2009 Gartner & 1to1 Customer Awards: Marketing Optimization

Gold - Research in Motion, Siver - EMC, Bronze - ShipServ

Research in Motion Moves From Smartphones to Smart Marketing
The global market for smartphones is $58 billion and is forecast to climb to $186 billion by 2013, according to Gartner. Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry devices, finds itself in a fruitful but fiercely competitive market. To compete, especially in the consumer space, the company focused on aligning its marketing mix, specifically its search strategy.

"We're looking at our customer strategy holistically," says Dan Quinn, manager of global eBusiness for RIM. "From a digital perspective, we're trying to figure out where our customers are, put compelling and relevant messages in front of them, measure the effectiveness, and optimize against that." His core focus is on search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content networks, display and mobile ads, and email marketing. For the BlackBerry Storm launch in October 2008, for example, RIM wanted to use data to drive marketing and sales performance, provide visibility into that performance, and build a scalable technology solution to support its efforts.

The company centralized its digital marketing team to integrate its marketing mix, because no marketing effort is independent of any other, Quinn says. "Not to sound too academic, but a big part is starting with the framework," he says. "How are we going to measure success? The reality is that many marketers are struggling with how they define success online." For Quinn, awareness and conversions were the lead success factors in the Storm program.

Quinn started with search as the foundation of the launch strategy. "Search is the anchor of our overall digital marketing strategy," he says. Working with Covario, the company created differentiated messaging and click paths based on both paid and organic search terms. For example, users searching for features like "touchscreen" are targeted with information about the BlackBerry SurePress functionality and directed to a page that highlights it. This is a different experience from users searching on "3G," who see different messaging around 3G speed and efficiency. The company also invested in Web analytics like user-intercept research and layered site metrics to see how consumers interacted with the BlackBerry site once they got there.

RIM's nimble and relevant approach to the consumer segment yielded impressive results. The Storm launch generated 70 percent more clicks than the launch for the BlackBerry Bold. On the awareness side, the Storm was third on Google's Hot Trends list and fifth on Yahoo Top Searches on launch day, and the company exceeded traffic projections by 30 percent. Click-through rates on paid search terms were more than 10 percent in the U.S. and 6 percent in Canada, which is well above industry benchmarks. In addition, cost per acquisition for paid search advertising decreased by 143 percent. On the conversion side, nearly 60 percent of sales in the last quarter were from non-enterprise customers, and conversion rates increased overall by 48 percent.

Quinn adds success is all about being as relevant as possible with customers online. "We're always looking for new and emerging opportunities," he says.

EMC Dynamically Segments Customers

In the past five years the customer environment for EMC has changed through acquisitions and new product development, says John Smits, global director, market intelligence and segmentation. With multiple data sources and marketing activities, the provider of IT network and storage devices needed to create a single view of the customer and interact with relevant influencers in a holistic way.

The solution was to integrate all customer data sources into one global marketing database, and then collect insight on customers' preferences to create what Smits calls dynamic interest profiles. "We capture every marketing engagement to create collective intelligence about customers' preferences and interests," says Smits, who implemented technology from Unica to support the initiative. "We use it to better manage how we communicate with individuals."

The system now tracks and segments customers based on explicit interests, such as subscriptions to product newsletters, but also segments them based on implicit interests. This includes user behavior such as white paper downloads, event attendance, and visits to EMC's website.

One direct benefit is an interaction plan based on relevancy that Smits created to eliminate "campaign collisions" when communicating with customers. Previously, the same customer might get invited to two events scheduled for the same day, for example. "Our internal campaign efforts collided, which wasn't in the best interests of our customers," he says.

The marketing organization worked with program managers to define new business processes and develop an engagement model to avoid campaign collisions. The system now prevents certain product groups from sending messages to certain customers, depending on their explicit and implicit preferences. As a result, Smits says campaign collisions are a thing of the past. "We didn't abuse the contact list," he says. "We have a high open rate and attendance to our events because we're strategic in our segmentation."

As a result, EMC now has open rates averaging more than 20 percent, and more important, the opt-out rate is less than .05 percent even as e-marketing has increased in volume. "It shows that users are more inclined to continue receiving our messaging," he says.

ShipServ Rides the Social Media Wave
The world's waterways are filled with more than 18,000 commercial ships. ShipServ recently embarked on a marketing strategy to create conversations with that vast market-more specifically, the buyers and sellers that comprise the customer base of its online ship supplies marketplace.

ShipServ launched a lead management initiative, using Marketo, to score and then interact with customers and prospects accordingly. "We use the system to share content with customers at the right place and the right time," says John Watton, vice president of marketing for ShipServ. Watton and his team score leads based on job title, business area, and behaviors like downloads or website page views. High-scoring leads get passed to sales; the others are nurtured with relevant communications and offers.

Integral to the initiative is to engage customers and prospects online. "The shipping industry in general is very conservative," Watton says. "We need to educate our audience about going online by explaining the tools and showing them what's in it for them." Consequently, the company provides a tutorial about its business model for new customers and offers face-to-face meetings to respond to traditional customer needs. Additionally, to stay relevant with its younger, more tech-savvy customers, ShipServ has a blog, a YouTube channel, and a presence on Twitter and Facebook with alerts and links to new information.

The approach is paying off. In Q1 2009 ShipServ's website visits increased by 59 percent over Q4 2008, page views increased by 70 percent, and average time on the site increased by 25 percent. In addition, its online social media endeavors are gaining traction, with more than 1,000 views of its YouTube videos, 600-plus hits to its blog, and a growing list of Twitter followers. As a result of all this online activity, contact-to-lead conversion rates rose by 150 percent and lead-to-opportunity rates grew by 50 percent. "The bedrock of good marketing is to blend the different communication channels," Watton says. "You still have to get back to basics and understand your audience."