THE ULTIMATE LIFECYCLE MARKETING GUIDE: POST-PURCHASE PROGRAMS

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1 BEST PRACTICES IN MARKETING THE ULTIMATE LIFECYCLE MARKETING GUIDE: POST-PURCHASE PROGRAMS Proven strategies for implementing, testing and optimizing effective post-purchase programs

2 PUBLISHED BY US Headquarters StrongView Systems, Inc Island Drive, Suite 200 Redwood City, CA P: +1 (650) F: +1 (650) UK Headquarters StrongView Systems UK Ltd. Atlantic House Imperial Way Reading RG2 0TD United Kingdom P: +44 (0) APAC Headquarters XCOM Media Unit 1 15 Lamington Street New Farm Queensland 4005 Australia P: Copyright 2013 StrongView Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of StrongView Systems, Inc. STRONGVIEW and the STRONGVIEW logo are registered trademarks in the United States, other countries or both. All Rights Reserved. StrongView Systems UK, Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales at 5 New Street Square, London EC4A 3TW. Reg. No VAT # GB Trading Address: Atlantic House, Imperial Way, Reading, RG2 0TD, United Kingdom.

3 Table of Contents WHAT IS IT?... 4 WHY IT S A GOOD IDEA... 4 GETTING STARTED... 4 Three Tips for Launching an Effective Post-Purchase Program...5 OPTIMIZING THE EFFORT... 7 Four Optimization Best Practices for Post-Purchase Programs...7 ANATOMY OF AN EFFECTIVE POST-PURCHASE PROGRAM... 8 REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY... 9 THE PAY OFF ABOUT STRONGVIEW... 10

4 WHAT IS IT? Post-purchase programs are aimed at offering customers ways to stay engaged with your brand beyond simply making a purchase. Often times, marketers use this as an opportunity to solicit critical feedback, build upon the relationship and gain earned social media that can drive additional revenue and other benefits associated with word-of-mouth marketing. By reaching customers at a peak moment of positive sentiment for your brand after receipt of their purchase you can continue the conversation with a customer who is engaged, interested and satisfied. According to a 2011 StrongView survey, 45% of companies report using post-purchase programs. Their success is heavily dependent upon understanding why customers want to engage after making a purchase and leveraging those reasons to keep the dialogue going. WHY IT S A GOOD IDEA If you look across the different types of lifecycle communications welcome, winback, upsell, cart abandon, etc. a post-purchase program truly gets to the heart of cultivating an appreciative dialogue with your customers. The hope is that by reaching customers at a peak moment of positive sentiment for your brand after receipt of their purchase you can continue the conversation with a customer who is engaged, interested and satisfied. Statistics reveal that post-purchase programs can have a significant impact on future purchase decisions. In one example, S&S Worldwide reported that 14% of individuals who click on their review request s go on to make another purchase. Beyond the sheer revenue-generating impact of such programs, post-purchase communications deepen the customer s involvement with your brand, build loyalty, and aid in improving reputation making consumers more likely to pass on recommendations to friends. GETTING STARTED Companies are continually striving to offer ways for customers to engage with their brand. However, what is of interest to one customer may not be conversation-worthy to another. Thus, it s important to offer unique approaches, and try different post-purchase campaigns, across different audience segments and discern what resonates with each of them. Here are some tips to get you started: 4 The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

5 Three Tips for Launching an Effective Post-Purchase Program 1. Identify Post-Purchase Messaging Opportunities Satisfaction Survey One of the most common types of post-purchase programs is the product or service satisfaction survey. It s quite simple send an asking the customer to provide you with feedback on the product, purchase experience and associated customer service. This should be sent a few days after the service is rendered or product received allowing enough time for the customer to experience the product and actually have feedback. Satisfaction surveys are a great mechanism to capture testimonials as well as identify problems with the product and fulfillment process. 62% of individuals read online reviews before making a purchase decision, illustrating the importance of collecting this type of user feedback and making it available to others. Product/Service Review Somewhat similar to the satisfaction survey, a product/service review request invites the customer to offer a review of the service/product or share some type of story often times publicly posting in a customer-facing forum (e.g., company website, social media fan page). This should go out a few days following receipt of the product/service, or a point at which you believe the customer has had enough time to experience the product. According to a 2011 study conducted by Lightspeed Research 1, 62% of individuals read online reviews before making a purchase decision, illustrating the importance of collecting this type of user feedback and making it available to others. Soliciting reviews via quite simply means that you will get more reviews than just posting a Rate this Product link on your website, and more reviews generally means more follow-on purchases from other customers. Additional benefits include generating a repository of content for future product marketing, as well as search-engine benefits by having additional user-generated content on your website. To capitalize on the review, you can provide a mechanism for customers to share their recommendation with friends, which extends reach through credible word-of-mouth advertising. Upgrade, Upsell, and Cross-sell Recommendations s of this nature demonstrate you really know your customer by recommending related products or services based on the most recent or historical purchase (or search!) behavior. Upgrade s simply notify and invite buyers to replace an outdated product or upgrade to a new and improved version. Upsell and cross-sell messages suggest other similar products or related accessories. The timing for when to send this type of message varies according to the product lifecycle and customer s buying frequency. But the goal is to drive another purchase with a highly-relevant featuring items related to something the customer has already purchased. Replenishment Reminder Re-order, refill and repurchase requests are like a value-add service to the customer sent to remind someone about replenishing a consumable good such as a health care product. At the time of the original purchase, you can ask the customer about their preferred timing for receiving these types of messages. If you are unable to ask the customer, simply send the replenishment reminder a couple weeks before the product is likely to run out. Be sure to monitor this type of program so that you can include special deals or alerts for products that are out of stock or about to be discontinued. You don t want to encourage someone to replenish a product that will not be available to them when they go to make the purchase. 1 Lightspeed Research, Inc., "Consumer Reviews and Research Online," March The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

