Bill Pay Providers' Marketing Campaigns

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Bill Pay Providers: Marketing Campaigns Part 1

Some best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers include PayPal's massive campaign to split from eBay, PayPal's marketing automation campaign for lead generation, and Stripe's word of mouth campaign.

PAYPAL'S CAMPAIGN TO SPLIT FROM EBAY/MARKETING AUTOMATION CAMPAIGN

  • PayPal is a United States-based global online bill "payments company." It provides a platform for internet vendors, auction sites, as well as e-commerce consumers to make secure payments from any location in the world. PayPal charges a fee for every transaction on its platform.
  • In 2014, an investor of PayPal (Carl Icahn), carried out a weighty public campaign in favor of splitting PayPal from eBay.
  • After staying under cover of its parent company for over a decade, PayPal split from eBay and independently marketed itself. Higher growth rates that were earlier predicted by Carl Icahn followed the split.
  • PayPal was eBay’s most significant payments service provider in 2003. Over 30% of PayPal’s sales and over 50% of its profits came from eBay.
  • Following the split, PayPal "sought to diversify its business" and targeted several other customers other than eBay.
  • The public welcomed the concept of PayPay to diversify, and PayPal’s market worth increased to $49 billion on the first official day of public trading after the split. The market value of PayPal then exceeded eBay’s market value.
  • To further its diversification campaign, the United States-based company (PayPal) embarked on a marketing automation campaign to also cover additional markets within the United Kingdom.
  • The year 2014 was the year PayPal officially split from eBay. It was the same year PayPal embarked on marketing automation campaigns. The campaign involved an intelligent engagement via all key customer channels and providing a means of support for its United Kingdom sales teams.
  • PayPal made the first move in its marketing automation campaign by selecting Eloqua as its platform of choice. Specialist teams/agencies were chosen to work with the various internal teams to shape, execute as well as evolve the campaign.
  • CleverTouch was selected to provide a platform level technical support and expertise in the campaign workflow, mapping as well as delivery. Purestone was also recruited to devise a creative strategy to produce associated assets, including emails, micro sites, and campaign content.
  • According to Clevertouch Intelligent Engagement, the campaign yielded a 26% increase in lead conversion rates when compared to PayPal’s regular campaign results. Eventually, PayPal won a silver award in the "Best Use of Digital by Sector" for financial services award.
  • Purestone collaborated with CleverTouch to devise an "innovative lead nurture" campaign which emphasized "sales accepted leads," against "marketing qualified leads," to improve lead-to-opportunity conversion.
  • The best practice in the creative strategy campaign above is that it focused on "sales accepted leads" and not just "marketing qualified leads."
  • According to a recent Conversica web publication, sales accepted leads (SALs) are marketing qualified leads that have been validated by a sales team. They will eventually get contacted by a salesperson.
  • The SAL is better than marketing qualified lead (MQL) because MQL data might be incomplete due to insufficient lead activities. Often unusable, MQL can be sent back to marketing for this reason.
  • A SAL, on the other hand, has significant benefits. It is used to "force sales to give feedback" to the marketing team in the measurable form of data. This process eliminates instances of incomplete data noted with MQL above.
  • Another best practice noticed in the campaign is harmony (tripartite agreement) between the internal sales team and hired marketing agencies using a specified "communications plan."
  • Demand generation is possible only when harmony and collaboration exist between the sales unit and marketing agencies. Therefore, the best practice was practiced by the PayPal team, Clevertouch, and Purestone by having a specified "communications plan," which enhanced harmony and, collaboration.
  • STRIPE'S WORD OF MOUTH CAMPAIGN

