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What: The internet offers seemingly infinite ways for consumers to research products and services before making a purchase. Aeromexico and Palace Resorts explain how they leverage key benefits of marketing automation to start a conversation and turn consumers’ digital research into online and offline sales.
Why it matters: No matter how much technology brands throw at marketing, excellent content, and the human factor count for a lot, especially when consumers are purchasing an experience and not just on price.

Consumers’ Digital Research Speaks Volumes

Palace Resorts is not just any resort. Its 10 oceanfront properties spread across Jamaica and Mexico on the Caribbean and the Pacific offer an all-inclusive vacation of a lifetime. That’s why consumers looking for an exceptional experience do a lot of digital research before making their purchases.

“We’re not a commodity you buy on a budget. So we talk a lot about our destinations,” Gerardo Garcia, Palace Resorts’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the USA, told Portada during a sit-down interview at Portada Miami. “We try to bring the customer into a conversation.”

Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side.

Potential guests often visit 20 websites before booking. So, Palace Resorts has to be sure it has excellent content at each of those touch points so as to engage consumers and promote the brand. “People dedicate a lot of time to their process of buying a vacation. Their digital research process creates that inspirational moment,” Garcia told Portada.

Key Benefits of Marketing Automation: Balancing the Human Factor With Technology

Palace Resorts loves it when customers buy online, but a large percentage of its guests have lots of questions before booking. Thus, having a call center and live chat are key tools in the purchasing process.

Garcia’s marketing team includes 15 people dedicated solely to responding 24/7 to customers’ questions posted on social media or at Trip Advisor. “The more I learn about technology, the more I value the human factor,” Garcia said.

Gerardo Garcia (left) at Portada’s Travel Marketing Board’s Portada Miami Meeting

Working with third-party vendors is a critical part of Palace Resorts’ marketing strategy. Allowing vendors to manage technologyallows us to focus on our marketing strategies and find the right channel to launch that campaign. Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side. Otherwise it becomes overwhelming,” Garcia explained.

Automated behavioral email is also one of the most important channels for communicating with existing customers. In addition to its CRM software tool Clever, Palace Resorts uses HubSpot to send emails based upon customers’ preferences.

 

 

A First for Aeromexico

Aeromexico is the first brand in Latin America to create a chatbot to respond to customers’ questions on WhatsApp. According to the airline’s Paola Camacho Stern, senior specialist co-brand partnerships, other brands are taking notice.

If customers don’t get the answers they need, the chatbot transfers them to Aeromexico’s call center. Ppersonnel there has actually been reduced thanks to the assistance of the chatbot.

In spite of the technology, the human factor remains a critical component for ticket sales since Aeromexico prides itself on the superior experience it provides travelers both in the air and on the ground.

We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them.

“We have a lot of people that want to talk to a human being. What we are looking for is a balance. I don’t think the call center is going to disappear, but our digital will grow more until it finds a balance,” Stern said.

 

 

Communicating the Experience with Content

 

Aeromexico relies heavily on social media to communicate its brand and the airline’s experience. “We have very strong social media channels, a lot of followers. We are focusing on making people feel like we’re not just an airline but the best company to take them from one place to another,” Stern explained.

Paola Camacho Stern at Portada’s Travel Marketing Board’s Portada Miami Meeting

The airline buys paid advertising, and uploads videos on Facebook which is its “strongest” social media channel.

Traditional media, too, plays an especially important role in Latin America. It includes the use of radio, outdoor advertising print, the airline’s inflight magazine as well as advertising before feature films in cinemas.

Key benefits of marketing automation include email, and Aeromexico uses it to launch campaigns and promotions and tell customers about new routes. It does extensive a/b testing to find the best messaging. Aeromexico also segments its databases to personalize offers.

“We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them. Traditional channels are more expensive. You need to find a mix. You can’t put everything in digital.”

 

What: Major media and brand executives gathered at Portada Miami to share their experience and vision of the rapidly evolving landscape of marketing technology in Latin America.
Why it matters: The twelfth annual edition of #PortadaMIA focused on how technological innovation is reshaping the Latin America and US marketing space, and provided key takeaways on topics including ROPO, how data drives content, e-commerce, pan-regional marketing, and Miami’s growing importance as a marketing hub.

An impressive roster of marketing and media professionals gathered at the twelfth edition of Portada Miami to share their experience, vision, and insights into the rapidly advancing landscape of marketing technology in Latin markets, as well as the U.S.

