How leading B2C and B2B brands are using technology
to manage data and drive marketing success
The CMO of today is tasked with making sense of mountains of data to be leveraged for email, social media and more. Choosing the right technology to make that happen is crucial.
In this special report, we profile six brands that have transformed some of the industry’s most common marketing challenges into martech success stories.
• Pitney Bowes pulled together reams of marketing data overseen by 100+ different managers scattered across the globe to create a cohesive and actionable data story.
• Thomas Cook leveraged behavioral information to execute campaigns in real-time to up-sell and cross-sell to existing customers
• Purina Animal Nutrition gave sales a better view into marketing activities, creating segmented campaigns to assist retailers and dealer networks
• Meliá Hotels International tracked social data to optimize its influencer marketing program across a diverse portfolio of properties
• National Instruments used event automation to improve attendee engagement before, during and after live events.
• Johnson & Johnson underwent a total digital transformation to improve customer experiences and ecommerce ROI
Why They're a Master of Martech: A successful marketing unit restructuring enabled the global enterprise to accurately measure ROI and track attribution across multiple business units worldwide
Siloed data is a problem many marketing organizations face. Global technology leader Pitney Bowes had a village of silos, with information overseen by 100+ different managers scattered across the globe.
Three years ago, the Stamford, CT-based company began restructuring its marketing unit to allow a better view of its data.
“We had data in multiple systems and databases, and there was no cohesive way to get our marketing data into one place,” says Anna Alexander, senior manager, market analysis at Pitney Bowes. “The marketing leaders of each unit were reporting up to their unit leader, instead of the CMOs, and there was no way to connect the return on investment.”
The company—which has over 1.5 million clients, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500—needed tools and processes to bring its marketing initiatives together. It began using Allocadia’s marketing performance management solution to open a window on the organization’s marketing investment and ROI data.
The first phase of the plan was to pull together planning and budget data from over 100 different program owners in the organization. Previously, all of this information was stored in Excel, which made attribution tricky because Excel allows users to create reports in a myriad of ways.
“Everybody thinks and approaches things differently, so we had no unified view of what we were spending on things like webinars and direct mail,” says Alexander. “We needed a unified view.”
Alexander’s team worked with the business unit owners to drive internal adaptation of the Allocadia system. “We needed to show them what was in it for them,” she says. “The integration between investments and return on each campaign was a main selling point, because when we asked many of them if they knew their ROI, the answer was often ‘kind of….’”
The next phase was to measure investments by channel, looking at various pillars of ROI measurement. There’s no one silver bullet metric, and different leaders measure success in different ways.
Program owners, for example, need know the number of leads that their program generated, and the cost per lead for different countries or regions. The demand gen team, in contrast, might want to know the sequence of how things like direct mail, telemarketing and other media had an impact.
Sales operations, meanwhile, wants to know the role of marketing in the lead to close ratio, including the average acquisition cost and the cost per lead. The CMO is watching the correlation between different campaigns and how marketing influenced sales, and the CEO and CFO are watching the end customer acquisition cost.
Having a system in place to determine channel effectiveness can help the marketing team determine how to distribute future investments, says Alexander. For example, webinars and direct mail were found to be critical early in the funnel, while events and trade show interactions often had an impact later in the process.
“Having everything synced with sales operations and our Salesforce.com system is important, so our reps know when to reach out to leads and clients,” she says. “It helps us use our investments from all channels to determine ROI and know when people have responded, and when they are qualified leads.”
Why They're a Master of Martech: Leveraging behavioral data enabled Thomas Cook to create engaging campaigns based on real-time customer behavior
Many travel companies begin marketing a new trip to customers the second they’ve booked passage. Thomas Cook is taking the scenic route instead.
The British global travel company, which serves over 19 million customers each year in 16 different markets, is leveraging behavioral data to offer customers targeted messaging about upcoming trips to foster both relationships and upselling opportunities.
“Our pre-departure marketing program is key to ensuring customers are engaged and excited about their upcoming holiday,” says Ryan Cotton, head of ecommerce and CRM, at Thomas Cook, noting it is an excellent way to remind travelers of extras they can add on, such as in-flight meals or extra baggage allowances.