  • In 2011, two brothers (Patrick and John) officially launched Stripe and visited PayPal co-founders Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. They revealed a problem they identified with PayPal (a broken and outdated payment system) to PayPal co-founders. They got some funding from following a request and decided to work on fixing broken internet payment challenges.
  • The two brothers wanted to solve a legitimate problem they had faced as developers/entrepreneurs. However, they were not facing this challenge alone as fellow developers, as well as entrepreneurs, were experiencing difficulties with broken and outdated payments.
  • For a few years, word of mouth amongst developers fueled Stripe’s business. As Patrick later explained in his interview with TechZing. Initially, their business spread via "word of mouth" process. It was surprising to them because their solution (a payment system) is not a social network, and they never thought it would go viral.
  • It later became clear that payment platforms were difficult to program and so painful for developers. The solution of Stripe was being marketed by developers to other developers/friends by word of mouth after benefiting from it.
  • Stripe’s experienced rapid growth by identifying a legitimate problem that affected lots of people. The company also keep word of mouth positive; it did’t rely on its laurels. It invested in delivering "a stellar customer experience," to its customers and those patronizing its customers.
  • Web developers that switch from legacy payments platforms to Stripe felt the value and experience immediately. Integrating Stripe's payment on a website or an app required copying and pasting only seven lines of program code. Integration took weeks before Stripes innovation which reduced it to a single day.
  • Stripe’s documentation was clear and concise, which made it easier for developers to get answers to any questions they had. Stripe also hosted frequent meetings, hackathons, and several other events for developers to talk about their experiences with its product.
  • Stripes also sent out t-shirts that were worn proudly and pictures shared on social media. The company sent several care packages to developers who continued spreading the solution to other developers through word of mouth.
  • Relying on word of mouth, Stripes grew from $0 valuation in 2012 to a value of $20 billion in 2018. The company also successfully raised $245 million in funding.
  • Stripes achieved all these by solving a real problem, obsessing customers with experience, having a vision for the future, and via word of mouth.
  • The best practice here is solving a real problem which obsesses customers with the right experience to rely on their word of mouth to generate leads.
  • According to Impact Learning Center, word of mouth is the best practice in lead generation because about 75% of consumers don’t believe the content of advertisements. However, 92% believe/trust brand recommendations that originate from friends.
  • One of the best practice/must-have word-of-mouth strategy for marketing/lead generation is offering a unique, share-worthy experience (such as solving a tough real-life challenge). This is what Stripe did to engage consumers.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The research included digital communication agency publications such as Lewis Purestone, informative media publications such as Richtopia, etc. We studied some best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers. We investigated one reason why the campaigns were successful, any qualitative or quantitative results that demonstrate success, and any best practices that can be inferred from the campaigns. Several marketing campaigns related to Stripe, PayPal, etc., were uncovered. PayPal is a United States-based global online bill "payments company." Stripe has its headquarters in San Francisco. Various campaign publications published the reasons why the campaigns were successful and qualitative/quantitative insights. We have verified that these reasons are best practices from a plethora of resources. We have considered best marketing campaigns by the increase in the number of lead conversions when compared with traditional campaigns or revenue generated from a campaign.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Bill Pay Providers: Marketing Campaigns Part 2

Some of the best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers include omnichannel campaigns and enhanced cloud offerings by Braintree, as well as the out-of-the-box creative campaign by WePay. The leads generated by WePay via sign up increased by 225% after its out-of-the-box guerrilla-style marketing campaign.

BRAINTREE MARKETING CAMPAIGN

CAMPAIGN GOALS
  • In 2017, Braintree launched an omnichannel campaign using international websites, podcasts as well as airport billboards. The campaign aimed to increase awareness of mobile transactions among users.
  • Mobile transactions were expected to increase by 74% within two years, starting from 2017. The campaign tried to ensure that Braintree customers were not left out of the mobile payments trend projected ahead.
  • Braintree launched its new marketing campaign in February 2017. The campaign signified its first-ever television ads at the national level, to raise awareness on the need for businesses and individuals to embrace secured mobile payment services.

TARGET AUDIENCE
  • The campaign targeted about 42% of millennials who had limited their use of mobile transactions due to security concerns. It also targeted businesses. To make them aware of using secured mobile payment services offered by Braintree.

