3 award-winning techniques (II): Indirectly we know more

Door Niels van Meerte Janse -

Convince. Enrich. Trigger. Our communication with customers had to be more and more relevant. A generic email newsletter no longer works (in most cases). That’s what I believe and so does NS International. As a team we work hard to strive for relevant communication. And we got rewarded! Not only by NS International’s customers, but as well by the industry: last June we were awarded two Selligent Awards. In blog #2 of this series, we highlight the second technique from this case so you can also create success with award-winning techniques.

The 3 award-winning techniques

NS International is responsible for the exploitation of the high-speed train connections from the Netherlands to over 3,300 European destinations. To be relevant in your communication you have to be smart about it. Therefore we have used several techniques. In this series we highlight the following three:

In the last blog we discussed the topic of convincing clients. By using dynamic content we can create communication that’s more relevant. This relevance is not only useful in the subjects of the communication moment, but as well in the design elements such as buttons. To be able to use this foreknowledge you have to collect it. In this blog post we focus on how you can do this both direct as indirectly.  

Indirectly we know more

We want to know more and more about our clients. Why? To stay relevant. We ask them all kinds of questions in application forms that are way too long. It decreases conversion. Would you ever ask about salary during a first date? Nope, of course not. But you could have been more relevant if you had this info.  

When you date, you built up the question asking. If you don’t take this unwritten rule seriously you will probably scare off your potential love interest. The same applies to clients. Don’t scare them off by overwhelming them with question marks. You can use progressive profiling to slowly construct a relationship of trust. First encounter: you only ask for highlights. And with every next encounter you can ask something new, in order of your priority. What profile characterizations do you need to know to be relevant? Make a priority list to determine the order of questions.  

Asking is a direct form of progressive profiling. At NS International we do this by for example asking the date of birth. The date of birth is an important characteristic to be relevant. Many clients like to travel to celebrate, so we’d like to know. The campaign that clients experience during the introducing phase asks for the date of birth and the favorite destination. Because there’s an incentive the client loves to participate: he can be surprised with train tickets for his birthday. Two birds one stone: the client is excited and we have a better idea when to subtly up our marketing efforts.


Image 1: example of enriching with a limited amount of questions during a NS International campaign  

The indirect form of progressive profiling is a lot less known. A shame if you’d ask me, because this technique is a lot more powerful. Sometimes you can scare clients off by asking them the wrong questions. And often questions and behavior do not meet. That’s why you have to use client’s behavior to complement their answers. A client can be a Parisian at heart but looking at a trip to Berlin for next week. By collecting behavioral data from several platforms and interpreting them the right way you know more about the client than you initially thought. Without the annoyance of having to ask or the possibility to scare them off.

Behavior on a website or in an app is very useful to enrich client profiles. Visits of a booking system or full digital carts can be easily followed up with an abandoned basket campaign. Repetition is an easy tool to increase the power of attention. Repeat the abandoned basket campaign in your weekly newsletter. How? You can subtly do this by using visited products or destinations as a top 5. Just make sure your clients can get out of the created segmentation bubble. A well-known case is the washer retailer. By not giving the possibility to click other buttons out of the segmentation you are stuck with washing machines. But you already bought one..!

There are many indirect client characterizations that are interesting. Of course these factors are depending on the industry you are working in. When your client opens your email the used device can be registered, useful for future communications. But also details as the IP address or service provider are available when the client opens your email. Or even more detailed: the question if a certain paid app is installed. This information is for grabs as well, but the discussion about immorality gets awfully close.

These techniques are a part of the framework that we have developed at Oxyma together with NS International. It’s a framework that’s never finished. A continuously developed groundwork enriched with new techniques. Sometimes tech-based, the next more functional. All with one goal in mind and getting there one-step at a time. That’s the key to our success, hopefully for you as well.

Read more about Convincement here and Triggering here (appears January 2018) on our blog. Don’t want to miss out on the new blog post? Subscribe to the Oxyma newsletter and receive monthly updates, news and tips on improving your marketing performance.

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