6 Post-purchase programs should have a series of measurable goals the first of which is tied to the initial communication, with subsequent goals that are tied to followon behaviors. Lifecycle Reward Lifecycle notifications should ebb and flow, tailored to where the individual is at in the product or customer lifecycle. For instance, consider sending a "thank you" coupon to first-time purchasers just because shortly after the purchase was made. Alternatively, send a special offer on the purchase anniversary (e.g., one year later), inviting customers to make a subsequent purchase. You can test the inclusion of a specific product or service recommendation. Either way, the goal is to nudge customers along to make another purchase. With that said, the lifecycle reward can be used as part of a reactivation campaign for low- or non-responding customers. 2. Encourage Customers to Participate The answer to why customers would take advantage of upsell, replenishment or lifecycle offers is obvious because they are getting your quality product or service at a great price. However, answering why someone would go a step farther and provide you with some kind of feedback, review or story is not so simple. To answer this question you need to understand people s motivations for contributing their opinions and discern what is actually conversation-worthy to your customer base. A 2007 study by Keller Fay and Bazaarvoice showed 90% of people who write product reviews do so in order to help others, and 80% do it to help the brand. Self- or creative expression, or simply the desire to look knowledgeable about something, are common motivators that appeal to customer egos. Tap into these motivators when making the request. Creatively assert that their opinion is valued, they can stand out from the crowd, and help other shoppers make purchase decisions. And keep in mind that people who contribute content often come back to the website to see what others have to say. It s a cycle that can perpetually help build loyalty. 3. Measure Success Post-purchase programs should have a series of measurable goals the first of which is tied to the initial communication, with subsequent goals that are tied to follow-on behaviors. Depending on the specific campaign, initial goals typically revolve around conversion metrics associated with the offer (e.g., second purchase, posted review). Subsequent goals involve monitoring future behaviors of those who actually participate in your postpurchase program. Do they purchase more volume, frequently, or high-value items? Do they become more engaged overall, such as by posting unsolicited user commentary, more frequent or longer visits to your website, or becoming a fan on Facebook? A highly successful post-purchase program is one in which you develop evangelists and create stickiness between the customer and your brand. 6 The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

7 OPTIMIZING THE EFFORT Now that you have the basics for your post-purchase program, it s time to put the cherry on top with a few additional pointers to optimize your campaigns. Four Optimization Best Practices for Post-Purchase Programs When soliciting a review or recommendation, include links to your social sites and also provide opportunities for users to share their content or refer friends. 1. Don t Ask for Too Much Take Baby Steps From the customer s perspective, they just made a purchase and now you re asking even more from them. Not everyone will respond positively to that. Instead of asking users to complete a lengthy survey or review, you can ask a user to simply click the appropriate star rating for a product or hit the like button, or perhaps take a 1-question poll. That doesn t mean the participation has to end there once the person completes the poll or rating, you can use your thank you web page to prompt an array of more involved actions such as contributing a full review. And don t forget to send a message thanking the customer once their review goes live an opportune time to include links to follow and share comments on social networks. You can see how the opportunities continue to unfold. You can even present options to engage in ways that are unrelated to the original purchase ask them to submit an entry to a contest. In every case, consider next steps that are valuable to the user in the proper context. And if specific individuals are not responding to your post-purchase s, suppress them from future post-purchase campaigns. 2. Don t be Generic, Personalize! In making a post-purchase offer or request, you are asking (and competing) for the customer s time. And your message needs to stand out in the inbox in order to even be noticed. One approach is to personalize the to the extent that you recognize the customer by name and dynamically include photos or content of the recent purchase within the message. This can go a long way in grabbing the customer s attention. 3. Refer-A-Friend Messaging When soliciting a review or recommendation, include links to your social sites and also provide opportunities for users to share their content or refer friends. If your customers had a good experience, they will want to share it. 4. Test Common tests for post-purchase programs include wait time, call-to-action / conversion event and incentives. Test different numbers of days after the purchase (or before replenishment) to send the s. Test which conversion events resonate most with your audience and be mindful that some will prefer to write reviews while others simply want to replenish their stock. Incentives can be offered, but test to see how they impact quantity and quality of reviews, as well as follow-on purchases. 7 The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

