Weaving the magic of context marketing via your website
What does it to take to make a website click every time an anonymous or a repeat user visits it? Count on context marketing to do so.
ChinaTravelNews, Ritesh Gupta - It all happens in a matter of few seconds, and that’s what makes e-commerce abandonment a fascinating affair. Selling travel products isn’t easy. Plus, the task of managing high volume traffic site in the travel category is equally challenging.
So what does it take to make sure whatever is being shown goes well with the visitor on a site? To put in a more explicit way: moulding a visit into a transaction.
Let’s explore a situation.
An iPad user clicks on an ad for a package to Phuket, Thailand and reaches a travel e-commerce site. At his current location, the weather has been cold, and it’s been snowing heavily. The landing page seemingly spots this, and says, “Enough of this cold weather, how about a holiday to Phuket?” The user eventually finds an attractive itinerary, and books it.
Simple it may sound, but there are several pieces of a puzzle that come together to click with the user. And yes, all that too within few seconds!
If we were to summarize it, such experience can emanate from robust, effective context marketing, says Mark Floisand, VP, Product Marketing, Sitecore.
What entails context marketing?
Let’s understand what comprises context marketing.
It is essentially being spot-on with whatever (content/ product) is being offered to a user (in terms of timing and location) based on the sum total of that person’s past behavior and current needs.
Let’s see how it works.
Content management – This aspect is a strong pillar that ensures there is a joined-up or relevant conversation that carries across devices and channels. “It’s important that content served matches with individual context – previous visit history if the visitor is coming back, time of the day, location, loyalty program membership and if yes, which status etc.,” says Floisand. He says the approach here is not to manage content on page-by-page basis. Rather each component – images, text, headline, sub-headline etc. is tailored as per their performance individually, and the most relevant aspects are chosen for a landing page automatically. “One of the relatively new trends is going after geographical/ IP look-up, and then tailoring messages or imagery, like the background of the page, accordingly,” says Floisand. Today technology can help you to automatically detect and optimize content for visitors’ devices, and Geo IP detection lets you personalize based on physical visitor location.
If there are 10 different locations for which one campaign is being run, then it would call for 10 different messages, right? “Yes,” acknowledged Floisand. “So a travel company needs to be precise with their campaign requirements.”
Contextual intelligence – This aspect is about capturing each individual visitor data, and not just relying on cluster or segmentation, featuring a group of customers based on similar attributes. This is one area where marketers are trying to refine their efforts on an ongoing basis. The industry is increasingly looking at working on profiles of customers. It needs to be understood that identity tracking right now is about joining the dots in the multi-channel, multi-device shopping environment. “(For example), a user might access a site from different devices. Initially there are different profiles for this user based on different devices used to access a site. However, once this same user fills a form (shares personal information) or logs in, then information is available to authenticate them, and join those different anonymous profiles together. Information about a particular user is collated whenever they log in from different devices and matched. Then eventually they become one user with one profile,” shared Floisand. This is a work in progress, and user needs to take certain action like log-ins or filling of forms to pave the way for identity tracking.
Omni-channel automation – This involves mapping profiles and real-time behavior with on the-spot decision making so you can customize the experience across touch points, says Floisand.
For instance, a frequent flyer, belonging to a certain status of the loyalty program, accesses a site from a certain location. This customer has penchant for watching tennis. Now with device tracking and location spotting if switched on, the travel company can offer him or her car rental and tickets to a nearby tennis tournament. This deal can offer a free upgrade for a car rental depending upon the tier of this loyal customer. It is clear that there is improved efficacy today in which specialists can match products to profile, and with better identity tracking and profiling, this will only get better and better.
Of course, responding to real-time behavior is being attempted but a major challenge is the high volume of data that is being captured today, and aggregating into a profile. The industry is increasingly managing to connect dots (across various touchpoints and devices) for a more consistent experience,” says Floisand.
Sitecore does focus on building its repository of data, and there is a provision to supplement its data with other sources. So the team diligently strives to collect intelligence from all customer interactions (current, past, even offline) across all channel sources in a real-time, big data repository.
There are couple of other practices that can contribute to a higher conversion rate if marketers closely follow what happens on their websites.
One of them is astute testing. “We tends to focus on small incremental changes that eventually last for a longer duration, and contribute like compound interest to a website. That’s a vital ingredient for e-commerce success,” shared Floisand. “Now on the face of it, optimizing for a 13-inch and a 15-inch tablet wouldn’t make much difference, but even 0.1% increment in conversion over a period of 10 years can make a big difference to revenue growth. So testing is vital.”
While many acknowledge that everything needs to be tested, not many do it.
The key here is automation, and as Floisand says, today the solutions have sort of democratised testing. “If testing is difficult, expensive then people tend to be averse to it. But if it’s an integral part of website content
management, then whenever a new version of something is created, then results a shown. So whatever needs to be rolled back can be done in no time.” And this also helps in improving the site and conversion.
Secondly, the data that is being collected via websites is being used for re-targeting and for conversion outside a travel brand’s website. For instance, marketers can upload a list of email addresses and Facebook tends to deliver ad to those people if they’re on Facebook.
Improvement in Chinese sites
Floisand says Chinese sites in general can do better to target non-Chinese travellers from other markets.
“Currently, the sites seem to be quite dense, with lots of information,” shared Floisand. He said the designs of sites in Chinese or Japanese that is essentially done for character-based sites tends to be easily assimilated by locals, as they don’t get distracted. But such design approach needs to be improved upon in order to be easier on “western eyes”, said Floisand.