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In The News
Intelligent Online Marketing Boosts Purchases By 25 Percent

August 5, 2009

Published by Retail Customer Experience
Written by Brian Deagan

The three primary channels of direct digital marketing — email, the Web (e.g. eCommerce and onsite targeting technology), and mobile — are extremely effective for communicating with customers and providing them with relevant content designed to help them make a purchase. Traditionally, each channel is treated separately within its own silo, with marketing resources and personnel aligned accordingly. In other words, the email team runs the email marketing, the website team runs the website, and the mobile team is responsible for mobile marketing.

Overlap between the channels is rare for marketing organizations (thus the burgeoning cottage industry of attribution modeling). However, frequent channel overlap is a standard practice for consumers, who bounce from an email offer to the Web for some research to mobile for instant alerts and other time sensitive information. Using the pillars of direct digital marketing — specifically onsite targeting and email marketing — in a complementary way more aligned with how consumers behave promises substantial new segmentation opportunities and plenty of low hanging fruit for marketers. Creating marketing campaigns around those new segments improves customer engagement, increases conversions, and positively affects other important metrics for e-retailers like RPV (revenue per visitor).

Before looking at examples of how onsite targeting and email marketing work together it is important to fully understand what onsite targeting is. Onsite targeting, already a complement to eCommerce solutions, is conceptually simple. Rather than a homepage or landing page prominently displaying a single message, onsite targeting plugs into any existing webpage’s framework and transforms the formerly static space into a "live zone" that rotates dynamic, personalized, and relevant content designed to appeal to all of a brand’s diverse customer audience. Statistics show that the likelihood of a consumer making a purchase increases dramatically when the content they are viewing is relevant to their demonstrated needs.

Here are a couple of examples of direct digital marketing programs that use onsite targeting and email marketing together.

An online premium tea retailer used onsite targeting to discover it was possible to increase sales on a new product by 25 percent. They designed a simple program that used the most basic email data point — email opens — to determine what content would be displayed on their homepage while launching a new product. If an email subscriber opened an email, the new product content was displayed on the homepage the next time that subscriber visited, reinforcing the offer and images. Synchronizing simple, accessible data points — like email opens with homepage content — is one of a thousand different segmentation possibilities. For this premium tea retailer a simple but well coordinated multi-channel program uncovered a potential 25 percent increase in sales — and that was only the first multi-channel effort the retailer conceived.

Traditional online marketing practice dictates that a company sends an email containing an offer to a subscriber, and that subscriber then clicks on a link in the email and visits a landing page where they are given an opportunity to make a purchase. However, if that email subscriber hits the landing page but does not immediately convert — or leaves the page to "up periscope" to the homepage — most marketers lose track of that prospect and the opportunity for the sale is gone. Because onsite targeting technology tracks the prospect’s behavior throughout an entire website, marketers are able to display relevant content on the homepage to direct that prospect back to the landing page and the conversion point.

Whether using website browsing data to drive email tactics or email data to drive website tactics, integrating the email and Web channels provides a more complete picture of the customer and better opportunities for the marketer to get conversions. Further, a brand that is able to demonstrate an understanding of their customer is able to build loyalty and improve the overall customer experience.

Multi-channel strategies and programs provide valuable opportunities for a business to grow, but they are only as good as the data supporting them. It is important to remember that operating well coordinated, successful multi-channel direct digital marketing strategies requires a smart data approach. Housing "actionable" marketing data points — pieces of data that can be used to provide relevant, targeted information and offers to customers and prospects — in a specifically designated marketing data mart is the most common solution. Connecting the data dots transforms increasingly commoditized direct digital marketing channels into newly effective tools for customer engagement.

These tactics and strategies do not place undue emphasis on launching new, expensive initiatives. Good multi-channel direct digital marketing finds effective ways to leverage information the marketer already has at their disposal. The two brief examples outlined here represent the tip of the iceberg for multi-channel strategies, demonstrating the value of going beyond the expected conversion to capture new and previously unattainable sales.

Brian Deagan is co-founder and CEO of Knotice, a direct digital marketing solutions company. He blogs at

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