tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/personalisation Latest Personalisation content from Econsultancy 2017-08-14T10:59:24+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69302 2017-08-14T10:59:24+01:00 2017-08-14T10:59:24+01:00 Personalization is nothing without creative empathy Glen Hartman <p>In the midst of today’s marketing tech innovations, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69327-how-brands-are-using-empathy-to-enhance-marketing/">empathizing with the customer</a> is key.</p> <p>A classic example: You enter a grocery store at 11:30 p.m. at night with the goal of grabbing a bottle of milk and leaving. All of a sudden, you are being offered all kinds of coupons, suggestions of additional ingredients or even a recipe that might absolutely be of interest to you – in different circumstances. It’s personalized, but is the store really empathizing with you?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8241/familymart.JPG" alt="familymart" width="600" height="448"></p> <p><em>A late night trip to the store for milk - not a context for cross-sell</em></p> <p>Customers have come to expect tailored and efficient experiences, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to compromise on authenticity. They expect the brands that they love to understand their true wants and needs, in real-time and in context.</p> <p>It ultimately comes back to the basics of human interactions. Underpinning all of our needs and desires are a set of human characteristics that govern the way consumers interact with a brand. In short, we're people and we want to be treated as such – not as segments, or personas or defined by our transactions. </p> <p>But even when brands invest in providing a human touch this process alone does not get the job done. A level of creativity is also required to understand and empathize with customers, while simultaneously developing a solution to customers’ problems.</p> <h3>Making creative empathy a priority </h3> <p>Problem solving ultimately comes down to two Cs – the consumer and context. Without each of these elements, it is nearly impossible to engage customers in a thoughtful way.</p> <p>So how does empathy fuel creativity? The process begins by listening – finding out what or why a particular consumer does not want/desire/need a product, and from there, you derive an insight. This insight then brings the realization of empathy, which fuels the creativity to solve the problem uncovered. </p> <p>Take Apple’s Siri: The engineers at Apple did not arrive at the conclusion of creating a “bot” within one’s cell phone out of thin air. The “empathy” realization here is the need for users to have a personal assistant that also doubles as their personal cell phones. Researchers and product developers found that users have a desire for a personal assistant to solve simple problems such as, “What is the weather like tomorrow?” or “Please call mom.” By hearing and learning about user habits and needs, insights developed helped to fuel the need for a creative product that provides solutions. </p> <p>While marketing as a whole has changed dramatically and variables in this equation have multiplied, the human factor in the equation remains constant (or it should). The customer has and will continue to be front and center.</p> <p>Going back to the idea of empathy and creativity, you can almost say that empathy is the path to “problem finding” and creativity is the path to “problem solving”. There needs to be a healthy synergy between the two that ultimately leads to better experiences for customers.</p> <p>Figuring out what your potential customer will ultimately respond to by empathizing with them and then finding a creative way to not only engage customers but to help them achieve their goals in the moment is the real win.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69322 2017-08-10T13:00:00+01:00 2017-08-10T13:00:00+01:00 What are customer personas and why are they so important? Nikki Gilliland <p>However, as highlighted in Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide/" target="_blank">Content Strategy Best Practice Guide</a>, personas can be one of the most effective ways of bringing this customer segmentation to life. </p> <p>So, what exactly are customer personas, and why are they so important? Let’s get back to basics on the subject, using insight from the report.</p> <h3>What is a customer persona?</h3> <p>Let’s start with the difference between customer segments and personas. </p> <p>First, segmentation allows a brand to understand different sets or groups of customers. This might tell us where a particular group lives, their age range, and maybe even some of their typical buying behaviour. A customer persona, on the other hand, allows brands to better understand these homogenous groups, and to recognise key traits within them. </p> <p>In order to create a representative sample of an audience, personas are based on the analysis and research of real customers. This helps to build a much more detailed picture of the (hypothetical) customer, including far more emotive information such as personal motivations, what they value in a brand, what kind of communication they prefer, etc.</p> <p>Brands are then able to take this insight and use it to deliver a much more relevant and less one-dimensional experience.</p> <h3>How to create a customer persona</h3> <p>The below image is an example of how to lay out key elements of the customer persona, integrating information such as similar brands of interest, frustrations and motivations. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8175/Persona.JPG" alt="" width="582" height="328"></p> <p>But where exactly does this information come from? </p> <p>Keyword research is one effective tool for generating data, allowing brands to discover exactly what customers are searching for in relation to their product or website. For example, if a retailer discovers that a popular search term is its brand-name alongside the word ‘discount’ or ‘offer’, it could be the case that customers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67841-as-consumers-clamor-for-good-deals-discount-strategy-becomes-key-for-retailers/" target="_blank">value price</a> over other factors like entertaining content or <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69301-how-10-online-retailers-promote-free-and-fast-shipping" target="_blank">fast delivery</a> – informing the ‘motivations’ part of a persona.</p> <p>Social media is another important tool for establishing personas, with most platforms already having in-built analytics that can offer key data sets. </p> <p>Facebook Insights, for example, allows brands to tap into how users are responding to ads, as well as what kind of content is generating the most engagement. By comparing this to specific user data, such as gender, relationship status and so on, brands are able to flesh out personas even more.</p> <p>Finally, alongside data-driven tools, customer personas can also be largely influenced by surveys, feedback, and one-to-one interviews. </p> <h3>Building empathy between marketers and personas</h3> <p>While generating information about the customer might be fairly straightforward, it is far more difficult for brands to step into the shoes of the customer, as well as sustain this perspective long-term. There is always the danger of slipping back into <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68803-the-newbie-s-glossary-of-misunderstood-digital-marketing-jargon/" target="_blank">marketing jargon</a>. Would the customer use the same terminology? Perhaps not. </p> <p>Empathy mapping is a great way to maintain the customer perspective, helping brands to visualise what the person is hearing, seeing, thinking and feeling. In other words, it can reveal less tangible insights, such as obstacles throughout the customer journey and opportunities for communication. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8176/Empathy.JPG" alt="" width="561" height="484"></p> <h3>What about negative personas?</h3> <p>Once the ideal customer persona has been established, it can also be worthwhile to build a negative one. </p> <p>This means identifying the kind of person that brands <em>don’t</em> want as a customer. Not to be all ‘Mean Girls’ about it, that is, but by identifying who is not a good fit – companies can avoid wasted resources and misspent budget. </p> <p>Characteristics of a negative persona could involve someone who is overly negative or unrealistic in their expectations, someone who typically abandons purchases, or who has a high acquisition cost. Recognising these types of customers early on can allow marketers to hone their communication and marketing messages accordingly, and instead target the most worthwhile.</p> <h3>Turning insight into action</h3> <p>So, while it’s all well and good creating customer personas, how do you turn insight into strategic actions? Here are just a few key takeaways.</p> <p><strong>Focus on where customers spend their time</strong>. Are a larger percentage of people using Facebook or Instagram? Do they read the Guardian or watch YouTube videos? Information on where customers live can help brands to plan advertising and marketing spend accordingly, informing where and how they use ads to target users.</p> <p><strong>Speak their language</strong>. Does a customer use slang and emojis? Are they a lover of hashtags? Taking this kind of information into consideration can help brands to hone and refine their communication style to mirror how customers speak.</p> <p><strong>Creating persona-specific content.</strong> Instead of creating content and marketing it to a specific segment, customer personas can help to inform what kind of content is created in the first place. Insight into whether the customer cares about topics like charity, technology or the environment can also provide an indication of what else they might want to hear about.</p> <p><strong>Partner with people your personas love</strong>. Finally, by working with a company <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69315-love-island-2017-is-this-the-future-of-influencer-marketing" target="_blank">or influencer that will definitely appeal</a> to the customer, brands can be sure that they are spending both time and budget wisely – and also helping to prevent miss-judged and potentially damaging brand-associations.</p> <p><em><strong>For more information, subscribers can download <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide/" target="_blank">Econsultancy's Content Strategy Best Practice Guide</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69284 2017-07-31T11:37:39+01:00 2017-07-31T11:37:39+01:00 How Wonderbly uses data and personalisation to create a magical ecommerce experience Nikki Gilliland <p>So, alongside a winning product, what has been the key to Wonderbly’s success? Here’s a bit of an insight into what it’s been doing right.</p> <h3>Harnessing data and personalisation </h3> <p>Wonderbly’s first product, the <em>Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name</em>, is a great example of personalisation in its own right. It’s a fairly simple but original premise – the characters and elements of the story correspond to the different letters in a child’s name – and different to the standard idea of using the child's name for the main character.