Silverpop - Behavioral Email Done Right: Big Ups to Foursquare and Sephora
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Behavioral Email Done Right: Big Ups to Foursquare and Sephora

by: Dave Walters (@_DaveWalters)
20 March 2013

As most of my Twitter followers and co-workers know, I spend a metric ton of time on the road with Silverpop customers. It’s mostly in small rooms helping marketers wring more ROI out of their efforts and planning future enhancements — and sometimes it’s speaking to a great room of folks at our Digital Marketing University events across the country. No matter where the conversations happen, the word “behavioral” is my constant companion — a way of thinking that guides huge improvements for marketers.

So when I see beautifully well-executed versions in the wild, I always try to congratulate the senders and take a moment to tease out some relevant points for all of us. Last week, our family received two — I got an EPIC version from Foursquare on Friday, and my wife received one earlier in the week from cosmetics retailer Sephora. Let’s dive in and take a look behind the magic.

Firstly, I’m an unabashed fan of Foursquare and have been since 2009. I did a little digging via Idego (a cool little hackathon project from @beaugunderson) and found I was in the first 0.09 percent of users – and first among my Foursquare network.

I use it primarily while traveling, and find the newer Explore feature even more compelling than the original “share-your-location-with-friends-via-check-in” feature. More than once, I’ve found some of my Atlanta friends traveling in the same city, and we’ve met up for beers at some awesome local spot recommended by Foursquare Explore. (Read our “Ultimate Guide to Location-Based Marketing with Foursquare and Facebook.”)

So imagine my pride when I got the email below on Friday. One of my favorite brands PLUS great behavioral marketing! The first thing to notice here is the timing — 5:57 p.m. on Friday, March 15. It was delivered literally in the same minute I checked in at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, which means the system knew some critical data about me: 1) it had aggregated my previous check-ins, and was waiting on the triggering event (my home check-in); 2) it understands my “home”; and 3) it knows I haven’t left any tips at those locations. Just wow.

For an ecosystem that thrives on user-generated data and reviews, this is pure brilliance. Engaging active users at the golden moment of maximum relevance is top-shelf — and unequivocally proves that data can be aggregated and true behavioral marketing can be achieved at scale. This degree of data collection and user engagement in real time keeps me optimistic about Foursquare’s bright future. Please don’t ever let it fade, @dens!

And in the same vein of driving user-generated content — this time following a purchase — my wife received the email below this week from Sephora. While these emails can be automated by marketers — or, in some cases, through Silverpop partners like Bazaarvoice or MyBuys — the interesting piece here was that this message followed an in-store purchase. It wasn’t an easy layup of having the email address from the e-commerce transaction; Sephora pulled the contact information through their loyalty program to generate the contact details and personalization, while the SKU-level data likely came from the e-commerce system.

The big takeaway for both of these scenarios is that these companies truly understand the importance of an engaged user. Sometimes this user-generated content (UGC) is leveraged as proof points in future segment-driven communications — and most often, they’re gathering these insights to help sharpen their customer insights across the board. For example, one of our Silverpop customers, King Arthur Flour, discovered during A/B testing that including this type of UGC increased conversion rates by up to 30 percent. That’s real money, folks!

So as we wrap up Q1, I’d challenge marketers to think deeply about how to more effectively engage your most active users, and to drive quality UGC and inputs. I can’t guarantee 30 percent lift in conversions, but imagine the power to have this data to make your communications more human!

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “7 Digital Marketing Strategies Made Better Through an Integrated Platform
2) Blog: “Purchase Behaviors, Promo Codes and Offers, Oh My!
3) Video: “Integrating Ratings and Recommendations into Your Marketing Content


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