Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, March 23, 2015

Warby Parker Co-Founder & Co-CEO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, will address these 4 questions;
  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

Dave Gilboa
Dave Gilboa is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, a transformative lifestyle brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
Prior to launching Warby Parker in 2010, Dave was an Associate at merchant bank Allen & Company and, earlier, served as Special Assistant to the Founder and CEO of the TriZetto Group and has held strategy and business development roles at Genomic Health and Crescendo Bioscience. Dave has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, and serves as a founding member of the Entrepreneur Board of Venture for America, an organization dedicated to mobilizing graduates as entrepreneurs in low-cost cities.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Introducing unexpected and fun elements that drive word of mouth. A recent example of this came in the form of our "Make-Your-Own-Annual Report," which enabled customers to generate their very own annual report. It was a really fun tool and led to us becoming a trending topic on Twitter. A lot of annual reports tend to read a bit stodgy because they focus so heavily on financial data, so we wanted to go in a completely different direction when we started releasing them in 2011. Instead of solely talking about our business, we talk about our customers, our employees, and our office which, we think, is a lot more interesting to read than our financial records.
We also like to surprise customers in stores. During the holidays we introduced the Wheel of Good Omens, which was a giant wheel that customers could spin to win prizes. They could walk away with a Warby Parker FIY (fold-it-yourself ) fortune teller, treats, and more. (Everyone was a winner).
Another unexpected element is our surprise-and-delight campaign, which, as you can probably guess, surprises our customers with a wide variety of gifts. Recently, we sent out custom chocolate bars that commemorated the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
There is also our @warbyparkerhelp YouTube channel, which allows our employees to respond to customers' tweets with videos, which we think creates a more meaningful, personal interaction. Sometimes you need more than 140 characters.
2. Why is this so important?
As a startup, we will never have the marketing budget or resources to compete against the massive companies in our industry. In a David vs. Goliath scenario, it is not brute force that wins the battle, but creativity and being able to leverage unique capabilities and assets. We have an incredibly creative team, so one of our core values is to inject fun and quirkiness into everything we do. We leverage this as our unfair advantage instead of competing with dollars.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
Consumers love having stories to tell at dinner parties or around the water cooler and, increasingly, to share on social media. Our hope is to bring brand elements to life in interesting ways that are remarkable enough to share.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
The best brands drive word of mouth, which serves as a multiplier effect for every marketing dollar spent.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I grew up by the beach in San Diego and still love any opportunity to jump in an ocean. Swimming, surfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, scuba diving, etc. You name it, I'll be there.

Monday, March 16, 2015

RR Donnelley CMO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

Alisa Norris, CMO of RR Donnelley will address these 4 questions;
  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

Alisa Norris
In 2013, Alisa joined RR Donnelley, a Fortune 300 company, to lead all aspects of marketing and communications. Today she is building new marketing capabilities that support the company's transformation from one of the world's largest print services providers to a leading integrated communication services provider.
Alisa serves as an Independent Director for Standard Motor Products. She is a member of the New York City Board of Directors of Step Up Women's Network and she is a Board Member of IDEAlliance.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Consumers are bombarded with messages at every turn. So how do we blast through the cluttered communication landscape to nurture relationships with consumers? How do we create connected experiences between companies and the audiences they need to reach? That's the challenge today.
2. Why is this so important?
Because connected experiences drive brand loyalty, spark conversations, and inspire consumers to act. All of the channels — print, digital, email, text, video, web, and social — must work together to create these connected experiences for consumers.
We all know that companies are investing heavily in omni-channel communications. But how many are successfully connecting across all of the channels? And how many marketers understand the power of print — yes, I said print — as a critical gateway driving the connected experience? Print engages the senses. It's tactile. It's shareable. Many of us flip through the crisp pages of a vivid catalog and then hold up our mobile device to click for valuable information. Or we see a gorgeously photographed product in a stylish magazine and turn to our tablet to place an order. Maybe we click our device at a point-of-purchase display and gain exclusive benefits. The possibilities are endless! Yet too many marketers underestimate the power of print in our digital world.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
Brands that fail to synchronize their channels can alienate consumers — creating disconnected experiences and losing potential sales. This happens frequently. Here's an example from my life: For years, I looked forward to the communications — emails, direct mail, catalogs — from one of my favorite brands. It's a brand I have welcomed into my home, even shared with my four children. Recently my son opened the brand's catalog and noticed an unusual model building set. Under the photo it said: "Watch the Video." My son expected to click his mobile device over the ad and see the video right then and there. That would have been ideal. But the ad directed him to a URL. He lost interest and moved on. I then went to the brand's website and typed in the URL to view the video. Nothing came up. I searched the website under videos, models, building. Nothing! The brand had a great idea to connect print with their digital world — to connect all their channels — and failed to do so. The brand lost my purchase.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Every company has finite budgets. Consumers have finite attention bandwidth. Therefore, brands must synchronize all the channels to send the right message to the right person at the right time — every time. The inbox must connect with the mailbox. The direct mail piece must match the mobile message. At RR Donnelley, a 150-year-old company that began as a printer, our focus always has been to connect people through the power of words and images. That remains true today. We intimately understand the integrated role of print as we help companies create effective multi-channel campaigns. No matter how many ways consumers will communicate, we know print will continue to be a critical gateway to extend and enhance the consumer experience.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I cherish the personal time that I carve out on weekends to cook with my children. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is to take my four children to our local farmers' market. The children will bite into just-picked apples while I purchase beets pulled from the ground that very morning — or maybe the ripest tomatoes or peppers. Then we pile in the car and return home to prepare a feast. We've been creating farm-to-table dinners before we even knew it was a trend!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Myth Busted: How Direct Mail Can Actually Enrich the Digital Customer Journey