After the trip, a triggered follow-up asks them how the vacation went and warms them up for their next holiday purchase. “We want to help the traveler make their decisions and take them through a relevant and personalized path,” says Jeff Hassemer, chief strategy officer of campaign management and real-time marketing software firm Alterian.
Email is a key part of the company’s communication strategy, integrated with other channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. Newsletters are sent on a regular basis, as are trigger communications.
Using behavioral data has helped the brand reduce reliance on large email initiatives, in favor of smaller, more targeted messaging that is more relevant to travelers, Cotton says. Which data points are the most useful? That depends on what is being promoted, but it typically comes down to a mix of booking history, behavioral data and demographic overlays.
“A customer’s behavior within that channel is used to personalize the offer a customer is presented—our destination, no pun intended, is to be able to use behavioral data from different channels to co-ordinate the whole experience,” says Cotton.
There’s no typical customer journey to booking travel, he says. “A holiday is often the two most important weeks of someone’s year and therefore customers spend a lot of time researching to make sure they choose the right holiday for them. As a result the complexity of a customer journey for a customer researching and booking a holiday is very high in terms of channels used, number of visits and time spent.”
Thomas Cook, which used Alterian's Chameleon solution, can respond quickly to different opportunities, based on what they see in customer behavior. “Typically we can have a new campaign up and running in a day once we have the creative agreed upon,” Cotton noted.
ROI is being judged on the reduction in costs and the increase in engagement, based on clickthroughs, open rates, website sessions and the length of those visits, and of course, sales. “Historically we’ve used last click to measure the commercial results but are now utilizing attribution technology to give us a more complete picture,” Cotton says.
“For every transaction, five to seven marketing events are going on and understanding the impact of each of those is crucial,” adds Hassemer.
Real time data is made accessible to all channels, including the web, mobile devices, social media and call centers. This creates a consistent experience for the customer, and allows Thomas Cook to optimize their digital and direct spend.
Why They're a Master of Martech: An automated segmentation strategy allowed the company to targeting B2B prospects with relevant content
Thanks to its iconic checkerboard logo, brand recognition isn’t an issue for Purina Animal Nutrition. But convincing farmers of the value of a premium feed brand is more of a challenge.
Purina Animal Nutrition has 65 feed facilities across the U.S. and generates $5 billion in revenue annually. Brandon Leander, director, digital technology and analytics at Land O’ Lakes, the parent company of Purina Animal Nutrition, describes the business as B2B2C.
The customer base is varied, from individuals who might have a few rabbits or a dozen backyard chickens, to farmers with a thousand or even 500,000 head of cattle.
The company doesn’t sell to the end consumer but rather through a retailer network and independent dealers. “A lot of our dealers don’t have muscle and bandwidth to do marketing on their own,” Leander says. “We work closely with dealers, so they’re aware of the marketing campaigns. Ultimately we want them to be successful.”
Part of Purina’s mission is to dispel the notion that all animal feed is the same. As a premium brand, they want to impress upon farmers the importance of giving their animals the best diet possible.
Prior to implementing Salesforce with the help of Marketing 360, Purina had a third party company doing email for them. The approach was very shotgun oriented—same email to all or most customers, with little or no segmentation.
Now, the company is able to tailor messages focusing on factors such as animal lifestages or behaviors, such as how well a horse rides, or how to nurture backyard chickens. “It has to be the right information at the right time,” he says.
The company has 66 PhDs on staff, and about a third are focused on creating content for the brand. It also hosts regional events and seminars to connect with customers.
Purina is over two years into its journey with Salesforce. In the past, the sales team had no idea what messages marketing was sending to customers. Now, they have better insight into what information is being shared and who is reading that content. “We’re trying to focus on the overall customer experience, to make the website and campaigns more engaging.”
Social and email are both significant communications channels for the brand, with Facebook being the primary social channel. Emails typically focus on sharing educational content and driving loyalty, as well as awareness.
Frequency depends on the segment—some receive a monthly newsletter, while others may want only quarterly communications. “We don’t want to bombard people—we’re limiting the number of emails depending on species or lifestage,” Leander says.
With Marketing Cloud, the company has been able to keep the sales team up to date on its email activity, leading to a tighter communication loop. Open rates on emails average 15 percent, and have gone as high as 28 percent. The company is continually tweaking to improve response.
