An in-depth look at Nude by Nature’s data and personalisation journey

Cosmetic company's head of digital explains how adopting a lifecycle marketing approach has triggered a significant investment into marketing and customer technology platforms and data management

Adopting a lifecycle marketing approach has seen Australian make-up manufacturer, Nude by Nature, overhaul its data and customer management platforms and build its own marketing technology stack.

Speaking at this year’s Online Retailer Expo in Sydney, head of digital, Gavin Merriman, said a private equity buyout of the business two years ago triggered an accelerated and global growth plan and renewed emphasis on its customer service proposition. The eight-year-old company uses natural Australian ingredients in its range of beauty products.

To come to grips with critical customer moments along the journey, the Nude by Nature team is focusing on 12 identified experiences, building campaigns around each that extend across all channels. These include newsletter sign on, making purchase, service and support, product learning and education, product feedback, cross sell, replenish and customer satisfaction.

“The idea is that we want our customers to have seamless buying journey across channels,” Merriman said. “Not everyone can adopt this properly, but we have a relatively small set of products, we know which ones go with other, how long they last and it’s relatively easy to map out the lifecycle programs we want to do.

“If we can do a half-decent job across most of those, it should in theory lead us to customer advocacy.”

The first step was building out a marketing cloud. Merriman said the company couldn’t afford an enterprise-grade marketing cloud solution, so instead has used a range of standalone technology offerings.

One of the main objectives was to tackle cross-channel personalisation and avoid siloed activities. “When we send a message out, it’s across all channels rather than just doing email or website personalisation. That’s so we can deliver the same, consistent message regardless of channel,” Merriman explained.

An example is Nude by Nature’s replenishment campaign. A foundation product typically lasts 10 weeks, so nine weeks after purchase customers are sent a ‘time to restock’ message including information on the products they purchased last time.

“But as only 40 per cent of people open emails at best, and there are those that haven’t signed up, we have pushed that message out through retargeted display so people see it on Facebook and social,” Merriman said. “Then we close the loop by putting it onto the website, so that when they go the site they see the same creative, message and incentive.”

Nude by Nature has recently undergone a big brand repositioning, and Merriman noted awareness of the brand is 67 per cent in its target demographic. Lifting awareness is a priority, and video is seen as key to that. The brand is pushing video content out through social channels to build awareness and reach consumers in a more targeted way, then following it up with sequential targeting.

“Once consumers have seen the video, they’ll get one of our first-order incentives, using this marketing cloud we’ve built, and we try and drive them to the website. Once they make a purchase, that acquisition part finishes and they move into the lifecycle stuff,” Merriman said. “We’re also doing influencer marketing, and we ask influencers to cookie the page so anyone that engages with the content through different blogs, can be added into our prospects pool.”

The next step for Merriman is to handle real-time advertising bidding in-house in order to better personalise the content being served up to prospects. The brand is planning to use Sizmek’s DSP (demand-side platform) technology, paired with logic in its customer data platform, to deliver more personalised, dynamic display advertising.

“We also wanted to increase insights, and part of that quest to understand our campaigns and customers better was to prove the value of this increased investment in video and sequential targeting,” he continued.

“The way we are approaching this is use Google Analytics, and then inserting a user id. Both are anonymous, but you can pair that with your data platform to turn that unknown into known behaviour.”

In addition, Merriman will use visitor stitching to “essentially create a digital wallet of individuals and any known data, plus any device data”.

“We know for example, if they’re coming off their laptop and see their email, but we won’t know anonymous behaviour on their mobile phone,” he said. “So when they do login via mobile, it will stitch that unknown to known data, which is powerful. It lets us create a combined digital profile.

“That will allow us to see how customers access our content and hopefully over time, through channels.”

Unlocking customer data

None of this technology works without data, however, and a major part of Merriman’s work has been unlocking Nude by Nature’s customer data sets. To do this, he’s set up a data cloud, which acts as a data repository and reporting tool for all company data. This is helping provide insight into which customers are buying what products and what are commonly grouped products, average spend for second-time customers, and performance across different parts of the conversion funnel, he explained.

Overall, Nude by Nature’s marketing and digital technology stack includes an ecommerce platform (WooCommerce); Tealium’s iQ tag management technology, which acts as a data layer and passes data into centralised customer data platform (Tealium’s AudienceStream); and a core data platform for access and reporting (Domo). The data management components are then used to fire out campaigns to the brand’s email marketing system (MailChimp), retargeting platform (Mediamath), and website (via Optimizely).

Merriman identified five steps taken to build the company’s data and personalisation capabilities. The first is setting up data layer and tag management.

“We wanted to have better data integrity from our ecommerce platform, so we set up a direct API for this, but typically you can just capture data when it happens on the website,” he commented.

Second was building customer segments, such as visitors that seem discount driven, prospects that have not converted, or high-value customers, he said.

Merriman’s third step is building connectors to email. “Mailchimp does broadcast emails but it doesn’t allow us to do the personalisation well, so we’re using Mandrill [MailChimp API] for more dynamic product information so we can show customers previous product purchases,” he said.

The fourth step is retargeting, while the fifth was closing the loop with the website using Optimizely. Having this set-up allows Nude by Nature to serve dynamic banners, for instance.

Merriman also outlined four steps to establishing Nude by Nature’s data cloud. The first was connecting different data sources, and to do this, the team tapped into several pre-configured connectors including those to Facebook and its Zendesk customer feedback software, along with tailored connectors to internal systems. This ensures sales, customer feedback and digital data is all available from one place.

Secondly, Merriman said it needed to prepare the data, a process that included renaming and reformatting data sets to ensure they are usable. The third step was exploring and diving into the data to look for insights and trends.

The fourth step is to visualise, and Nude by Nature has rolled out dashboards to showcase information to staff.

“We still have a really long way to go with this, and one of things we want to do is optimise further,” Merriman said, adding automating steps and bringing in more customer feedback data are on his to-do list.

Through all of this, he advised marketers to take ownership of data efforts, rather than rely on external partners.

“Try and take ownership and understand it,” Merriman said. “And walk before you run – it’s easy to get carried away with things like predictive analytics… most of the benefits you can get is through the simple stuff such as cross-channel.”

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