2020 has been a year of uncertainty. As consumer behavior continues to change, marketers must find new ways to generate incremental sales at scale. Despite all of the uncertainty, one marketing decision should be easy: invest in effective new mover marketing.
The Case For Investing in New Mover Marketing
On August 21, The Wall Street Journal reported that sales of previously owned homes in July 2020 jumped 24.7% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million. That was the strongest monthly gain ever recorded, going back to 1968. It was also the highest sales pace since December 2006.
More exciting for marketers is who was buying. First-time buyers accounted for 34% of sales in July, according to the National Association of Realtors, a category that includes many millennial buyers.
This should thrill any consumer marketer targeting millennial shoppers, especially those who invest significantly in new mover marketing programs.
Moving is an exciting, albeit expensive, life stage for individuals and families. The average consumer will spend more than $9,000 over a 12-month period before, during and after their move. And, they spend money across industries. Movers will consider purchasing insurance, financial services, cars, furniture, lawn equipment, home supplies, kitchen appliances, and electronics, as well as select their preferred grocery store, bank, restaurant, gas station and hair salon.
Movers represent a lucrative segment to target because they spend so much across so many categories for so long. These facts are also why marketers need to invest smartly in their new mover marketing programs. While movers do spend a lot, they also are inundated with marketing. Ensuring that your marketing is relevant, timely and compelling is critical to success.
Best Practices For Differentiated New Mover Marketing
In order to ensure that marketing dollars are both efficient (as measured by CPA or ROI) and effective (as measured by aggregate incremental sales), marketers should execute a comprehensive new mover marketing strategy. Bridgetree recommends a customer-centric approach built on the following best practices:
This may seem simple, but it is fundamental and often under-valued. Great, not cheap, data is key. There are many sources of mover data, for example public deeds, National Change of Address (NCOA) or list rentals. But no single source identifies each mover, and many sources only flag movers weeks or months after the mover actually moved. Targeting the wrong households is wasteful and not targeting enough of the right households leaves money on the table.
➕ Bridgetree Recommendation: multi-source data to ensure the freshest and most complete data set, such as Bridgetree’s New Mover file. If you have a baseline of response data, model the data set to target only the individuals and households that will maximize incrementality.
Timing is critical. It will be wasteful to identify the right prospect, only to serve them an ad two months after their likely buying window. Timing should be considered across the pre-move, move, and post-move phases. For example, movers will over-index for utilities, insurance, and appliances before their move, whereas movers will purchase more bathroom supplies, groceries and furniture after their move.
➕ Bridgetree Recommendation: overlay mover data to historical consumer purchase behavior to see which categories over/under index before, during, and after the move dates. Determine an optimal engagement strategy across time for each mover.
Since timing is critical, the channel strategy should be orchestrated to enable speed, efficiency and effectiveness. Direct mail will drive higher response rates, but is costly and can take days, if not weeks, to reach in-home. Digital channels, such as display and social, can be activated quickly, but digital-only strategies may not produce impressive aggregate incremental sales due to low response or match rates.
➕ Bridgetree Recommendation: consider the consumer. How they typically respond to various channels, how many shopping options they have, and the value of their first and subsequent trips. This math should inform the channel strategy. Technology should automate the deployment. Actual performance should validate the strategy. Learnings should guide future decisions.
Moving can be a stressful and overwhelming event. Consumers will place a premium on their time and realized value. Consumers will quickly ignore irrelevant or uninspired marketing. Any call-to-action should be frictionless and any promotional offer should be meaningful. Remember that consumers will have many shopping options, a richer offer will payoff.
➕ Bridgetree Recommendation: test various offers, but begin with the best ones. For example, if you are a retailer and typically offer 10% off a single item, test 10% off an entire order. Map movers relative to your competition and spend more to acquire movers who are equidistant or closer to your competitors.
Perfecting the aforementioned best practices will help optimize moment-based marketing. But for most companies, the consumer’s propensity to buy will extend far before and after the moment they open their mailbox, click on an ad, or even shop in-store. Consider an example from a furniture retailer: often mattresses and single-item purchases occur within two weeks of the move; a few weeks later, many of these movers complete the bedroom or living room sets.
