Have Data, Will Target

Coremetrics, featuring a real world case study with Estee Lauder, hosted a webinar today on retargeting emails based on behavioral triggers. Beauty products are a tactile product, meaning customers like to touch and feel the product at a store counter before purchasing; and one might assume that customers would rather do that at a brick-and-mortar place than online.

Estee Lauder's toolbox includes:
  • Coremetrics for enterprise web analytics
  • Coremetrics LIVEmail (not to be confused with Windows Live email)
  • Experian's CheetahMail for email delivery metrics (opens, clicks, opt outs) and automated email campaigns
  • Online display ads paired with cookies and search keywords with select ad networks
  • A network of more than 250 websites, 50 of which are e-commerce sites
  • An in-house list (does not use 3rd party lists at all)
EL's approach for retargeting emails:
  • Determine segments and top performing product categories
  • Customer service-oriented messages to customers
  • Free shipping plus samples; call-to-action embedded in the ad itself
  • Use registration confirmation, cart abandonment, and cookies that track categories browsed
  • Segmentations based on visitor engagement, category affinities (serves up specific ad displays), referral sources (Google, Facebook), site tools (product reviews), level of engagement, and customer value
The results:
  • Remarketing email open rates were 3-5x higher than broadcast emails
  • Revenue per email was 6x higher than broadcast emails
When asked in the Q&A section about the open rates for broadcast emails, Estee Lauder commented they were average for the industry. This suggested that for the beauty and personal care segment, open rates were roughly 15% with a 3% click-through rate. Open rates this low usually means that the data hasn't been cleansed in a few years, there's plenty of duplicate customer records, fake customer records from users wanting to take advantage of single-use offers multiple times, or there's simply GIGO in their database. But, I digress. Back to the webinar... 

Re-messaging for online display ads looked at customer behavior while visiting EL's website(s) or partner websites, specifically targeting customers who interacted with the site but did not purchase which triggered an ad to appear via browse cookie on the ad networks used.

In context, ad serving in the example of Clinique ads went like this:
  • skin care shopper gets a skin care ad
  • make up shopper gets a make up ad
  • abandoned cart shopper receives and offer ad
Re-messaging (targeting specific tailored ads to specific product interests) for display ads resulted with significant ROI improvements such as more impressions and click-based revenues. 

On the whole, EL has few challenges and they are common to just about everyone who transacts and tracks marketing spends online such as privacy concerns, measuring ROI, or determining the number of touch points within a 24-hour period.

If you're getting higher quality responses (more clicks, higher revenues) from your customers because you've now sent them a targeted email specific to their interests instead of one intended for all audiences, of course you'll get a higher response rate.
EL has either a really good design team or a great ad agency that can produce color-rich imagery that sticks to each product's brand. They aren't really challenged with lack of content like the rest of us. This chart shows some of the challenges faced by content marketers in the US:

Don't let the lack of content stop you from setting up parts of the process for demand generation or automated email follow-ups. Estee Lauder uses one creative per branding ad campaign and rotates it with fresh content every few months. This insight didn't happen overnight and takes careful market planning for budgetary spends and execution.
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