Service Contract Marketing – Personalizing with PURLs

Posted by Nathan Baldwin on October 30th, 2015

I recently wrote about combining PURLs and QRs as a way to reduce sales friction. In this latest article, I’ll focus specifically on how PURLs (Personal Uniform Resource Locator) are helping to personalize missed point-of-sale Service Contract direct marketing.

Service Contract marketing is one of the more operationally complex areas of the customer life cycle communication strategy. Service Contracts are an insurance-like product, thus they come with some inherent controls for risk, a set of complex rules for solicitation, and various legal requirements and conditions.

As marketers, our aim is to simplify a potentially complex buying process for the customer and to instill a level of trust between the manufacturer and the customer. Many in this sector focus heavily on the complex details (think marketing materials where 90% of the real estate is taken up by legal language) and forget about the presentation and perception of the product to the end consumer.  In this haze of complexity, we simply forget that the end customer probably does not work for an insurance company, probably did not pass the bar exam, and frankly has been conditioned by years of marketing to be suspicious of any corporate solicitations.

One funny anecdote perfectly illustrates this problem. We recently re-engineered a program that had become more legalistic than consumer-oriented. Simply increasing the font size increased response, and even more so among older consumers who may have had difficulty even reading the content.

Another trend that many marketers in this area have missed (despite the fact that we’re now 20 years into it), is an increasing number of consumers of all ages are conditioned to buy via digital channels, such as web sites. While complex language, poor presentation, and having to follow multiple steps to complete a purchase will reduce sales through traditional channels, they are fatal on Web or mobile.  Customers will simply click away from your site if you make it hard for them.

This is why the use of PURLs has become a game changer for selling missed point-of -sale service contracts. Used correctly, PURLs allows the marketer to associate details of a specific offer to a specific product.  If a customer owns a touring motorcycle, the PURL allows the marketer to speak directly to the customer about their specific motorcycle and why the service contract is a good investment.  If the customer is looking to protect their washing machine, the PURL allows us to talk directly about issues other customers have experienced with that washer and how the service contract will cover such items.

PURLs break the model of having one generic message for all customers and creates an opportunity to give the customer more personalized and more useful experiences. Using our knowledge of the customer and the product, PURLs allow us to program personal pages to add personal messages, modify images, look and feel, offers, discounts and point out unique terms and conditions for the customer’s product.

All of these new abilities are increasing response and conversion on their own, but most importantly, it also ties every click, visit, and important metric to that customer and product. As an example, we quickly learn if the customer is more risk-adverse or cost-conscious.  This information is fed back into the marketing system for future solicitation marketing or the site will begin to offer different communication on subsequent visits.

The use of PURLs and modern marketing strategies is just one of the ways that After is working in the Service Contract space. Leave a comment or let me know about other ways you are using modern technologies to change marketing.  If you would like to talk about your programs and ways to increase revenue and profit, our team is always available for a conversation.