The cost to acquire users is only going up but winning brands are able to effectively convert these users to owned communications channels. This was the main takeaway from a recent webinar with Kahuna’s Doug Roberge and Michael Becker, co-founder of mCordis,
While there are many types of marketing, Michael said they all boil down to two channels: paid media and owned media. Paid media is the type where some other company owns the channel and you’re paying to interact with consumers on that medium—this could be social networks, websites and more. Owned media channels are the ones you have under your control.
“Relying on paid media is like building a house on rented land,” said Michael. “Smart brands are using owned communication channels like push notifications, in-app messaging, and email to turn users from paid media into high-value, long-term customers.”
In all but the most extreme cases, brands are always going to have to rely on paid media channels but Michael said they can maximize that ROI by leaning on a personalized communication strategy to bridge the gap between paid and owned media channels.
One tactical tip Michael offered is to always make sure you include a call-to-action on paid media that incentivizes the user to get on your owned channel. Once you have that connection, you can then communicate with that audience and inevitably, that will lead to monetization.
The importance of communication is hard to overstate, Michael said. This allows the individual customers to stay informed, have access to offers and it provides utility for time-sensitive information. For brands, an intelligent approach to communication services the customer, reduces churn, increases engagement and it can boost revenue.
Creating that connection only works if you deliver personalized communication that is relevant and meaningful for each individual customer, said Doug. This takes a fundamentally different approach from the batch-and-blast messaging of the past because brands must understand, engage, automate and optimize in order to effectively execute on a personalized communication strategy.
Reading your customers’ “digital body language” is critical for understanding your customers. This is tough because it involves ingesting a lot of data—in real time—about customer’s actions and preferences and being able to turn that into actionable insight. Once you understand customers, it’s time to engage.
Engaging means having messages that deliver value to the customer while also nudging them toward virtuous actions like a purchase or social share. Doug said customers are actually channel-agnostic because they only care that the message is relevant to their lives. Too many brands get caught up in a channel-by-channel approach and should instead think about engaging the customer on whatever channel or device the customer prefer.
Personalization at scale is impossible to do manually, so Doug spoke to the value of brands leaning on automation for their communication. The best type of automation still gives the marketer complete control but enables them to not worry about tweaking and fiddling with each and every campaign.
Finally, Doug said the best brands have to optimize every single message. This includes optimizing for the best channel, the best timing, the best device and the best message copy. Ideally, brands can rely on a technology platform to do this in real time. This has a material impact on revenue, as Doug pointed to how SeatGeek was able to raise user conversions 32% thanks to a highly personalized communication strategy.
Ultimately, the winning brands will be successful by finding the right balance between paid channels and owned communication channels. This will lead to an improved user experience and a direct impact on the bottom line.
“The average marketer spends $1-3 to acquire an app user … if you don’t include owned communication in that, within 90 days, the majority of your audience is never going to use your app again,” said Michael. “But when you do used owned communication, you can increase retention by over 51%.”
You can watch the entire webinar below.