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Juni's last Christmas present came, all the way from England! The little boy who lost his name <a href="https://twitter.com/LostMyName">@LostMyName</a> <a href="https://t.co/OpZjJCZWjs">pic.twitter.com/OpZjJCZWjs</a></p> — Sarah McTamney (@SarahMcTamney) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahMcTamney/status/811009352215756800">December 20, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>The brand’s other books, such as <em>Kingdom of You</em>, are based around even greater levels of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68285-six-things-to-consider-when-implementing-personalisation/" target="_blank">personalisation</a>, allowing customers to integrate specific details about a child such as their birthday or favourite food. </p> <p>Apart from shaping the product itself, Wonderbly is able to use the customer data it generates to take personalisation to another level, making elements of the path to purchase much more relevant and tailored to individuals.</p> <p>Speaking at last year's <a href="http://www.datasciencefestival.com/ryan-moriarty-using-data-help-create-impossibly-personalised-storytelling/" target="_blank">Data Science Fest</a>, Ryan Moriarty, Head of Data Science, explained how the company discovered that the female audience accounted for just a 29% share of sales for its book, <em>The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home</em>. In contrast, <em>Lost His/Her Name</em> had a 50/50 split between boys and girls.</p> <p>On the back of this discovery, the brand re-designed the book’s cover to better highlight its value proposition (reinforcing the ‘home’ element) to appeal to all genders. There was a subsequent 25% increase in conversion rates to females as a result. While Ryan alluded to the fact that the change in design could be seen as Wonderbly giving in to sexist stereotypes, the increase in sales validated the decision.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7781/Nikki.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="290"></p> <p>Wonderbly also heavily draws on customer data to target and re-target consumers, largely focusing on Facebook and its ad platform. The company's co-founder, Depesh Mandalia, has <a href="http://figarodigital.co.uk/article/in-depth-depesh-mandalia-marketing-growth-at-lost-my-name/" target="_blank">spoken about</a> how Facebook's algorithm and its predictive capabilities has helped the company to better target users on social media.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://blog.ometria.com/im-a-sucker-for-handwritten-notes-ira-wichmann-on-next-level-personalisation" target="_blank">Ometria</a>, CRM is also a huge focus, with the company drawing on data from previous customers to inform future marketing. If a customer has already bought <em>Lost Her Name</em>, for instance, it will retarget the same person with a pre-personalised mock-up of <em>Kingdom of You</em> – re-engaging with the user based on an existing relationship, and allowing them to imagine the next step in the journey.</p> <h3>Using customer insight</h3> <p>In his talk at Data Science Fest, Ryan Moriarty also explained how, alongside using customer data to optimise on-site targeting (e.g. showing certain characters that might appeal to different genders or countries), Wonderbly also uses insight – usually in the form of surveys and online feedback – to inform the future product roadmap. </p> <p>For example, the assumption might be that all customers are parents or grandparents – but what if the buyer doesn’t necessarily know specific details about a child, such as their favourite food or home address?</p> <p>Before launching <em>Kingdom of You</em> – a book which relies on more personal details of a child – the brand surveyed potential customers on the likelihood they would buy the product in future. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7782/Perfectly_personal.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="351"></p> <p>Results found that as the relationship to the child grew more distant (i.e. from a parent to an aunt, to a family friend) – the likelihood decreased. Thanks to this feedback, Wonderbly is currently working on optimising the copy in targeted emails based on these differing relationships.</p> <p>Similarly, it’s also experimenting in the same way with customer intent, aiming to capitalise on the reasons why someone might buy a book for a child and how it might make them feel – as opposed to just the delight of the child.</p> <h3>Focus on UX </h3> <p>Another aspect that sets Wonderbly apart is its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66731-25-excellent-ux-examples-from-ecommerce-sites" target="_blank">focus on design</a>. With customers creating their own books online, a fun and seamless user experience is vital – something the brand certainly delivers on. </p> <p>At the heart of this UX is the book creation tool, which allows users to preview books in full before buying them. </p> <p>However, before customers even get into this process, the site’s use of video and graphics create a wonderfully immersive experience, hooking users in to the brand’s ethos and the story behind each book.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DYhZLQP_X5w?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why" target="_blank">product pages</a> include a few nice touches, too, such as prominent reviews and a visible ‘free shipping’ promise. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7783/Free_shipping.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="447"></p> <p>However, the site’s preview tool is arguably its most impressive feature. With a lot of ecommerce sites still lacking in high quality product imagery, it’s a novel experience to be able to see exactly what the final product will look like. Moreover, it means that the company is perhaps able to reduce dissatisfaction with the final product – as customers will already be fully aware of what they’re going to receive. </p> <p>I also like the fact that the site’s simple UX is suited to all age ranges, too. So whether a parent or less-tech savvy grandparent is using the site, the functional design means it will be easy for most people to use.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7784/Creation_Tool.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="365"></p> <h3>Social media marketing</h3> <p>While much of Wonderbly’s growth has stemmed from word-of-mouth, which was then bolstered by paid advertising and CRM, it’s recently veered into other areas of online marketing with a number of social campaigns. </p> <p>Instead of just promoting the product, however, it aims to provide value, creating campaigns that inherently offer something useful or helpful for customers.</p> <p>It has previously supported worthwhile events and causes, such as World Book Day, encouraging youngsters to read with an incentivised ‘Snowy Book Peaks’ tutorial.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7785/WBD.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="437"></p> <p>Similarly, it uses competitions to encourage user involvement and interaction. Its 'Food Monster' award gave people the chance to have their child’s drawing turned into a professional illustration by artist Marija Tiurina. The competition generated an onslaught of interest online, and a follow-up competition as a result.</p> <p>More recently, the brand appears to be placing more focus on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, capitalising on hashtags to build engagement and encourage <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">user generated content</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7786/_lostinthestory.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="380"></p> <p>Meanwhile, it's not afraid to use a personal or humorous tone of voice on Twitter, which serves to increase user engagement and levels of customer retention. Once someone has purchased one product (perhaps for their own child), the brand strives to re-engage with customers, using this kind of interaction to inspire repeat purchases and interest in new products.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Toddlers, explained in a venn diagram... <a href="https://t.co/ptAHzpsBMl">pic.twitter.com/ptAHzpsBMl</a></p> — Wonderbly (@Wonderbly) <a href="https://twitter.com/Wonderbly/status/781477006038953984">September 29, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Combining a smart use of data with slick design, Wonderbly is a great example of how to build a successful ecommerce company on the back of a single idea.</p> <p>What’s more, as consumer expectations only increase, it demonstrates how important it is to integrate personalisation into every step of the user experience.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69226-how-food52-successfully-combines-content-and-commerce">How Food52 successfully combines content and commerce</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69212-how-jo-loves-creates-a-memorable-retail-experience">How Jo Loves creates a memorable retail experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69260 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 Four ways hotels and accommodation sites can increase direct bookings Nikki Gilliland <p>Along with <a href="http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/r/3493/uk_holidaymakers__booking_direct__through_hotel_websites" target="_blank">these findings</a>, other research also suggests that certain hotels are experiencing a surge in direct bookings. Take Premier Inn, for instance, whose website accounted for 87% of all its bookings in 2016. That said, at other hotel chains, like Hilton, direct bookings are far lower as they struggle to compete with aggregator sites.</p> <p>So, what can we learn from Premier Inn? And how can both UK and international hotels increase their direct bookings? Here’s just four factors that could make a difference.</p> <h3>Mobile optimisation</h3> <p>Google’s 2016 Travel Trends report suggests that 60% of searches for travel information come from mobile. Meanwhile, conversion rates have grown 88% on mobile travel sites. So in order to capture some of this search interest – and draw users away from online travel agencies – hotels need to ensure a good mobile UX across all channels and throughout every step of the journey.</p> <p>This doesn't only mean in terms of the immediate booking process, either. </p> <p>Interestingly, hotel apps and mobile bookings are said to lead to greater levels of satisfaction compared to the same technology delivered by a third party or OTA. A survey from J.D. Power found that guests who book through an online travel agency or a mobile app not directly associated with a hotel are more likely to experience a problem and be less satisfied with their stay overall.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7599/Mobile_check_in.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="486"></p> <p>This suggests that a mobile strategy is not only important for first-time direct bookings, but to increase the likelihood of <em>repeat</em> direct bookings – as well as long-term loyalty. Features like mobile tickets and check-in can be hugely beneficial for increasing satisfaction and keeping consumers coming back.</p> <h3>Perks and benefits</h3> <p>In order to sway people away from the perceived cheaper and more flexible options provided by travel agents and aggregator sites, hotels and self-accommodation companies must provide clear incentives.</p> <p>This usually comes in the form of discounts and offers for direct bookings – alongside even greater incentives for joining loyalty programmes. We’ve recently seen many large hotel chains heavily promote this as part of marketing campaigns, specifically Hilton and its ‘Stop Clicking Around’ ads.</p> <p>As well as highlighting the benefits of being an HHonors member, the campaign also points consumers towards other perks such as free WiFi and arrival gifts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DsZkUAAAv5I?