Traditional Marketing Gets Charged Up
One might not think that Medicare enrollees in their 60s and 70s would be tuned into digital media, but one would be wrong. That's one of the key learnings HealthNow executives took away from Renzi's revamp of the marketing program behind the insurer's Medicare Advantage supplemental coverage. He didn't change the traditional media mix for the brand, but he made sure that all the TV commercials, direct mail pieces, and radio spots included URLs that led prospects back to the brand's website.
“Direct mail is still an important medium for this segment. They love paper and they love to read things,” Renzi says. “They love to read things on the Web, too. During the enrollment period for Medicare, the level of traffic that came into our site was tremendous. Using analytics, we found that [visitors] were not leaving after entering the first page, but were going three and four levels deep.”
HealthNow marketers also learned that members of this customer segment were spending time on the website at 3 a.m., since many have trouble sleeping through the night. This is not a daypart choice the company would likely make for its TV or radio schedule, but the digital connection revealed its relevance.
Renzi agrees with Adobe's Burns that creating integrated offline-online strategies needn't take a lot of time. When he first arrived on the scene, he immediately sought out partners in the communications and IT departments. (“Without their cooperation, you can't be successful,” he says.) He took three months to set up a foundation for multichannel marketing—looking for tools to analyze customer data and add functionality to the company websites. After some two months of shopping around, he invested in an Adobe CQ5 program and Google Analytics to swiftly build websites and pages and track social media. HealthNow's beefed-up analytics quickly illustrated that social media is not the sole realm of millennials. The company learned that it had a heavy social media following among women ages 44 to 55.
“An integrated program allowed the Medicare subscriber—or the younger adult shopping for their parent—to really get down into the details of what they should be looking for,” Renzi says.
If you can make it there…
Since entering the U.S. market with the acquisition of 300 office buildings and workplaces in 2004, Europe-based “virtual office” company Regus has been on an upward learning curve, building its knowledge on segments and channels as it's grown its U.S. locations to 800. Its first major media play was in a traditional channel—broadcast TV. It aired spots on 25 different channels before narrowing its buy to four (Bloomberg TV, CNN, ESPN, and Fox News Network,) that homed in on the business customers who rent its temporary offices and meeting spaces. Next came radio, such as ESPN's Mike & Mike show, where customer testimonial ads helped to nearly double marketing-led inquiries.
One of the quickest ways to gain multichannel mastery is to hire it, and that's what Regus did in bringing on current VP of Marketing Rebecca Tann from competitor Oakwood Worldwide in 2008. Tann had a solid grounding in digital methods, having also served as marketing director of FedEx's Kinko's unit, now FedEx Office. Her aggressive expansion into multichannel marketing at Regus had its roots in a campaign that accompanied the company's entry into the New York market in 2009.
“We had a huge flagship location at 747 Third Avenue and seven other new centers, and we were lacking in occupancy,” Tann recalls. “We ended up increasing occupancy 25% in two months with an integrated campaign that targeted key verticals in the Tri-State area, as well as lost and last customers.”
Regus's New York campaign left no touchpoint, it seemed, unpressed. It included TV, radio, out-of-home, taxi TV, direct mail, and email. The company used alliances with GoDaddy.com and Delta Airlines Inc. to announce its arrival to business travelers, small business owners, and sole proprietors in the market. It staged events at locations and a PR campaign that featured a survey it conducted with New Yorkers about their workplace pain points.
Regus's multichannel invasion of New York continues to inform its marketing strategies to the present day. “It brought everyone in the organization together to create a multitiered campaign,” Tann says. “We took away some great learnings.”
One of them was that there are ways to control traditional brand messaging in the wild and woolly world of social media. Over the past year Tann and her staff have gotten serious about improving the company's activities there. Worried about not being able to control the brand message, Regus had established a policy that no employees could tweet about the company. Tann and the marketing team saw that policy as unrealistic and embarked on a program to open up the tweet-gates and turn employees into Regus's positive social media force. They hired social media managers who trained 500 handpicked employees, including salespeople, members of the operations team, executives, and receptionists at Regus office center locations.
“We said, ‘Let's give them the tools and make them our advocates,'” Tann says. “The mind-set on the executive team changed to, ‘OK, let's do this right or else we're going to miss out on a great opportunity.”
Tann's advice to marketers looking to expand their horizons into digital harks back to traditional business wisdom: Don't be afraid to take a risk. “Of course it's a challenge and a risk. You have to be cognizant of that,” she says, “Provide your people with the tools and the training they need, but allow them to bring their personal fl air to the party. Employees have to own and believe in what they're doing.”
She also echoes a common warning of experienced digital marketers: The winning formula is that there is no winning formula. It's an ever-changing landscape requiring constant monitoring and tweaking.
“In the past five years we've had three different websites. We're still learning what we need to do to increase conversions. Our marketing automation is still in the hands of marketing and hasn't been integrated into the sales effort as yet. Enterprise companies are starting to use us, but we haven't targeted them properly,” Tann observes. “It's an ongoing science project.”