MESSAGE
  • Braintree wanted business organizations to rethink payments and gave adequate attention to its campaign. The campaign communicated the need for payments to be interwoven all through a company’s strategy.
  • Braintree educated companies on how to get better lead conversions and keep their "business more secure." It stated that there was a need for them to maintain the right payments partners.
  • The message used by Braintree revealed that the right payment partner would ensure that customers can pay through the methods they prefer. This strategy would improve user experience and ultimately, imply new revenue streams.
  • To help merchants implement a streamlined integration, fight fraudulent transactions, and keep payment data highly secure, Braintree also relied on cloud offerings.
  • According to Braintree, the cloud provided tools that permitted it to implement meaningful connections. These connections aided companies to share bill payment information and help create exciting experiences securely.

RESULTS
  • Apart from its operations in the United States, where it implements bill payment systems, Braintree was able to enhance its payment platform via cloud offerings in Australia.
  • The enhanced cloud offerings and omnichannel ads increased Braintree's checkout speed by about 2.5 seconds, and Braintree decided to expand its cloud offerings globally in 2018. The assumption was made that increased checkout meant less abandonment and higher conversion rates.
  • Braintree also announced revenue growth of 54% year-over-year in 2017 following its campaign. The momentum from the 2017 campaign allowed the company to process over $500 billion worth of authorized payments after joining PayPal and about 6 billion transactions in 2018.

BEST PRACTICE # 1: USE OF OMNICHANNELS
  • Several studies reveal that engaging prospects with offerings through omnichannel (several channels) constitute best practices in lead generation.
  • An omnichannel marketing approach is one which utilizes all digital and physical communication. These channels are integrated to provide an all-round (360°) vision of the customer journey. This comprehensive vision means a customer can switch between channels with total transparency as all data is centralized.
  • The omnichannel strategy (as used by Braintree) is the best way to get more leads. It was successful because 73% of consumers usually engaged with brands via several (omni) channels. Braintree increased its engagement rates with individuals by using more channels.
  • Insights attributed to a Harvard Business Review study revealed that "omnichannel is already a reality."
  • Customer support, management of inventory, social media, online or in-store purchases all lead to a personalized experience which boosts lead conversion and sales.
  • With an omnichannel strategy, each touchpoint is comfortable to transform. Touchpoints are transformed into desired customer experiences using omnichannel. This process is "a game changer."
  • The omnichannel approach helps merchants to conduct sales via email, Instagram, mobile apps, Pinterest, via chatbot or on a price comparison website as well as from a showroom.

BEST PRACTICE # 2: CLOUD ENGAGEMENT
  • Leading organizations in the sales sector are turning to the Internet, i.e., “the cloud” for fast, and easy access to tools and services needed to build closer relationships with customers. By turning to the cloud, they eliminate the risk and high expense that come with "traditional software."
  • In 2011, a cloud engagement service provider sponsored a survey which covered over 4,000 customers using the cloud. They all reported an average improvement in forecast accuracy with about 44%. About 25% increase in sales win rates, 33% sales productivity increase, 30% lead conversion rates increase, and a 30% rise in sales revenues.
  • The use of the cloud for sales automation also helps in growing accounts, finding customers (generating leads), and closing deals at a faster rate.

WEPAY MARKETING CAMPAIGN

CAMPAIGN APPROACH
  • WePay decided to gain attention in a competitive payment market controlled by its rival PayPal. To achieve this, WePay showcased a 600-pound ice block containing a huge sum of frozen money at its center.
  • WePay implemented this campaign in a conference relevant to PayPal at San Francisco. WePay ensured that images of the stunt went viral. Pictures of the ice block and frozen money were shared online via photos, videos as well as tech magazines.
  • WePay went out-of-the-box to display to developers and merchants how frustrating and absurd it could get when PayPal freezes their accounts.
  • Through the campaign, WePay highlighted one of the biggest complaints noticed among the customers of its competitor, PayPal.
  • PayPal was notorious for freezing user accounts for a broad category of reasons. WePay hit hard on this "pain point and ran with it." WePay relied on the hit-and-run tactics typical of guerrilla warfare.

