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How Verizon’s Top Retailer Taps Smart Content For CX Success

Victra is in the business of helping customers go mobile.

The Verizon-authorized retailer offers a selection of smartphones, tablets, and accessories, at more than 1,150 locations nationwide. In a sense, Victra’s a brick-and-mortar for those on the go, demanding a marketing mix that marries in-store opportunities with mobile experiences.

Since they’re selling smart devices, Victra must be smart about the content they’re serving. A loyal Apple customer doesn’t need to see ads for Android devices as they browse on their iPhone; it’s not a relevant experience. And when driving in-store traffic is top-of-mind, making it easy for customers to find a nearby location matters – especially during real-time events, like local sales, or special occasions.

In 2017, Victra struggled with delivering personalized messaging. Their email strategy consisted of standardized campaigns, without much room to cater to unique audiences. Victra needed a change of pace – something that was a little more real-time, and backed by data.

“It was kind of a natural progression to say, ‘listen, we’re at this level of performance…what are the technologies that we need to have in place to really be successful?’” Nicholas Metcalfe, VP of marketing/CRM, said.

To revamp their marketing strategy, Victra focused on creating email conversations in context, with a combination of data targeting, subject line testing, and smart content.

Location – more than just directions

Victra’s marketing team wanted to make it simple for customers to find a nearby location on-the-go. So they tapped Movable Ink’s “intelligent content” capabilities to help bring email campaigns to life.

“Intelligent content” boils down the idea of marketing to specific use cases, which Leah Gelblat, account manager, Movable Ink, says “allow us to change email based on the moment-of-open.”

“This can be based on time, knowing that [specific] store’s location, and the time they’re open as well,” Gelblat said.

Victra swapped traditional email CTAs with an embedded map that uses real-time location data to identify the closest retail stores to a customer, updated in real-time, when they open the email.

“The idea of connecting the fact that we’re always on our phones – and a particular location – with context, has made dramatic changes,” Metcalfe said. “Instead of a call-to-action saying ‘find your store,’ we put the map right there, so you can see you’re within a proximity of a particular location. It makes it so much easier for our guests.”

Victra took a similar approach with email messaging and social media. Messages and imagery became specific to a customer’s device habits, and static social media buttons were traded in for real-time feeds.

“Whenever you consume it [the email], you are going to see the latest posts on Instagram up there,” Metcalfe said. “It gives you a really good sense of what’s happening with the company, versus just an icon.”

When combined with location data, social can tie into in-store campaigns, like trade-ins, or sales. At Victra, the effort resulted in a 92 percent lift in email engagement, Metcalfe added.

“You can make those really cool tie ins,” Gelblat said. “You can bring in a specific hashtag, or a specific repost, and that shows users are engaged.” In turn, Gelblat says, showing how others are engaging with content can help spark engagement from other customers, too.

Smart subject line testing

To improve open rates, Victra turned to Persado to help craft and test targeted subject lines based on user emotion and intent.

“Through analyzing the current language that a brand uses and the responses that they get, we’re able to predict which words and phrases will work with their audience, and deliver that language to them,” Elizabeth Adam, manager, pro customer success, Persado, said.

Metcalfe says subject line suggestions helps eliminate the “guessing game” that often comes with subject line selection, making it easier for his team to select, test, and deploy, more effective options in shorter periods of time. According to Victra, suggested subject lines also saw a 48 percent lift in open rate.

Consistent testing also helps train the algorithm, which can help yield better options.

“For each experiment, it [Persado] continually learns based on our prior performance — what’s working, what’s not working,” Metcalfe said.

Beyond the inbox

After seeing success through email, Metcalfe says the Victra team plans to bring intelligent content to their other marketing channels, like paid social, and programmatic ads.

“Now we can do the same emotional testing on images, descriptions, and headlines on Facebook, to determine the winner,” Metcalfe said. “We’re taking concepts like location, live content, and emotion, and really barreling those learnings across as many channels as possible.”

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