Disney Uses Engagement to Capture Customers
From the earliest days, relevance has been the goal for most direct and online marketers. Today, however, relevance is not nearly enough. Now, marketers need to focus on one-to-one relevant communications.
So, how do you achieve one-to-one relevancy? It comes down to four competencies:
1. Technology. Marketers have plenty of data-processing capabilities today that produce direct marketing campaigns with one-to-one granularity. In addition, the complexity with which marketers can massage data is readily available.
2. Methods. Marketers have made major inroads in turning data into actionable campaigns through triggered mailings, print on demand, variable data printing, personal URLs and landing pages, to name a few.
3. Smarts. In my career, I've met thousands of super-smart direct marketers — strategists, number crunchers and creative people, for example — all of whom have the singular focus of driving ROI for their companies.
4. Engagement. At the recent National Center for Database Marketing conference in Orlando, Fla., "engagement" was this year's buzzword. It's the missing link to one-to-one relevancy.
During his keynote address during NCDM, Tom Boyles, senior vice president of global customer managed relationships for Disney, explained that marketers can use their databases to create emotional links between what they sell and their customers.
Boyles discussed how Disney's "customer-focused journey" uses data and personalization to engage its customers — called "guests" — by capturing data at any point in time in all channels, including online, agents, room and check-in.
By using analytic models and automated decision engines on the data it collects, Disney provides detailed recommendations on parks and attractions. This ensures a seamless customer experience that connects on its guests' terms.
Instead of a particular department owning a guest, Disney believes that the guest owns the moment using what it calls its "real-time engagement model." In fact, Boyles said each contact with each guest is seen as a hurdle to get past in order to optimize the consumer promise.
One of the programs Disney implements involves a free DVD customers can get via its Web site. This program, which has a 10 percent conversion rate, offers custom park maps and personal to-do items.
Disney also sends out a completely personalized welcome mailer 24 hours after an online visit or call-center interaction. The mailer is customized to the guest's life stage and past history with appropriate messaging and photos.
Another program Disney offers its guests is Disney Express. This enables customers to drop off their luggage at an airport and find it in their rooms waiting for them at their hotels when they arrive. Guests also can leave their luggage in their rooms and find it at the airport baggage claim when they arrive home.
Disney strives for and meets its one-to-one goals of connecting on an emotional level, Boyles said, through data accuracy, real-time communications and by having true relationships with its customers.
To me, that's as close to a relevant, one-to-one communication as I've seen.
Jim Gilbert is president and CEO of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a catalog and direct marketing agency. Reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.