8 ANATOMY OF AN EFFECTIVE POST-PURCHASE PROGRAM The following lifecycle reward from Cooking.com is currently being sent after a set period of time from a customer's last purchase, which the organization continually tests to maximize performance (e.g., 6 vs. 12 months). The showcases a concise message thanking the recipient for being a valued customer and offers a $25 off $75 reward. By integrating its system with relevant customer databases, Cooking.com is able to trigger the message based on a set interval from a customer's last purchase and the results have been impressive. While the cumulative open and click-through rates for the campaign were similar to its median, conversion rates rose dramatically to 183% above median. Even better, revenue for this campaign was 241% above the median revenue performance of a broadcast mailing and generated a $20 lift in average order size. Trigger based on tested interval from last purchase Reward customers with an offer to encourage repeat business Test offer value to maximize performance Keep the focus on the reward language and offer 8 The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

9 REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY Unlike traditional outbound batch-and-blast marketing campaigns, post-purchase programs need to be first triggered via integration with e-commerce systems, web analytics, recommendation engines, customer databases and/or other external systems. Once those integrations are in place, the message needs to be assembled dynamically based on available information and, finally, be delivered in the timeframe that you have tested to be most effective. This entire process requires a triggered or transactional solution that not only ties into your data warehouse and other systems, but that also provides you with in-depth reporting to gauge deliverability and engagement, as well as full HTML customization capabilities to ensure visual consistency with your other communications. Sending a post-purchase program is most effectively accomplished with a lifecycle marketing solution that allows you to easily set up appropriate triggers, customize wait intervals, test offers and optimize performance in real-time. If you aren't currently able to dynamically assemble and send event-triggered s with full tracking capabilities, you should look at upgrading your system to ensure that your customers receive timely and relevant messages. Marketers should also seriously consider a system with lifecycle marketing capabilities that will allow you to easily create a flow that maximizes engagement and conversions. Below is an example of a customer reward post-purchase program designed with StrongView's dragand-drop lifecycle marketing solution. As illustrated below, a triggered program can integrate wait" steps and actions that generate different flows (which can be tested for maximum engagement). In the scenario below for a customer reward , the program continuously tests conversion rates for three and six-month intervals from date of last purchase and automatically selects the winning path. The program tests two rewards ($15 off $50 purchase vs. $25 off $75 purchase). After waiting two days for a response, the program ends for those who have opened. For those who haven't opened, the program performs a 50/50 split, with half getting a "reward expiring soon" message and the other half serving as a control group, which can be exported to an external system for remarketing. Create multi-stage programs with dragand-drop simplicity Continuously optimize multiple paths with automated winner selection Dynamically assemble and send customized messages based upon pre-defined database critera Proof programs by sending test messages for every possible path Tigger lifecycle program via integration with web analytics systems Control message flow via rule or split-based routing Define multiple flows with customized messaging based on click activity Automatically export control group participants to other enterprise systems for remarketing 9 The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

10 THE PAY OFF For marketers, most efforts are tied to one important moment the purchase. Once the purchase is made, confirmations and shipping updates usually follow. But don t stop there! A post-purchase program should be a permanent component of your overall marketing strategy. It is vital in prompting repeat purchases, creating stickiness with current customers and building brand awareness outside your current customer base. A sophisticated post-purchase program can turn existing customers into brand ambassadors and drive significant incremental revenue. ABOUT STRONGVIEW StrongView is the cross-channel marketing software provider that gives enterprise marketers a stronger view of how to acquire and engage customers across , mobile, social, display and web. Combining the strongest technology and proven marketing know-how, StrongView provides enterprise marketers unparalleled insight into how to deepen customer relationships and maximize results. The platform is offered as either SaaS or on-premise, allowing companies to deploy StrongView s technologies in the manner with which most fits their needs. Based in Redwood City, CA, and backed by leading venture capital investors, StrongView has been helping global brands in retail, travel, finance, entertainment and online services overcome the limitations of other marketing platform providers for more than a decade. For a stronger view of marketing go to and follow us at and StrongView Toll free U.S. +1 (800) Toll U.S. +1 (650) Toll U.K. +44 (0) The Ultimate Lifecycle Marketing Guide: Post-Purchase Programs

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