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It is this added value that really sets direct bookings apart from OTAs. But interestingly, it appears to be smaller or independent hotels who are largely capitalising on this, using unique incentives to entice consumers to book direct.</p> <p>The small Hawaiian hotel chain, Aqua-Aston, offers a free $20 Starbucks gift card if guests book direct. Meanwhile, Hotel Amarano in California offers guests either a $25 credit to use at the hotel’s restaurants or to receive a room upgrade. These incentives are not particularly ground-breaking, but against a third-party site offering nothing much more than the standard cheapest tariff it's easy to see how it might improve conversions.</p> <p>That being said, incentives don’t always have to involve personal gain. Last year, the Omni Hotels group launched the ‘Say goodnight to hunger’ campaign, which saw the hotel donate to Feeding America for every stay booked directly through the brand’s website. Each donation would provide dinner for a family of four for an entire week.</p> <p>Not only did this clever strategy enable the hotel to increase the likelihood of direct bookings, but it also contributed to positive brand perception and a reputation as a company that cares about social good.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you for helping us make such an incredible impact in just one year. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SayGoodnightToHunger?src=hash">#SayGoodnightToHunger</a><a href="https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI">https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI</a> <a href="https://t.co/B2gXZaI9oL">pic.twitter.com/B2gXZaI9oL</a></p> — Omni Hotels (@OmniHotels) <a href="https://twitter.com/OmniHotels/status/877998060399321089">June 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Personalisation</h3> <p>One way hotels can enhance incentives is to add <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">personalisation</a>, or any elements that will help to build a direct relationship between the company and consumer. Again, this can be done through loyalty programs, such as HHonors members being able to share preferences in order to customise their hotel stay. However, when it comes to direct bookings, this type of personalisation is most effective early on in the customer journey.</p> <p>Data is a key enabler, of course, allowing hotels to track and monitor user behaviour. This means that if someone browses and abandons a site before booking, the hotel can re-target them with personalised and tailored messages. </p> <p>There is the argument that hotels should not dismiss OTAs entirely, as they can help to increase awareness and boost bookings (despite taking a commission). But often consumers tend to browse hotel websites in conjunction with OTAs. This perhaps means the focus should not always be on getting people to visit a site – but on keeping them there. Companies like HotelChamp use technology to do exactly this, using data to engage with potential guests and optimise sites accordingly. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Wondering what the advantages of direct bookings are compared to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OTAs?src=hash">#OTAs</a>? Read our latest blog! <a href="https://t.co/t40p02pQno">https://t.co/t40p02pQno</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bookdirect?src=hash">#bookdirect</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hotels?src=hash">#hotels</a></p> — Hotelchamp (@Hotelchamp_com) <a href="https://twitter.com/Hotelchamp_com/status/883324839808954373">July 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Human interaction</h3> <p>A final reason that consumers might be swayed towards direct bookings (both on and offline) is any kind of human interaction. Unlike OTAs, which usually involve communication via digital channels, hotels can benefit from reaching out to customers via the telephone.</p> <p>Telephone communication remains desirable in the US, where 8% of people prefer to book their holidays over the phone versus 4% of other global travellers. Similarly, 15% of US consumers prefer to do it in person compared to 11% elsewhere. </p> <p>Hoteliers can capitalise on this through online customer service channels, making features like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68898-seven-retailers-that-use-live-chat-to-improve-customer-service/">live chat</a> highly visible on homepages. Not only does it offer a one-to-one connection to hotels (which is often absent on OTAs) but it also helps to dispel any queries or concerns which may lead to abandonment.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64395-google-click-to-call-used-by-more-than-40-of-mobile-searchers">Click-to-call</a> functionality on mobile is also key, helping to convert customers in the moment of browsing. This is because, in such a competitive market, an immediate answer could potentially mean the difference between a direct or abandoned booking.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66551-how-hotel-websites-can-improve-the-booking-experience">How hotel websites can improve the booking experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65964-why-do-people-abandon-online-travel-bookings">Why do people abandon online travel bookings?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/65940-10-essential-features-for-travel-websites">10 essential features for travel websites</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69257 2017-07-20T13:09:21+01:00 2017-07-20T13:09:21+01:00 What is utility marketing and why is it important? Nikki Gilliland <p>Take <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69246-why-adidas-is-moving-into-utility-marketing-with-all-day-fitness-app/" target="_blank">Adidas’s new fitness app</a>, for example, which aims to help women improve their general health and well-being – simultaneously selling the brand lifestyle rather than its products.</p> <p>This is what is known as utility marketing, or an example of brand utility. But, hold up. Isn’t that just another way to describe good <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a>, you ask?</p> <p>Sure, there is undoubtedly a crossover, but where most brand or digital marketing activity tends to focus on entertaining or interrupting consumers – brand utility is all about helping them.</p> <p>Let’s delve into the topic a little more, using some effective examples to explain the benefits.</p> <h3>Becoming part of consumers' lives</h3> <p>Instead of selling a product or a brand story, utility marketing turns the tables and taps into a specific consumer need. In a nutshell: it puts the consumer first. </p> <p>It also tends to be on-going, providing a service that can benefit consumers over time. The benefits are pretty obvious. Sporadic engagement tends to generate short-term results – e.g. from a one-off social post or an experiential campaign – but utility marketing helps brands become part of consumers' lives.</p> <p>Apps are a great way to do this, purely because if they catch on, usage turns into a habit rather than a conscious brand interaction. A lot of sports brands use apps as part of their marketing strategies, capitalising on the fact that sport is often a way of life – and that consumers might form long-term loyalty to a specific brand on this basis. </p> <p>The Nike+ Run Club app is an ideal example. It taps into the workout habits of users by tracking runs and setting fitness goals. This means that – regardless of whether or not the user is actually a loyal Nike consumer – the functional aspects of the app are likely to keep them coming back and perhaps even turn them into a customer over time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger. Stick to a plan. | <a href="https://t.co/DV7TAxaNmP">https://t.co/DV7TAxaNmP</a></p> — Nike+ Run Club (@NikeRunning) <a href="https://twitter.com/NikeRunning/status/831919374252593160">February 15, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Another sport-related case is Adidas Runbase, which transfers utility from a digital sense into real life. It is based on the idea that runners in Tokyo like to exercise before or after work but do not have a place to shower or leave their belongings. So, in order to fulfil this need, Adidas created a bespoke space near the subway for runners to shower and rent lockers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7555/runbase.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="498"></p> <p>Of course, the facility just so happens to include a space that sells branded apparel, but by offering an incredibly convenient service first and foremost, visitors are less likely to feel like it is a solely commercial enterprise.</p> <h3>Using AI to aid utility</h3> <p>Another form of utility marketing comes in the form chatbots or AI within messaging. There’s been a boom in the past year or so, but arguably the most successful examples have been those that focus on basic utility rather than personality or entertainment.</p> <p>The reason this is the case is that chatbots allow consumers to connect and engage with brands at their own convenience – using them to fulfil a specific service in the very moment they require it. </p> <p>In other words, consumers do not care whether or not they’re talking to a bot or not, as long as their needs are being met.</p> <p>Travel is one industry where chatbots <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">offer huge potential</a>, with many big brands using them to streamline customer service and provide direct communication with consumers. Both Skyscanner and Kayak’s chatbots allow users to search for flights simply by typing in a destination and selecting dates.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/" target="_blank">KLM’s chatbot</a> takes this utility one step further, sending all travel details like boarding passes to consumers via Facebook Messenger. It also uses this channel to update travellers about possible delays and lets users directly ask questions, such as how much baggage allowance they have or if they can change seats.</p> <p>While KLM’s example undoubtedly serves a functional purpose (in terms of offering information) the reason it is so effective is that it has a knock-on effect, making the actual experience of travelling less stressful and much more streamlined. This kind of utility is invaluable to consumers, as it solves problems in the moment and even prevents them ahead of time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7556/KLM.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="576"></p> <h3>Further examples</h3> <p>Chatbots and apps aside, there have been many other examples of brands using utility as a marketing tool. Here are just a few more that have caught my eye.</p> <h4>Listerine’s ‘Feel Every Smile’ app</h4> <p>Effective brand utility doesn’t necessarily mean a service has to be relevant to everyone – neither does it mean brands have to forgo creating a meaningful or emotional connection with consumers. </p> <p>In 2015, Listerine created an app to help blind or visually-impaired people know when others are smiling at them. Using facial recognition technology in conjunction with smartphone cameras, the app works by vibrating to indicate a smile.</p> <p>The related video is a nice example of content marketing in its own right – using emotive and moving storytelling to promote the brand – however, it also shows the extent to which the smile detector app brings real value to those who use it. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cA0hxCS0fKM?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h4>IBM’s smarter cities</h4> <p>This example takes utility marketing offline. In 2013, IBM designed an offline ad campaign with a purpose, re-designing traditional billboards to have a secondary function.