Traditionally, online publishers and advertisers deploy behavioral targeting to increase the their campaigns’ effectiveness. As the targeting industry continues to advance and expand, it’s also growing beyond the expected online medium. One company that looks beyond the digital sphere is Ignite Media Solutions, which uses behavioral targeting, advanced scripting, and message optimization on direct-marketing programs across TV, Web, and mobile. By having multi-channel response solutions for consumers, Ignite drives incremental sales on new and existing campaigns.
In a conversation with Mike Ferzacca, CEO of Ignite Media Solutions, I had a chance to find the nitty-gritty that makes Ignite’s offerings so unique.
Vicky Chen: Cross-channel planning for direct marketing is your specialty. Aside from the obvious benefits of having more integration in campaign execution, what are some other benefits of Ignite Media’s solutions?
Mike Ferzacca: The fact that we enable “media” solutions speaks for itself. Since we cover multiple media channels, it’s more cost and time efficient for clients to use our service, as opposed to planning for TV, online, and mobile separately. It makes sense to consider multi-channel response options because you can’t tell a customer where to buy; you can only suggest mediums for them to engage with. Since we’re multi-channel, we try to cover as many POS [point of sale] areas as possible, making the experience for the consumer as integrated and easy as possible.
VC: OnTarget is your behavioral targeting tool that allows for the most effective up-sell and cross-sell to shoppers and generates increased revenue for the client. Tell me a little about the algorithm behind OnTarget.
MF: Ignite Media Solutions has the demographic and lifestyle attributes of more than 220 million consumers in our database. In addition, we have 40 million transactions in the six major direct-response verticals, making the possibility of matching consumers with appropriate scripts extremely high. For instance, before we start a campaign, we look at buyers and non-buyers in a category while taking into account thousands of personal characteristics to develop profiles. Once we know the split, usually about 60 to 40, we make offers accordingly and create a sense of urgency for the buyers so they are: one, more engaged, and two, more likely to purchase.
VC: Can you outline a sample consumer journey?
MF: Certainly. Usually the starting point to a consumer journey is via TV. A consumer sees a 1-800 number and makes a call. Depending on what the consumer is asking for in the phone call, we can provide them with the right automated response and guide them down the purchasing path.
We look at all the buying criteria and create individual scripts for each product. The scripts are also multi-lingual with translations that are sensitive to the communication norms of corresponding cultures. If the transaction was not completed the first time, we make sure to follow up with e-mail or SMS campaigns to help close the deal.
VC: The behavioral targeting (BT) space is certainly an interesting one right now: companies are shutting down due to privacy concerns, yet new ones are constantly emerging. In my opinion, the space is starting to feel pretty crowded with new technologies. How is Ignite differentiating itself in the BT space? What’s the secret ingredient to your behavioral targeting sauce?
MF: The real secret in our sauce is our real-time transaction targeting combined with dynamic scripting. Our competitors usually offer ways to target by fitting a consumer to a profile, and the targeting stops there. These consumers are taken down a purchasing path within the confines of that profile’s template. This however, does not take into account the consumer purchasing experience. Even if a BT company is able to successfully match a consumer to a profile and serve up engaging offers, that doesn’t necessary help them close the deal. Because Ignite Media Solutions recognizes that not all customers want to transact the same way, we utilize dynamic scripting which changes “on the fly” to adapt to each customer’s specific responses. This provides each customer with multiple options in the most important segment of the purchasing funnel: the actual buy itself. Our real-time transaction targeting enables us to look at an inbound caller/Web site browser/person making a mobile inquiry, and figure out the best way to convert them from a shopper to a buyer.
Going Beyond the Digital
Ignite Media Solutions officially launched in September 2008 and is producing amazing results: carrying out campaigns for clients that cost 66 percent less than in-house solutions and often delivering better close rates as well. With a model for channel integration, Ignite Media Solutions is certainly a standout in the behavioral targeting space by going beyond digital.