On a recent trip to Bed Bath and Beyond I had the pleasure of experiencing a marketing automation and transactional campaign management system first hand. Was it good? Yes. Could it have been better? Most Definitely.
Here’s the situation: I went to BBB on a mission to buy a new garbage can and I left those handy dandy 20% off coupons at home. My preferred trash receptacle wasn’t cheap and I didn’t want to pay full price. I’d received an email coupon for 20% off earlier that day. I asked a store employee if I could use the email offer in store. She said “yeah, so long as I can scan the barcode.” Ok, that sounded reasonable as they scan those paper barcodes on the direct mailers that I receive in my postal mailbox.
I scanned the email, clicked some links, pinched and squeezed through some landing pages and found no such bar code. Not satisfied with my experience I went to see the manager on duty. He said that I could obtain a 20% off coupon by signing up for text (SMS) offers but that the email offer was only good for purchases online. The good news here is that those enticing discounts are available on the fly for big-ticket purchases; the bad news is that offers aren’t truly portable across channels. I’m not keen on my phone buzzing with discounts in a text message, but I went ahead and did; I was curious to see how ‘instantly’ gratifying this could be.
Here’s how it works:
- Send a text to 239-663 with the word ‘offer’
- Receive a reply with a link to a web sign up form
- Click the link, open a browser and fill in the form
- Submit the form and receive 2 more texts the last of which contains a link to a web page with the 20% discount.
How it could’ve been done
The first place where this system went awry is the fact I had to obtain this information from the manager of the store. A mechanism for granting you an instant 20% off shouldn’t be hidden, it should be advertised because it helps the brand and store in two distinct ways:
- BBB increases how much information they have on file about you, this helps refine campaign targeting across channels and deliver optimized content.
- BBB increases the channels by which you can be reached improving the likelihood of delivering the right offer at the right time and via the right channel.
A mechanism that offers the company this many perks shouldn’t be something I learn about from the manager.
QR to the rescue!
Much of this could’ve been solved with a QR code; BBB could’ve put a sign near the cash register advertising the SMS program. The link to the registration page could’ve been encoded in a QR code and placed on the ad. This QR code could be replicated in an email offer, and on landing pages to help drive and track traffic. More specific and revealing metrics can be harvested from the QR code than by a manager telling me there’s a short code. Additionally, it saves me money. If I don’t have an unlimited text plan with my mobile provider then each of these multi-text steps to enroll in the program winds up costing me, the customer, a small ‘convenience fee’.
There are numerous ways to combine channels into meaningful customer experiences. Because customers are thinking, communicating and converting across channels, devices and platforms, marketers have to create buying and enrollment processes that detail the ‘shortest’ possible route to market. If these processes can be structured in an economical manner through logical decision trees, it just leaves the consumer more money to spend on a marketer’s goods.
Sr. Marketing Mgr.