</p> <p>By adding curves at the top or bottom of billboards, the ads served as seats or shelter from rain. Similarly, by using them to form ramps for stairs, they became much more functional for people carrying suitcases or using bikes and skateboards. A simple but highly effective strategy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7557/IBM.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="549"></p> <h4>@HiltonSuggests</h4> <p>A lot of travel brands use their social media presence to offer helpful information to tourists. However, @HiltonSuggests is a nice example of a brand going above and beyond to do so, with Hilton creating a standalone Twitter account to answer queries about where to go and what to do in destinations around the world.</p> <p>The answers aren’t generic, either. Staff respond with follow-up questions to ensure that the answers are tailored to where they’re staying and their personal tastes and interests.</p> <p>The reason it works so well is that the Hilton brand is somewhat irrelevant to the service it provides. And yet, if someone has a positive experience on the back of a recommendation, it’s likely to create a meaningful connection long-term. It could be classed as basic community management, but again, there is definite crossover.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Recommendation? Family friendly (= good location, easy access with MTR, ...) Hotels in Hong Kong? / cc <a href="https://twitter.com/SwissInHKG">@SwissInHKG</a></p> — Klak (@KDKlak) <a href="https://twitter.com/KDKlak/status/886342392651149312">July 15, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Does it always work?</h3> <p>Like any strategy, utility marketing doesn’t always work – especially if the campaign appears disingenuous or a bit gimmicky. This tends to happen when brands base it around a specific product or launch, or when the problem they’re trying to solve isn’t <em>actually</em> much of an issue for consumers. </p> <p>One brand that is possibly guilty of this is Audi, with its ‘Start-Stop’ app. </p> <p>The app works by detecting which of your phone’s applications have been open the longest without being used, before alerting you to turn them off. It's miildly useful, perhaps, but in reality, it is just a way for the brand to promote its Audi ‘Start-Stop’ engine (which turns itself off when your car comes to a stand-still).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7558/audi.JPG" alt="" width="594" height="292"></p> <p>Other campaigns – such as Lucozade Energy recently giving tube riders a free journey along with a drink – could be viewed in the same way, coming off as a vehicle for product promotion rather than real customer value. Despite offering a one-off utility, Lucozade's campaign was really just a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69156-14-brand-pr-stunts-that-successfully-created-a-splash" target="_blank">clever PR stunt</a>.</p> <p>In contrast – as the likes of Adidas and Listerine demonstrate – it's when consumers are able to (and cannot resist) using the service time and again that utility marketing is truly effective.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69252 2017-07-14T14:04:40+01:00 2017-07-14T14:04:40+01:00 10 dazzling digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>Three in four shoppers browse elsewhere before making Prime Day purchases</h3> <p>Research from <a href="http://blog.bazaarvoice.com/2017/07/10/brands-retailers-seize-amazon-prime-day/" target="_blank">BazaarVoice</a> suggests that Prime Day shopping extends beyond Amazon, with 76% of people visiting other online retailers before making a purchase. 46% of consumers are said to visit Walmart, while 40% check Target. </p> <p>BazaarVoice also found that consumers tend to browse other retailers depending on product categories. For example, more than half of shoppers researching electronics brands will also visit Best Buy, while 49% turn to Lowe’s for researching outdoor items like hammocks or barbeques.</p> <h3>33% of consumers say they will erase personal data as GDPR comes into effect</h3> <p>A new survey by SAS suggests that nearly half of consumers plan to utilise their new rights over personal data in May 2018.</p> <p>In a poll of over 2,000 UK adults, 33% said they plan to exercise their right to remove personal data from retailers, while 33% will also ask for their data to stop being used for marketing purposes.</p> <p>17% of people said they will challenge automated decisions, and 24% will access the data that retailers hold on them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7477/SAS_GDPR.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="298"></p> <h3>Prime Day is the biggest sales day of the year for Amazon so far</h3> <p>New data from Hitwise has revealed that there were 9.5m transactions processed on Amazon.com during Prime Day 2017 – making it the biggest sales day of the year so far. The day generated even more sales than last year, when Amazon processed 6.7m transactions.</p> <p>Altogether, Amazon.com accounted for 87% of all online transactions processed by the top 50 retailers on Prime Day – a day when one in every 10 visits to the site resulted in a purchase.</p> <h3>Companies experience digital performance problems once every five days</h3> <p>Research by <a href="https://www.dynatrace.com/digital-transformation-audit/" target="_blank">Dynatrace</a> suggests that organisations are encountering digital performance problems on average once every five days, with individuals across business and IT functions losing a quarter of their working lives fighting to address these problems.</p> <p>In a survey of 1,200 global IT and business professionals, 75% of respondents said they have low levels of confidence in their ability to resolve digital performance problems. 48% also stated these issues were directly hindering the success of digital transformation strategies in their organisations.</p> <p>Marketing professionals are said to lose 470 hours per year or nearly two hours every business day to addressing performance problems, while IT operations professionals lose 522 hours per year or over two hours every business day.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7475/Dynatrace.JPG" alt="" width="582" height="293"></p> <h3>Debit cards overtake cash payments in the UK</h3> <p>The latest <a href="https://brc.org.uk/news/2017/debit-cards-overtake-cash-to-become-number-one-payment-method-in-the-uk" target="_blank">Payments Survey</a> has revealed that debit card purchases have overtaken cash for the first time in the UK, with nearly £190bn being spent via this channel in 2016.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the share of cash transactions shrank 4.5% to account for 42.3%, leaving credit and charge cards to make up the remaining 11.4%. </p> <p>The use of contactless technology has contributed to the rise in card payments, with consumers increasingly using contactless to pay for smaller purchases. The average transaction value on cards declined from £30.53 in 2013 to £25.40 in 2016.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7474/Cash.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="513"></p> <h3>37% of online spend goes through Amazon</h3> <p>The success of this year’s Amazon Prime Day might be indication enough, but new research from <a href="https://info.salmon.com/amazon-king-of-jungle-research" target="_blank">Salmon</a> has also highlighted just how much the retailer dominates the ecommerce industry.</p> <p>In a survey of over 6,000 consumers across Europe and the US, Salmon found that 37% of all consumer spending goes through Amazon. This could rise, too, as 73% of consumers say they will increase their use of digital shopping channels in future.</p> <p>53% of survey respondents also said they would be more likely to buy through Prime than a retailer’s online store, while the majority of consumers feel that Amazon is ‘leading the way in digital retail’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7478/Salmon.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="435"></p> <h3>Fresh grocery searches on the rise</h3> <p>From analysis of over 100m online searches in Q2, Criteo has discovered that searches for online groceries increased by 108% during the period of April to June 2017.</p> <p>With consumers relying on faster and more flexible delivery options, buying fresh produce online is becoming all the more convenient. Consequently, searches for milk, eggs and cheese all increased in the second quarter. Online searches for milk increased by 92% from the first three months of the year.</p> <h3>More than 50% of travellers look for inspiration during the planning process</h3> <p>A <a href="https://info.advertising.expedia.com/multi-national-travel-trends-in-the-tourism-industry" target="_blank">new study</a> by Expedia Media Solutions has uncovered the motivations and behaviours of travel consumers across eight countries including China, Australia and the UK.</p> <p>In all eight countries, at least 50% of travellers say they are often undecided on a destination close to booking, with most looking for help and inspiration during the planning process. More than 65% say they are influenced by informative content from travel or tourism brands.</p> <p>That being said, the research also found differences in the kind of marketing people respond to. While ads featuring deals are most likely to influence Americans, Canadians and Australians, Chinese travellers are prompted by ads with appealing imagery and informative content. Both French and German travellers place equal value on appealing deals and imagery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7476/Expedia_Media_Solutions.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="363"> </p> <h3>Marketers struggling to localise content</h3> <p>According to research from the <a href="https://www.cmocouncil.org/authority-leadership/reports/328" target="_blank">CMO Council</a>, marketers are finding it difficult to localise content and tailor their output for individual media platforms.</p> <p>In a poll of 150 marketers, just 36.2% agreed they were performing well when it comes to translating creative strategies across all the necessary physical and digital touchpoints. Furthermore, just 32% believed they are succeeding in adapting branded content for different markets, audiences, and locations served by their companies around the world.</p> <p>47.7% of respondents stated that ‘localisation demands’ – e.g. language, cultural values and religion – were putting pressure on teams to deliver creative at scale. 43.9% also cited new digital formats and device types as a big challenge.</p> <h3>Emojis lose momentum as a marketing tactic</h3> <p>Research from 2016 showed that 95% of Brits were more likely to open an email if they contained emojis that juxtaposed the subject line. However, a new study by Mailjet suggests that emojis might be losing their effect.</p> <p>In a series of tests, Mailjet found open rates in the UK and the US rise by just 5% and 6% respectively when emojis accompanied the subject line.</p> <p>While the crying-with-laughter emoji was previously the most popular, Brits are now 33% less likely to open a message using the crying emoji than an email without it. The current overall best performer is the simple red heart emoji, being one of the few to generate a positive net result across all test regions with a 6% increase in open rate. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7479/emojis.jpg" alt="" width="540" height="540"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69246 2017-07-13T14:21:24+01:00 2017-07-13T14:21:24+01:00 Why Adidas is moving into utility marketing with All Day fitness app Nikki Gilliland <p>Its MiCoach app (now Runtastic) aims to help improve users’ fitness performance, while its Adidas Confirmed app lets users know about exclusive product releases.</p> <p>Now, Adidas is taking a broader approach, combining different types of health and fitness tracking technology into a single app. 'All Day' – just launched in the US – is an all-encompassing version designed to help users ‘begin their journey to well-being’. </p> <p>But, is there a market for yet another sports-brand app? More to the point, how will Adidas benefit? </p> <h3>Technology to manage health, not just fitness</h3> <p>From the Nike+ Training Club app to MyFitnessPal and Fitbit, there are a tonne of similar apps on the market. Interestingly, Adidas’s All Day app does not appear to be a carbon copy of other brand examples, instead, focusing much more on health and well-being for women.</p> <p>While it is inspired by sport, the app is tailored around four distinct categories of movement, nutrition, mindset, and rest. This means if the user is not that interested in one category, such as exercise, they’ll still be able to gain value from others like food and sleep.</p> <p>Essentially, it’s an interesting example of utility marketing, with Adidas ensuring that it is there to meet the individuals needs at any time – without directly promoting its core products.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GvQfVjpDTwM?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>Moving into the health industry could prove to be a shrewd move from Adidas. According to research, two-thirds of Americans <a href="http://www.itnonline.com/content/two-thirds-americans-favor-digital-personal-health-management" target="_blank">favour digital health management</a> over physical. Meanwhile, healthcare apps have seen a surge in interest, with a 16% increase in downloads during the past two years.</p> <p>Adidas is not the only brand to veer into this market. Under Armour’s Record app is also geared around general health verticals such as fitness, nutrition, and sleep – capitalising on its ability to track and help users throughout the entire day, not just during moments of exercise. </p> <h3>Using content to inspire</h3> <p>One way the Adidas All Day app differentiates itself from the competition is by going beyond performance tracking, also using content to inspire users. </p> <p>This part of the app is called ‘Discoveries’, with the current selection including recipes and healthy eating tips from food author, Candice Kumai, and a custom music playlist from DJ Nina Las Vegas. </p> <p>As well as capitalising on the authority of influencers, Adidas is focusing on high-quality content to tap into the general lifestyle interests of women. </p> <p>The aim here is to provide more than just utility. So while some people might use fitness apps for a while and then forget about them, or only think of using them in the moment of exercise, Adidas wants to provide the inspiration for maintaining and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7415/Adidas_All_Day_2.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="604"></p> <p>Furthermore, instead of focusing on hardcore or lengthy workout programs, it focuses on setting short term goals – where the length and category is chosen by the user.</p> <p>For example, if you’re interested in setting up a healthy eating plan, you can choose a select number of recipes to try – which the app will then remind you about and mark as complete as you go. The same goes for exercise plans and sleep aids. </p> <p>By breaking everything down into manageable chunks, the hope is that users might be more inclined to sustain usage over time.</p> <h3>Expanding digital presence</h3> <p>The app is not the only example of Adidas targeting a female audience or experimenting with other forms of utility marketing. In the UK, it launched a chatbot to let consumers find out information and book fitness classes in its East London studio. </p> <p>The chatbot received 2,000 sign ups with a 60% retention rate after the first week of launch, proving that online users often value practicality over pure entertainment.</p> <p>Adidas appears to be using both to promote the All Day app on social media, pulling in lifestyle-based content from its blog as well as promoting features such as the ability to set mini challenges.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Make every movement count.</p> <p>Take on challenges on the new All Day App: <a href="https://t.co/ZCnUASMOYR">https://t.co/ZCnUASMOYR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/adidasALLDAY?src=hash">#adidasALLDAY</a> <a href="https://t.co/haamf50fZc">pic.twitter.com/haamf50fZc</a></p> — ADIDAS NYC (@adidasNYC) <a href="https://twitter.com/adidasNYC/status/883037976007024640">July 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>It’s also capitalising on influencer involvement, featuring popular lifestyle bloggers on its Instagram channel – another sign that it’s set on widening its target demographic rather than a niche, fitness-focused audience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7413/Adidas_insta.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="478"></p> <h3>Building brand affinity</h3> <p>The main benefit of utility marketing is that it helps to create brand affinity, with users potentially more likely to favour Adidas products when considering a purchase.</p> <p>While this naturally extends to Adidas sportswear and apparel, there’s also the question of whether Adidas will introduce a wearable tie-in.</p> <p>This has been the pattern for many sports brands up until now, starting with Nike+ and its Fuelband. Despite Nike going back to being a third-party app (now compatible with the Apple Watch), others have since entered the market, including Under Armour and its Healthbox wearable, and New Balance and its RunIQ smartwatch.</p> <p>As it stands, the new Adidas app can be paired with Apple’s Health Kit and Google Fit, and it looks like it won’t be long before a new official wearable is launched.</p> <p>It’s been reported that the device featured in the press photos for the All Day app is the all-new Adidas fitness tracker – thought to be called ‘Chameleon’. Said to be a rival for Fitbit, it will include a heart-rate sensor, as well as tie-ins with healthcare partners like Verily and American College of Sports Medicine. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7414/Chameleon.JPG" alt="" width="606" height="344"></p> <p>So, could Adidas take a share of the lucrative wearable market?</p> <p>Fitbit is currently the dominant player, with the brand seeing the most amount of downloads for its accompanying app. That being said, there has been rising concern over privacy rights, with many big wearable companies coming under fire for vague and convoluted T&amp;C’s. </p> <p>Alongside privacy concerns, one of the biggest reasons for wearable abandonment (a <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/a-third-of-wearable-devices-abandoned-by-consumers-gartner/" target="_blank">third of all owners</a> are reported to not wear their device) is said to be guilt or frustration for failing to reach their fitness goals. </p> <p>As less of a goal-setting app, and more of a lifestyle support, this is one area that Adidas might be able to capitalise on.</p> <p>By focusing more on flexibility rather than serious workouts, it could appeal to a wider demographic, as well as consumers already interested in its fashion-focused collections such as Adidas Originals.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69086-how-adidas-uses-digital-to-enable-powerful-experiences/" target="_blank">How Adidas uses digital to enable powerful experiences</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65598-nike-vs-adidas-which-provides-the-best-ecommerce-experience" target="_blank">Nike vs. Adidas: which provides the best ecommerce experience?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68785-how-adidas-originals-uses-social-media-to-drive-sales/" target="_blank">How Adidas Originals uses social media to drive sales</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69207 2017-07-07T11:00:00+01:00 2017-07-07T11:00:00+01:00 How six travel & hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>With <a href="https://www.pure360.com/power-personalisation-travel-industry/" target="_blank">86% of travellers</a> now reported to value personalised offers, it’s becoming more of an expectation than an extra for the majority of consumers. Of course, capturing customer data is not always an easy task, and in order to provide a fair trade-off the end result must outweigh any potential privacy concerns. So, are brands stepping up to the plate? Here are a few examples of brands effectively implementing personalisation in a variety of different ways.</p> <h3>1. KLM </h3> <p>KLM is a travel brand that demonstrates personalisation across much of its digital marketing activity. For example, it uses personalised emails to retarget customers that abandon carts online, allowing them to carry on the user journey from where they left off.</p> <p>One of its most innovative displays of personalisation has been iFly 50 – an interactive anniversary edition of its brand magazine. While iFly usually offers inspirational stories, reviews, and general travel tips, the 50 edition allowed readers the chance to pick their five favourite destinations for the chance to win the trip of a lifetime.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7070/KLM.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="601"></p> <p><em>Competition in KLM's iFly 50 interactive magazine</em></p> <p>Combining stunning imagery with an interactive user experience, it’s a slick example of how to personalise content marketing. By giving the reader a reason to interact with the brand (instead of passively scrolling) – it meant people would be more likely to invest and engage.</p> <p>By asking users to enter their email address and to opt into the iFly newsletter, it also meant KLM could follow-up with targeted marketing messages related to the destinations chosen.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7071/Japan_monkeys.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="392"></p> <p><em>One of the top 50 destinations showcased in the iFly 50 interactive magazine</em></p> <h3>2. Delta Flights </h3> <p>Personalisation does not only extend to digital marketing. Many airlines are now taking steps to personalise the in-flight experience, with brands like Delta using this strategy to reward and engage its most loyal customers.</p> <p>Delta has recently re-launched its Guest Service Tool – a handheld device that allows flight attendants to access detailed information about passengers. For example, it can enable staff to find out whether passengers are frequent flyers or identify those who might need special assistance. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7072/Delta_2.JPG" alt="" width="594" height="297"></p> <p>Delta describes the tool as a way to ‘bring humanity back to flying’, however, the brand has also emphasised its dedication to customer privacy.</p> <p>This is because, naturally, this kind of data usage prompts the question: Will customers feel comfortable with their data being used in this way? Unlike examples of digital or online personalisation – where customers often opt-in or are typically made aware of data usage – many customers might be totally unaware that flight attendants have such detailed information about them.