From eCPC to iBeacons

source Victor Görgey is one of the heads of our digital unit. The other day we sat down in his office on the remote fourth floor of our Munich HQ and talked a little about his unit, the future of relationships between brands and consumers, and found out what eCPC stands for.

Hi Victor! Can you please introduce yourself?

Victor Goergey, our Account Director Digital
Victor Görgey, our Account Director Digital

My name is Victor, I am 33, and I have been working for Avantgarde for eleven years. Originally, I wasn’t involved in anything digital. I wanted to become a singer. That’s why I was a bass-baritone in Florida. Through a roundabout route I started working at Avantgarde. Since I have always been what’s called an “early adopter”, I was fascinated by the digital world. True fact: I was one of those camping outside the Apple store, and still own the official third iPad sold in Germany!

Back in the days, our promoters gave out postcards to generate consumer contacts. What’s wrong with that? And how did you improve this process? What benefits do our clients have?

Postcards take too much time. You’ll end up with a lag of up to four weeks between the consumer’s signature and the actual communication between consumer and brand. By using our eCPC (electronic consumer participation card) the consumer’s details get immediately transferred to our client, and the consumers can benefit from this. For our clients it is a great advantage to be able to measure the quality of a promotion activity in real-time. We can also run filters over the contacts to make sure that only relevant profiles enter a database.

eCPC is only a small part of “Interactive Relationship Management” (IRM), one of your fields of expertise. What’s the difference between IRM and customer relationship management (CRM)?

IRM is all about the “I” – as in interactivity. Today’s consumers expect our clients to open up a dialogue instantaneously. IRM does that. We use established channels – text messaging, email, and apps – to offer fast interactions between brands and consumers. Another important factor is the quality of the contacts generated: Only when you understand your consumers can you create relevant and effective interactions.

CRM on the other hand still works a lot like a sprinkler – one message for everyone, no real differentiation. Your communication won’t have a lasting effect, since it is just not relevant to your individual consumers.

source In a nutshell, experiential marketing tries to create a positive brand experience across the entire customer journey. It makes consumers part of the brand communication and blurs the boundaries between different channels. How does IRM fit this description? Can you maybe give us an example?

For sure! When our client Mercedes-Benz introduced the new A-Class cars a roadshow was required to let consumers experience the new car. Of course only a small share of the consumer base would be able to test drive the car. With individual films of each test drive taken we created an experience that consumers were able to share. We had German actor Matthias Schweighöfer play the part of the passenger. The entire customer journey worked online as well as offline. Consumers were attracted either online through banners, or offline through promotions or as a walk-in at the roadshow stops. Every touch point was digital: from registration to reminders, the check-in at the event, the filming during the drive, and a survey after the event. Only hours after the event the consumers received their individual film. They were then able to share it through social media and let their friends take part in the experience. Needless to say that all consumer data went straight into our client’s CRM database.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Campaign (video in German)

source url eVoucher, eCPC, Prometheus: Avantgarde’s digital unit has already created many proprietary tools. Which one stands out in your opinion? And can you think of an industry that could benefit from such a tool?

In my opinion, everything starts with generating contacts and the experience during a promotion activity or an event. The tablet revolution has given us a technology to create a lasting brand experience – be it a little game or offering relevant information. Don’t confuse the eCPC system with a postcard: A postcard doesn’t offer any kind of distraction. All it can do is get consumers’ contact details. The eCPC always connects engagement with generating contacts: It opens up a dialog with the consumer. It also recognizes a returning consumer: When the system detects a loyal customer you can react in an entirely different way.

This is an iBeacon. Photo: avlxyz/Flickr CC

You could implement this technology in every industry that wants to open up a dialogue with their customers – FMCG for example. By using an eVoucher a registered customer could collect a product sample from a retailer. The latter would generate extra business, meaning a ‘win-win-win-situation’ for client, consumer and retail.

Can you already talk about future innovations from the digital team?

We always spend some time working on new ideas. iBeacons – low-powered, low-cost transmitters – will speed up the dialogue between customers and consumers. This creates exciting opportunities: I enter a store and immediately receive all relevant information. All of this happens through the mobile phone, in my opinion currently the most personal item.