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
E-commerce marketers are increasingly seeing the value of direct mail as part of their integrated mix and, in 2014, direct mail spending rose. Why this surprising trend?
Direct Mail Enriches the Customer Experience
Direct Mail Enriches Customer ExperiencePer ERDM VoC research; Mail has the unique dimension of 'shareability' that enables BtoB and BtoC buyers to easily share and discuss direct mail with business colleagues or family members as part of the decision making process. Per a representative quote from the research, "The mailer makes it easier to discuss the offer with business associates or family, versus merely forwarding an email or the bother of printing out an email or attachments".
Using direct mail as a part of a multi-faceted campaign gives recipients multiple opportunities to engage, but for the History Channel it also provided recipients a valued collectable.
Using direct mail as a part of a multi-faceted campaign gives recipients multiple opportunities to engage, but for the History Channel it also provided recipients a valued collectable.
In a unique BtoB campaign to promote the TV program, History Asia/Photo Faceoff on the History Channel, the company used a series of photo postcards which were delivered twice weekly to the media, clients and affiliates.
The campaign, which played up the notion of a picture truly speaks a thousand words, generated excitement not only for the show but also for the art. Each mailing featuring photos and a description of the series with a call-to-action to tune in to the premiere. The pieces were so well received that the network received requests for the photographic images.
The History Channel states that the campaign generated $1.2 million in PR value through professional interest in the series, social media mentions and requests for the actual art pieces.

Per a recent NY Times article, "For many brands, catalogs are the single most effective driver of online and in-store sales, according to analysts and retailers. Some stores, like Anthropologie, rely so heavily on catalogs that they make them their principal form of advertising. "We don't call it a catalog; we call it a journal," said Susy Korb, chief marketing officer of Anthropologie…"Of course we're trying to sell clothes and accessories, but it's more to inspire and engage."

Direct Mail as Part of the Purchase Journey
In a recent study by Econsultancy, 1/5th of respondents say an understanding of customer journey is a top cross-channel success factor. However, 57% say that they don't understand customer journeys, and can't adapt their marketing mix accordingly."
Online men's retailer Bonobos ran a small test to evaluate the impact of a print catalog on their traditionally e-based purchase journey. The results were so promising that the company tried several more tests. They found that online tools to attract new customers, like display ads and emails, often have just one image or text line, while a direct mail catalog can grab consumer attention with a fuller brand story.
Now, 20% of Bonobos' first-time customers are placing their orders after receiving a catalog. And, they spend 1.5 times as much as new
Direct Mail Helps Build Long-Term Brand Engagement and Loyalty
Homebase, an online UK home and gardening retailer had a problem. Most of their income was generated during the gardening season. Or, as they put it, their spring was every other retailers' Christmas. So the company decided to use direct mail to get potential high value gardening customers to shop early and spend more.
The campaign, which won a DMA Silver Award for the Best Use of Direct Mail, was called," 'Let's Get Gardening.' The 500,000 piece mail campaign motivated potential customers to go to the website with a value-driven piece which included ideas, hints, tips, tools, and checklists. Additionally, to make the mailer even more appealing, offers were valid throughout the season. There was also an online community for engaging with other gardening enthusiasts.
Results; customers visited the site 33% more often and spent, on average, 20% more. In addition, 27,594 customers completed a survey which Homebase now uses to communicate more personally with customers.
1. Per VoC research, consumers are saying that mail has to integrate with other media. It is therefore imperative that direct mail include your web address for online access as well as social media access. A sample quote from the research; "The first thing I do, if I'm looking to respond to a mailing, is look for a website to go to and do it online vs. mailing back my order. I hate mailing stuff back."
2. Understanding customer buying patterns allows you to synchronize mailings to the times they are most receptive. This is critical given the higher per piece cost of mail versus email.
3. Analyzing customer's lifetime value will enable you to develop personalized mailings for specific points in their customer journey, thus building loyalty and purchases throughout their lifecycle.
4. Use direct mail as part of a larger customer experience to increase brand excitement.
5. Use direct mail with "dated" coupons at specific times of the year or during special events, to stimulate purchases.
6. Have tight attribution metrics to track direct mail performance and it's impact on other elements of your media mix.
It's time for marketers to re-examine the role, relevance and ROI of direct mail within today's multichannel mix. Test direct mail at different points in the customer journey. Also test different mail package formats based impact and value, not just cost. When it comes to mail, don't just think about Expense. Consider Yield and Revenue.