by David Kirkpatrick
, Senior Reporter
For this year-end recap of consumer marketing in 2012, we look back at five lessons learned across a variety of channels and tactics, including social media, paid search, optimization and database management.
Read on for three case studies and two how-to articles covering these topics with actionable tactics and strategies, as well as results of actual marketing efforts from your peers.
Lesson Learned #1. Company culture influences testing and optimization programs
Cabela’s, the sports and outdoor product retailer, had a deep history in testing its offline marketing campaigns — a corporate culture that was expanded to testing digital marketing efforts in 2005.
The how-to article, "Offline and Online Optimization: Cabela’s shares tactics from 51 years of offline testing, 7 years of digital testing
," explained how Cabela’s regularly tested its direct mail pieces, such as the physical catalog, and goes into detail on how it set up the current digital marketing testing and optimization process.
The process was relatively simple with three main tactics:
- Put the testing team together
- Consider both online and offline analytics
- Create a process that prioritizes what to conduct tests on
Tony Uhlir, Internet Customer Experience Manager, Cabela’s, explained the testing process brings different team members into play through three high-level steps:
- Request and Prioritization — This step involves managing the request process with the project manager working with the requestors to provide stakeholders with enough information to understand the level of effort, risks and potential benefits of the test before a Prioritization Committee review.
Team members involved: project manager, technical lead, prioritization committee and program sponsors who are informed about decisions and progress
- Test Development — This step involves three stages with different team members in each.
Test design: usability group, content designers, technical lead and project manager to coordinate documentation and communication
Defining measurements: statisticians for modeling and sample estimates
Build and quality assure test: technical lead, QA team and business
- Execute the Test — Exactly what this step sounds like, this step is the actual deployment of the test.
Communication: project manager keeps appropriate groups informed
Monitor test progress: project manager and technical lead
Post-test analysis: project manager, technical lead, analytics teams and statistician team
Summary development and results delivery: project manager, statisticians, usability group
Uhlir said, "We wanted to get in, prove out the system, validate things to make sure everything was working, and build confidence within the team of the fact that this is working."
He continued, "If you are just starting now, you definitely want to make sure that you work through some small projects to get everybody on board, that the results are real. And what we found in doing something overly complex is it essentially adds a lot of risk in doing something incorrectly, which then becomes a ‘killing field’ for the results."
Lesson Learned #2. Facebook apps can boost customer engagement and website referrals
Innovation Norway is a state-owned company that focuses on the promotion and development of Norway, and the organization was experienced using Facebook to market travel destinations in the country to the U.S. market.
When Innovation Norway was preparing a new destination marketing campaign, the company decided to utilize Facebook with the actual tactic being a "daily challenge" app.
"Social Media Marketing: Facebook app boosts engagement, adds 23,000 fans and lifts website referrals 238%
" provides the steps in that process including how the marketing team defined the end-user experience for the app, and how an incentive was included in the daily challenge. The steps also included the promotion Innovation Norway engaged in to get users to download and use the app, and finally the follow-up activities from the company after the daily challenge game ended that kept the app community engaged.
This case study led to:
- 195% lift in new Facebook fans (more than 23,000 new fans)
- 6,500% increase in daily "Likes" of page content
- 1,400% increase in daily users engaged with the "Visit Norway USA" Facebook page
- The increased engagement generated a 202% lift in daily organic impressions
- The number of people "talking about" the page each day increased 1,101% over pre-campaign engagement
Lesson Learned #3. There are tactics for improving app store rankings
If you distribute your app through an app store for Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android or Microsoft’s apps, ranking highly within that store helps increase visibility for your mobile application.
We reached out to two experts for tactics on meeting this challenge in the how-to article, "Mobile Marketing How-To: 9 tactics for improving ranking in Apple’s App Store and the Google Android Market
Our sources offered details on these nine app store tips and tricks:
- Use different approaches for different app platforms
- Understand your audience, and make your app worthwhile
- Work with multiple traffic sources
- Focus on loyal users
- Fit your mobile app efforts into your overall marketing mix
- Drive app downloads from organic users
- Consider alternative categories
- Require app users to rate your application
- Understand why you want to have a high app store ranking for your application
Lesson Learned #4. Automating paid search can be effective
ModCloth, a vintage apparel and accessory retailer, utilized paid search as a key marketing strategy, advertising on Google, Yahoo! and Bing globally. The challenge was the company entered a period of what Theresa Rockovich, Search Engine Marketing Specialist, ModCloth, described as "hyper growth."
The challenge was the company was engaged in a very labor-intensive manual process with its paid search, while looking at the same time to expand its keywords and manage the paid search budget.
The solution was finding a third-party vendor that could automate the process.
The case study, "Paid Search Marketing: Automation increases revenue 22%
," looks at this entire effort from vendor selection through adding new elements to ModCloth’s paid search, like automated bidding and reporting.
When seeking the vendor, ModCloth had a list of priorities:
- Algorithms with intelligence in bidding up or down
- Robust data analysis
- Efficient in day-to-day campaign management
- Ability to expand campaigns
- Ability to apply bid rules to thousands of keywords on an automated basis
- Automated ad uploader tool
With the vendor selected, the process included getting the IT department involved in integrating the third-party software, expanding the paid search keywords and including testing and optimization on paid search campaigns.
In less than two years, automated paid search at ModCloth achieved:
- 22% increase in paid search revenue
- 500% increase in managed keywords
- 14% reduction in cost-per-click
- 30% reduction in time spent on reporting and bidding
Lesson Learned #5. Database management is a B2C tactic
Any marketer running email campaigns should monitor the email database to continually remove unsubscribes and bad addresses, if nothing else. But, at the same time, major database management projects that get into the entirety of a company’s data can seem more the purview of B2B marketers and their often much longer sales cycle.
For B2C marketers with that attitude, think again. The database is an asset, and managing that asset can pay marketing dividends in improved campaign performance, and better targeting and segmentation for messages and offers.
"Database Marketing: Hearst increases direct mail response 25%, creates 200% ROI
," provides insight into how a publishing company, Hearst Magazines, took control of its database to better market to a customer base that was buying and interacting with its products through multiple channels both on- and offline.
Hearst had customers subscribing to, and reading, its products in print, on the Internet, and on mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.
Charlie Swift, Vice President of Marketing Analysis and Operations, Hearst Magazines, said, "We have multiple magazines, and with each of these magazines, we communicated with our customers in multiple channels. We wanted to bring all that information together and have that 360-degree customer view."
The challenge was the marketing team realized a lot of redundancy occurred in its campaigns. The same person would be hit with multiple, and often the same, offers through more than one marketing channel because no integration existed inside the database to "see" that each of those offers was going to a single individual.
To meet this problem, Marketing spent several months interviewing different people within the company asking them what the database should look like if it was being rebuilt from scratch. The early win was simply removing much of the duplication by collapsing each customer in the database to what Swift described as a "single view."
The result was the ability to highly target each person in the database by particular attributes, such as:
- Marital status
And, with the new database management process in place, the marketing team was able to continue refining that process for even more detailed targeting and creation of reporting tools to keep track of the database.
The results of implementing database management at Hearst?
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- 25% increase in direct mail response rate
- 8% reduction in customer database records
- 200% return on investment over three years
SourcesCabela’sHearst MagazinesInnovation Norway
– United StatesModCloth
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