• Office Brands CEO Gavin Ward.
    Office Brands CEO Gavin Ward.
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Office Brands has implemented a new automated marketing platform that will integrate a number of sales and customer service functions across the group.

After an extensive evaluation process under the guidance of marketing consultant Andy Lark, Office Brands has adopted the Exact Target automated marketing platform that will drive sales through category expansion, the re-engagement of lapsed customers and the acquisition of new customers.

“Exact Target, or as it has recently been renamed 'The Sales Force Marketing Cloud' runs the prediction intelligence engine which has been so unique to Amazon over the last nine years. It’s intuitive marketing capability and customisable campaign building structure means fully-customised solutions that are structured and reactive to our clients’ needs,” Gavin Ward, CEO of Office Brands, told Stationery News.

“The ultimate goal of the system, is to develop a deep understanding of our customers’ purchasing behaviour, attitudes and interests into a relationship that develops, builds and strengthens their customer experience to increase cart size, product penetration and promote 'lifetime value'”, he said.

“Marketing automation is the new standard for the world’s best marketers,” he said. “It represents a significant investment for Office Brands but we believe that we should focus on the kinds of technologies that grew Amazon, Microsoft, Toyota, Expedia and many other household names.”

To further explain the concept of automated marketing,  Ward provided  answers to the following questions:

STATIONERY NEWS: So what is Big Data anyway and how can it help your members?

GW: In its simplest form it is just us listening to our customers, understanding their needs and how they work with our business. The ultimate goal of the system is to develop a deep understanding of our customers’ purchasing behaviour, attitudes and interests into a relationship that develops, builds and strengthens their customer experience to increase cart size, product penetration and promote “lifetime value”.

If we understand our customers better we can tailor unique promotions which are appropriate just for that individual customer. We will send them these unique promotions at a time which has the best chance of success and at a time most relevant to that customer’s current needs.

STN: So what sort of things can be achieved?   

GW: Exact Target is extremely powerful. Once configured, we can write complex campaigns that look at the interaction our customers have with our emails, the web site and their purchase history. From such data we can build a response, based on their reactions.

Note just a few examples of ways we may send offers to our customers:

Example 1 – we send an offer from our member for 'sit/stand desks'.

This offer might include the opportunity to find out about how stand up desks can improve productivity in the workplace.
If the customer opens the offer and clicks a link to the site, we can track that. If the customer does not buy, we can tell the system to send out a follow up offer in 10 days.

This time, it will actually send details of why sit/stand desks improve employee satisfaction, reduce sick days and improve morale and productivity. If the customer opens that email and reads it, downloads the guide and/or visits the Website again, we can schedule another note in three (3) weeks, with a special opportunity to buy.

In this way, we nurture the lead. We can also write a Cookie to the customer’s computer, so that if they visit a website, like say www.news.com.au, where we may have an advertising agreement, the person who has been interested in the stand-up desks will be served an advertisement also promoting the offer.

Of course if the customer doesn’t open the emails or click through, we end the process and don’t bug them with these offers.

Example 2 - We can also perform other targeted segment advertising.

We can pick customers who buy all their stationery from us, but don’t buy their Kitchen or Cleaning supplies. We can send them a targeted offer and track them again. In the same way, we can target furniture. We can track who buys lots of packaging and target them for work wear etc. These purchase trends are very powerful.

Example 3 - We can track people who like to buy 'eco products' and target them with suggestions of additional products they can buy, if they want to improve their eco footprint.

The email we send can be dynamically built, to have a unique selection of products that are particular to that customer, as they don’t currently buy them. It will be a unique offer specifically for them.

Example 4 – We can look at all customers who buy toners that are more than three years old and send offers on printers and other technology products, which may soon be due for replacement.

The important thing is that we don’t have to do these offers at a specific time. We can set up the campaign and as long as the criteria is met, it will send the offers automatically. So from example 4, as soon as a customer’s toner cartridge gets to three years of age, it automatically generates the printer campaign.

STN: The key to success then is data?

GW: Of course the key to making this whole system work at peak efficiency, is data. The more data we have, the more accurate and effective the system will be.

We are currently working with members and our ERP suppliers to ensure that we have the best information with which to work.

Marketing automation is the new standard for the world’s best marketers. It represents a significant investment for Office Brands but we believe that we should focus on the kinds of technologies that grew, the Amazon, Microsoft, Toyota, Expedia and many other household names.