about budgets and look at cost of sale instead. When it comes to performance marketing, this is simple. Because costs are designed to ‘perform’ they will, ultimately, pay for themselves. This means that as long as performance targeting is working and generating profitable conversions, advertisers should continue to invest to see positive ROI.
A goliath advantage
The future is bright for mid-sized businesses. The retail market has recognised that smaller organisations are a smart option and rewarded them accordingly. In fact, 88 percent of small businesses reported growth in revenue in 2015.
To build on this, mid-sized businesses now need to make intelligent choices about the technology on offer to them and invest in marketing. By borrowing tools that have worked for the giants in their path and making them their own, mid-sized businesses can steer themselves to success in 2016 and beyond.
By Tim Frankcom, Executive Vice President of Mid Market & Online Channel at Criteo
Read the August 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.