The Effies 2017 entry deadline is less than two weeks away, so we’re revisiting last year’s Gold winners in the lead up. In this post we look back at AFFINITY’s epic data-driven campaign for Narellan Pools, which was highly awarded. The campaign took out Gold in the ‘Use of Data’ category, as well as Silver in ‘Digitally Led Ideas’, ‘Travel, Leisure and Media’ and ‘Insight and Strategic Thinking’. And just last week, it was listed in WARC’s 2017 list of ‘The world’s best marketing campaigns’.
Narellan, one of Australia’s largest pool builders, faced serious challenges brought on by demographic shifts such as housing affordability, higher density living, and a big rise in competition. Working with AFFINITY, they were able to mine their first-party and third-party data to unearth a consumer-targeting nirvana: identification of the exact moment of tipping-point from consideration to a sale.
AFFINITY’s brief was to help halt declining sales and over time, return performance to its previous high. Prior to this, Narellan had deployed a traditional media strategy focused around mass awareness channels of TV and print with search rounding out the rest.
AFFINITY started their engagement in 2014 by implementing a digitally-led media strategy focused on performance media to really make Narellan’s investment count. Leads, not just awareness, are the lifeblood for a company such as Narellan and during this period, AFFINITY increased them to the highest level in seven years. And based on feedback from the franchisees, AFFINITY knew the leads they delivered were more qualified than those of previous years.
On the basis of these strong results, Narellan set AFFINITY an ambitious target in 2015 to further increase leads and conversions. AFFINITY knew that after a year of optimisation, the digital strategy from 2014 had reached it maximum usefulness, so AFFINITY needed to radically change things up to deliver on our Narellan’s new challenging objectives.
AFFINITY’s first step in developing a new strategy was to talk to pool buyers to gain a deeper understanding of purchase drivers, coupled with the aim of identifying a tipping point to sale from Narellan’s first party data. After conducting qualitative research with recent Narellan pool buyers, AFFINITY found that the aspiration of their first ‘dive in moment’ in their own pool is one of the most powerful motivators for buying.
So AFFINITY crafted creative around this insight, celebrating the moment of the first dive, on a shoestring budget. Meanwhile, their data team went to work to find insights that would best utilise Narellan Pools’ limited media spend. Their first task was to do a full CRM audit where they identified the average path to sale was between three to nine months.
They also found some interesting and unexplained changes in behaviour. On some days within the focus months there were pronounced increases in leads, as well as massive spikes in conversion of those leads with no clear causation for either. AFFINITY had to find out why.
They started by overlaying Narellan’s first-party data including leads, sales, conversion rates, marketing and promotional plans along with website analytics such as traffic, time on site and visit to enquiry conversion rates. They then further compared this with third-party data including consumer confidence, interest rates, CPI, building approvals, search volumes for pool quotes and related keywords and weather – all mapped over a five-year period. This amounted to over seven terabytes of data and resulted in data tables with over 100 million rows.
Putting data to work to reveal the key insight
Analysing the data across all 49 territories, AFFINITY found that temperature was the important determinant in successful lead generations and conversion – but the eureka moment was in the detail. Temperature being higher on a given day or across a month did not in itself affect leads and conversions. AFFINITY discovered that if the temperature was higher than the mean monthly rolling average for more than two consecutive days, they saw a spike in sales conversion rates as it acted as the tipping point for taking the next critical step in the customer’s path to purchase: picking up the phone or making a web enquiry for a quote.
AFFINITY found that leads generated under these conditions were up to 800% more likely to
buy a pool from Narellan, with a considerably shorter buying path. Through AFFINITY’s intensive analytical approach, they’d found their advertising nirvana and could deliver true contextual marketing.
A technology-enabled campaign
Knowing that qualified potential pool purchasers were more likely to act every time these specific temperature conditions occurred, AFFINITY delivered their ‘dive in moment’ creative message. If the specific temperature conditions were met in any of their 49 targeted regions, they activated the media spend for their creative campaign which included pre-roll video, banners, search and social.
To deliver this, AFFINITY built an innovative and intricate weather-polling app to seamlessly feed forecast and real-time temperature data from 49 different regions across Australia into our real-time buying platforms. They then hacked programmatic buying tools to activate spend, only when their specific conditions were met, meaning the campaign was only run when it would have the greatest effect. By spending only at precise times, AFFINITY delivered unprecedented results for Narellan, smashing all goals and helping Narellan deliver its highest sales result in over a decade – all while reducing the overall media spend by 30%.
Aside from the enormous data mining and sophisticated data analysis involving sifting through seven terabytes of data to unearth the temperature-based insight, this campaign was enabled by two key elements of technology. One was AFFINITY’s purpose-built weather polling app designed to monitor both temperature forecasts as well as real-time temperatures from all 49 regions.
The second technology layer involved the use of programmatic buying platforms enabling AFFINITY to permit media spend in real-time. Traditional media buying would not allow for the degree of precision and targeting that AFFINITY were able to achieve with programmatic media buying.
This was a highly sophisticated and complex exercise, however the results demonstrate that investment in data, analysis and digital assets can deliver on a huge scale.