De Persgroep is one of the leading media groups in Belgium, holding a majority stake in several Belgian magazines, TV and radio stations, as well as in Dutch newspapers. Its flagship products include "Het Laatste Nieuws", the most read newspaper in Belgium, and VTM, the largest commercial television station in Flanders, and, in The Netherlands, top-ranking newspapers like "Algemeen Dagblad" and "De Volkskrant". De Persgroep has massively invested in its web presence. The company publishes Belgium's largest news website, HLN.be.
Managing a complex ecosystem of online media, e-commerce, classifieds and customer interactions
Jarno Koopmans, Marketing Manager Online at De Persgroep, explains the huge online offering of the company: "Our online titles are classified in four large clusters. A first comprises the news websites, for a general public (hln. be, 7sur7.be and AD.nl,) as well as a more selective one (devolkskrant.nl, trouw.nl, parool.nl and demorgen.be). A second cluster is classifieds with sites such as autozone.be, regiojobs.be and vkbanen.nl. Then we have "World of Women", containing amongst others nina.be, goedgevoel.be and Kanaal You within hln.be and 7sur7.be, with women as the target group. The fourth pillar is e-commerce, with the webshops of De Volkskrant and Trouw in the Netherlands."
This complex ecosystem of websites, e-commerce and online classifieds obviously needs to be managed. On top of that, all these activities are strengthened and enhanced via e-mail interactions and an impressive e-mail newsletter program. Last but not least, e-mail is key in organizing competitions and promotions.
Jarno Koopmans: "Our marketing is very action-driven. This is why we appeal to Selligent. One of the benefits is that we don't need any IT people to place items quickly and easily. Therefore the short-term actions of the marketers don't clash with the long-term plans of IT. The daily and weekly newsletters are managed by Selligent. The noon newsletter, for example, is connected automatically to the content management system, so that the editors can prepare the articles that they would like to include in the newsletter and send themselves a test e-mail before sending it to the recipients." This way, Selligent enables a smooth workflow across a variety of online properties.
Pushing the envelope: striving towards more segmented and personalized interactions
De Persgroep is also striving to optimize its newsletter programs by further enhancing a thematic and personalized e-mail offering. Jarno Koopmans: "We are looking at how we can launch more thematic newsletters in the future, whether or not time-limited, for example a sports-related newsletter."
While the newsletters of De Persgroep are being further fine-tuned and thrive well, another use of e-mail marketing - competitions and campaigns - forms a challenge. Optimizing conversion and segmenting rank high on the priority list of De Persgroep, given the increasing competition from other media and channels. But marketing fatigue is also an issue.
Jarno Koopmans: "There is a noticeable deterioration in the open and click-through ratios. There are many parties active with competitions and people simply receive many mails. With the general newsletter everything remains rather stable, but the response to dedicated mailings around campaigns and competitions is reducing."
Koopmans tries to counter the drop in the figures by working on subject lines, layout etc. He says: "Thanks to Selligent we can test our e-mails by sending various versions to roughly a thousand people. The best e-mail is then sent to the rest of the list. In time we want to enrich and segment the e-mail address database to enable a more personalized operation, at present the segmenting is not enough to be of much use. Selligent helps us with this."
He concludes that, thanks to the integration Selligent provides with surveys, web forms and data, De Persgroep is able to enrich all data so that the company can add more segmenting and better coordinate the content of the newsletters in function of the desires of the reader.
Selligent helps De Persgroep to increase conversion, better segment and target and provide relevant interactions with readers and visitors of its many online properties. By smart integrations and a data-centric approach it will continue to do so and provide new and efficient ways of engaging subscribers.