Key takeaways included:

  • The right data can be hard to find, and even more difficult to build when understanding the consumer in Latin America.
  • Brands shouldn’t shy away from partnering with third-party providers when gathering and analyzing the data needed to provide actionable insights.
  • Back to basics still count: clearly established objectives should always drive the use of data and marketing technology.
  • Know your data sample: be sure it accurately represent the market you’re targeting.
  • Carefully monitor how your target audience consumes content so you know what relevant content is before you build a content strategy.
  • Research online is going to continue to grow and trigger sales.
  • Visiting websites is one of the most common activities on mobile phones in LATAM.
  • The online consumer today is not determined by demographics but rather by their interaction with digital.
  • Miami’s diverse workforce reflects what the U.S. will look like in years to come.
People engage with content that they believe in. That is one of the strengths of CNN.

Cynthia Hudson, SVP and General Manager of CNN en Español and Hispanic Strategy for CNN/US, kicked off Portada Miami with remarks highlighting the importance of making content relevant to consumers. “People engage with content that they believe in. That is one of the strengths of CNN,” she said. The day’s Thought Leadership Breakfast sponsored by CNN also emphasized the importance of the mobile phone for communicating with markets, as well as the growing role of voice-activated speakers like Alexa in consumers’ daily lives. It was also noted that there are more than 5 million hours of content uploaded to video platforms every day.

 

 

To Partner or Not to Partner

The debate over when, how and whether to partner when building data and content strategies was extensively debated by participants at #PortadaMIA, reflecting the lasting importance of this key question for brands. “There is a lot of data, so using the right technology and not being afraid to partner with the people that can give you the actionable insight,” is very important, Ana Hoyos, Director of Meltwater Latin America, advised during the day’s second panel Marketing Tech in Latin America: The Opportunities Ahead.

Speakers at the day’s first panel had a back-to-basics message for their audience, emphasizing the need to take care that your data sample accurately reflects the markets. Establishing clear objectives at the start of any initiative also won resounding agreement from the panel participants.

“I always ask: what is your objective when you start a project?” panelist Andrew W. Russo, VP of Data Science at Starmark, advised listeners.

Build Connections with Relevant Content

Portada Miami participants repeatedly emphasized the importance of making content relevant to the target market. Watch what your target audience is consuming content for, and how that relates to commerce. Understand what is relevant content before creating your content strategy, Andres Amezquita, VP Digital and Commercial Excellence at StanleyBlack & Decker told attendees.

That point was endorsed again by Carlos Leal, Marketing Director at Rappi, when he was interviewed by Kate Canel, Director of Performance Media at The Shipyard during the panel ROPO: A Deep Dive held in the afternoon.

It’s not demographics that determines the online consumer, but instead, watch their interaction with digital, Leal said. “The ROPO effect consolidates the strength of digital as an information channel.”

But Leal warned his audience that the ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) consumer, because he or she tends  to always be informed before buying, tends to be more unfaithful at the point of sale. “The ROPO consumer feels like researching in digital, but his purchase is still conditioned by the need to see product advice from a seller,” Leal said.

 

Miami: Gateway to Latin America

Golin’s Scott Farrell and Pepsi’s Carlo Espinoza

Portada Miami attendees applauded remarks by Carlo Espinoza, Senior Marketing Manager, Latin America Beverages, Pepsico highlighting Pepsi’s phenomenally successful campaigns reaching out to new generations of consumers in Colombia and Jamaica.
And the backdrop of Miami’s spectacular waterfront and the towering Brickell City Centre served as perfect reminders of the importance of Miami in pan-regional marketing and as a gateway of diversity to Latin America.
An influx of new immigrants to the city, and the excellence of Miami’s colleges and universities contribute to creating a vibrant and diverse workforce that is a harbinger of what the U.S. will look like in the years to come, said Joseph Roisman, EVP, Perry Ellis International during the day’s final panel Miami’s Evolving Role As A Marketing Hub: A Brand Marketer’s View.

A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • A new study by Quintly examined 105 million Facebook posts that point to the most effective ways to reach customers on the platform. Link posts are the most popular with Facebook users. Not surprisingly, videos draw the most interactions, 65-percent more than images. Longer posts (more than 150 characters) are less popular than shorter posts. And according to the study, interactions are significantly greater (13-percent more) on weekends.

 

  • While nine out of ten marketing executives report using artificial intelligence to improve returns, 34-percent of executives surveyed by Business Insider Intelligence say they feel “unprepared” to use AI to its full potential. Companies could expect “bigger boosts in revenues,” if marketing executives had a greater understanding of AI, Sky Cassidy, CEO of Mountain Top Data, said in a release. Using AI to improve email results should be a top priority, according to Cassidy.

