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Business and Technology Insights

Targeting lessons from the trenches

 
January 30, 2018

Data collection is just the tip of the iceberg. Knowing how to effectively apply this data for omni-channel targeting, will determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and ultimately your investments.

Allow the customer to own their data
There will be cases where you may not be 100% sure of customer identity. For example, browsing behavior is bound to be erratic if there are multiple users of a computer or device. Therefore, you cannot verify changes in the customer profile or traits. Many organizations will refuse to target their customers at all in these cases, but there could be a middle path as well.

A better approach would be to identify use cases where you can target personalized messages and allow for correction by the users themselves. Let them be in charge of their data. For example, send an email with a messaging “based on your browsing behavior, these are the available offers. If you’d rather pick from our other offerings, you can click here.” A leading streaming media and video-on- demand entertainment provider does this admirably.

Conceptually this is not much different from direct-to- web personalization where any targeting is based on browsing behavior of an anonymous user that may also be a yet-to-be identified customer.

Of course, not all offers and campaigns will be suitable for less than 100% assurance of identity, but many will be.

Choose quantity and quality wisely
Don’t only wait for the magic campaign that targets all prospects with 100% assurance. Such campaigns, while high quality, are few and are focused only on a fraction of your customer base.

Instead, also consider campaigns, which may not give you a higher conversion rate, but may target a much wider audience. Broader targeting allows you to achieve greater overall conversions due to higher volumes. With modern tooling enabling campaign launch at just the click of a button, this should not be overlooked.

For instance, Campaign A targets audience with very specific traits and hits 5000 people with 80% conversion rate. On the other hand, Campaign B, which may be as simple as changing how you address the customer by first name or last name, hits 100,000 customers with 10% conversion rate. It still gets you 10,000 conversions as against Campaign A’s 4000 conversions.

Campaign B is low inertia, easier to get off the ground and helps to build an optimization strategy bit by bit. Campaign A, is the basic bread and butter of your business.

Target prudently
When campaigns are run, ensure you provide enough time for normalization. Quite often, you will observe much noise during the initial phase of the campaign. You may have a couple of days with a large number of conversions – far above the industry average, while on other days it may fall flat. Allow for the results to settle down. This can take a few days to a couple of weeks and depends heavily on your traffic.

Also, ensure that you are running campaigns that target a sizable volume of traffic; elaborate campaigns that target too narrow a focus of customers will not yield a statistically significant result. Its repeatability will be uncertain and may result in a sunk investment.

Nurture prospects
In today’s enterprises, different business units look at targeting prospects in isolation. Enterprise systems/channels that not only collect data but determine how it is used to personalize services are significantly fragmented even within the same business unit. An enterprise strategy to unify these systems, and track and synchronize customer/prospect interactions is missing. For new business growth, this lead to invisible cannibalism of conversions across different units. For existing customers, it leads to frustrated experiences of having to start each conversation at step zero.

Think outside the box
Be aware of aspects that may skew your result. For example, if the navigation of your website forces the users down a specific path, then this can skew your results.

Spend adequate time in modelling appropriate personas for customers. Have a good idea of customer propensity for conversions at different times of a day (morning commute), times of the year (summer sales), stages of their lives (new job or moving house) or a combination of all of the above.

Plan for cross channel experiences
Customers have massive interactions with your brand. Therefore, delivering the right experience in the right format to the targeting engine for targeting across multiple touch points becomes important. However, without a proper strategy or roadmap, all your investments in data insight generation and targeting will be stifled. A single technology may not be the answer. Whatever technology you choose, should allow you to present to your customers a catalogue of optimized experiences across different channels. This technology should still help you maintain a consistency in content management for those experiences.

Plan big, start small and realize value along the way!

Our Adobe experts will be present at the Adobe Summit, March 25-29, 2018, Las Vegas. Plan your meetings with our business and technology leaders and learn more about TCS’ successes in digital content and experience management and how we are transforming global companies with improved digital customer experience.

Tushar has been working in the IT industry for almost 2 decades. During that time, he has worked across multiple technology domains , including ERP, Web Technologies & RIA, and ECM, for customers around the globe across multiple verticals. Tushar says that he has realized that he enjoys the journey towards a goal , as much as achieving the goal itself. Tushar quite enjoys photography and gaming, which surprisingly (or not depending on your view) has helped him gain a more holistic perspective towards his area of professional expertise, Enterprise Content Management and Digital Strategy. Tushar is passionate about reading and Impressionist paintings Tushar's specialties include: Enterprise Content Management, Web CMS, Digital Strategy, Enterprise Solutions across domains for Adobe CQ5, Adobe LiveCycle and web technologies