October 10, 2018
The State (and Future) of Digital Marketplaces
Consumers demand personalized messages that are specifically tailored to them as individuals, regardless of device or channel. A delightful omnichannel experience leads to increased retention, engagement, and revenue.
That was the main takeaway from last week’s webinar, “Omnichannel or Bust: How to Reach People in the Mobile Era” with Kahuna, Listia and VentureBeat. Kahuna’s Doug Roberge and Listia Co-Founder and CEO Gee Chuang discussed the challenges of delivering personalized communication at scale and how it drives concrete business results.
The proliferation of mobile devices and wearables creates an increased opportunity for brands to interact with users throughout the entire customer lifecycle—from early awareness all the way through to conversion and retention. These always-connected devices have also raised the bar in terms of consumer expectations, as messages that aren’t personalized will now be considered spam.
“Mobile devices have changed everything, including messaging, “ said Doug. “Forward-thinking companies are recognizing this shift and making sure that each interaction—regardless of the channel it’s delivered on—enhances an individual’s overall experience with the brand.”
The old “batch and blast” just doesn’t work in the mobile era. Since 2013, the number of emails sent to consumers rose 14%, while email click-to-open rates plummeted 25% for the same period. Additionally, consumers are increasingly channel agnostic, and messages now span multiple channels—the majority of emails are now opened on mobile, and push notifications can appear on wearables like the Apple Watch.
“Consumers demand personalized messages that are immediate, simple, and contextual,” said Doug.
Getting to personalized communication at scale is quite difficult because it requires individually tracking customers on a granular level. This includes ingesting trillions of data points and constantly refreshing that data to ensure the information is relevant. For example, Doug recently moved to San Francisco from Boston, so marketers trying to sell him winter boots won’t find much success with their messages. Additionally, Doug suggested brands focus on where they add value and lean on tools that automatically optimize the delivery of messages across devices and channels.
Listia started in 2009 as a new kind of auction marketplace for giving and getting free stuff. Gee said the company was forced to evolve for the mobile era—the majority of Listia’s traffic now comes from mobile—and this includes its approach to marketing. By leveraging a person-centric omnichannel experience, Listia was able to improve key business metrics by 50%.
Gee has been in digital marketing for “many, many years,” and Listia used to employ the “traditional” messaging mindset that includes time-based drip campaigns. A certain amount of opt-outs and uninstalls were expected, but this was justified by a higher percentage of goal achievements. This seemed to work, too, as Gee said the campaign analytics looked good in the aggregate but once they dug deeper, Listia realized it was not making the most of its opportunity to connect with its users.
Gee gave an example that helped to serve as a wake-up call for how Listia needed to change the way it communicated with users. Listia sent out a somewhat generic campaign aimed at getting users to list more items. The aggregate results were good but when Listia drilled down to engaged users—high-value customers who interact often—the campaign resulted in no uplift in goal achievement and a high level of uninstalls and opt-outs.
Lista leveraged Kahuna to provide personalized communication, and Gee gave an example of how marketing by engagement state beats the old batch-and-blast model. Listia created a campaign for dormant users urging them to use their credits. This had a high goal achievement uplift and, importantly, had a lower uninstall and opt-out rate than the control group, who didn’t receive a message at all.
“We realized that if you do things in a personalized way—really know your customers—you can actually reduce opt-out rates, while still increasing goal achievement,” said Gee.
Brands using an omnichannel strategy must deliver the best experience to users with each message, regardless of channel, Gee said. At the time, he urged brands to be consistent with messaging and understand that a single user will often be using your app across many channels. To account for this, Listia will send purchase confirmations with order tracking information via email, but it relies on push notifications and in-app messages to warn users when their watched auctions are about to end.
Along with being consistent, Gee said brands must watch their cadence of messages across channels. He advises leaning on tools that have rate-limiting as part of their ability to deliver personalized communication at scale.
“It’s important to know when not to send a message,” said Gee.
You can watch the full webinar below and you can download the webinar presentation slides here.