When Targeting Turns to Blasting: Answers

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Marketing Challenge: When Targeting Turns to Blasting
Marketing Challenge: When Targeting Turns to Blasting

Carlos Miranda Durand, Revenue Science Fellow, FedEx

Here is my advice for Rodgin:

1. Look among non-customers. Your new product may help expand Daymore's customer base if you follow a similar analytical process (e.g. modeling customers who purchased similar products in the past) and focus the search for lookalikes among customers who have not purchased from your firm yet. Use external sources and also consider purchasing mailing lists that contain the customer profile that you are targeting.

2. Better understand the value of the new product for your customers. The features of the new product compared to your old products may not be different enough or valuable enough to warrant the new price or to justify the cost of an upgrade from the customer's perspective.  Research what benefits your target customers gain from the new product, if they understood these benefits during the marketing campaign, how satisfied they are with the old product, how long the old product lasts in their process, and if the brand carries value with customers. 

3. Monitor the competition.  The competitive landscape can evolve quickly and another firm may have launched a similar (or better) product recently. If that proves to be the case, consider options like improving your new product's features or pricing it adequately based on the differentiation value that each one provides to the customer. If you have competitive advantages, include them in your promotional messaging to the relevant segments. Try to avoid discounting your product unless you know that it will lead to higher profits after customer and competitor responses are accounted for.

John Halliburton, British Parts

Rodgin needs to identify and isolate the problem(s). She should go back to the beginning and chat with the product manager and product development team, then reexamine the product/market research data to ensure they didn't miscalculate market potential and consumer demand. Evaluate and progress through their processes until she discovers the disconnect.  I realize it's hard to believe, but even marketing and advertising geniuses can't fix stupid.

Erik Gupp, digital specialist, Bridgeline Digital 

The problem with email marketing is that it is not an exact science. There's no formula that guarantees marketers a successful campaign; the same steps you took in a previous email that earned great results won't necessarily track in ensuing efforts.

Given that we don't know what type of product Rodgin is marketing, it's hard to determine a specific strategy for her to implement. The Marketing Challenge does not address whether purchase of the product is limited to online channels, or can also be found in a retail outlet. Other pertinent questions include whether the product is a retail good targeted at a wide mass of consumers, or if it is a high-value technical product that has a much smaller audience.

Putting those questions aside for a moment, Kate had a (seemingly) well-planned campaign ready to execute. Initially, she correctly identified a target audience and built an expansive multichannel outreach plan.  However, let's examine where her efforts may have fallen short.

Typically new product adoption means you need to really sell the benefits of what makes your product better than others available from competitor products. This means developing a strategy comprising not only emails and postcards, but also sending samples, holding demos, purchasing radio ads, planning social media campaigns (e.g., Facebook and Twitter posts), or even sending the product to third-party bloggers related to the industry to generate buzz. These are all examples of strategies that gain significant product awareness out in the marketplace. Consequently, when the recipient receives an email or postcard, they may be more inclined to click through to your website and make a purchase.

Another place to look for improvements is in evaluating the metrics of Kate's email campaign. This involves taking a deep-dive approach in to the data, and looking at elements like open rates and click-through rates. If the open rates are substandard, she should look at the subject line and ask germane questions like:

  • Is it too long? Numerous studies show that subject lines of 50 characters or less generate a higher open rate.
  • What about the vocabulary? Action-oriented verbs grab a reader's attention and drive desired outcomes.

Kate then should examine what's being displayed above the fold. Statistics have shown that email readers spend approximately 5 seconds scanning an email before they close the message.  Even though your distribution list is targeted, if the content isn't engaging or the messaging is too broad/hidden, then you will not see the results you want. In this case, the email was not effective, thus redesigning the email template to better highlight the product is advised. Here are a few questions she should consider:

  • Is the image or call-to-action (CTA) effective? This is the driving force behind an email campaign. If the recipient doesn't see or understand the CTA, the entire campaign is in jeopardy. Determining how well it resonates with readers cannot be understated in terms of email success.
  • What hyperlinks/thumbnails are grabbing user's attention? Understanding which links in the email copy are working and which are not will go a long way in assisting future campaigns.

My last suggestion to Kate is to not saturate the distribution lists with too many emails. In the digital world we live in, the average person gets hundreds of emails every day. It is simple for a user to ignore an email or chose to unsubscribe if they feel you are over-communicating to them.  Lower open rates typically happen when emails from businesses come too frequently or contain messaging that is too broad. By using these areas of improvement, I think Kate will be able to see a better return on both this email campaign and future efforts.

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