 

  • In-app digital advertising continues to grow exponentially, according to the latest PubMatic Quarterly Mobile Index report. In-app video spend jumped 200-percent per year in 2018. In-app impression volumes driven by header bidding technology increased by 300-percent, and server-side (S2S) header bidding offers publishers new ways to increase efficiency and competition. In-app advertising makes up the majority of mobile ad spend on the PubMatic platform.

 

  • Retail is poised to feel a big impact from AI in the coming years, according to new market analysis by UBS. But big data is not necessarily where the most opportunities lie, My Total Retail reports. So-called “small data” that pinpoints individuals’ purchasing preferences, experiences and goals, holds a key promise of increasing marketing returns, according to reporting by My Total Retail. Retailers should use AI in combination with voice assistants, chatbots and data analytics for best results in building and retaining customer loyalty.

 

  • The interactive content management platform Ceros has received $14M in Series B investment funding for its content animation services, according to reporting by ClickZ. Ceros was founded in London in 2012. It has offices in five countries and provides a total solution for content creators, including hosting, animation, access to assets and analytics.

 

  • Fastbase announced that it is now offering a Google Ads extension that tells advertisers the names, websites, addresses, phone numbers, contact and email information of businesses that click on Google Ads—and going back one year. The extension is available via Google Analytics.

 

  • Digital advertising spend is expected to outpace traditional advertising expenditures this year, according to forecasting by eMarketer. As reported by Tech Crunch, digital advertising will represent 54.2-percent of total ad spend in 2019 compared to traditional advertising’s 45.8-percent.

 

What: Media company Time Inc.  has struck a multi-year agreement with content discovery platform  Outbrain to adopt its’ proprietary technology stack to deliver content recommendations to its audiences.
Why it matters: The content-recommendation space has grown rapidily as it pushes traffic around the web. By using content recommendations services major publishers can derive significant revenues as they offer their digital properties to drive traffic to other sites who pay for the inbound traffic. It is unusual for content recommendation services to be exclusive and for a revenue figures to be announced publicly as is the case in this Time Inc. Outbrain deal.

TimeIncMagazine publisher Time Inc. and Outbrain Inc., a global content discovery platform, have announced an exclusive multi-year agreement that will see Time Inc. enhance its digital strategy by deploying the full suite of Outbrain’s solutions for seamlessly surfacing content that is relevant to audiences across its global portfolio. The partnership is worth more than US $100 million for Time Inc. over the course of the agreement.

It is unusual for content recommendation deals to be exclusive.

To date, Time Inc. had been working with a combination of companies content-recommendation widgets which help push traffic around the web.As part of this agreement, Outbrain, also a “content discovery”  company,  will now power content recommendations on renowned brands such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine. Additionally, it will provide Time Inc. with tools for their editorial team, empowering editors to better program and optimize content to meet their KPIs.

Time Inc. is also going to tap Outbrain’s existing premium publisher network to drive incremental engaged audiences to its digital properties.

Time Inc’s works with content brands such as People, Time, Sports Illustrated, InStyle and Real Simple to deliver valued content within brand-safe environments to a highly engaged audience. The company has experienced significant digital growth over the past year and currently boasts more than six billion page views per quarter and 131 million unique users per month, globally. Time Inc. announced revenues of US$821 million in the third quarter, but its ad sales and circulation fell during that period.

Time Inc. announced revenues of US$821 million in the third quarter, but its ad sales and circulation fell during that period.

Outbrain place links below articles published across a variety of websites, including CNN.com, Slate and ESPN. Media companies and marketers pay Outbrain to place those links on publishers’ sites so as to drive traffic to their content. In exchange,  Outbrain shares this revenue with the publishers where the links appear. The platform has offices in more than 11 global territories and partners with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Japan, India and Brazil. Worldwide, it now serves over 190 billion recommendations per month to consumers in over 150 countries—with more than 561 million unique users in September 2014 according to comScore.

Time Inc. Chairman and CEO, Joe Ripp said: “This provides marketers with an ideal environment to deliver their messaging. Outbrain’s focus on audience experience and surfacing optimized content recommendations was a key to launching this partnership. It maximizes the monetization of our audience to other content publishers. And, it provides key insights and analytics about our core digital users.”

“We are delighted to announce our agreement with Time Inc. and believe that smart and innovative companies like it are the lifeblood of the new look digital media industry. Outbrain began as a straightforward recommendation product, but we have innovated, adapted and evolved into a platform that serves multiple publisher constituencies—the business, editorial and product teams—affording our partners the flexibility to embrace digital opportunities and continue to deliver what audiences crave,” said Yaron Galai, Co-Founder and CEO of Outbrain .

The agreement is said to be effect on November 15.

Read  more on how Content Marketing services providers and content recommendation services are expanding into the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets.