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Business Solutions: Stay Local, Get Global

1 May, 2017 By: Doug McPherson Response

The tried-and-true rule of business has been to stay close to your customers. Companies offering business solutions are growing by leaps and bounds by tapping customers to help their marketing efforts — and it’s working!

The tried-and-true rule of business has been to stay close to your customers. Companies offering business solutions are growing by leaps and bounds by tapping customers to help their marketing efforts — and it’s working!

Sure, is a big hitter in the world of website creation. Its customers range from freelancers working in their pajamas to sizable companies bringing in millions. The company is now celebrating 100 million users — it has to be doing something right in marketing.

Wix isn’t afraid to drop serious cash on the “Super Bowl” of ad platforms — yes, the Super Bowl itself.

Earlier this year, Wix’s game-day ad featured celebrities Gal Gadot and Jason Statham, who thrash some bad guys — but in the process end up totaling a restaurant. The owner, chef Chez Felix, is left with smoldering ash. But it’s Wix to the rescue. A new website keeps his life and dream alive, as the final shot shows him perfecting his new site — in his new food truck.

“Felix was the star of the campaign — a campaign that kept Wix front and center while celebrating how our users thrive in a disruptive world,” says Vivian Hernandez, Wix’s San Francisco-based marketing communications manager.

Of course Wix parlayed its Super Bowl spend by launching a series of ads that follow Felix in his new life. Gadot and Statham continue to add mayhem to his work life. Wix serves the ads on Facebook Live and YouTube Live “to talk and interact directly with our audience,” Hernandez says. “We had a lot of social engagement, activations, and contests along with the ad.”

Now, Hernandez says Wix has been charging ahead in 2017 to “engage with consumers in new ways that will help raise both the brand presence while also celebrating our users.”

Wix is serious about connecting with its users in creative and practical ways (see sidebar below). “Wix continuously looks to be creative and try different things. Our teams interact with our customers every day, and social channels offer us a great platform to communicate with our global audience,” Hernandez says. “Having seen the successes of our 2016 campaigns, including a Condé Nast photography partnership and another where Shaquille O’Neal served as a pitchman for a small business owner on Wix, we continue to put our users front and center, while testing outreach on various platforms.”

This year, Wix also launched its “Capture Your Dream Photo” campaign where one lucky winner can shoot his or her dream photo. “It’s a global campaign that continues our 2016 trend of celebrating our users — gathering stunning websites and users that we can use for future programs,” Hernandez says.

And to celebrate Wix reaching its 100 millionth user, it launched the “Stunning Awards,” which allows Wix users to submit their website. Winners get trips to New York, the Arctic Circle, and the Maldives.

“This is a multichannel approach that lets us better understand our users but at the same time create a stronger network of their sites,” Hernandez says. “We also used this opportunity to showcase our users’ talents, once again.”

Hernandez says Wix’s initial considerations for marketing strategy to reach entrepreneurs and small business owners are all about researching those targets. “Research allows us to understand our market and know what makes them tick,” she says. “As we get into their mindset of what their habits and needs are, we’re able to better tailor or program for them and create meaningful content.”

Wix continues to use broadcast and online marketing, but Hernandez says the company will keep “pushing boundaries and exploring new markets and channels to resonate with consumers.”

In 2016, Wix was the first to test YouTube real-time ads during the Super Bowl and this year it was the first to use Facebook Live and YouTube Live to unveil its Super Bowl campaign. “As we continue to push the envelope in our marketing strategies in 2017, we will see more experimentation and opportunities,” she says.

Letting Customers Show Off

Another company that’s experimenting with using its customers in marketing is BigCommerce, which sells software that helps businesses sell products online, with offices in Austin, Texas, San Francisco, and Sydney.

Alexandra Shapiro, chief marketing officer at BigCommerce, says the company’s most successful marketing effort occurred last year when it launched new design tools that let customers create more modern, streamlined storefronts. Shortly after that, the company introduced design awards to recognize the industry’s best online storefronts.

