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January 23, 2017

The Right Message and Channel Matters

By Laura Hazlett, Ascent360

How Stevens Pass Used Omni-Channel Marketing to Talk to Customers Where They Are Listening.

170123 SP_CDPcasestudy_160.jpgLocated on the crest of the Cascade Range in Washington, Stevens Pass receives abundant snowfall making it one of the top locations for Washington residents. Stevens Pass caters heavily to day travelers from the surrounding areas. With a variety of terrain, Stevens Pass is an ideal location for all ski levels. Night skiing allows the resort to be open longer hours enabling skiers to take full advantage of the beautiful resort.

The Challenge

With an ever-changing demographic, Stevens Pass is faced with the challenge of speaking to all customers differently. The message you use for a college student is much different than the one used for a family or a more mature skier. Along with the message, the marketing channel matters as well. While young customers may take more to a Facebook ad, a mature customer may do best with email. Stevens Pass was faced with the challenge of talking to each segment differently and speaking to them where they are listening. With the Season Pass push upon them, it was important that they take all channels into consideration to gain the most value from their marketing efforts. But how do you tailor the message and the channel to each different segment?

The Solution

To segment their data, Stevens Pass turned to their Customer Data Platform software to create 12 different customer segments based on life stage and purchasing behavior. The first step was to separate their data into three different life stage ranges; young adult, family age, and mature. From there, they used purchasing behavior to create additional segmentation within the life stages; Season Pass Holder, Former Season Pass Holder (hasn’t purchased a season pass in 2+ years), Day Tripper, and Prospect (customer exists in the database but have never purchased).

Segmenting the data was the first step, importantly, Stevens Pass also personalize each message to each of the different segments. Highlighting specific events such as après ski for young adult and lessons for family, Stevens Pass personalized the message based on life stage and purchasing cycle by reiterating pass holder benefits to Season Pass holders and the benefits of Stevens Pass over competitors to prospects.

The last piece of the puzzle was to test which marketing channel would produce the best results for each segment. In the previous year, Stevens Pass had used similar segmentation to personalize the message, but primarily used the email channel. This year, they wanted to compare results with Facebook and Google to evaluate which channels would perform the best. With the ability to now try multiple channels, Stevens Pass decided to try a couple of novel campaigns. They sent unsubscribed emails into Facebook and Google to see if they could reconnect with customers.

They also decided to use a portion of the budget to push their season pass video content out to segments on Facebook and Google.

Smartly, an automated campaign was created to remove all Season Pass Holders from the campaigns across all channels. This allowed Stevens Pass to allocate their marketing budget on activities focused on converting prospects.

The Result

Over the next couple of weeks, Stevens Pass monitored the campaigns to see what was working and what was not. Email was proving to be the leader for Mature and Family segments but was greatly lacking in engagement for the Young Adult segment. On the other end, Young Adult was performing great in Facebook while Mature was doing hardly anything. Looking through the results, the decision was made to push harder into the Young Adult segments in Facebook and reallocate the Mature budget to creating a Look A Like Young Adult Facebook segment. In the following weeks, the results were reviewed and changes were made to extend some campaigns while turning others off.

The overall results from all channels created an overall ROI of over 1400%!

Other key takeaways:

  • Increased segmentation from 12 customer segments in 2015 to 52 customer segments, totaling 970,000 emails sent.
  • Advertised on Google and Facebook to 20 segments.
  • The #1 segment on Facebook was the Young Adult Look A Like segment meaning customers that had similar attributes to their Young Adult segment. This segment accounted for an additional reach of almost 2 million people.
  • The top 3 Google campaigns were recent passholders from all life stages.
  • Young Adult segment accounted for 54% of total Facebook revenue
  • The Stevens Pass Video created for Facebook accounted for 23% of overall Facebook Revenue

Through database segmentation and omni-channel marketing, Stevens Pass could deliver the right message to the right audience where they were listening. Their CDP software allowed them to gain valuable insight into their data and drive relevant marketing campaigns to increase ROI.

Interested in learning more about what CDP software could do for you? Contact us.

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