Clock hosts publishing loyalty event
February 4th, or what we here at Clock like to call ‘Thirsty Thursday’, is a day to be celebrated by cracking open your finest Prosecco whilst speaking to a room full of publishing industry experts. Well, that’s how we did it anyway.
Last Thursday we teamed up with Feefo - the global ratings and reviews provider - to talk about the future of customer acquisition and retention in publishing.
We were lucky enough to have outstanding speakers in Helen Hewitt, VP Strategic Projects at Dow Jones (who launched loyalty programmes at The Times, The Sun and most recently at The Wall Street Journal), Seema Kumari, Head of Digital Marketing at Hearst, Ben Clarke-Smith, Head of Customer Success at Feefo and Dave Allen, Promotions and Marketing Director at Local World/Trinity Mirror Regionals.
Here are just some of the great take-aways and insights from the evening’s presentations:
Loyalty and Acquisition strategies have changed
Gone are the days when publishers could spend millions on CD giveaways and carriage clocks - thanks to Dave Allen for reminding us about that one - in order to drive sales. Short-term sales uplifts were soon followed by big drop-offs and then the cycle was repeated. Today, technology is facilitating alternative strategies by arming publishers with new tools as they strive to acquire and retain subscribers, be it through digital loyalty programmes or software that improves operations and keeps customers onside.
Customer focused strategy
It is easy to lose sight of the fact, that at the end of the day, everything you do is for the customer, or subscriber. Helen Hewitt even mentioned the positioning of an empty chair in strategy meetings so that the customer, albeit absent, was represented in the room! She went on to say how a loyalty programme should offer only relevant rewards. Whilst at The Sun, there was a focus on ensuring brand partnerships were not London-centric. This was reflected in results that showed the most redeemed offers in their loyalty programme were always those outside of the London.
Dave Allen echoed this with his view from a very localised perspective. Local World’s ‘Plus’ loyalty programme - which allowed them to move from their traditional non-targeted consumer sales process (CPA of £18) to their current focussed, value-driven, self served, low cost model - works with local businesses to provide local offers, invite-only events and discounts rewarding local consumers.
Any loyalty programme needs to have editorial support. As Helen Hewitt said, the success of Times+, with 400,000 members, can be pointed to the fact that it breathes within the paper itself.
Customer feedback loop
Over-analysing what our competitors are doing, is something we have all been guilty of at some stage in our lives. The result? Our existing customers are often neglected. Seema Kumari spoke about how a change in strategy at Hearst resulted in them working with Feefo, the global feedback engine, to provide a customer feedback loop. This meant Hearst started listening to what their customers really wanted instead of trying to second-guess. It was then that they really saw improved results and were able to make feedback-based decisions to improve the business - from better managing customer expectations on subscription start dates, to more user-friendly subscription sign-up forms and general website usability issues.
Great retention ideas can actually help acquisition
Some retention strategies can inadvertently help with generating subscription sales. Helen Hewitt described how The Sun created a partnership with the National Lottery that facilitated members of Sun Perks, the loyalty programme, to re-use their Lotto tickets the day after the Saturday night draw, in a promotion called Second Chance Sunday. Conceived with The Sun’s existing subscribers in mind, Second Chance Sunday was so well received it actually turned out to be a hugely successful subscription driver.
These are all only a taster of some of the insights from the evening. The presentations are full of juicy facts and figures and can be downloaded. We hope you enjoy them.
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