“We really understand now what the content should be in emails,” says Leander. “We’ve been starting to see what customers relate to and clickthrough rates have doubled.”
The sales cycle varies. A dairyman for example, may be in a yearlong sales cycle, because they can’t switch feeds quickly. They may start with a small portion of their herd to see how the feed performs. Someone with a few backyard chickens, on the other hand, can switch overnight. Horses have sensitive digestive systems, so their feed can’t be changed on a whim.
“Most people know about us, but may not know how our products serve them,” says Leander. “They can attend a local event and the sales team can take them on a journey. A lot of [leads are] word of mouth—farmers know each other, so advocacy and understanding their needs becomes important.”
Why They're a Master of Martech: Social tracking implementation gave the chain the power to manage a diverse network of international influencers
Travelers often choose where they stay based on recommendations from peers, which is why leveraging the power of social influencers is vital for Meliá Hotels International.
The Spanish hotel chain is the third largest hotel chain in Europe, with a strong presence in Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico. It has 377 hotels with over 90,000 rooms in properties across four continents. The brands range from Sol and Tryp, which target mid-scale travelers, to ME, which has an urban flair, to Gran Meliá, which is for an upscale consumer.
“We have a portfolio of seven hotel brands ranging from luxury to midmarket properties, which means each has a completely different clientele, in terms of psychographics and demographics,” said Santiago Garcia Solimei, global director, social media, at Melia Hotels.
While some brands reach a more social consumer than others—Sol, for example, caters to Millennial travelers—social is a part of the marketing plan for all of Meliá’s properties. “Social is a part of our plan every day,” says Garcia Solimei.
Meliá started working with Traackr this spring, to help standardize the way it works with social influencers.
The hotel chain identifies influencers in a number of ways. Hotel general managers and PR agencies sometimes bring them to the brand’s attention, and other times the influencers reach out to the head office themselves, or engage with brand leaders at events.
“Everyone is kind of an influencer now, and we get bombarded with requests from many sources,” says Garcia Solimei. “The process of managing them was very manual and time consuming, because we want to be sure we are working with the right kind of influencers.”
For Meliá, this means finding people who truly love the brand and aren’t just looking for a quick buck (the company does not pay influencers fees). “We want to find the type of person who is the ideal customer for the brand and our philosophy, and make sure they experience the very best of our products, food and beverages,” he says.
Influencer marketing management platform Traackr is helping make sure the right kind of profile of influencer goes to the right kind of hotel. “Obviously, we have a commitment to create certain types of content, but the process needs to be natural,” Garcia Solimei says
Influencers are invited to the properties, but not paid or instructed in what to write or post about their experience, beyond being given hashtags and property names to use in their content. Sometimes, influencers are invited to special events, such as Sunset Sessions, a three-day happening at the ME Miami hotel. As soon as influencers began posting livestreams and pictures of things like guest DJs the Mambo Brothers on SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the hotel began getting calls from people who wanted to enter the event.
“It created a lot of traction,” says Garcia Solimei, noting that sometimes influencers are chosen for their followings on specific social channels.
“We want to make sure we amplify the fantastic stories that are happening in our hotels,” he notes. “For us it’s all about putting the content into the minds of the consumer, and at the end of the day, quantifying the value of influencer relationships on sales and traffic.”
The brand is working on measuring the traffic coming from social media networks into Meliá’s transactional websites. The benefit of this traffic is that they typically know what they want when they get to the site, he said, and are more direct in booking accommodations.
“When we have coverage from influencers, we can understand how it works by social media network and hashtag, as well as what our competition is doing, based on the hashtags they use,” Garcia Solimei says. “It’s valuable to us to understand how much coverage was achieved and get insights as to which social networks work better and which achieve more impressions.”
Why They're a Master of Martech: Event automation has enabled National Instruments (NI) to improve attendee engagement and boost event ROI across more than 2,500 annual events
Austin-based National Instruments provides testing and measurement solutions for engineers and scientists, for applications including data acquisition, instrument control and machine inspection. NI devotes 48 percent of it’s overall marketing budget to events, says Helena Lewis, chief of marketing operations and technology. These events include industry conferences the brand attends, as well as over 2,500 events the company hosts globally every year, ranging from large scale gatherings and multi-day user conferences for more than 2,000 attendees, to smaller, onsite, account-based lunch and learns.
