Engage21 Day 1: Conference Recap

The long-awaited first day of Blueshift Engage21 has already come and gone! We were so excited and eager for knowledge that we didn’t even realize how quickly the first one-hour live session passed. It left us both wondering about time relativity and wanting more. And indeed, there is much more to come in the following days. If you missed day one, no worries, we’ve picked the best parts of the discussion and highlighted them below. But don’t miss another minute of Engage21, register now.

Patrick Moran (Head of Consumer Marketing at Houzz), Joyce Poole (Sr Director CRM at LendingTree) and John Wall (Host of Marketing Over Coffee) sat down with our host Marina Ben-Zvi (Director of Product Marketing at Blueshift ) and had a great conversation about experimentation and engagement strategies during these changing times.

About a culture of experimentation

Host Marina Ben-Zvi addressed the speakers with a memorable introduction line: “If you don’t improve and innovate, you risk getting left behind.”

The discussion kicked off on the importance of making room for experimentation and the role that plays in building a successful culture of continuous improvement.

Joyce opened the conversation with a bold statement: “a culture of experimentation is easy to say, but a little harder to do”. She also concluded that the secret to its success might actually be failure: “Test and Learn, Not Test and Succeed. Sometimes you test and fail. So you have to know, what are you willing to lose?”

And that leads us to limitations to experimentation

Well, limitations can be quite a few: the ability to test restricted due to lack of data, resources or user base, the actual usage of insights in relation to the achievement of goals, and the time needed to get results.

But as Patrick says “being deliberate on what parts of the funnel you want to learn and how that impacts your business” might save us all some trouble.

What works with experimentation?

John said it clearly: “Spend 25% of resources on structure for accurate testing.” Prioritizing resources and time towards testing ensures accurate results and a forward movement for your business.

Joyce actually thinks it’s just a matter of kicking it off and recommends: “Just start with something. Start with what you have. As you start, it’s kind of invigorating and as you learn, you will get energized to do the next step.”

And what about results?

John: “The results are not linear as you test. It’s really about specializing before you diversify. Pick three places to focus your spending because it delivers more than anything else once you’ve geared up.”
Patrick: “It can be daunting to try and achieve growth, but if you’re able to move the needle week over week, month over month, that compounds significantly over the course of time.”

Switching gears, the discussion moved to a more applied and universally asked question by all marketers out there (don’t tell us you haven’t asked yourself this):

“It can be daunting to try and achieve growth, but if you’re able to move the needle week over week, month over month, that compounds significantly over the course of time.”

Patrick Moran, Head of Consumer Marketing at Houzz

How can experimentation drive more loyal and active customers?

Patrick gave us a good starting point for engaging customers between transactions:
“I think having a clear understanding of the magic moment, the Aha! moment, for whatever is the experience. There are a series of activities that lead up to that.” Driving engagement is strongly related to understanding the user interactions that lead them to the magic moment and improve them.

But for Joyce, a key to engagement is to clearly identify the period of transaction, which can be easier or harder depending on what you’re selling. But more important is what they do after the transaction and to be there and provide them with the appropriate type of communication to get them to come back.

Continuing on the topic of how experimentation improves the customer experience and drives loyalty, Joyce made an observation about the importance of understanding and differentiating customers even in broad groups. “Loyal customers” might be defined as a group, but inside that customer base there are some prominent segments that need to be treated quite differently.
Joyce: “I think that’s important to not think of everyone in broad groups. There are independent ways to think about loyal customers. To keep people engaged it’s important to understand their differences and give them the information that they’re seeking and that we hope, will lead to that additional engagement.”

And as for tips for best practices in their organization, all the speakers had one.

Joyce named the customer’s insights: “Customer’s insights are vital. If we really need to know what’s essential about our customers, let’s ask them. We spend a lot of time doing qualitative and quantitative research on what is the content that you want to know at a specific point in time. And that is an important step to do in order to guide you in your communication touches.”

Patrick talked about the capacity to uplift the middle customers: “In a lot of organizations I’ve been part of, if you take a hundred of your users, there’s usually twenty of them that are extremely engaged and twenty of them that are not engaged at all. The question is: how do you uplift that middle? I think a lot of that is about understanding the data between the very engaged cohort and the not so engaged cohort.” Understanding the middle ones is an effective strategy to drive active customers.

Some food for thought from the speakers

The key takeaways speakers left for the audience were short and on point.

  • Joyce: “Test and retest. Keep testing. Today’s changing landscape requires you to continually test.”
  • John: “Always be testing.”
  • Patrick: “Focus on what you want to learn in order to impact the business.”
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