RESULTS
  • This campaign gave the desired results. According to Contentworks (a marketing agency), WePay reported three times more than its usual amount of lead conversions via its landing page within a single day. Its weekly traffic increased by 300% and sign-ups went up by 225% after the campaign.
  • Filling a "sign-up form" is a type of lead generation. Thus, WePay's leads generated via sign up increased by 225%.

BEST PRACTICES: OUT-OF-THE-BOX AND GUERRILLA MARKETING
  • WePay succeeded because it used an element of surprise, which is a component of guerrilla marketing to crash a party of its competitors, including PayPal. Experts believe that this type of out-of-the-box strategy combined with an element of surprise when used in "guerrilla marketing" in the financial payments sector is very effective.
  • "Out-of-the-box" marketing strategy combined with an online campaign as used by WePay contains an "element of surprise." This process often gives smaller companies the ability to knock-out bigger competitors when implemented at the "most inconvenient time" to the competitor.
  • Guerrilla marketing strategies, including out-of-the-box hit-and-run (as practiced by WePay), helps small brands take on giant/more prominent brands successfully. Smaller brands rely on speed and agility when using this strategy. The marketing is "speedy, scrappy, unconventional" and extremely useful when done right.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To identify 2-3 of the best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers, marketing agency publications (such as Contentworks, 60 Second Marketer, and others) were reviewed. From this search, we found marketing campaigns implemented by WePay, Braintree, and other bill pay providers. Furthermore, we investigated why the campaigns were successful and sought qualitative or quantitative results that demonstrated success. The best practices applied in these campaigns were analyzed as well as why they qualified as best practice. Only practices that have boosted revenue or enabled smaller brands to take on bigger ones were considered. Also, only strategies that have improved the checkout speed, or significantly lowered the cost of marketing were considered as best practices, thereby assuming that an increased checkout speed means less abandonment and higher conversion rates.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Bill Pay Providers: Marketing Campaigns Part 3

Some best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers include MasterCard's "Sound of Priceless" campaign and the American Express' Open Forum campaign. Using the "Sound of Priceless" campaign, MasterCard increased the number of its campaign-based lead generation through video sharing on social media.

SOUND OF PRICELESS: CAMPAIGN

  • MasterCard is the primary sponsor of the MLB (Major League Baseball). In 2016, MasterCard decided to execute a priceless strategy and gain from the Chicago Cubs. MasterCard suspected that the Cubs might win the series for the premiere time after 71 years.
  • Bill payment services are a product line of MasterCard in the United States. MasterCard wanted to identify with history if the Cubs won the Major League Baseball in 2016, which happened as expected. As anticipated by MasterCard, for the first time since 1908, the Cubs became the World Series champions in 2016.
  • MasterCard's primary objectives of implementing one of the best ad campaigns in history were to relate with the pain of Cubs fans and introduce themselves "into the World Series conversation."
  • While looking for a perfect way to implement its campaign, MasterCard encountered a great piece of content. A player with a rival team to the Cubs had accused Cubs fans of displaying less passion for their team. This accusation presented a perfect scene/bite to base an entire campaign. MasterCard went with it and titled its campaign the "Sound of Priceless."
  • To verify the passion of fans for the Cubs, MasterCard built a sound meter and kept it around Wrigley Field to ascertain just how loud/passionate the fans were. After evaluating the sound, and verifying how loud the fans jeered, they created video content containing the story.

