Insights From Marketing Pros at GameStop, SXSW, TGI Fridays & Bottle Rocket

By Alyssa Meritt, Head of Strategic Consulting, Urban Airship

Mobile and media thought leaders from GameStop, SXSW, TGI Fridays, and Bottle Rocket took the stage at our Dallas Digital Engagement Forum. Here are a few of the insights they shared:

Use Smart Engagement Strategies to Create Great Customer Experiences

  • Replacing wristbands with mobile wallet passes: customers loved them, and production costs were slashed.
  • Implementing location-aware notifications that makes messaging more personalized — including using beacons to trigger location-specific experiences.
  • Piloting the use of a machine learning-powered recommendation engine to help give event attendees a more personalized experience (including discovering events they might not otherwise have uncovered) based on their preferences, which events they’ve been too (gathering data via RFID scans) — and even third-party data like their Spotify favorites and playlists.

To get CX right, Brown encouraged digital marketers to have an experimentation mindset, and to be dedicated to creating ways to get customer feedback — and really pay attention to it.

Mark McKinney, SVP Corporate Strategy at Bottle Rocket echoed this sentiment, “The bar for what customers consider a good experience is going up every day.” He also made the point that customers increasingly equate trust with digital savvy. And the bottom line business costs are growing, too. McKinney said 57% of consumers in a recent study said they’ve stopped buying from a brand and went to a competing brand for a better experience — and 62% of consumers say they’ll tell other people about a bad experience they’ve had.

McKinney also noted the importance of recognizing that brands are no longer competing with their immediate competitors — they’re competing with brands who are creating frictionless, intuitive, highly personalized digital experiences. All the more need to get it right.

Use Data to Be There in the Moments That Matter

For GameStop, it’s about taking the data they have about their customers — especially their loyalty customers — and picking up and analyzing the “breadcrumb trail” they’re leaving to anticipate what they may want and when they will want it, said Sonia Williford-Gill, Senior Manager, Integrated Communications. Part of the solution is stitching together information from multiple business systems, including Salesforce, display ads and more to really see where customers are in their journey. They’re also looking for ways to make smarter recommendations and understanding customer intent.

At TGI Fridays they refer to these “moments that matter” as “occasions,” said James Washington, Director of Digital. They are listening to the data for signals of what occasions are important to customers — whether it’s an upcoming birthday celebration, pre-movie drinks or needing a quick option for takeout dinner. They want to be there in those moments with messaging that feels like a complimentary service, “not just another brand shouting at you,” said Washington.

Make (the Right) Data Accessible to the Right People

Look For Smarter Ways to Use Different Engagement Channels

The GameStop team has also taken a deeper dive on how best to engage with customers on different channels, making sure messages on different channels are complementary, not repetitive, and are building out a journey and a story. For example, said Williford-Gill, if an in-store event is coming up for loyalty members on a Saturday, they’ll first send an email about a week before that gives event details and a sneak peek of the deals. Then on Friday, they’ll send a push notification reminding customers that the event is tomorrow, and on Saturday morning, they’ll send an SMS text with a very quick alert that the event is starting or just underway. This approach is driving bretter engagement and results. It’s important to understand how customers are using different channels, and match your messaging to that use, said Williford-Gill.

Look For New Ways to Get More From Your App

For GameStop, it’s adding more and more reasons to use the app so that it has a compelling value prop — for both customers and employees. For example, they’ve added in an app feature that allows customers to estimate the value of a game trade-in, and then lock in that pricing offer for 24-hours. Loyalty program members also get a ton of benefit from the app, including being able to access coupons straight from the app. Selling the app to front-line employees, Williford-Gill added, is a critical step in getting even more adoption and engagement from customers.

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