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Interview with Violaine Normand, Head of Product Marketing at SmartFocus. It tells us more about the company's positioning, its areas of development and its main issues.
A few words to present SmartFocus and its products?
SmartFocus is a leader in the digital space, trusted by big brands to drive their marketing strategy since 1999. Trusted by over 600 customers across the world, the SmartFocus Message Cloud delivers 18 billion personalized interactions annually. Our promise is to personalize and contextualized each customer interaction in order to boost marketing campaigns ROI. Message Cloud offers 4 solutions adapted according to the needs of each company. Our Apprentice solution helps effectively grow the value of brand’ customer base with email. We help communicate effectively with customers directly to their inbox, while seeing real ROI. A set further is our Professional solution to reach customers with a personalized touch. We provide the tools to capture customer's attention and reward them with a consistently personalized experience. Our customer will successfully create customer-centric offers and campaigns that are unique, relevant and real-time. Our Expert solutions adds the use of data intelligence to the mix, providing a 360° view with real-time actionable insights across key channels.Take the guess work out of understanding what customer wants and use real-time learning to power your messaging, timing and offers. Finally, our Master solution use social channels to extend the reach of current customer relationship management and gain value through acquisition.
You offer a solution, Message Cloud. Who are you targeting? What are the benefits of the platform leading in better performing marketing campaigns?
Message Cloud is more than a digital marketing platform. It's the responsive messaging platform, where data is continually received and reviewed; presenting the opportunity for businesses to immediately engage their customer with relevant, personalized messages. We are targeting business which challenges are to develop valuable and lasting affinity with their existing customers, and create thriving relationships with new ones. To complement our SaaS Platform tool, we run the agency services. SmartFocus offers our customers its internal web agency’ strong knowledge. Our team of experts provides a personalized consultancy to drive better performance digital campaigns.The tangible benefit is to alleviate the marketing team’ time pressures, resource restrictions and provide a personalized consultancy. The agency objectives are to curate content that is meaningful and delivers outstanding marketing digital campaigns results. Our Strategic Experts are analytics driven in order to develop automation strategies. Focusing on customer behaviours, they design customized strategy to solve each brand’ challenges. The consultancy scope is wide, from database hygiene and deliverability analysis, to life-cycle marketing adoption, up to advanced segmentation. Examples of successful strategies are review of Mobile templates achieving 34% lift click rate, abandoned browse campaigns delivering 170% lift in Open rate. Peak innovation campaigns also deliver 33% lift in Revenue.
How does SmartFocus integrates AI and Big Data in its strategy? How do you capitalise on these technologies?
SmartFocus uses Big Data technologies in order to build a single view of customer behaviour and deliver impactful messages in real time. We use AI to optimise the promotions, products and offerings contained in those messages.
Within the 4 solutions offered by Message Cloud our Expert solution is focused around Big Data. This solution provides access to a true Big Data platform that provides real-time, actionable information across all communication channels and enables the creation of seamlessly integrated, customer-friendly campaigns. With updated real-time and interactive statistics tables, Expert makes it easy to explore data and get a 360 ° view of all customers to anticipate their next purchase. With Message Cloud Expert, you can easily automate all your marketing campaigns through RFM segmentation, trend analysis and unsubscription of your customer. You can instantly turn information into rich, actionable segments and data to customize and build effective campaigns.
SmartFocus also invests its development on the use of social media. For example, SmartFocus has been the digital sponsor of London's Graduate Fashion Week for two years. This event highlights the work of over 5,000 top students and graduates from the world's most influential and creative universities. By relaying social posts from the public in real time on large screens during the catwalks, our Message Cloud platform allowed participants to take an active part in the event. Beyond the playful aspect, it allowed a strong public engagement and showed the power that social media can have during a marketing campaign.
What are the main challenges SmartFocus is facing?
Our biggest challenge is helping our customers adapt to the ever-changing economic environment, identifying new trends in consumer behaviour before their competitors do.
GDPR is a continued focus as we look to support our clients develop the quality of their digital strategies and campaigns. The emphasis being on ensuring greater ROI with a security / privacy by design approach.
What are your perspectives?
Our view is that data and CRM will increasingly become a core part of a business’ value, they will be evaluated on how much they know about their customers rather than the stock they hold or the services they supply.
The term 'personalisation' is used within our industry, this simply no longer describes the level of focus and indeed obsession our clients need to place on their marketing strategies. We see the need for individual interaction with customers - authentic, relevant and valuable ones that will grow and support the development of brand value.
From a technical stand point we see the increasing need for interoperability. The IT landscape within any business needs to be optimised - doing this through the investment of best in class, interoperable solutions will allow business to craft the differentiating ecosystem they need to survive and thrive. In simple terms we see a world of plug and play. The need for light touch business solutions is clear. It is the responsibility if the technologist to bring rapid, value add solutions to the market.