Digital Marketing Takeaways from NBCUniversal, The New York Post & Aimia
By Jessica Poundstone, Director Content Strategy, Urban Airship
Marketing leaders from NBCUniversal and the New York Post were on stage at our New York Digital Engagement Forum to talk about what’s working for their brands. We also had loyalty platform Aimia getting us up to speed on the latest trends in driving customer long term value. Read on for some of the key takeaways from the event!
Focus on Offering Great Content Everywhere Audiences Want to See It
The physical version of the New York Post is just one way the publication reaches their audience — their digital properties have an exponentially larger reach — and a very different audience, said Remy Stern, Chief Digital Officer, New York Post. Recognizing that different channels make sense for different users, the New York Post maximizes customer choice by providing their content in every channel they can from email alerts to push notifications and beyond.
Jason Reid, Director, Audience Development & Operations, NBCUniversal said their aim has not been to focus on just one platform, but to make great content and make it available everywhere. Their teams are keeping an eye on new ways people are consuming content and adjusting their strategies — audio, newsletters, social push notifications and email are all valid for different users who need to be served differently, said Reid.
Create “Thoughtful & Detailed” Workflows To Stay Accurate While Moving Quickly
Given all of the places news needs to get pushed to — and the number of people in different locations involved — prompted NBCUniversal to implemented a “detailed and thoughtful” workflow for the content and notifications they create. Their workflow helps maintain accuracy, make processes more efficient and reduces errors — because “being right is more important than being first to break news,” said Reid.
Stern agreed and described the centralized management system The New York Post has put in place to make sending out push notifications and email alerts from a centralized location, including a built-in review process. It’s important to have the process dialed in because, while you can change a headline on the website, Stern said, “you can’t take back a push.”
Allow Users to Set Preferences to Drive Deeper Engagement
NBCUniversal recently changed their app onboarding process to prompt users to choose the news categories they want notifications for in the preference center, said Reid. Within a few months after go live, they saw a 10% lift in engagement, and saw uninstall and opt-out rates decline.
Onboarding is important at the New York Post as well; Stern noted that it’s important not to overwhelm users with too many choices at the start, but rather to lead them through a flow that makes sense, and allow them to get granular if they choose. Also important is making sure users understand what they’ll be receiving when they turn on notifications.
Be Hyper Relevant
Allow an audience to choose exactly what they want to see through segmentation is important — both for the audience and for the New York Post, said Stern. But it’s also important to have a broad option — at the New York Post it’s “Editor’s Choice” — that crosses segments to create opportunities to talk to a bigger percentage of your audience at the same time.
To break through the volume of notifications most people get on their phones each day, NBCUniversal teams are always asking: how do we make our alerts as relevant as we can? For example, proximity alerts that let users know it’s going to rain in 5 minutes have been very successful.
Listen To Your Audience
“If we’re not listening to the audience, what are we doing,” said Reid. NBC Universal has added the ability to provide feedback right in the app — they also stream that feedback directly into a Slack channel for the whole team to be able to easily see, using that feedback to make changes and updates.
Foster a Culture of Continuous Digital Transformation
For brands that didn’t start out digital, making the shift to thinking digital-first and mobile-first can be a challenge, said Stern. Small changes — and small victories — are important for turning the ship in a different direction. (For example, making it a part of the process for newsroom editors to write and A/B test several headline and notification options for each story they publish.) “Your work is never done — and you’re always asking how you can do things better. You can’t be complacent because things are changing so quickly,” said Stern.
Reid agreed: creating a data-driven culture can be a daily struggle, as a business transforms — which sometimes includes two steps forward and one step back as people revert to old habits and ways of doing things. But once people really see the difference — and the results of taking a digital-first approach — they’re in.
Tap Into the Power of Digital Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs have been around a long time, said Sara Galloway, Head of Strategy, Aimia, but there is a still a massive untapped opportunity in making loyalty programs even more sophisticated and valuable — for you and your customers. Not only are loyalty programs a fantastic way to increase customer long term value, they can help increase your number of “known” users in your database, unlock a treasure trove of essential data about your customers, and helping you do more orchestrated omnichannel marketing.