CleverTap Quarterly Showcase: 4 Marketing Strategies and Shortcuts From Engagement and Retention Experts

CleverTap Quarterly Showcase: 4 Marketing Strategies and Shortcuts From Engagement and Retention Experts
Last updated on September 15, 2021

The advance of global events and the increased challenges associated with advertising in an identity-constrained marketplace highlight the central importance of offering individualized customer journeys and communications aligned with unique consumer needs and life stages. It’s territory that presents new challenges and huge benefits to effective marketers who can master them. 

The work of combining multiple data sources to architect multiple pathways tailored to valuable customer segments or designed to reach key business goals, such as increasing order transactions or decreasing churn, can be daunting. But, as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

To provide direction and help brands and marketers learn, adapt, and succeed on their journey to deeper engagement and stronger retention, we host the CleverTap Quarterly. It’s a high-caliber virtual event that brings together customers and industry experts to share proven strategies for success. 

We mined this marketing gold to produce our top picks on how to eliminate friction, offer assistance, and make your app the center of your customers’ experience. 

#1: More (Data) is Better – Sunil Thomas, CleverTap CEO and Co-Founder

“More data means more relevancy. More data means better context. And more data really means better probability or an increased probability towards better user engagement.” That’s not just the view Sunil Thomas expressed in his opening address. It’s also the philosophy that guides marketers and CleverTap’s own strategy to double-down on data integration. “We’re not just looking at user behavior data, but we’re looking at catalog data, a list of products, a list of restaurants,” he explained. 

The aim is to raise the bar when it comes to recommendations and relevancy, informing and automating campaigns to “provide a level of context that is unmatched out there.” And it doesn’t stop there. “When done well, this [combination of automation and AI] accelerates your experimentation cycle; you can just carry out a lot more tests and iterations in a shorter period of time to get your customers into better places than they currently are.”

#2:  Subscription is the Dominant Model – Andy Carvell, CEO and Partner at Phiture

It’s gold-rush fever as more apps across more verticals pursue a subscription model. And why not? The lure of recurring revenue and the ability to plan based on high confidence in your cash flow is attractive. Drawing from the work of Phiture, a fast-growing mobile growth consultancy based in Berlin, Carvell outlined models and mindsets that are essential to success. 

“Subscription analytics is actually pretty complex when you factor in cancellations, dynamic pricing offers, and varied subscription lengths, as well as having the right capabilities to test new paywalls and personalize based on user segmentations that you’ve identified as being valuable,” Carvell explained. “And that’s where CleverTap is very useful. It gives you some of those levers and allows you to segment your user base, to test and measure much more effectively than you could by just trying to implement all that in your product natively.”

This is critical when it comes to acquiring users who are likely to subscribe, Carvell said. But it’s also complicated since publishers will know this weeks, even months, after the initial install. “And ad networks can’t optimize with those kinds of lead times – even before iOS 14.” That’s why marketers have to get better at identifying and testing the early indicators of propensity to subscribe. “Essentially, it means that we’re going to have to work harder to identify the early-stage predictors of conversion and find ways to encode these signals into six-bits by calculating compound event values that score user behavior based on its value, rather than sending every event, like we typically do.”

One shortcut is the AIC (Acknowledgement – Interest – Conversion) framework, developed by Phiture in close collaboration with CleverTap, which “mandates that user events be stratified into three buckets or layers of increasing value.” This, Carvell said, “puts you well on the way to actually optimizing your acquisition in a post-IDFA world…because you’re already creating compound engagement scores.” 

Another top tip: don’t just segment users. Push different benefits, but also different pricing to users depending on the segmentation that you apply. “Think about segmenting and changing your subscription… based on things like acquisition source.” And figure out the sweet spot for discounts, Carvell added. “The theme here really, like the recurring theme in what I’m saying here, is that you’re going to leave a ton of cash on the table.”

#3 Surprise and Personalize to Keep Users Coming Back – Corey Jones, Co-Founder and Head of Music at TREBEL

Providing listeners choice is important, but it’s also a bonus to surprise users with fun playlists. From diamond albums for the ‘90s enthusiasts to suggestions linked to your star sign, TREBEL strikes a chord with audiences who love music but can’t afford a subscription. During a fireside chat, Corey Jones lifted the lid on the key factors fuelling the rapid growth of this ad-supported music app. In addition to the nuts and bolts of what it takes to drive engaging cross-channel experiences, Jones treated us to a crash course on life cycle marketing. 

He breaks it down into five simple stages: 

  1. Focus on how to acquire a user. In the case of TREBEL that means getting users to register. 
  2. Figure out the one or two actions you are trying to drive and how to get the user to perform that action once. 
  3. Reach higher and think of ways to influence the user to perform it repetitively. 
  4. Now that you have formed a habit, think of ways to create long-term loyalty. 
  5. Don’t just activate users and develop ways to make your app a habit. It’s also important to find ways to reactivate dormant users. 

“Within each of those steps, there are very specific things that we are constantly optimizing with A/B tests [and] using push notifications and in-app notifications to try to drive those behaviors,” Jones said. One of these behaviors is encouraging users to import their music library, which cements the ties that bind the user to TREBEL for the long term. This is where working with CleverTap pays dividends. “Literally in the past two weeks, we’ve doubled that metric using the CleverTap tool.”

#4 Personalized Reminders Leave a Lasting Impression – Ved Prakash Yadav, Head of Marketing and Growth at Khatabook

Good apps help users get stuff done. Great apps like Khatabook show them how, by harnessing customer education and personalized messaging that provides guidance and instruction, creating value for everyone. The fast-growing ledger app has experienced 40x growth since 2019, achieving more than 10 million active users. 

“Personalization and customization according to the local needs was the first priority,” Prakash said.

A prime example is an auto-payment reminder, nudging merchants to send a payment reminder to their customers. “We’ve seen that doing personalized messaging to these people increased our CTR and engagement rate to the feature by 4X to 5X,” he explained. “And in certain smaller campaigns, it went as high as 10X.” Today, this feature is used the most widely, and retention among customers who rely on this feature has increased “by 2 to 2.5 times.” 

Those are impressive numbers. But marketers can also move the needle when they focus on reactivating the right users. “There’s much more ROI in reactivation, remarketing than acquiring a new user,” he explained. “And that’s where it becomes much more interesting to balance out these two things in terms of scale, in terms of how much we want to spend.” 

Convinced of the results and the revenues, Khatabook is still “using nudges to improve the onboarding, the funnels, and retention,” Prakash said. “But the role of re-engagement [and] remarketing became the critical pole in the overall growth and marketing strategy.” In fact, the last six months have seen the company focus “more on reactivation, remarketing as compared to new user acquisition.”

More Next Week

Next week, look for more top tips from CleverTap Quarterly when we mine the growth advice and secrets from our expert panel, Prepare for Impact: How Leading Marketers Have Adapted to Rapid Change for Amazing Results. The panel, moderated by Peggy Anne Salz, analyst, author and founder of MobileGroove, features Anannya Roy Sen, Head of Marketing at e-commerce marketplace Namshi, and Tim Calise, COO of Nynja, an all-in-one communications platform tailored to the needs of freelancers and free agents globally.

Both are fast-growing businesses, and both marketers share blueprints you can follow to adapt marketing and messaging to your customers’ fiercely individual and rapidly changing needs.

You can also view the complete playlist of recordings from this most recent CleverTap Quarterly on our YouTube channel.

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