Sparking Ideas

The Art Institute of Chicago and TLC Take Home Silver!

The Lukens Company accepted a silver MAXI Award on behalf of the Art Institute of Chicago’s 2012 multi-channel membership campaign. The Direct Marketing association of Washington’s awards program honors outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. Congratulations to the account team, digital staff members, and AIC for this exciting achievement!

Silver Award – The Art Institute of Chicago Lichtenstein Campaign

In May 2012, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective opened at AIC. Having seen moderate success with a fully integrated multi-channel campaign for a non-blockbuster exhibit in 2011, AIC knew that a similar campaign surrounding this highly anticipated exhibit would have remarkable results.

The campaign consisted of three acquisition/lapsed mailings (January, March and April) and a digital advertising campaign that included cookie matching, which allowed us to target our ads to the same individuals receiving our direct mail package. The mailings were treated as a series rather than stand-alone campaigns with distinct messaging, since mail file analysis showed that historically there has been between 40-60% overlap in names from campaign to campaign. This strategy allowed us to tell a cohesive story not only across channels, but also throughout the direct mail series.

Testing has shown that digital advertising is best done no earlier than one month before an exhibit opens, so digital advertising launched in May. During the final two weeks of the digital campaign, we tested a mobile campaign that featured mobile-friendly short form and long form landing pages. This was done in order to capitalize on the final rush of visitors – record attendance numbers were reached during the final weekend of the exhibition. The mobile campaign was a search advertising-only campaign that targeted the same keywords and geo-targets used in the primary non-mobile digital advertising campaign.

Creative and messaging were consistent across channels – mail, digital advertising, mobile and landing pages. To maximize conversion rates, unique landing pages were created that first collected the users name and email and then directed the prospect to a longer purchase form where the conversion was completed. This allowed AIC to capture 962 email addresses, which would later be used for email follow-up and membership conversion.

The use of cookie matching to serve digital advertisements to a select group of individuals who also receive the direct mail piece makes this campaign truly innovative. Of the 520,000 households in the AIC acquisition file, 325,098 were matched to a cookie. Half were split out for a control group and the other half were served digital ads. Cookie matching alone provided a 50% lift in total purchases from the households who were served targeted ads!

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