SOUND OF PRICELESS: SUCCESS METRICS

  • To obtain optimal impact, MasterCard released its video online and via social media as soon as the Cubs won the last game in the World Series. The effect that followed was priceless.
  • Using a minimal budget for its social media activities, MasterCard amassed 1.3 million impressions, 879,000 engagements, and 527,000 video views, and an ER of more than 30%.
  • The Sound of Priceless campaign was the most retweeted video posted by MasterCard on Twitter and became its most shared video ever on Facebook within nine hours of going live. MasterCard increased the quantity of generated leads using the Sound of Priceless campaign. Shared videos are used to increase lead generation.
  • About 18% of the total coverage was organic (free leads gained via promotion).
  • MasterCard earned over twice its average ad coverage through the campaign. Its earned reach through Twitter was 45% higher when compared to its sponsorship of golf as well as Grammy's video content. This result indicates that leads generated and converted through the video were superior to MasterCards usual average.

SOUND OF PRICELESS: INFERRED BEST PRACTICES

  • When trying to engage in viral digital marketing campaigns, it is advised to go for content that is already available and try to design a spin around it. The spin should benefit someone else and the advertising brand. Also, MasterCard succeeded because it exhibited patience by waiting until the "very last game" to disclose its content to maximize its reach. Excellent content and timing are vital to all successful digital campaigns. Timing matters and helps a lot.

OPEN FORUM: CAMPAIGN

  • American Express' Open Forum is one of the best content marketing campaigns.
  • American Express is a bill payment service provider. Its open forum is a community content platform that is ten years old and provides several lessons that lead to success with content marketing campaigns.
  • To implement its Open Forum campaign, the brand proclaimed that it was aiming to target business-based decision-makers to understand their challenges. American Express analyzed search data and figured out the questions business people were asking and how it could potentially provide value.
  • American Express found that "jargon was an inhibitor" for its audience. It decided to research associated jargon and build conversation tools to overcome challenges related to it and other issues.
  • The brand discovered that about 69% of business decision-makers utilize social media platforms at least three times every day, and social media constituted the core strategy and target of Open Forum.
  • Open Forum is a collaborative campaign website. Through it, American Express grants invitations to guest authors from several sectors to discuss their business knowledge as well as wisdom.
  • The goal of Open Forum remains to achieve a content-rich mega-site which will become vital and subsequently popular among search engines. This phenomenally rich site is created and updated without the need for American Express to pay money to content contributors.
  • American Express succeeded because it leveraged on the content and power of business owners to help other business owners by sharing knowledge.

OPEN FORUM: SUCCESS METRICS

  • Within six weeks of its relaunch, Open Forum was a top goto-destination among business owners. The forum obtained millions of visitors and page views. Its traffic has more than tripled yearoveryear ever since.
  • Open Forum has reached over 36 million people. Open Forum drew an extensive PR coverage and has increased American Express' visibility across outlets like BrandWeek, Baltimore Sun, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc., as well as MediaPost.
  • Open Forum won the 2010 Jay Chiat Bronze Award in Strategic Excellence based on its relevant "idea for new product or new content."
  • Using Open Forum, American Express has successfully engaged with relevant payment players in the B2B industry.

OPEN FORUM: INFERRED BEST PRACTICES

  • American Express granted invitations to several guest authors to share their business knowledge and wisdom. The creator of a campaign content "does not need" to be the advertising a brand. Brands can seek out industry leaders who have created great content and request them to contribute through an expert article or thoughts.
  • Open Forum was able to build its audience and traffic, as long as its content provided value.
  • "Good content marketing strategies" as practiced by American Express can attract a significant volume of user-generated audience. This strategy helps to grow an online community and also minimizes financial investment. It is a cheap way of generating leads.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We reviewed digital marketing agency publications such as Singlegrain, Shortyawards, etc., to uncover the best marketing campaigns by bill pay providers. Studies published by Singlegrain, Shortyawards, and other resources (including Sound of Priceless, etc.), were reviewed, and the best practices that could be inferred from them were identified. The best marketing campaigns are based on an increase in engagement rates, increased lead generation through video sharing, and percentage increase in earned reach coverage. We also considered generated page views and readership as vital metrics.
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