</p> <p>It'll be interesting to see how the tool fares (it is currently in soft launch). But regardless, it undoubtedly shows how airlines are increasingly <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69018-how-airline-brands-are-improving-customer-experience-in-flight/" target="_blank">concentrating on in-flight</a> personalisation. We've already seen other brands, like Singapore Airlines, introduce options for customised meals. Meanwhile, KLM has also introduced a ‘Meet and seat’ feature to allow passengers to see who is sitting where.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Time for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DeltaSnackSwap?src=hash">#DeltaSnackSwap</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/PretzelP">@PretzelP</a> gluten-free pretzels, <a href="https://twitter.com/SquirrelBrandCo">@SquirrelBrandCo</a> almonds, <a href="https://twitter.com/KINDSnacks">@KINDSnacks</a> join <a href="https://twitter.com/BiscoffCookies">@BiscoffCookies</a> <a href="https://t.co/12K1P5yqhY">https://t.co/12K1P5yqhY</a> <a href="https://t.co/TJhaGSNB1k">pic.twitter.com/TJhaGSNB1k</a></p> — Delta (@Delta) <a href="https://twitter.com/Delta/status/867379978530418689">May 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>3. Best Western </h3> <p>Hotels might naturally need to encourage loyalty more than airlines - with greater competition for repeat bookings. Best Western wanted to personalise its emails in order to better engage both new and former customers.</p> <p>More specifically, the brand aimed to increase the number of downloads of its mobile app. In order to do so, it concentrated on the recipients' device and location.</p> <p>Firstly, by identifying the device used to open the email, it was able to alter its message accordingly. This meant that people using an Apple device were automatically directed to the Apple app store, while Android users were sent to the Google Play store. This removed any friction in the user journey, encouraging users to download the app without having to locate the correct link themselves.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Best Western used geo-targeting to send specific and relevant offers based on the user’s location. For example, it served different recommended destinations according to whether someone opened the email in New York City or Los Angeles.</p> <p>Both strategies proved to be effective. The hotel chain saw a 143% uplift in downloads of its app compared to similar campaigns. Similarly, there was a 10% increase in email click-through rates by non-rewards members.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7075/Best_Western.JPG" alt="" width="569" height="596"></p> <p><em>A Best Western mobile email when opened on an iPhone, note the App Store specific download message</em></p> <p>This example shows that personalisation can be valuable even if the consumer does not realise it is happening. In this instance, email recipients would have been unaware that the message was contextual, yet without it, they might have reacted differently.</p> <h3>4. Virgin Hotels </h3> <p>Virgin Hotels Chicago is another hotel that focuses on personalisation, with the brand using mobile technology to enhance the customer’s experience throughout their stay.</p> <p>According to research, 40% of travellers remain connected via their smartphones while on holiday, with 29% using it to stay in touch with loved ones and 24% using it to find out information about the local area.</p> <p>On this basis, Virgin wanted to create a platform that would allow guests to customise their hotel experience via their existing device. The result was 'Lucy' – a mobile app that would allow guests to do things like adjust the temperature in their room, stream content on hotel TVs, make external dining reservations, and so on. </p> <p>Instead of a typical rewards program, Virgin Hotels also launched ‘The Know’ – a preference program designed to create exceptional experiences. By filling in a questionnaire online, guests can choose what they’d like in their mini bar, discuss allergies, and even select a cocktail that will be waiting on arrival.</p> <p>This type of personalisation is hard to beat – and it means that hotel brands are able to compete with the intimate experience offered by the likes of Airbnb. By treating guests as individuals rather than a homogenous group, it also means customers are far more likely to return in future.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Always be yourself. Unless you want to be a unicorn, be a unicorn. Have U joined our Know Program? Dream it. Be it: <a href="https://t.co/ORShisymO0">https://t.co/ORShisymO0</a> <a href="https://t.co/9Iaf77JH0K">pic.twitter.com/9Iaf77JH0K</a></p> — Virgin Hotel Chicago (@virginhotelschi) <a href="https://twitter.com/virginhotelschi/status/875753460716720128">June 16, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>5. Iberia Airlines</h3> <p>Last Christmas, Iberia Airlines experimented with a highly personalised campaign, geared around individuals and their dream holidays.</p> <p>The Spanish airline sent emails to customers asking a few questions about their perfect trip – including things like where they would like to travel to and who their ideal travel partner would be. It then sent emails to whoever they’d cited as a travel companion to let them know a special holiday card had been created with them in mind.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HwS7l-ii4WQ?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>If the recipient clicked on the link (and accepted cookies in the process), they’d then see targeted banners and ads that prompted them to buy the perfect Christmas gift for their friend. See examples below.</p> <p>While it might be unlikely that many people went on to purchase the ‘dream holiday’, Iberia’s campaign is still a good example of how to target offers to individuals. Instead of taking a blanket approach, it ensured that its message would resonate with both the original recipient of the email and the person it was then sent to.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7067/Iberia.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="207"></p> <p>By asking emotive questions based on personal desires, Iberia instantly created a more meaningful connection with individuals, promoting the idea that the brand truly cares about its customers.</p> <p>The campaign is also a good example of how to effectively use cookies. Most importantly, Iberia offered transparency - making clear that users need to accept cookie data to view the card – which ensured that they would not be surprised or put-off by the subsequent re-targeting.</p> <h3>6. Expedia </h3> <p>Finally, while personalisation can be effective during active processes like researching, booking, and travelling - Expedia’s 2014 campaign shows that it can also be a way to drive social engagement.</p> <p>For its ‘Travel Yourself Interesting’ campaign, Expedia gave Facebook users the chance to create a unique infographic based on their own travel experiences, including information such as ‘total miles travelled’ and ‘number of countries visited’. The campaign followed on from a previous example that allowed users to create messages from luggage tags.</p> <p>Capitalising on the idea that social media is a place where people naturally talk about the subject of travel (as well as partake in a little bragging) – Expedia created a campaign that was highly engaging for Facebook users.</p> <p>With over 15,500 people creating their travel profile in eight countries, the results speak for themselves. For Expedia, it was a chance to capture unique social data, which helped the brand to better understand its customers and inform re-targeted advertising.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7076/Expedia.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="345"></p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns">10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67333-travel-hospitality-industry-lacks-data-driven-marketing-skills-report/" target="_blank">Travel &amp; hospitality industry lacks data-driven marketing skills: report</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68025-how-hotels-can-create-a-more-convenient-customer-experience" target="_blank">How hotels can create a more convenient customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69232 2017-07-06T11:41:00+01:00 2017-07-06T11:41:00+01:00 Marketers can rest easy, AI is not about to make them redundant Nikki Gilliland <p>Sounds pretty simple when you put it like that, right? </p> <p>Of course, actually getting to this point isn’t <em>quite</em> so easy. Neither is convincing businesses that artificial intelligence is actually worth investing in, especially considering it is nearing the dreaded “trough of disillusionment” on the infamous Gartner Hype Cycle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7299/Gartner_hype_cycle.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="476"></p> <p>Reflecting <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots">the various examples of brand chatbots</a> we’ve seen throughout the past year or so, the conversation at Supercharged ranged from the inspiring to the silly. Here’s a summary of the day’s biggest talking points, along with insight into how brands of all kinds are implementing artificial intelligence.</p> <h3>Rapid rate of change</h3> <p>While many people can get carried away with what artificial intelligence might look like far into the future, John Straw kicked off Supercharged with an inspiring talk about how the technology will evolve in the next couple of years.</p> <p>Right now, of course, it has its limitations, with most marketers creating augmented decision trees and calling it a chatbot. Then again, John reminded us of the prediction that bots will be in everyday use by 2020, also suggesting that the rapid rate at which the technology is evolving means the bots will look (and sound) far different to how they do now. In fact, he said that by mid-2018, the technology will have advanced so much that users won’t even realising they’re talking to a bot. </p> <p>As someone who has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">reviewed quite a few (mediocre) examples</a> in the past year or so (not counting <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69146-five-things-we-learned-from-launching-a-facebook-messenger-chatbot/" target="_blank">our own</a>, of course), I feel that John's prediction sounds rather optimistic. </p> <p>Then again, as John explained, just because we’re not seeing the technology in practice right now, does not mean it is not in existence. Take the healthcare sector, for instance, where new companies such as HealthTap and Babylon Health are looking to revolutionise the early stages of patient diagnosis. </p> <p>Instead of endlessly waiting on hold to speak to a human or Googling their aches and pains, patients can liaise with AI-powered doctors to speed up and streamline the process.</p> <p>As John said, the net benefit of this kind of technology is greater satisfaction, not just in the context of a doctor-patient scenario but in relation to all kinds of customer service. Instead of being passed from pillar to post and ending up “talking to a 19-year-old in a call centre”, people will be able to talk to a single entity to get the answer they want much faster. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Proud to be nestled among some of A.I.'s best. <a href="https://t.co/EtnEzSPCXR">https://t.co/EtnEzSPCXR</a> <a href="https://t.co/sNIOJIIVKv">pic.twitter.com/sNIOJIIVKv</a></p> — babylon (@babylonhealth) <a href="https://twitter.com/babylonhealth/status/880715572379611136">June 30, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>The benefits of NLP</h3> <p>A lot of brand chatbots involve scripts and decision trees to force users down a specific path. And while some can be frustratingly limited, others can work surprisingly well.