Reposition Facebook Messenger in your marketing strategy

During the Facebook F8 developer conference on March 25, the company had announced an exciting update on their instant messaging platform: Businesses on Messenger. This opens the door for businesses to engage with people in a rich and personalized way. Companies can finally interact with their customers in a conversational style on Facebook platform.

There are 600 million users using Facebook Messenger now and it is nearly triple of number it had a year ago. This large amount of users increased the business value of the platform especially when the company has a lot of existing customers using it. Like many other instant messaging platforms (e.g. WeChat, LINE), companies may enjoy the benefits of the one-to-one dialogue design – effectively communicate with their customer. Marcus, the former PayPal CEO who had helped to jumpstart Facebook message app, also wanted this tool to help solving the problem of businesses encountering difficulties to get attention though email channels.

This is an exciting moment for marketers: Given the popularity of Facebook marketing nowadays, we are already familiar with engaging our customers by different means in Facebook (e.g. Fan pages, Ads, games). Marketers can now combine this new feature with existing CRM solutions to deliver more values to customers. For example, customers can contact the hotel’s customer service directly on the messenger to request for recommending hotel activities / restaurants, assuming they have a profile in their CRM platform, it is possible to automatically recommend a more relevant proposal based on their cuisine preferences, past transaction records (Love visiting Spa / Gym? Like to order in-room services?).

While this feature is not yet available and may subject to a slow launch, we shall keep an eye on this and let you know any progress for an Asia Pacific launch. Stay tuned!

More from Facebook F8 developer conference:


Email marketing hasn’t gone!

While the digital market is flooded with different new emerging channels like Facebook and Twitter, almost all of us forget one traditional but powerful channel – email.

A well-built, content-rich eDM is an effective way to increase sales and sales conversion. eDM message which is relevant to your target audience could create personalized customer needs and thus triggers sales of the products. There is one extra benefit for blasting out e-newsletters regularly – to keep your brand exposed to the customers.

The value of the email channel is not only from the message itself, but also the customers’ email addresses and the behavioral data captured in the campaigns. For example, by using the behavioral data, we can set custom audiences for our Facebook Ad. Email address is a key for various digital engagement channels (e.g. social media). We, marketers therefore can reach them across multi-channel interactions, gather their behavioral data from different sources and build up a valuable database according to each customer’s different levels of engagement.

Understanding the customers’ digital engagement behavior and the channels’ effectiveness could help us improving our interaction strategies and create better values for our customers. A case study1 of one major US online retailer indicated the integration of email and social media can generate a greater impact. It shows that audiences who read both the Facebook ads and e-newsletter become more likely to purchase than those who receive the message from one channel only.

We can see that email marketing is becoming the connective fiber of the customer journey by linking the channels to keep customers satisfied. By planning your email marketing strategy smartly, we believe that both you and your customers can be the winners.

1 Results based on a US retailer’s email and Facebook advertising program conducted over two weeks in April 2014, targeting 925,000 US email subscribers using Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Facebook Custom Audiences. Facebook Offline Conversion Measurement matched and correlated ad impressions to email engagement and transactions. Findings are observational.

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Insights to consider enhancing your customer engagement process by self-service Apps / Kiosks

Have you tried entering a restaurant and making your order with an iPad? How do you feel about that? Will it affect your decision on making orders?

When automation starts to play an important role and efficiency optimization provides opportunities to enhance customer engagement journey, it is high time for us to think how we can utilize this to lower cost and increase revenue.

An article published recently in Harvard Business Review discussed how these self-service apps and kiosks are changing customer behavior. Some examples in the F&B industry did record an increase in sales after digitalizing their customer services. An interesting example from a liquor store: after they introduced self-service technology, the market share of difficult-to-pronounce items increased 8.4%. This change may be caused by the reduction of social friction, customers no need to worry about any negative judgment.

However, the research also reveals the downside of using self-service technology – customers satisfaction may fall when they cannot see that effort is going behind the scenes. This situation is happening particularly in the banking industry. Additionally, technology is often standardized with a set of rules that lacks flexibility. It may disappoint our customers if thing goes wrong under a new situation and we cannot react simultaneously.

