Not too long ago, we looked at how some of the biggest companies in the world — including Disney and Neiman Marcus — use optichannel customer experience strategies to deliver great marketing ROI. Even among big brands, though, the customer experience magic of Disney may be out of reach. So let’s take a look at how optichannel marketing is being used at a more reasonable level of investment by real, medium-sized businesses to significantly increase campaign effectiveness and bottom-line results.
Response-Lift Modeling Finds New Campers and New Revenue for Summer Learning Initiative
The hard part of operating any business focused on school-age children is the built-in rate of attrition. Students grow up, graduate, and otherwise age out of your programs every year. It’s likely that at least 25% of your customers won’t be back the following year due to matriculation alone.
To refill those seats without breaking the bank, these institutions must focus marketing on lead generation and new customer acquisition — two of the most expensive goals in marketing. It’s challenging to do that and still find a way to market profitably.
One such program is Galileo Learning, which operates 75 children’s summer camps across parts of California and Chicago, Ill. Age limits on the program mean that large portions of the customer base graduate out every year.
Finding a way to replace those students quickly becomes prohibitive. Summer Erickson, head of marketing for Galileo Learning, saw that many direct mail strategies were becoming too expensive for the ROI. The answer she found was to combine a very effective mail piece with tight customer models built on the data of current customers.
“The customer modeling tool was a game-changer for us,” says Erickson. By using response-lift modeling to identify prospects on external lists who were highly likely to respond, Galileo was able to market much more efficiently. They used the savings to create better mail pieces that would also drive better-than-normal response, and the mailers were localized to each of their nine markets where Galileo operated camps.
The results, Erickson says, surpassed her most optimistic expectations. The campaign brought in 155 new campers and $66,000 in new revenue. And she expects even better success from a wider program launched later in the year.
Holiday Direct Mail Adds Optichannel Targeting, Gets 6X More Impressions, $200k-Plus in Donations
Sometimes you need to break out beyond a single channel to get the best results. Meals on Wheels (MOW) in the Diablo Region of California spurred $230,000 in new donations by doing exactly that with its holiday donor appeal campaign.
The campaign broke with MOW’s traditional strategy in two main ways:
- They built three audience segments defined by demographics and customer look-a-like modeling.
- MOW added targeted digital advertising to amplify its direct mail, which made sure the target audience saw 6X more campaign impressions that they would have in a mail-only strategy.
First, much like Galileo, MOW and its agency starting working from the donor database, using existing data from real donors to identify three list segments who would be most responsive to this campaign: current donors, lapsed donors and prospective donors. Although the names sound straightforward, the segments were developed by examining the demographic and engagement data of known donors across dozens of factors.
Each person on the list received a personalized donor appeal letter with infographics highlighting the benefits of donating to MOW and a coupon CTA to make a donation.
Overall, the campaign blanketed the audience with 75,000 pieces of direct mail alone. But that was just the beginning of the campaign.
In addition to those 75,000 mailpieces, MOW built email, social media, and online display advertising to amplify the direct mail message. Together, this added 467,542 additional marketing impressions for the campaign — more than a 600% increase in overall brand exposure, compared to a mail-only control group.
The results were impressive for MOW, even for a holiday appeal: $230,000 in donations, 43% new donors, and donors from the optichannel campaign averaged 169% more than donors in the control group who only received direct mail.