Vodafone, ASOS, BBC & 7 More Top Brands Share Their Insights at Our London Digital Engagement Forum

That’s a wrap! The last in our 2018 series, our Digital Engagement Forum in London was a great way to close out the year with eleven speakers from ten of the UK’s top brands, like Vodafone, ASOS, and the BBC. Here’s our recap of the event’s best insights.                         

Data Makes All the Difference – Vodafone

After expanding from one channel, SMS, to multiple channels, Vodafone was very careful not to over message their customers. Data makes all the difference, according to Thomas Neumann, Principal Manager of Device Team. Some customers prefer to receive marketing notifications on one channel, but service notifications on a different channel.  Vodafone has several different apps, with different uses. 95% of their customers use the app for self-service activities like checking their bill and buying extra data.

To make sure they have a complete understanding of their customer’s preferences, Vodafone monitors the responses and feedback on the notifications at a local level, but shares the data globally with their teams. They take into account that what works in Germany, might not work in the U.K. or South Africa. Then they share the insights amongst their teams and keep the unique culture of the regions in mind.

Vodafone is a big fan of using partners who bring expertise to a project. Before partnering with Urban Airship on their notifications, they had issues with reaching their many customers, and it was important that they chose a partner who could not only deliver the messages, but gather the information to do it in a smart and efficient way.

Being able to use open APIs and Connect to harness their data was critical for Vodafone. They felt that Urban Airship would offer more expertise and be able to influence the product roadmap.

Removing Pain Points with Digital Adoption – E.ON

With a growing customer experience team, Lucy Lebeter, Head of Digital and Customer Experience,
had digital adoption on her mind. The company used to spend a lot of money on call centers to field calls about billing updates, address changes or other simple questions. Making the transition to a more digital customer experience has taken a lot of pain off the business as customers no longer have to call in and wait on the phone to get a simple answer.

E.ON’s mobile app and website now account for 56% of their customer service inquiries, so moving towards a digital approach is already paying off.

Bridging Digital and In-Store for Loyalty – B&Q

For home improvement retailer B&Q, creating a strong relationship between digital and in-store was a priority for their loyalty efforts. Club Marketing Manager, Michael Peacock saw the importance of joining the journeys together. Consumers might do research online, but they come in-store to purchase.

One way B&Q bridges the two experiences together is through location-based notifications. Michael Peacock shared how their consumers are sent a notification when they walk in-store telling them they have a loyalty voucher they can use.

Notes From an Award-Winning Messaging Campaign – BBC

There’s a lot to learn from the winners of the “Most Effective Messaging Campaign Award” from Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. Jo Mitchell and Carolyn Letts of the BBC shared what went behind the scenes for their coverage of the Royal Wedding.

The BBC  has a long history in covering royal weddings (all the way back to King George VI in 1933). Throughout the years, the way news has been delivered about these weddings has changed with the times, adapting to new technologies such as television, social media and now digital.

But not everyone likes to hear details on the royals and the BBC faced some backlash after they sent a “breaking news” notification related to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Reacting quickly and using Urban Airship capabilities, the BBC decided to implement an opt-in strategy for royal wedding notifications. They created a campaign that allowed people who were interested in the Royal wedding to get their fill, while not bugging people who couldn’t care less.

The campaign ran all weekend, during that time there were  250k opt-ins with only 30k users choosing to opt-out or “unfollow” the campaign. They also saw great open rates on their notifications. The highest one was on Monday with a 30% open rate, a very good percentage for notifications sent from the media industry.

A Focus on Frictionless Experiences  – ASOS

ASOS considers themselves a “digital-first business,” with 70% of their traffic coming from mobile apps. According to Ash Fisher, Technology Platform Lead, they have invested heavily in all things digital from the very beginning. Now, it’s all about maintaining that edge. They consider themselves lucky to have invested in the right infrastructure and to be able to innovate quickly.

For this digital-forward company, the main focus for the past year was creating a frictionless experience for customers on the website and the app. It's not easy, considering there are over 85K products that a customer could be browsing at any given moment.

In 2019, ASOS will continue to focus on constantly up leveling the customer experience. Ash predicted that augmented reality might have a part to play, as he expects it to be a game changer for retail.

The Big Challenge with Data – Sony

For a global company like Sony, being coordinated across regions was a challenge. Sony sends messages across 45 different regions and in several different languages. That’s a lot of messages; and a lot of data. Cedric Efoma, CRM Manager, talked about data silos and the challenge of having so much data in multiple different places.

The solution? Sony is solving this by using APIs and a DMP (data management platform) to get the data into one usable place where the marketing team can use it to run smarter campaigns.

The Next Big Thing for 2019 – Ticketmaster

According to Tom Newbury, CRM Manager, International, Ticketmaster is one of the original tech companies, with eyes constantly set on the future. They have the right setup to innovate digitally and have already started using machine learning and AI to make improvements.

So what’s caught the eye of this tech veteran for the coming year? Whatsapp. So far, there have been some marketing messages sent by various brands through the messaging app, but Tom thinks the true potential is using it to handle customer service inquiries. A few companies are starting to test the messaging app out as part of a multi-channel user journey but Tom noted that he thinks chatbots still have a ways to go before they are completely effective.

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