The advertising world is an ever-changing, complex industry, and marketers today must understand the benefits of diversifying marketing efforts. From influencer marketing to display, affiliate and paid search, it can be difficult for marketers to know where to begin. We analyzed the success that a few of our brands experienced year-over-year (YOY) and began to dive deeper into understanding how they optimized their marketing strategies. From top to bottom of the sales funnel and beginning to end of the consumer purchase journey, we wanted to gain insight on the tactics brands are using to enhance online experiences for consumers, while increasing their overall marketing performance. Based on our findings, cross-channel marketing strategies are becoming more and more critical for overall digital performance for brands. The following are steps brands should take into consideration when planning a marketing campaign or deciding to move efforts cross-channel.
First Things First – Set a Goal and Increase Brand Awareness
The first step for any campaign or marketing effort is to set a goal. Once that goal is set and approved, a brand should begin execution with a strong brand awareness strategy. We recently spoke with JanSport, a very well-known accessories brand, about a campaign they ran around a product launch featuring Disney-themed apparel and accessories. In order to increase brand awareness, JanSport ran a teaser campaign before the official product launch to create excitement around the upcoming merchandise release. JanSport utilized content and loyalty publishers in affiliate, prospecting display ads, and branded/non-branded paid search ads for their teaser campaign. Through these efforts, JanSport not only spread the word about their product launch but also collected valuable information to later use during the official launch. The gathered information included email addresses from an email sign-up page and consumer data from shoppers expressing interest in the products. With this, JanSport had plenty of customer relationship management (CRM) data to aid in the second part of the campaign – the official launch.
Another brand implementing similar cross-channel efforts was Bluemercury, an innovative beauty brand. In measuring their 2017 performance, Bluemercury set out to grow their brand awareness, engagement and conversions. Their goal was to generally increase their 2018 YOY site performance – more specifically to increase overall total site revenue by 22% YOY. In their efforts to increase brand awareness and customer acquisition, Bluemercury leveraged Rakuten Marketing and an integrated marketing approach to recognize a 56% YOY increase in new users*.
Second Step – Personalization
Personalization tactics for these brands were created by utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze data and boost brand awareness. This led to discovering newly created audiences that effectively fit each brand’s campaign objective. After successfully executing a brand awareness strategy, both brands were able to utilize the data collected to deliver unique experiences that engaged and converted consumers at high rates.
For JanSport, the CRM data empowered them to optimize their launch campaign. This data enabled the creation of targeted advertising through strategies such as remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), programmatic retargeting, and affiliate advertising. These targeted advertising tactics led to increased paid search traffic (90% YOY) while also achieving a 73% lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA), contributing to an increased return on ad spend (ROAS). Measured from when the campaign’s display ads went live, the personalized ads drove an overall site revenue increase of 120% YOY. For Bluemercury, the seamless cross-channel performance analysis that strategically identified key audiences allowed the brand to also deliver targeted advertising through all channels. By effectively running personalized ads to target their key audience, Bluemercury recognized a 60% YOY increase in sessions*.
Through properly collecting consumer data, JanSport’s ads were tailored to customers who already showed possible interest in the brand or products, which led to more thoughtful consumer touchpoints and conversions. Bluemercury’s YOY growth demonstrates that the delivery of relevant ads to a targeted audience outperforms a “spray and pray” advertising method that, unfortunately, many advertisers use.
The Final Tactic – Proper Measurement
Throughout every marketing campaign, it’s basic practice to start with a goal and end with measurement and data. But it’s equally important to check on performance during the entirety of the campaign, especially when utilizing multiple channels and products. Through Bluemercury’s constant cross-channel performance analysis, they were able to dynamically shift budget to maximize output. In applying this new level monitoring to their marketing strategy, Bluemercury surpassed their original YOY projected revenue growth of 22%, recognizing a revenue growth of 28%.
JanSport’s campaign leveraged Rakuten Marketing’s insights tool, Cadence. This tool enabled the brand to properly measure the performance and touchpoints of its affiliate, search and display efforts. On top of the search and display growth previously mentioned, JanSport also saw significant growth in their affiliate numbers. JanSport launched the Disney Collection exclusively on the JanSport site for one day only. This one day drove a 711% increase in affiliate sales, and further contributed to a 33% increase in month-over-month affiliate sales. Overall, the integrated marketing efforts contributed to over 50% of JanSport’s total site revenue during the time they were live.
By understanding consumers and their shopping preferences and behaviors, marketers can take the first step toward delivering relevant, engaging ad experiences before completely focusing on pushing out any brand or campaign messaging. In working with Rakuten Marketing, both Bluemercury and JanSport were able to refine their cross-channel marketing efforts to target and engage consumers in strategic, thoughtful ways. Through these efforts, both brands successfully planned and executed marketing campaigns that drove notable online growth.
*These numbers were specifically driven by Rakuten Marketing channels and measured from when Rakuten Marketing headed the evaluation and modification of Bluemercury’s marketing strategies in June of 2018.