PRODUCT PROFILE

Responsys Reopens the Customer Conversation

Responsys has beefed up its email marketing, social media, mobile and channel marketing Interact suite with a retargeting application for display ads.

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Responsys Interact for Display lets companies target consumers with personalized online ads. One of the early adopters is MetLife, for its auto and home insurance.

Generally speaking, ad retargeting refers to the ad strategy of showing ads to consumers who may have visited a website, lingered over a product or two, and then decided to leave the page without buying anything.

It may be that the consumer is still thinking about making a purchase (as the marketer hopes), or the shopper may have decided against the product in question (which critics of the practice argue is usually the case).

A retargeting application allows the company to display ads for that product or that retailer on other sites the consumer visits.

Relationship Building, Not Retargeting

Responsys is taking a more nuanced approach to this strategy, Scott Jones, director of product marketing, told CRM Buyer.

“It is more about building stronger relationships with existing customers than retargeting,” he said.

A prospective MetLife customer, for example, could fill out an online insurance policy application and, for whatever reason, decide to abandon the process halfway through.

“That act represents an intent that MetLife can use as an opportunity to communicate with the person,” said Jones.

It can reach out via email, for example, reminding the prospect that the policy application is halfway done. It can also offer inbound call center options, inviting the person to finish the job over the phone.

Now, it can also serve ads on sites that the person visits, although these are more likely to be brand-building than something so personal as “Your auto insurance application is waiting to be finished,” Jones said.

Ultimately, the company is interested in maintaining a conversation with a particular person via the display ad — not just anyone who shares the same attributes as that person, he observed. “These companies want to target because someone has already expressed an interest.”

CRM Integration

To do so, it’s necessary to have some level of integration into a CRM system such as Responsys’ email marketing platform or another application, Jones said.

Responsys holds seats on all the major ad exchanges, including DoubleClick, Yahoo and Rubicon, which means an ad could be displayed on most any site a customer might visit.

Next up: The company hopes to incorporate mobile and online video into the offering, said Jones. “We are actively exploring both channels right now.”

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