December 18, 2014
Case Study

B2C Best of 2014: Top takeaways in Web optimization, mobile marketing and email

SUMMARY: All year round, MarketingSherpa seeks out case studies and stories from marketers just like you to discover strategies and tactics that work. In this article, we take a look back on 2014 and share some of your favorite case studies to recap the year to give you some ideas on new and emerging trends to think about for 2015.

Read on for the top four marketing strategies we saw this year, ranging from mobile marketing tactics, customer segmentation and email marketing optimization.
by Erin Hogg, Reporter

Strategy #1. Take your mobile strategy to the next level with deep linking

Over the year, mobile marketing has become a tactic that marketers should not be asking themselves if they should implement. Rather, the question is when they should start.

Whether the interaction is through mobile-friendly sites or emails, providing customers with a seamless experience is essential as more and more customers are on multiple channels during their buying process.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE, we heard from Charles Nicholls, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, SeeWhy.

In 2014, smartphones eclipsed tablets for ecommerce purchases, Nicholls said, and according to Shopify, mobile now accounts for 50.3% of all ecommerce traffic.

SeatGeek, a ticket search engine, aims to provide the best experience for its customers looking for sport and concert tickets. This year, we spoke with Russ D'Souza, Cofounder, SeatGeek, about the marketing team's efforts in implementing a mobile app for purchasing tickets on the go.

When a customer downloads the free mobile SeatGeek app, the team is careful not to overload the user with mobile push notifications. Instead, D'Souza sought out a less intrusive method for engaging users who downloaded the app to use it to its full potential — deep linking.

In deep linking, SeatGeek ads would pop up in a mobile user's other apps, linking directly to the SeatGeek app on their mobile device. Ads are targeted based on the user's activity in the SeatGeek app.

To begin, the team collected data on all the events and tickets SeatGeek offers. From there, the team could:
  • Dynamically generate ads for each event

  • Target those ads to users who would most likely purchase

Targeted users were determined through internal predictive analytics software, which examined customers' behavior in the app.

Through this effort, SeatGeek saw a 10.6% increase in revenue per targeted user and an 8.8% increase in the app's open rate.

For more details on how the team accomplished mobile deep linking, read the case study in its entirety.

Strategy #2. Know thy customer — provide pricing options unique to their needs

When you provide a range of options for your potential customers, how can you show them quickly and accurately the offer that will be most appealing to them?

For NBA team Portland Trail Blazers, the marketing team redesigned the site to offer a better experience for customers. At the time, the site's prices were displayed equally across high-profile games and other games that weren't as marquee.

The team wanted to factor in up to 19 considerations that went into the pricing, including day of the week, opponent and star players. Options for purchasing single-game tickets, rather than season passes, were made available on their own page.

On the single-game page, each game listing included three different price levels, corresponding to levels in the arena, catering to each customer's price range based on their previous behavior on the site.

Through this large effort to reach the right target with the right message, testing was deployed to discover the best way to present various offers.

One test that tweaked the order of ticket price led to 51% more revenue per visitor alone. On the single ticket purchase pages, customers would see three pricing options for different seating levels of the arena.

View the Creative Sample

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As a whole, the dynamic pricing effort in the newly redesigned Portland Trail Blazers led to a 630% ROI.

Want to see more results of the effort as well as a granular look at other elements in this personalization effort? Check out the case study in its entirety for more details or read the MarketingExperiments Blog post on the above test.

Personalization was a hot topic for 2014 in B2C marketing. At Web Optimization Summit 2014, took the stage to tell their own story of going from a one-size-fits-all online experience to a customized, one-to-one experience for its customers.

Read the case study to learn how the team also achieved personalization and segmentation to lift conversion 20%.

Strategy #3. Embrace testing as a pillar of business strategy

From the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, published in 2014, we learned that nearly 60% of organizations' email marketing functions are owned by marketing departments.

In owning that ever-essential piece of marketing, are your email campaigns one-and-done, or are you truly leveraging testing and optimization to generate as much engagement and revenue as possible?

Email Summit 2013 was a wakeup call for Thomas Mender, Senior Director of Database Marketing, Whirlpool. At the time, Whirlpool's email campaigns were developed by an agency and were signed off by Whirlpool marketers. These emails contained many calls-to-actions, sometimes as many as four.

For Mender, he learned that the quality of clicks mattered, and there needed to be a concerted effort to ensuring that the main goal of the email — in this case, driving consumers to a rebate landing page — is the only action in the email.

But of course, Mender didn’t want to rely on simply best practices — he and the team needed to test.

Upon his return back to the office, Mender was charged with selling the benefits of testing to brand managers to achieve buy-in to give more control of email messaging back to the marketing team. He interviewed brand managers and agency partners to understand and establish the business goals each party needed to achieve.

Finally, Mender and his team identified a test plan, specifically with testing the four CTAs email against sends with one CTA.

Items they wanted to test included:
  • Subject lines

  • Segmentation of recipients

  • CTA buttons, varying the copy of them as well as the number of CTAs present

As a result, the email with one single focused CTA increased clicks 42%.

Interested in learning more on how Mender set up a testing culture and more on this test? Read the case study to apply his discoveries to your own email campaigns.

Strategy #4. Leverage (repurposed) content to provide valuable information to customers

Generating valuable content for your audience doesn't have to be an effort filled with one-off campaigns — taking one piece of content and sharing it across multiple channels has proven to be successful for many companies in many verticals.

Take evo, for example. In 2014, we heard from the outdoor action sports retailer and its efforts in leveraging the automation feature through its ESP (email service provider) to deliver content that would, in turn, improve engagement, build trust and drive repeat sales.

Evo's site was already filled with well-written how-to articles, detailing everything from how to buy a snowboard boot to how to get in shape for the ski season. The team, led by Nathan Decker, Senior Manager of Ecommerce, evo, set out to share this content through a three-part email series.

Sent over a week's time, the three-part series contained content on how to find the perfect ski boot, with each email linking back to the site to read more.

When compared to evo's overall email program, the three-part content series produced a 904% increase in clickthrough rate and a 160% increase in open rate.

Check out the case study in its entirety to discover how evo embraced content repurposing to easily and effectively engage its audience, simply by leveraging what the team already had.

For case studies and how-to articles delivered right to your inbox every other week, subscribe to the free MarketingSherpa Consumer Marketing Newsletter.

Creative Samples

  1. SeatGeek ad

  2. Portland Trail Blazers ticket price test

  3. Whirlpool email control

  4. Whirlpool email treatment

  5. Evo email series



Portland Trail Blazers



Related Resources

MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study — Free download made possible by a research grant from Magento, an eBay company

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015

B2C Marketing: 65% lift in organic traffic from in-house digital marketing transition

Ecommerce: Going beyond omnichannel for creative customer experiences

Ecommerce: How an online retailer achieved a 17% conversion lift with faster page loading

Omnichannel Marketing: Optimizing digital content efforts to maximize growth in ecommerce

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