Ed #14 Getting Personal

It’s all about the mix.

OPOWER utilizes a unique, all-channel platform to deliver Home Energy Reports and other communications. The OPOWER platform reaches utility customers via the mail, the Web, mobile phone and, increasingly, in-home devices that provide real-time information on energy consumption.

OPOWER says paper-based, mailed communication is the dominant channel for achieving large-scale customer engagement and will remain so in the foreseeable future. The company realized early on that the mail reaches everybody equally, regardless of age, income level or access to computers.

For OPOWER, postal mail is the dominant channel for achieving large-scale customer engagement.

Ogi Kavazovic, OPOWER Senior Director of Marketing and Strategy, says, “We’re software developers. So naturally we started with a really cool Web portal. But then one of our executives said, ‘That’s great, but what about the 90 percent of people that will never come to the site?’ We knew that we had to help utilities get the message out to where people are, not just where we’d like them to be.”

Zappos.com has come to the same realization. Aaron Magness, Zappos Chief Marketing Officer, says, “The point is, there is no silver bullet. Where do people enjoy getting information? Different places. That’s why we engage with our customers across all media—through our website, Facebook, Twitter, email and printed catalogs.”

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, rebranded with the much-simpler “Metro” name a few years ago, has used a robust multichannel strategy to increase awareness and ridership in recent years. Brightly painted buses increase visibility on the streets. Drive-time radio spots and billboards reach drivers sitting in traffic. A well-designed website provides information and functionality, such as a trip planning tool. Facebook pages, Twitters and a sponsored blog called The Source reach out through social media.

But like OPOWER and Zappos, Metro sees print as a key to engaging customers on a large scale. From bus cards to “take one” flyers, four-color direct mail brochures to calendars, Metro has used printed communication to build its brand, communicate with riders and get the word out to potential new customers. Through a regular new-resident program, Metro sends out free passes to drive trials among newcomers to the area. Special mailings to targeted corridors inform riders when it opens a new transportation line. Glossy high-end calendars tied to newspaper and outdoor ad campaigns build the Metro brand at private companies, where corporate transportation coordinators use the calendars to help educate employees about public transit options.

Says Michael Lejeune, Creative Director at Metro, “Print is huge for us. We have 10 million customers. Everyone in LA county, whether they ride or not. We have to do everything we can to reach everybody, and print allows us to tell the long story—including residents who may not have easy Web access.”

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Term Of The Day

apps

Short for application software. Typically available for rapid download to add functionality to smartphones, computers and other devices. More terms »