➕ Bridgetree Recommendation: implement multi-step, rules-based or AI/ML powered campaign journeys based on the targeted mover’s response and purchase behavior. Integrate new mover marketing into enterprise CRM and seasonal marketing plans and leverage available vendor funds to offset added spend.
Assessing Your Current New Mover Marketing Program and Capabilities
Whether new mover marketing is a new consideration or a core marketing program for your organization, implementing the aforementioned best practices is an excellent starting point. Understanding how your program should evolve is the next step. An assessment can help determine where to go and how to get there.
Bridgetree classifies four types of new mover marketing programs as illustrated in the competency curve below:
Classified as new mover marketing programs that purchase a third-party list or data append to their customer database and target movers across two or fewer channels, such as direct mail or email. Beginners may incorporate light targeting rules, such as distance to store or persona-based modeling. They are typically easy to execute and relatively inexpensive. They are also sub-optimal, most often because the targeting data is incomplete or stale.
➕ Self-Assessment Questions:
- Have we evaluated the efficacy of our data source(s)?
- How fresh and complete is our data?
- Which channels do we utilize for mover marketing and which ones should we incorporate?
Classified as new mover marketing programs that implement multi-sourced data processes, activate data science to model targeting, and incorporate multi-step customer journeys. Strivers deliver lift in the form of increased response and increase wallet share in the short-term, compared to controls and competitors. Making the leap from a Beginner to a Striver requires spend in technology, resources, and media, but the ROI will be worth it.
➕ Self-Assessment Questions:
- What does the mover customer journey look like after we deploy our first marketing treatment?
- What are the upsell and cross-sell opportunities for movers, based on interest or purchase history?
- How much of the marketing decisioning is automated and how much is in real-time?
Classified as new mover marketing programs that integrate across core CRM and seasonal marketing programs, that create trusted influencer networks, and leverage strategic vendor partnerships. It requires elevated planning to properly integrate new mover marketing to core marketing programs.
Consider a scenario when a mover shops at a home improvement store for the first-time during February. The retailer may have automated trigger programs in place such as new customer, loyalty introduction, and big spender programs that the mover would qualify for. But the mover may need more moving-relevant communication, such as “stock your tool shed” or “prepare for lawn season”.
Layering strategic programs with core programs requires art, science, and technology. Leaders marketing at a 6.0 level (see Bridgetree New Mover Marketing Competency Curve above) identify differentiated ways to engage movers by engaging through trusted influencers, such as real-estate agents (note: Bridgetree considers trusted influencers different from social media influencers or spokespersons).
Finally, vendor partners can contribute budget and insights to help further fund innovation and media targeting this valuable customer segment. Remember to establish strategic, not transactional, partnerships.
➕ Self-Assessment Questions:
- How do our mover marketing programs integrate with core or seasonal marketing programs?
- How long should we consider the mover a distinct customer segment?
- Are we utilizing or getting enough from our vendor partners?
- How can we market through a trusted, personal advisor like a real estate agent?
Classified as truly best-in-class new mover marketing programs. To become a Master, marketers must work cross-functionally to commit to the entire enterprise to service the mover. By focusing on the entire customer experience, the mover will enjoy valuable marketing, dedicated service in-store, and unique services and experiences. For example, some Masters may offer to recycle moving boxes for the mover in exchange for a coupon (not to mention the incremental trip to return the boxes). The objective for all aspirational Masters is to become the destination for movers in your company’s category.
➕ Self-Assessment Questions:
- Is our mover program best-in-class amongst our peers?
- What are we not doing today that movers want or need?
- Are we testing at least one major new concept each quarter?
Need Help Getting Started or Becoming a Master? Bridgetree Can Help
Bridgetree is a leader in the new mover marketing space, delivering profitable sales by engaging movers for over 25 years. Our proprietary new mover marketing platform utilizes a trade secret process to reach the right person at the right time across the right channel, and extends the marketing beyond a single point in time. Our platform is powered by LIFT and can be implemented in a matter of days.
Whether you are just getting started and want to test quickly, need a fresh assessment of your current program, or seeking a strategic partner to help your organization become Masters of new mover marketing, Bridgetree can help.
Contact us today by emailing LIFT@Bridgetree.com to explore how we can help deliver the outcomes that matter most to you!
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