For specialist agencies like Digital Intersection, demonstrating return on marketing investment to clients is crucial. How could the company show that personalized email campaigns drive conversion?
Digital Intersection embraced a digital customer engagement platform based on IBM Watson Campaign Automation, enabling it to deploy personalized outreach and track customer behavior in a granular way.
Up to 20%open rates achieved through tailored, relevant email content and copy
Up to 3xincrease in conversion by delivering personalized customer incentives
Enablesaccurate marketing attribution, helping demonstrate ROMI to clients
Business challenge story
Showing marketing spend delivers results
What motivates a customer to click or to buy? For digital agencies like Digital Intersection, attribution is crucial to demonstrate that clients are getting the most value for their marketing spend.
Robert Mastis, Founder of Digital Intersection, begins: “Many of our clients operate in the financial services space, where nurturing customer loyalty is a key objective. Loyalty strategies such as rewards points programs play an important role in keeping customers engaged and satisfied. One of our main goals is to create compelling digital campaigns that encourage our clients’ customers to redeem their loyalty points and continue to earn them through credit or debit card usage.”
Digital Intersection offers a comprehensive range of marketing services, including paid media, search retargeting and direct mail. Email is also a crucial ingredient in Digital Intersection’s marketing mix—but in the past, measuring the results of campaigns was a tough challenge that required complex spreadsheets and time-consuming manual analysis.
“Across an entire digital campaign, we might engage a customer on several different touchpoints,” says Mastis. “Previously, we could only see a very broad, high-level overview of how customers were engaging with our digital campaigns, which meant that it was difficult to attribute a successful conversion to a particular moment of engagement—particularly when it came to email.”
He continues: “We saw an opportunity to take a fresh approach to email marketing for our clients. The aim was to deliver more deeply personalized messages to smaller and more targeted customer segments. Crucially, we wanted the ability to analyze the way that customers were engaging with email campaigns: enabling us to accurately demonstrate that our messages were driving customer conversion.”
Embracing an analytics-driven marketing platform
To achieve its goals, Digital Intersection selected IBM Watson Campaign Automation—a marketing automation platform that harnesses customer behavior insights to deliver precisely targeted messages through channels such as email, SMS, social and more.
“IBM Watson Campaign Automation delivered a number of features straight out of the box that enabled us to dramatically improve the sophistication of our email marketing,” recalls Mastis. “The solution enables us to launch multi-wave campaigns triggered by individual customer behavior, which helps us respond to unique customer preferences more effectively.”
Digital Intersection also appreciates the fact that IBM Watson Campaign Automation enables it to create campaign landing pages—offering instant insights into customer conversion.
“We use an open-source website content management system [CMS] called Umbraco to host landing pages for our campaigns,” adds Mastis. “IBM Watson Campaign Automation integrates seamlessly with our CMS, and enables us to insert landing pages using iframes rather than creating them from scratch. This saves our developers valuable time that they can devote to other value-added activities for our clients. Ultimately, we’d like to use our IBM Watson Campaign Automation database as a central repository for all our marketing data.”
Working together with a team from IBM, Digital Intersection integrated IBM Watson Campaign Automation into its digital marketing process.
“Of all the providers we considered, we felt that IBM was the only vendor to offer us a true partnership,” explains Mastis. “From the outset, it was clear that IBM understood our business model and wanted to do everything they could to help us grow. Thanks to guidance from the IBM team, our team hit the ground running when we went live with IBM Watson Campaign Automation. The feedback from our marketing team has been overwhelmingly positive, and our people particularly value the ability to perform deep-dive analytics without relying on large spreadsheets.”
Once Digital Intersection’s accounts services team have shaped the communication strategy for a new campaign, the company’s creative team use the IBM solution to create email templates that resonate with its clients’ brands. At the end of a campaign, the accounts services team use analytics from IBM Watson Campaign Automation to assess the results of the engagement, report back to the client and recommend ways to refine the strategy.
Driving conversion and winning new clients
With IBM Watson Campaign Automation driving its email marketing engagements, Digital Intersection is achieving its goal of highlighting the value of personalized outreach to its clients.
“We have now established a clear chain of marketing attribution for our email campaigns,” says Mastis. “When we share a targeted message to a customer segment, we use our web analytics platform to track delivery, open rates and where customers go after they have received the message. When customers click through to explore the client’s rewards website, we can see clearly how long they spend exploring the site and the products and services they are most interested in. Most importantly, when one of those customers redeems their loyalty points, we can attribute that conversion to that specific email campaign.”
By adopting more tailored, targeted email campaigns, Digital Intersection is measuring substantial improvements to its key-performance indicators. The company is now using IBM Watson Campaign Automation to build fine-grained segments based on factors such as a customer’s age, marital status and behavior on its clients’ rewards sites and create email campaigns that appeal to different demographics.
“A credit-card holder who doesn’t often use their card now sees a different message than a frequent user with thousands of rewards points, and a 30-year-old in full-time employment sees different content than a 70-year-old retiree,” explains Mastis. “When you reach out with something relevant, customers really engage with what you’re offering—and the results we’re seeing are clear proof of that.
“Our performance results are showing that loyalty program participants who receive our targeted communications are roughly three times more likely to register on the rewards site, redeem rewards and continue earning. Open rates continue to average as high as 20 percent, and our click rates are consistently averaging up to 7 percent. These metrics are a great sign that participants appreciate our communications.”
Digital Intersection sees that IBM Watson Campaign Automation will play an important part in its long-term growth strategy.
“The ability to anticipate a customer’s needs and reach out proactively is going to be the next evolution of digital marketing, and IBM has the AI tools to make that possible,” concludes Mastis. “We’re a small agency, but because of the capabilities we offer we’ve won business from clients who have used much larger agencies in the past. Reaching out to customers on a one-to-one level isn’t possible without the right tools—and IBM Watson Campaign Automation is one of the key enablers of our success.”
Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Digital Intersection is a digital marketing agency that helps clients harness data to achieve their marketing objectives. By testing data and analyzing results throughout a campaign, Digital Intersection identifies how customers react to certain triggers, and uses those insights to refine its clients’ marketing strategies.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM Watson Campaign Automation, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/digital-marketing-and-lead-management