Effective ad campaigns to woo the new-age consumer

The combination of good research, big data analytics, pre-campaign customer feedback, and effective reach platforms make up an integrated and efficacious integrated campaign that can help the retailer reach out to the desired target consumer group in the right place and at the right time, resulting in higher rates of conversion from targeted audience to purchasers.

Anthony Shiner, Chief Revenue Officer of SingTel Group Digital L!fe, says SingTel Advertising stands out with its capabilities in orchestrating all these critical factors of success.

DataSpark is a SingTel subsidiary which mines a lot of geo-spatial data and analyses for patterns of consumer behaviour, like how Australian, Indonesian or Russian tourists may spend time visiting different places and have different activities on a weekend in Singapore.

The Australian tourist may start with breakfast in the hotel, spend 2-3 hours in Sentosa, have lunch in the city, and then head to Robertson Quay. After dinner, he may go to Ku De Ta for drinks and photos, or may have a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel.

Russian tourists tend to spend more time in the casino, while Indonesian tourists like to shop.

Shiner says retailers can get great help from understanding these patterns of behaviour of a particular consumer group. They can get answers to questions like: When is the peak time in Orchard? Should I be running a billboard ad at a certain time? When are people rushing and when are they ‘coasting’ so that they may be persuaded to pay attention to something attractive?

“These kinds of data can indicate the right type of marketing activity and the right time to put an ad. The insight becomes really important if you are trying to service your customers better,” says Shiner. “For example, a retailer in Sentosa may be interested to know that there is a high concentration of visitors from different countries – Australians from 10.30am and Indonesian tourists between 12.00 and 2.00pm. They may then make sure of good English-speaking counter staff at these times because service staff affects the customer experience. That kind of insight becomes really important if you are trying to serve your customers better.”

Retailers looking to advertise, at say Marina Bay Sands, would benefit from knowing when is the right time of the day to put in an ad and promote partnerships with hotels. “It’s the question of how do I advertise specifically, which are the right apps that people use to check out the hotel, am I advertising on these apps because I know when they are looking.

For example, when is the best time for my ad on HungryGoWhere to appear, when do people and tourists check out restaurants and do dinner reservations?”

Asking questions

“When we look at advertising, we actually ask interesting questions that appear to have nothing to do with selling advertising spots. We are more interested in the decision-making process when customers buy a product.

“When do they think about your product, when and how do they conduct product research. For us, knowing that process is what actually drives the right recommendation and right integrated advertising package,” says Shiner.

“That’s what we do – we ask the right questions as to the behaviours that drive the sale, how can we assess those behaviours, and can we create new behaviours based on something that we see.

“We talk to verticals from fast food companies to particular high-end retail for male and female consumers, to general luxury goods retailers, to car makers. There isn’t an advertising vertical in Singapore that we don’t talk to. We have analytics services that enable all these retailers to better understand their target customers.”

Shiner says another SingTel asset is its Digital Panel. “We have 10,000 to 15,000 people – in a specific digital panel community – that we can send an email to and within 48 hours we are able to get feedback about the proposed campaign.

“We ask questions like: What do you think about this offer, and about this ad. We can find out very quickly if the new offer is going to cut it with the particular target segment. We can measure quite accurately to know if the proposed campaign will achieve the specific objectives of the advertiser.

“It’s all about maximising the advertising investment. We help retailers and advertisers reduce the chances of failure by preparing them with insights before they go to market. The insights help them determine what they should do, and know what are the platforms to use to send their messages.

“With the insights, they will know if they are doing the right thing and getting the right return on the advertising spend.”


How a digitally integrated campaign works 

A company that is a client of SingTel Advertising wants to connect with its customers more frequently and wants to extend the customer engagement opportunities throughout the day instead of at just specific times. How does it create a campaign that builds customers’ affinity with the brand and allow it to be top-of-mind among customers? Anthony Shiner walks us through a digitally integrated campaign.

The company created an app that allows them to build an alarm clock on the customer’s mobile phone. The alarm clock puts the brand in front of the customer every morning but the company wants to go a step further to encourage the user to check the phone regularly.

It then created a reward mechanism to encourage that behaviour, and used gamification to create a means to distribute the reward.

The appropriate game and reward depends on the customer’s lifestyle. So the next step is to identify the customer’s daily habits. Does the customer commute to work daily on public transport? Where does he go to lunch with friends; which shops does he frequent; and what walking route does he take? This leads us to look into suitable billboard opportunities at the MRT stations and partnerships with appropriate companies to offer rewards like free coffee in the morning.

So we created a specific ad for customer engagement, we have the gamification opportunity to increase engagement, and we include segmentation. We then advise on the characteristics and behaviours of particular customer segments. We also run the campaign components past the participants in the Digital Panel.

In the last part we also propose the platforms to use and talk to the target audience – a mix between TV and outdoor advertising and promotions to reach the audience, a radio campaign to advertise the reward for engagement.

The integrated campaign includes pre-learning about the customer, an engagement strategy, research into the behaviours of the target audience, pre-testing the research with the Digital Panel and also compiling the digital advertising platforms and determining which media pieces to use.

In the past, most businesses spend too much time on the last bit, which is focused on the media assets to use. We say that is actually irrelevant if you don’t have the earlier bits of action. In reality, if marketers and advertisers do not do the pre-learning and the first few steps, they are trying to find the needle in a haystack and can only hope that they somehow get it right.