Scotiabank and Frederick’s of Hollywood mix media to propel customer interaction.
Long before the Internet, direct marketing companies practiced multichannel marketing, especially business-to-business firms. But this layered communication approach was more about pushing sales messages to prospects and customers than it was about being accessible and ready to take sales or questions at the prospect’s or customer’s convenience.
As the industry continues to realize, the Internet has completely transformed the direct marketer/customer relationship. By pairing e-mail and the Web with offline media, direct marketers are able to develop compelling campaigns that offer recipients the ultimate in communication choices.
Benefits of Channel Coordination
For Michael Seaton, director of e-marketing at Scotiabank, a Canadian financial services firm, channel selection for customer-oriented efforts is based on each customer segment that is isolated by various response models. Then, the Scotiabank marketing team works through considerations such as channel costs, customers’ demonstrated channel preferences and the fit between the message and the medium.
Seaton explains that an offer for online banking services presented via online media alone won’t reach the bank’s entire customer base, leaving potential users of this service under-served. Any one customer behavior viewed independent of other cues, he says, can result in pockets of missed marketing opportunities.
Frederick’s of Hollywood, a women’s intimate apparel marketer, also finds it’s important not to close off channel experiences to customers and prospects. For example, Frederick’s offers a virtual version of its current catalog to Web customers, in case visitors are not on the mailing list and prefer the experience of browsing catalog pages to scrolling through product listings, says Jennifer Bedolla, online marketing director for Frederick’s of Hollywood.
Other ways that Frederick’s tries to support multichannel commerce is by using e-mail pre-alerts to tease future catalog drops; these pre-alerts feature snapshots from the catalog so customers make the connection when their catalog arrives. In addition, Bedolla says, the Web site is stocked with merchandise from the catalog a week in advance of the drop, so these e-mailed customers can shop before their catalog arrives. She explains that this technique contributes to the migration of catalog shopper to online buyer; currently, 60 percent of housefile customers who receive a catalog go online to place their orders.
So what kind of results might you expect from aligning your communication and sales goals across multiple channels? The following case studies from Scotiabank and Frederick’s of Hollywood provide not only insights of what works, but also some lessons learned along the way.
Case Study: Scotiabank’s Home Ownership Campaign
Goal: Start a dialogue with customers who, according to response models, were likely to purchase a home and take a mortgage from Scotiabank
Media: E-mail, phone and the Web
Tools: Unica’s Affinium
Campaign: Scotiabank likes to establish relationships between its local branch networks and then leverage this personal connection for stronger marketing communications, says Seaton. To get customers talking about their homeownership goals and future needs for a mortgage, the firm used e-mail to deliver a personalized, service-oriented message, rather than pitch a specific mortgage offer.
Since customers already were used to receiving informative content and targeted offers via an e-mail program called The Vault, which includes newsletters written by third-party financial experts, Scotiabank expected this e-mail would be well received, says Seaton. The messaging explained how Scotiabank Financial Advisors could help customers learn more about the ins and outs of saving for a down payment and qualifying for a mortgage. Each e-mail was designed to look as if it came from the customer’s local branch, he explains.
Customers were urged to click on a button in the e-mail that read, “Contact Me.” This click automatically triggered the Affinium campaign management tool to direct the customer’s request to the corresponding local branch. The local financial advisor, armed with the customer’s banking history and available rates and services, then would call the customer within the noted three- to five-day window to discuss his or her needs.
After the conversation, the bank rep would input feedback about the call via a Web site interface, so Scotiabank could track the overall effectiveness of this multichannel approach.
Results: “The response rate to this campaign was substantial in two areas,” Seaton points out:
1. Improved prospecting efforts. Typically, outbound cold calling campaigns required 100 calls to secure one mortgage customer. By using e-mail to prequalify leads, 70 percent to 80 percent of the leads produced by the e-mail resulted in mortgage sales.
2. Ancillary sales. In addition to meeting mortgage sales goals, the Financial Advisors also were able to sell customers banking services, such as savings accounts with automatic monthly deposits, that would help them achieve their homeownership goals.
According to Seaton, this e-mail/phone campaign has been conducted twice and will continue in the future.
Lessons Learned: 1) E-mail is “a response-intensive channel that can engender not exactly the response you expect,” says Seaton. The customer’s reply could be unrelated to the offer, such as praise, complaints, questions or other feedback; your operation needs to be buttoned up and prepared to handle any communication. 2) You can’t just cut and paste copy from channel to channel and get a good response; no general formula works for all channels.
Case Study: Frederick’s of Hollywood’s Dollars-off Promotion
Goal: Increase the average order value and boost response
Media: Catalog, e-mail and the Web
Tools: Lyris Technologies e-mail solutions
Campaign: A typical promotion used by Frederick’s of Hollywood in its catalog is a dollars-off campaign, where the more customers buy, the more they save. The savings tier might look like this, says Jennifer Bedolla: $10 off $100 orders; $20 off $150 orders; $50 off $200 orders; and $75 off $350 orders.
Bedolla wanted to see if the same promotion mirrored in an e-mail campaign to the customer and prospect file would lift sales measurably.
E-mail clickthroughs were tracked via back-end links to Lyris Technologies. Frederick’s also conducts matchbacks to attribute online sales to catalog drops.
Results: This extra messaging proved very successful, giving Frederick’s a response increase of 9 percent, along with an increase in the average order value of 27 percent and an increase in clickthroughs (compared to other e-mail campaigns) of 41 percent.
Bedolla notes that the test and control panels dropped one month apart and that the test campaign benefited from a 3.3-percent increase in circulation. Still, she thinks the results are too strong to be attributed greatly to reaching more people with the test campaign.
Lessons Learned: 1) Your departments need to work together; at Frederick’s of Hollywood, the direct marketing division oversees the Internet department, and all offers, campaigns and source codes are coordinated for multichannel tracking. 2) Use your strengths in each channel. During the holidays, says Bedolla, free shipping is offered online but not in the catalog, since the Internet is a more competitive arena during this season. 3) Track your response metrics carefully to guard against overcontact. Bedolla recalls a campaign from earlier this year that ran for a week. It offered 40 percent off the entire Web site, and e-mails were sent each day during the promotion to remind customers that time was running out on the sale. The opt-out rates jumped dramatically during the campaign, she says, proving that customers expect unique, relevant messages for e-mail contact.