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Experience

Experience

Case Study - Southwest Wind Power

Challenge
Southwest wind power wanted to find out how many businesses throughout the US were or were interested in going green

Solution
Conducted consumer focus groups and business interviews in various US markets, with respondents segmented by the degree of their respective green lifestyle, from very much to very little. The results were then validated in a quantitative research study. We then chose test markets that offered both sufficient wind and a strong dealer network.

Deliverables
The media mix included radio, newspaper and online display ads. We also produced a short video about Skystream, showing how it worked and satisfied owners. This ran on the landing page, the client website and on You Tube and Facebook.
Our approach utilized a landing page that asked respondents a series of questions to filter likely prospects. The names were forwarded to dealers for follow-up. 

Impact

The campaign resulted in generating the names and contact information of over 2,000 qualified respondents. These were given to the Skystream dealers in the appropriate markets for follow-up calls and visits.

  • Copywriting
  • Corporate Identity Sales Kit
  • Online Ads
  • Photography
  • Print Ads
  • SEO
  • Video

Case Study - Banner Bank

Reinvigorating a Regional Bank Stuck in a Marketing Rut

The Challenge

Banner Bank was then a $4.7 billion bank holding company founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington State with roots serving the state’s agricultural base. Over the years through acquisitions and organic growth the bank has grown to 93 full-service offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. In late 2011 Banner Bank languished without a leader for the marketing department and had been virtually inactive in acquisition focused marketing. Our team was tasked with driving online customer acquisition initiatives and integrating digital messages with traditional media channels.

In the previous two plus years the extent of Banner Bank’s advertising had been a series of dated television ads and a variety of local sponsorships. A trial digital program was launched with the incumbent agency that failed to deliver results. Having relied on an inexperienced agency to develop a digital plan the bank was unprepared to understand the interrelated challenges posed by a well architected program. The vast majority of new customer acquisition oriented efforts were direct mail. In simplest terms, Banner Bank was unaware of how to effectively launch and integrate a digital marketing program. 

Our Solution

The first step was to educate the client leadership on the truths about digital marketing, the options and how to start slowly and scale. Much education was required to educate across internal departments of a siloed organization. Significant advising time was directed at supporting the marketing team to set up processes and procedures to align with the needs of corporate governance and compliance. The primary efforts included search engine optimization, paid search and display media. Additional help was applied to proper implementation of Google Analytics for tracking of online account applications. A geography-driven strategy was developed to aid key sub-markets first with their acquisition goals. This would stabilize weaker markets rather than continue to funnel resources into highly competitive sub-markets. The flexibility and targeting capabilities of digital were aligned with direct mail marketing efforts, new branch openings, life event targeting, competitive branch openings/acquisitions, and commercial banking initiatives.

In the wake of the Great Recession and financial crisis, consumers had great levels of doubt and mistrust of large national banks. Although Banner Bank had well over 100 years of history as a regional bank, the brand did not fully understand the needs of their best customers. And given the prevailing consumer sentiment at the time, banks were not trusted. Therefore we conducted consumer research and translated those research findings into a creative brief that focused on featuring products that proved Banner Bank was on the side of their customers: free ATM use, a nickel back every on debit purchase and community reinvestment.

Impact for Client

Our support of Banner Bank lasted just over 2 years before transferring to an internal team. By executing a consumer research study to understand the motivations of the Banner Bank customer, we gained insights that fed into strategy and tactical program development. We continued with successful programs and improved performance by refining the messaging based on the research. On the digital side we empowered the bank and launched their first ever data-driven digital customer acquisition programs. By integrating digital media (pay per click & display) with existing traditional efforts (e.g. direct mail, tv/radio, print and OOH) the bank realized significant gains in new consumer accounts, increased deposits, and small business loan activity. Further efforts in social media and video emphasized Banner Bank's long history of community involvement. 

The result of our customer acquisition strategies and tactics were that growth exceeded goals in every market. Additionally total assets of the bank grew to over $9.7 billion. The result on the Banner Bank stock price was a more than doubling ($18 to $41).

Case Study - Expedition Trips

Investing in Customer Knowledge Leads to Revenue Gains

The Challenge

Expedition Trips a online travel agency specializing in expedition cruising and travel to some of the most remote locations on earth.  For years Expedition Trips had relied on pay per click search engine marketing to drive leads. An existing agency relationship had turned stale and both lead volume and quality had dropped off substantially. Furthermore, a slew of new entrants into the market had made the competitive landscape much more fierce. Expedition Trips needed a way to stand out from competitors and communicate the benefits of their service to both markets served: cruise operators and travelers.

Our Solution

We proposed a unique approach. First, we suggested we not rip apart the existing program. Instead we brought the inherited program under control which immediately reduced cost per leads generated by over 50%. Next we executed a qualitative consumer study to understand why travelers sought out the services of Expedition Trips. This exercise unveiled many findings about the motivations and interest of Expedition Trips' audience which were incorporated into marketing tactics, messaging and even sales and service processes.

Under our management, the digital marketing program’s poor performance was reversed fairly quickly and sustained for over 4 years until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the travel industry very hard. Prior to the impact of the pandemic, the program realized improvements in lead quantities, reduced lead-to-booking conversion time as well as increased average trip value. By digging into historic data about the attributes of those not just curious about travel, but actually booking trips, we were able to re-allocate media and targeting to focus on customer segments most likely to invest in a once-in-a-lifetime trip. By doing the research and better understanding the market, we were able to deploy tactics that maintained improvements in program performance that were sustained throughout our engagement. 

Impact for Client

In support of Expedition Trips, we executed our Brand Activism™ program to align internal and external views of the brand with travelers, cruise operators and the client team. A cross-section of customers and partners were surveyed to uncover what they valued most in the experience and how ExpeditionTrips delivered to meet those expectations. With a deeper understanding of the traveler's desires, the Expedition Trips staff were able to more efficiently qualify and guide individuals to trips that best met their needs. Additionally all creative assets were evaluated and new concepts were tested that addressed the needs and interest of high-value customers and micro-target them across geographies. The cruise operators benefited by having travelers whose expectations were met and/or exceeded by the experience which endeared them to the cruise line brand. During our time the cost per lead dropped nearly 80%, lead volume rose nearly 50%, lead-to-booking time dropped 20% and the average revenue per passenger increased almost 12%.  In fact prior to the pandemic the client shared with us that 2018-2019 were two of their best years ever. 

Case Study - Blue Cross Blue Shield

Advanced Machine Learning Deployed to Mine Insights

The Challenge

Two large, regional Blue Cross / Blue Shield organizations urgently needed to learn about new members who came in through the Affordable Care Act (i.e. ACA or "Obamacare") - what were their likely future care needs, their payment resources or shortcomings? 

Organization 1 - saw themselves already losing millions and called on an ACA provision that allowed them to sue the federal government for repayment of losses. 
 
Organization 2 - tried a different approach- remediation, ie., identifying high-risk customers and negotiating agreements to reduce likely losses. 

The big question was how to identify those customers? How could they manage the flood of data pouring in with new applications? - the answer..Machine Learning 

Our Solution

The answer was in developing an artificial intelligence model that incorporated machine learning. We developed a highly advanced solution that leveraged machine learning for each Blue organization.
In insight 1: We were able to identify those few among the masses that were new applicants and had a higher potential profitability. To do so we:

    • Determined who were and would be active consumers of provider services.
    • Who brought high net value to the the client, as defined by dollars paid in premiums minus the predicted cost of providing services. 

In insight 2: Among the millions of new applicants eligible for health care, the model identified those whose cases promised the most immediate positive results and put them at the head of the queue.

Impact for Client

The specific financial impact is subject to a non-disclosure agreement, but the client has been able to profitably remain in the market delivering health insurance options for nearly a decade. Additionally, provisions in the ACA allowed for firms to take legal action against the government if the provider sought to be released from the obligation to provide services. A long protracted lawsuit would have been extremely expensive and tie-up important company resources. Being able to deliver a better solution for the market without resorting to litigation saved millions in legal fees while adding a new revenue channel.

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