“We asked BigCommerce merchants to share their latest e-commerce site designs, and the results far exceeded our expectations,” Shapiro said.

More than 500 BigCommerce merchants — from small startups to flourishing enterprise businesses — submitted their sites, highlighting the ways they leveraged imagery, color, copy, and layout to attract and convert customers.

“We recognized that design is often only one component of a compelling e-commerce site, so we followed the success of the design awards with our innovation awards, which recognized noteworthy technical achievement and e-commerce innovation,” she said. “Through this, we received an inside look at out-of-the-box ways our merchants have used our tools to improve their site functionality and provide their customers a unique and delightful online shopping experience.”

Beyond the ability to connect with its 50,000-plus customers in a new way, both the design awards and innovation awards gave BigCommerce an opportunity to better understand how its customers were actually using the platform.

“That, in turn, gave us guidance internally on which tools would benefit from expanded functionality, where there are areas of improvement, and how it could better educate the rest of our customer base about under-used tools and opportunities,” Shapiro said. “Not to mention, we awarded the winners with a full-page print ad in Inc. Magazine, highlighting their successes on BigCommerce while also driving new brand awareness for both them and us.”

Getting Social

Beyond that effort, Shapiro says during the company’s seven-year history, it has tested numerous media tactics and found digital, social media, and print to be most effective.

“Digital is our top-performing and largest marketing channel by volume and investment,” Shapiro said. “Given our business, this is expected and it lets us target and market to desired segments around the world.”

Specifically, BigCommerce taps search engine marketing on Google, Yahoo, and Bing and it buys display via Google AdWords but also uses targeted buys with Google Shopping Network, eBay, and Amazon, as well as relevant trade publications, based on their unique audiences.

Shapiro says paid social media — one of the company’s newer marketing channels — on Facebook and other networks have proven “quite effective for retargeting and prospecting. We also leverage these channels for growing brand awareness.”

With print, BigCommerce advertises in several trade and business publications like Internet Retailer, Inc., and Practical Ecommerce, which are popular with its target demographic.

“Our print strategy is largely focused on brand awareness and educating potential customers on differentiated platform features,” Shapiro says. “We evaluated our marketing mix by a simple metric: lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition costs (CAC) to evaluate whether a brand’s lifetime value warrants the cost it requires to acquire them as a customer. If one particular tactic yields a low LTV:CAC ratio, then we replace it with something that’s more effective.”

And speaking of print, SmartPrint, a company that helps businesses manage their printing, is ironically finding success on social media. James Dunn, demand generation manager at SmartPrint, says it’s tapping LinkedIn using direct sponsored content — paid advertising — to target different buyer personas in various industries to increase website traffic. “This is helping us increase brand awareness and generate leads,” Dunn says.

SmartPrint also sends customized LinkedIn in-mails to prospects requesting a chat or to arrange a meeting. “This has helped because it’s often an introduction to SmartPrint, and when followed-up by a phone call, often makes the call warmer,” Dunn says.

On Twitter, SmartPrint is sharing blog posts with followers along with relevant hashtags. “This has helped our posts get found, and it helps with search,” Dunn says. “We’re also identifying and following relevant bloggers and industry influencers by monitoring competitor followers — they may follow us and be exposed to a post of interest.”

Beyond social, Shapiro says BigCommerce is also investing heavily in expanding omnichannel efforts. “During the past year, we’ve developed native integrations with Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and most recently Instagram, which allows a BigCommerce merchant to sync its inventory across channels seamlessly.”

Part of BigCommerce’s digital advertising strategy involves targeting a specific channel integration message to relevant audiences within that channel. For example, it often advertises content that shows people how to set up a Facebook Shop directly on Facebook, or push its “Grow on Amazon” book directly on Amazon Seller Central.

“This ability for merchants to sell on the platforms where we advertise further proves the value those channels have in reaching — and converting — a specific target market,” Shapiro says. ■



About the Author: Doug McPherson

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