</p> <p>Alex Miller from <a href="http://www.bytelondon.com/">Byte London</a> cited Adidas as a prime example, with the sports brand using a scripted chatbot to enable Facebook Messenger users to book a free session in an East London fitness studio. Users could interact with the bot to book times, get reminders, and find out location details. The results showed a 76% retention rate after 23 weeks, 1.1m interactions, and 46,000 fitness sessions organised in all. </p> <p>So, scripted bots can work well for events, but what about scenarios where users are more inclined to ask questions?</p> <p>JustEat is one brand that has successfully combined scripted technology with NLP (natural language processing), going on to create a chatbot that is both functional and entertaining.</p> <p>To do so, it put together a large collection of possible user queries, alongside a list of how the bot would answer in response.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7300/JustEat_chatbot.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="419"></p> <p>Of course, this still has its limitations. There’s only a certain amount of language it is programmed to recognise, however it's still a good example of a bot that goes beyond basic commands to inject personality and humour into the mix.  </p> <p>For JustEat, it meant that 40% of people who interacted with the bot went on to actually place an order online, as well as the brand seeing an average dwell time of 2mins 14secs.</p> <h3>Programming personality into AI</h3> <p>Speaking of personality... according to Nick Asbury, writer for Creative Review and one-half of agency <a href="http://asburyandasbury.com/about/">Asbury &amp; Asbury</a>, character remains a largely untapped area of artificial intelligence. </p> <p>This seems strange, he suggests, especially considering humans are instinctively drawn to any kind of inanimate object that appears to have a personality. Meanwhile, with most humans naturally inclined to choose text or email – even in the context of social relationships – why would we want to spend time having a conversation with Amazon's Alexa when we could skim-read textual information? </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This alarm clock is so confused <a href="https://t.co/j6bbHp98nh">pic.twitter.com/j6bbHp98nh</a></p> — Faces in Things (@FacesPics) <a href="https://twitter.com/FacesPics/status/878651935435485184">June 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Putting these negatives aside, the positive is that most people are also open to the idea of artificial intelligence taking on more human characteristics. As Nick explained, we’ve traditionally seen this in popular culture, with robots taking on all kinds of human traits in films ranging from Knight Rider to 2001: A Space Odyssey.</p> <p>Ultimately, this means that there is a huge amount of unexplored territory in terms of chatbot tone and personality. If ‘neutral’ or an Alexa-type chatbot is the middle of the spectrum, a large percentage of all brand communication does not tend to stray very far from this. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/asburyandasbury">@asburyandasbury</a> on giving AI personality: "Most chatbots are neutral, polite or helpful. Lots of unexplored traits" <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/supercharged17?src=hash">#supercharged17</a> <a href="https://t.co/2e86Pt8aG6">pic.twitter.com/2e86Pt8aG6</a></p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/882184030388670469">July 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>So, instead of concentrating on just one aspect (either functionality or personality) Nick suggests that brands should explore different areas of the tonal map – even embrace sounding like a robot. </p> <p>Nick specifically mentioned Zhuck – an app that Asbury &amp; Asbury worked on in partnership with a Russian bank. Described as an ‘endearingly grumpy smart ass’, it was deliberately designed to be more interesting and engaging to use, with a character that set out to entertain as much as serve a functional purpose. </p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/128130687" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>Fusing AI with human roles</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly, a lot of discussion at Supercharged revolved around the automation of jobs, and the natural backlash that has occurred because of it.</p> <p>So, from a marketer’s perspective, will we see AI disrupt specific areas such as content creation? And what about from a wider branding perspective – could we even see artificial intelligence informing brand straplines or mission statements?</p> <p>While companies such as <a href="https://phrasee.co/">Phrasee</a> (which uses software to generate email subject lines) shows that artificial intelligence can beat humans in terms of scale and immediacy, it still feels like we’re a long way from bots replacing human creativity.</p> <p>Jukedeck is a company that uses artificial intelligence to compose music that’s suited to individual needs and contexts. Patrick Stobbs, the company’s co-founder, gave some interesting insight into this idea. When asked whether or not this kind of technology creates <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble">a filter bubble</a>, he argued that – in contrast – it actually gives creative people the tools to improve and enhance their craft.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjukedeck%2Fposts%2F784081638422118&amp;width=500" width="500" height="476"></iframe></p> <p>Other brands at Supercharged spoke about how they are using artificial intelligence to streamline services, as well as to upskill and aid traditional roles rather than automate them out. </p> <p>Nicola Millard from BT suggested that most jobs are made up of an intricate series of tasks, regardless of seniority level or industry. As a result, instead of the ‘automation will take our jobs’ scenario coming true – the reality might be more like 60% of jobs having about 30% of their roles automated in the next 10 years.</p> <p>In relation to companies like BT that currently rely on people for customer service, Nicola emphasised that it will not be a battle between bots and agents, but rather a partnership that combines the (very different strengths) of the two. </p> <p>IntelligentX Brewing Company is another brand that cited this belief, insisting that its own product – a beer brewed by AI – requires human involvement throughout the entire manufacturing process. Instead of automating out the human elements, people work in conjunction with the AI (in terms of testing, assessing and providing feedback on AI-produced recipes) to create the very best result.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Found my way to the <a href="https://twitter.com/IntelligentX_ai">@IntelligentX_ai</a> beer tasting at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/smlates?src=hash">#smlates</a>! Beer that evolves with consumer feedback. <a href="https://t.co/NkIHPVbvih">pic.twitter.com/NkIHPVbvih</a></p> — Michelle Reeve (@michelleareeve) <a href="https://twitter.com/michelleareeve/status/771058383566860288">August 31, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Dealing with data issues</h3> <p>The final panel talk of the day centred around how data and artificial intelligence can fuel personalisation and brand loyalty. But when does AI cross the line from cool to creepy? Moreover, with the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69119-gdpr-needn-t-be-a-bombshell-for-customer-focused-marketers" target="_blank">GDPR deadline rapidly approaching</a>, will greater regulation impact automated processes such as customer profiling and segmentation?</p> <p>While this is not as relevant in cases whereby automation doesn’t have a significant or legal impact, it still reflects the dangers of using customer data to such an extent that it feels like a violation of privacy.  </p> <p>For brands like ASOS, artificial intelligence certainly underpins targeting strategies, with AI processes impacting what products to show which customers and when. However, even ASOS realises that data should be used with caution, agreeing that <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-incredible-story-of-how-target-exposed-a-teen-girls-pregnancy-2012-2?IR=T">Target’s recent fail</a> proves some lines should not be crossed. The retail brand sent coupons for baby items to a teenager (and her unsuspecting father), having determined from data tracking that she was pregnant.</p> <p>While other brands like ShopDirect show that using artificial intelligence in this way can generate results – i.e. to identify and retarget a customer who might have run out of lipstick – it’s clear that there’s a long way to go before basic human judgement becomes redundant. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68770-an-introduction-to-ai-and-customer-service/" target="_blank">An introduction to AI and customer service</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69112-what-s-the-difference-between-ai-powered-personalisation-and-more-basic-segmentation/" target="_blank">What's the difference between AI-powered personalisation and more basic segmentation?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69187 2017-06-27T10:45:00+01:00 2017-06-27T10:45:00+01:00 Channel 4 on the future of TV, personalisation & GDPR Ben Davis <h3>"We've got hundreds of millions of data points"</h3> <p>We began by discussing what Channel 4 does with its data. A picture emerges of a broadcaster that is on the cusp of truly data-driven engagement with viewers.</p> <p>"We’ve got five years' worth of first party data," says Rose, "from 15 million registered users, for whom we have age, demographic, email and postcode, then obviously their viewing history and that’s really really rich now - it’s hundreds of millions of data points."</p> <p>The work that the data science team does with all this data falls into two categories - commercial and creative. Rose describes the commercial side as pretty well understood in the market now- trading models and trading products for the on-demand service (All 4) which enable the serving of targeted advertising to audiences.</p> <p>Whilst some of this commercial work, according to Rose, is still "groundbreaking and innovative", she adds that much of it is becoming more mainstream now. It's on the creative side where the exciting stuff is really starting to happen.</p> <p>All 4 now segments its audience not by age and socioeconomic group but by tastes and viewing habits. Rose says: "We’re serving nine segments using content curation, content promotion and tailored content communications which reflects your viewing history so it’s more relevant to you."</p> <p>However, personalisation doesn't stop at nine different segments - Rose says that the company has "just completed algorithmic work on recommendations so that we're not just curating content for the nine segments but we are also making recommendations to every single user based on their individual history."</p> <p>This truly personalised content is surfaced on the All 4 homepage, enhancing both the consumer's experience and monetisation opportunities. It's a turning point for the platform. "Actually, it’s really exciting," says Rose, "the longstanding work of our data science team is finally coming to fruition within All 4 and we can see it working. We get the results every day, we’re able to see what works and what doesn’t and then iterate again. It’s a genuinely exciting process."  </p> <p>The data science team that makes it all possible is currently twelve-strong at Channel 4. It's made up of a mix of more experienced data scientists with graduates and PHD students who split their time between academia and industry.</p> <p>What's particularly interesting is the role of data strategist. The company employs two people in this particular role, which Rose describes as "the bridging point between the data science team, who work on the models that we put into our products, and the rest of the business."</p> <p>"That provides a language," Rose continues, "between two otherwise quite disparate departments in Channel 4, to make sure we do something that’s meaningful and impactful and can actually be launched into our products."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7006/sarah_rose.jpg" alt="sarah rose" width="200" height="200"></p> <p><em>Sarah Rose, Director of Consumer Insight at Channel 4</em></p> <h3>"We're not doing what Netflix does."</h3> <p>The logical question to ask Rose was about how this behavioural data - viewing habits, completion rates, demographics etc. - how this is fed back into the commissioning process. Does it actually impact what Channel 4 commissions?</p> <p>"It will be part of it," says Rose, "broadcasting has been around for a very long time and we have all sorts of research that informs what is commissioned and how we should schedule those programmes, not least professional experience, never mind the data we give the commissioners. So it’s definitely used but I wouldn’t say it dictates what we commission.</p> <p>Rose expands on this idea: "We’re not doing what Netflix does which is working out a supposedly magic combination of a particular setting, length of film, actor etc. We’re not there and I doubt whether we’ll ever want to get there."</p> <p>Though perhaps overegged in the media, the methodology that Netflix uses during commissioning has fascinated those in the industry for a number of years. Famously, the company had identified Kevin Spacey movies as having broad appeal amongst its audience before it decided to get involved with the House of Cards remake.</p> <p>Netflix's ability to pinpoint tens of thousands of very specific film genres is impressive, but Channel 4's approach is something a little different, more suited to its position as a UK brand with a distinctive output.</p> <p>Rose says "We are more broadly creative - we’re calling our work with All 4 'smart curation'. We were trying to find a term that captures the fusing of algorithmically-driven computer science with editorial overlay and a human taste palette, if you like, to help decide what makes sense rather than simply what a computer churns out."</p> <p>"We’ve got a combination of the two at the moment," she says, "and that’s as far as we’ll ever want to go, we’ll always want Channel 4 overlay. We want to be curator of choice, but we also want to inform that curation with what we’re able to track of individual viewing habits."</p> <p>To put it as clearly as possible, Rose sums it up thus: "Are we commissioning based on data alone? - no. Are we using data to help understand what viewers like and what else they might like? - absolutely." </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/7007/netflix-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="house of cards" width="470" height="353"></p> <p><em>Netflix's data reportedly revealed Kevin Spacey's appeal across viewer demographics</em></p> <h3>"On-demand is falling seamlessly into... living rooms."</h3> <p>All 4 is available on a variety of platforms - iOS, Android, PC, smart TVs, (all of which require viewers to register with Channel 4) or through gatekeepers Sky, BT and Virgin (which are closed platforms with no Channel 4 registration, much like traditional linear TV).</p> <p>According to Rose, the broadcaster uses "some data modelling which helps determine what big screen viewers like, without having them registered," though she adds that "obviously our ultimate ambition is for registration to be everywhere."</p> <p>Despite being limited to household data for some big screen viewing, the insights that Rose's team can draw from All 4 viewing data are fascinating.</p> <p>"I could talk about this forever," she says. "It’s really hard to sum up in a couple of sentences what's happening with on demand services, and this will be the case with all broadcasters now, not least iPlayer. On-demand is now so widely used and the breadth of audience demographic is so vast, that it’s no longer about ‘top shows’ being watched on the platform."</p> <p>"It depends on the demographic and your habits. We have the Walter Presents service freely available online, though sometimes with a stunt launch where the first episode is shown on More 4. Walter attracts an older demographic, they come in pretty much exclusively for that, they watch a lot of it, the completion rates are extraordinarily high, there’s real loyalty and that’s great for us."</p> <p>"Then you’ve got shows such as Made in Chelsea or Hollyoaks where we’ve got much younger viewers regularly coming in for those brands. Some of our viewers only watch those shows on demand because then it’s on their own terms, they’ve got young kids perhaps, and when Hollyoaks is broadcast it’s just not their time to watch telly. They know it’s going to be on All 4 and they can watch it on a tablet in their bedroom or second screen, or whatever it might be."</p> <p>"Some programmes, such as Made in Chelsea, see as much as half of their viewing on demand. Other programmes, like eight o’clock lifestyle programmes for example, are still vastly viewed on linear TV."</p> <p>One major trend that the broadcaster has noticed over the last year has been on-demand viewing on the big screen, often enabled by devices such as the Fire Stick or Chromecast. Rose points out that this is a market trend and says that "When people can get a show on to the big screen, they will do, with mobile and tablet becoming a second option either when you can’t get to your TV or when you’re out and about."</p> <p>Rose stresses that though her team thought this would happen, "it’s really happened in the last year." She adds that smart TVs and casting are great for Channel 4, because the viewers must be registered here and therefore the broadcaster can serve them what they like, but on the big screen where they’re happy to keep watching. </p> <p>"On demand is falling seamlessly into audience viewing habits in their living rooms," she says. "It’s a complement to linear TV; our audience are learning to consume content in a multitude of ways which suit them and their lifestyles."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/7008/fire-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="amazon fire stick" width="470" height="209"></p> <p><em>Amazon Fires Stick - casting is a big trend</em></p> <h3>"One of the key battlegrounds... is the discoverability of our content"</h3> <p>From discussion of casting devices such as the Fire Stick, it seemed obvious to ask Rose about new user interfaces such as voice control. Is Channel 4 ready for a change in the way people ask their device for content?</p> <p>"We’re watching the rise of voice with interest. Sky Q has already adopted a voice recognition technology, which is great, and good for us on that platform. YouView has just adopted Alexa, so it’s definitely coming and therefore we’re looking at it."</p> <p>"One of the key battlegrounds for broadcasters in this technological age is the discoverability of our content, then the attribution of it to us, so we have to look at all options to encourage and enhance that."</p> <h3>GDPR is "not a mindset change..we are here to serve our consumers"</h3> <p>The General Data Protection Regulation has become a pressing issue for most companies. We are less than a year out, at time of writing, from the 25th May 2018, when the regulation comes into force in the EU and UK.</p> <p>I asked Rose about how Channel 4 is approaching the matter, and although they take it very seriously, it seems previous work on viewer registration and consent has largely stood in good stead.</p> <p>Rose says she is running a steering group internally that has put in submissions to various consultations that have been run. She says, "People across the whole business are poring over this, thinking about how we talk to our consumers. We take this unbelievably seriously, even before the introduction of this increased regulation, but actually we’re coming from quite a good starting point."</p> <p>"Our viewer promise has won awards. We’re very clear and transparent with our viewers about what we do with their data, you can see it all on our site and can opt out at any time. Very few people do, but the fact that some people do is of some reassurance to us that the system is working and when they want to exercise that choice they are able to."</p> <p>The viewer promise that Rose refers to was famously <a href="http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/viewer-promise/ourpromise">fronted by Alan Carr</a> in a campaign back in 2012 that sought to reassure viewers ahead of compulsory registration to view.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7005/alan.jpg" alt="alan carr" width="600"></p> <p><em>A still from the Alan Carr viewer promise campaign</em></p> <p>It's this promise and the work that has ensued that leads Rose to say "we’re not starting from zero as I think many others across other sectors are."</p> <p>This lack of oversight in some sectors is obvious to see in news headlines from the ICO over the past few months. In June 2017, <a href="https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2017/06/morrisons-supermarket-chain-fined-for-flouting-customers-marketing-wishes/">Morrisons was fined</a> for emailing consumers who had opted out of marketing, inviting customers to change their preferences to receive money-off coupons. Flybe and Honda were fined in March 2017 for similar offences, with Flybe even offering entry to a prize draw for those that updated their preferences.</p> <p>Despite being ahead of the game somewhat with its pioneering and transparent work on data protection, Channel 4 is looking at reviewing its viewer promise, with Rose saying that "irrespective of GDPR we were already allocating time and creative budget to update that. In time, you'll see a new version of Alan. When we did it originally, it was to introduce viewers who weren’t familiar with this at all, really, and their question was 'Why should they trust us?' Now the market is much more mature."</p> <p>Rose adds, "Quite a lot of what the regulations are moving towards, we already do. We’re doing a drains up approach though, we want to continue to exemplify best practice in this area."</p> <p>"As a whole, the broadcasting sector is pretty hot on these things because our lifeblood is our audience, we are here to serve our consumers," Rose says, continuing, "At Channel 4, obviously we are a public service broadcaster. Our viewers are of the utmost importance to us; we have a very strong relationship of trust with them. Preserving that relationship is critical to us</p> <p>Rose says GDPR is "not a mindset change" at Channel 4. That's certainly something we've pointed to on the Econsultancy blog before - this is a very serious subject, but brands <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69119-gdpr-needn-t-be-a-bombshell-for-customer-focused-marketers">should already be thinking</a> in terms of maximum trust and transparency.</p> <p><strong><em>If you've enjoyed this article, check out <a href="https://goo.gl/nJMlTI">this year's Festival of Marketing</a>, 4-5 October in London, where the 12 stages of content include Personalisation, AI, Data and Analytics, and more.</em></strong></p>