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Warner Shares Digital Marketing Strategies

24 Sep, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

The direct-to-consumer team at Warner Bros. mulls over a lot of questions on a day-to-day basis when it comes to consumers and consumer data, but they all lead to the most important question every studio has: “What leads to revenue?”

Michele Edelman, VP of direct to consumer marketing for Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, shared the studio’s progress in customer relationship management over the years, and some of the studio’s tactics using consumer data to bring in revenue.

“In the direct-to-consumer world, it’s you and them, and the only thing standing between is you,” Edelman said during a Sept. 24 presentation with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. “What do you do to get your message across? What tools do you have in your back pocket? It’s finding out what current customers want and applying that to future customers.”

Direct-to-consumer for Warner Bros. started in 2009 with the intention of having consumers connect with the studio in a personal way, Edelman said. That endeavor has since resulted in a 14 million consumers worldwide in the studio’s database, a consumer loyalty program and the launch of several online endeavors: WBShop.com; Warner Archive, the studio’s manufacturing on demand business; Warner Archive Instant; and WBUltra.com, the studio’s Flixster- and UltraViolet-connected digital entertainment store.

In 2009, the studio had data on less than a million consumers.

“We’re very conservative with the data [we collect]. [It’s] data we’re using to figure out what people are doing with our content,” Edelman said.

The studio pulls in information from all corners, from Facebook to Fandango to UltraViolet, analyzes and segments it, and “then [we] communicate with the customers, and hopefully that results in monetization,” she said. The data results can be seen in everything Warner puts out, from the amount of discounting the studio does for promotions, to the design of advertisements.

“Where are they looking at things the most? Where are we generating the most revenue from?” Edelman said.

Learning who your customers are and why they buy what they buy can result in more consumers and more revenue, if the data is used properly, Edelman said. And the direct-to-consumer team at Warner doesn’t take it easy on itself in terms of benchmarks: for consumer emails, it has a 25% open rate, with 13% clicking on the information inside. Less than 0.25% of consumers unsubscribe from the studio’s emails, Edelman said.

The studio learns from other companies on how to utilize consumer data, with Edelman singling out Netflix and Amazon for their work in using consumer data to retain customers and bring in new ones.

“[Netflix has] these great applications out there, where consumers are engaging with the content, and all the data is churning inside and they send it back out through these applications,” she said, pointing out that shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” came out of Netflix because of the customer data they’re able to collect.

As for Amazon, “they’re the leaders in mining their data,” Edelman said.

“The bottom line is because they started online and they started with this philosophy, they kept going, got stronger and built off that: Amazon Prime, Amazon Local, Amazon Fresh,” she said.

The reason companies like Netflix and Amazon (and outside of entertainment, Nike) are so successful, Edelman said, is because they’re always reminding the world they exist.

“Amazon has trucks out there toda. Netflix is buying billboards, and they never did that in the past. Nike’s got their stores,” she said.

Colleen Quinn, director of media and entertainment for database software company Teradata, said the data Warner collects allows the studio to track consumer usage across all channels and all devices.

“What they’ve done is … create a comprehensive view of their customers,” she said.

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