State of Play : State of Play - Issue 3
With so many ways to communicate it can be hard to choose which is the most effective for a business. State of Play chats to communications specialist James Roth from Blue Star about how he and his team help to get the message across to Tabcorp's customers. State of Play: How can a company such as Blue Star help venues to communicate effectively? James Roth: We help clients deliver effective personalised communications across both print and digital channels. We're always looking at how to turn our customers' data into highly effective multi-channel communications campaigns to lift response rates and maximise that marketing investment. How do you suggest venues communicate with their customers? The ability to communicate with customers varies for every venue, as it all comes down to the availability of that venue's customer data and the quality of the contact information. Simple success comes from keeping accurate data with up-to-date contact details with opt-in communication preferences. Saying that, however, you have to make sure that you're sending communications that your customers want to receive. If you look at research from Australia Post you see that people are opening less than 22 percent of the emails they get, which is down to information overload. Some of the more successful campaigns we've seen from venues are when they create a letterbox campaign to communicate that they are relaunching as a result of a change of ownership or refurbishment. The letterbox campaign allows mass delivery to homes and businesses in the local area, with the likes of postcards or flyers to raise local awareness. Loyalty programs also work well and venues that have one, or are part of a broader program, also have inherent advantages in terms of reaching customers. So we would always advise that some sort of loyalty program is set up. If it's supported by offers that can be measured on a campaign by campaign basis, it's easier to develop an effective communications program. Do some venues find the communications process harder than others? Why would that be? I understand that the larger venues have a centralised marketing group, making it easier to establish a marketing strategy focusing on customer communications, whereas, when I speak with management teams from smaller venues they have expressed that they often lack the time to create something similar. What's the advice you give to those finding it particularly hard? Take a moment to list all the events you have had at the venue and then jot down all the ways in which you communicated each of these and the kind of turnout you received. Focus on the ones that worked, think about why and try to replicate this across your other events. Also, don't forget to collect information through offers (asking permission to communicate in the future, of course) and don't be afraid to try something new -- visit other venues locally and further afield to learn from others about what's working and what isn't. Do you suggest that different venues use different communications techniques? We believe that venues and retailers should be engaged in a mix of channels according to their preferences and how they behave to ensure a consistent experience with the brand. Birthdays, anniversaries and other major occasions are often well-suited to direct mail, but if there are time-sensitive events then SMS and email could be a better approach. Does social media play a large part these days? Social has a huge impact on venue marketing. The expansion of TripAdvisor and online booking solutions, such as Dimmi, have people looking at venue ratings to assist in their choices. Monitoring these reviews and offering any unhappy clients the opportunity to revisit the restaurant, at no charge or at a discount, has often helped in rebuilding a strong base of regulars. Social media is also great for running competitions and providing immediate updates, but it does require regular maintenance. And I have personally seen great success with live video Facebook feeds by social media influencers. Ultimately, social media is word of mouth and the most successful venues are consistently offering great value and great service over long periods of time -- this just needs to be reinforced with the right marketing strategy to ensure that they get the word out. STATE OF PLAY | ISSUE THREE TOP FIVE TIPS TO COMMUNICATE MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH YOUR AUDIENCE: 1. Understand your target audiences. Ask yourself if you can segment your databases by age, gender and interests and, if not, then build a solid client database. 2. Communicate regularly and with relevance. Develop a comprehensive calendar of events and promote it. 3. Don't be scared to try different approaches. Success comes from understanding what works and what doesn't. 4. Gather information from your clients and ensure it's measurable. It could be as simple as asking 'how did you hear about us?' The responses will give you a sense of what's drawing in your customers. 5. If doing a mass mail, or email campaign, try and test a small sample first. This won't always be possible but, if you can, it will help you fine-tune the campaign to get better results.
State of Play - Issue 2 NSW
State of Play - Issue 4