So, is your business suitable to implement self-services technology? Here are some key questions to consider:

  • Do your target customers know what’s expected of them (what steps they need to go through)?
  • Are they capable of doing what’s expected of them?
  • Can customers see the value of paying extra effort for self-service so they are willing to change their way of engagement?

Discussion with your team and working on prototypes may help you to find out more.

We shall share with you more insights on how technology can help you improving customer engagement in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned!


Instagram Carousel Ad – A New Experience for Social Media Advertisement

Instagram Sponsored Ad

On 2015 Mar 5, Instagram unveiled a new advertising function called carousel ads, which opens new opportunities for social media marketing for all kind of business.

The carousel ad allows advertisers to post a series of photos in one post that audience could swipe and view. There is a “Learn more” button at the last page redirecting audience to the advertisers’ webpage for more information. More importantly, advertisers can track how their audience interacts with the ad (i.e. Did they read, like or comment on their ad? Did they swipe through multiple photos and click through to their site?). Marketers can therefore obtain a more comprehensive picture on how effective their money is spent.

With this new function, advertisers can tell a good story via a sequence of beautiful images and push audiences to click and direct traffic to the newly released special offer detail page. For example, a hotel can utilize the visual driven nature of Instagram to present their hotel experience – using visuals of room, dining venues and spa to illustrate what the customers can enjoy in a special offer.

The carousel ad is currently provided on a limited basis but the ad format may vary in near future. Instagram will have to approve all ads on the platform as they want to keep things tidy. Instagram is considering whether to allow videos in the carousels too.

Instagram is growing in popularity, especially in the community of millennials. We are excited to have it joining the party of sponsored ads. Marketers may now consider to publish their stories in a more visual appealing approach.


The five catalysts of great marketing nowadays

Marketing and technology are becoming more difficult to be treated as isolated silos in digital marketing. By utilizing new technologies, marketing continues to evolve, often at an unprecedented rate, to push organizations to react proactive then ever.
A recent article published by Mckinsey&Company may give us some insights on this evolution. They suggested five elements for great marketing today: Science, Substance, Story, Speed and Simplicity (5S).

By using new technology (science), that inspires us with more data and analysis, we can now have more precise measurement and management on customer decisions. We use different types of tracking technologies to evaluate what is the best way to interact with our customers. These technologies (e.g. tracking code being installed on websites, sensors and video that enable us to track in-store behaviors) are now at a lower cost to allow valuable data is more accessible.

Marketing is no longer only about messaging, but also involves more substances such us products & services development to provide functional benefits based on consumer desires and needs. For example, online retailers can make use of their transaction data to retool their supply chain, enabling faster restocking and better logistic arrangement. They may also manufacture new products that customers want (e.g. popular fashion brands like H&M , Topshop, Uniqlo and Zara are now bringing mass-market price to the colors, fabrics and design of high fashion).

Although marketing can be supported by new technologies to reach a new height, the importance of good story telling is still essential for the success. New communication tools (e.g. social media, mobile devices), which encompasses richer digital interactions, cultivates the demand of creativity. The narratives need to be flexible because its quality depends on the brand’s digital interactions with consumers, which is becoming more frequent and this will require marketers to respond in a higher velocity.

Moreover, given the convenience brought to us by the digital world, consumers are expecting a higher clock speed on marketing as their preference can change quickly. Simplifying our approaches can facilitate the organization to fight this war as complexity can be a strong enemy of speed. That’s why a number of leading marketers are reforming their organizations to reduce hierarchies, silos, communication gaps and redundancies. We may also use technology to reduce complexity, for example: setting up internal social media platforms to encourage the generation and sharing of ideas, which helps speeding up problem solving across the organization.

Here are the key takeaways:
Big data coming from powerful tracking tools can help us improving our engagement model. This engagement goes beyond messaging, it’s also about what products / services we are providing to our customers. To cope with the challenges brought to us by the new media, we can simplify the team operations in order to react quickly.

Let’s hope that we all can exploit the power of marketing with technologies in the 21st century to identify as many opportunities as we can and achieve success.

Read more about Mckinsey&Company’s insights here.