How The Motley Fool found more high-value customers at a lower cost

June 24, 2019

If The Motley Fool’s goal is to make the world smarter, happier, and richer, to do that, they need to scale — not just by creating more content or offering more newsletters, but also by personalizing for their readers based on their individual context. Here’s how they pulled it off.

If you’re in the financial space, you probably already know the name The Motley Fool.

The brand is on a mission to make the world smarter, happier, and richer, and over the years, they’ve been doing just that — and gaining a lot of reader trust and brand recognition along the way.

But as with any successful company, sticking with the same old strategies year after year isn’t a recipe for continuing success. Which is why as customers began demanding more and more personalization and companies like Amazon started seeing huge returns on their investment in customer data, The Motley Fool took note and started down their own path to data-driven personalization success.

We wrote about the brand before, telling you how they reduced cost per acquisition by 20%. And recently, we were thrilled to co-present a webinar with their Channel Marketing Manager, Sylvia Sierra.

She shared a few more insights about how The Motley Fool is finding high-value customers at low cost. Today, we’d like to pass some of those insights along to you. We recommend watching the whole webinar (you’ll find it here), but here are some of the highlights:

The problem of scaling relevance

If The Motley Fool’s goal is to make the world smarter, happier, and richer, to do that, they need to scale — not just by creating more content or offering more newsletters, but also by personalizing for their readers at scale.

The core question they came to Lytics asking was this: As customers and prospects multiply, how do we make sure we’re serving them all in the right channel at the right time?

The answer started with identifying what was holding them back from doing that. According to Sylvia, the three core challenges were siloed data (which created scarcity and inefficiency), a disconnected digital journey, and inefficient access to the insights they needed across the business.

As Sylvia explains in the webinar: “[The storage of client data] had scarcity and inefficiency built into it. We had a number of different [data silos] that were accessible not by the marketers but by the business information unit…Our technical staff was tasked with accessing the data. That was not an efficient way to do things. The data was not democratized…

“I think we [marketers] are all going through these same issues. Our technical staff are in demand all the time and trying to wait for business intelligence teams to pull out insights on a campaign-by-campaign basis makes scaling very difficult.”

And so The Motley Fool knew they needed insights and answers from their data that would allow them to scale relevancy. They needed to connect digital journeys to individual clients to serve them better. They needed to better understand the interactions of their highest value clients and identify more prospects like them. They needed to uncover real user intentions.

Before Lytics, that data wasn’t easy to come by. But once they had Lytics set up, things started to change.

Centralizing data to understand customers

The process started, as most data processes do, by centralizing customer data and making it directly accessible to the marketing team. No more asking business intelligence to uncover insights and deliver reports. No more waiting days or weeks for results.

Now, the data was at their fingertips and right away they could start understanding who their highest value clients were and what those clients had in common.

Converting prospects to high lifetime-value memberships

According to Sylvia, three huge, immediate benefits came out of this process. The first? The brand was able to decrease the cost of acquisition by 20% for their highest value members.

They did it by partnering with business intelligence to figure out who they believed were more likely to convert. They looked at frequency of interactions with content, what led up to conversions, and what touch points seemed vital along the way.

Then, using those insights, they created three audiences — platinum, gold, and silver — and used the data on those audiences (including what actions they took before purchasing) to identify who was likely to become a high-lifetime-value customer and focus their time, budget, and energy on those highest-value customers.

“The theory panned out,” Sylvia says. “We developed the three audiences and tested on Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! Finance. We observed and enjoyed a 20% lower cost of acquisition for some of our highest value members.”

Finding more of their best customers through lookalike audiences

Using tools like Facebook and Google, The Motley Fool also took that data on high-lifetime-value customers and created lookalike audiences to identify more potential customers who looked like their best.

The more they understood customer behaviors, interactions, and content affinities, the better their targeting got.

Serving members content they love

The third key benefit of The Motley Fool’s new customer data strategy and toolset was all about giving existing customers the best experience possible.

“We do this,” Sylvia explains, “through the personalization side of Lytics. We [used to] serve ads based on…the campaign of the day…[But] what if [instead] we served people based on what we know they’re actually reading?”

“If people are interested in investment vs. retirement, how do we serve the content differently [to those different audiences]? [For those who] react to messages about Amazon…how about sending them an exit pop-up [about ‘the next Amazon’]?

Serving more relevant content to people…creates more stickiness. More returns to the content. And a higher engagement with the brand…Good content drives purchases. So surfacing more of that content has been very positive for us.”

Results like these for your business

These results aren’t unusual for Lytics clients. A 20% decrease in acquisition cost. An uptick in purchases driven by surfacing the best content. Better customer data and insights from that data often result in big wins for marketing.

To learn more about The Motley Fool’s journey, check out the full webinar here or read their case study here.

And if results like these sound like something your business needs? We’d love to chat. Get in touch with our experts today.