For example, each year, “NIDays” are hosted around the world, where prospects and customers are invited to learn more about new tools and platforms. “The goal is to drive awareness of new technologies,” says. Lewis. “[These events] are a critical component to our overall growth strategy year over year.”
About a year and a half ago, NI adopted Certain’s solution to manage its event strategy. In the past, NI had been relying on teams of in-region resources to manually write individual emails inviting attendees for each event, and a wide variety of platforms to capture data pre, during and post event.
“Since all of this information was stored in different places, there was no easy way to easily see leads collected across the board,” she says. And, “none of the technologies we were using integrated well with the marketing automation system we used, Oracle Eloqua, so our teams were required to do a lot of manual work in order to organize information, and manage follow up.”
Prior to our events, attendees and prospects receive emails targeted to specific audience segments and topics. Automation allows NI to personalize these messages based on previous interactions, and follow up time has been trimmed from 14 days to one day. ROI is measured by the success of conversions from leads to sales following an event.
“We really rely on data collected from past events, email correspondence and in-person conversations to engage with customers and prospects,” she says. “Having knowledge of what specific interests they have, the services they’re interested in, and any personal quirks has been crucial in being able to tailor each conversation.”
Automation has helped NI capture more insights from attendee behavior and interests at events. “This has allowed us to implement scoring and segmentation strategies based on this data, which in turn has given us the ability to deliver relevant, personalized discussions and offers to attendees in real-time,” Lewis says, noting that the number of manual touches required to process a lead and support an event has decreased by 88 percent.
Why They're a Master of Martech: Improved integration of digital platforms across multiple lines of business helped J&J personalize locally and scale globally
The health and beauty of Johnson & Johnson’s online presence has been improved by a complete digital transformation that improved customer experiences and ROI.
J&J’s consumer division has 12 mega brands that account for two-thirds of the company’s sales, including Johnson’s Baby, Aveeno, Zyrtec, Listerine, Motrin, Band-Aid and Neutrogena. The company has a massive footprint in six broad categories—beauty, over-the-counter healthcare, baby care, oral care, wound care and feminine health—in 100 markets globally, with the U.S. representing 35 percent of business.
Still, in today’s market even established brands need to stay on their toes because the Internet makes it easy to start a brand from scratch and get consumers to notice you, notes Jeff Srour, vice president IT—global marketing services, Johnson & Johnson, who oversees technology across the company’s consumer, vision care and diabetes lines of business.
“The change of pace in our industry is accelerating,” says Srour, who spoke at the recent Acquia Engage event in Boston. “Digital disruption is creating a new wave of competitors, forcing changes in retail and in media.”
The biggest competitive advantage for companies going forward is owning strong relationships with consumers, as evidenced by the continued success and growth of Amazon. Two of J&J’s main product lines—baby and beauty—both index high in ecommerce growth, and that means the company must have a strong online presence to stay strong.
“Consumers want unique and immersive experiences where ever they are, not restricted by place or time of day,” he says. “Customers don’t want to have to sift through tons of data to find what they want, and brands need to be flexible and quick to adapt to consumer needs.”
This meant that a move towards personalized, real-time content, and frictionless online experiences was essential for J&J. The company has to drive global campaigns, targeted and segmented to consumers in local markets. Technology was at the center of a three-year digital transformation for the company, focused not just on system but people and agile processes as well.
First party data needed to be collected and leveraged as never before to make this happen. Customer relationship management and data management platforms were aligned to get an overview of who customers are and how they want to interact with the brand. Digital asset management solutions were also integrated, including reviews, ratings and other content.
In the past, J&J websites were developed independently. Hundreds of different providers were used, so there was no consistent experience for the users. Starting in 2013, the company began working on an Acquia-based Drupal platform that became the foundation for J&J’s digital transformation. The system is now scaled to over 400 websites around the world.
The company has seen an significant increase in organic search and site stickiness, as well as global brand consistency online and improved speed to market. Now, says Srour, 10 sites can be launched in the time it previous took to get one up and running.
The cost of site ownership has also significantly been decreased, and ecommerce capabilities have improved. J&J is continuing to invest in its online platforms, says Srour. “We need to deploy [technology rollouts] to support varied regions and franchise needs, and implement them in ways that are closely aligned with our market commitments.”