iHeartRadio’s Unique Strategy for Driving Mobile Engagement

Delivering personal and valuable marketing on the national and local levels

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Editor’s Note: We’re excited to be kicking off a new series, “Marketer Spotlight” with Maria Bonello, marketing engagement coordinator at iHeartMedia. We’re asking mobile marketers what their day-to-day tasks look like, what their biggest challenges are, and how they approach mobile for their brand. We hope you enjoy!

If you’d like to be featured, email relate@appboy.com.

Q: Describe a typical day in as much or as little detail as you like.

My typical workday consists of connecting fans to their favorite music, artists and radio personalities by developing personalized, valuable, and clever multichannel consumer-directed marketing communications on both a national and local level for the purpose of onboarding new users and retaining existing users. Such marketing communications are created and delivered using Appboy’s push notification, in-app message, and email tools.

Q: What is your greatest challenge and opportunity as a retention marketer?

Our users are incredibly diverse, each with their own musical genre, radio formats, and artist preferences. Although running a campaign that appeals to all users simultaneously can be difficult, it’s an opportunity to personalize and hyper-target our campaigns. By combining iHeartRadio’s APIs and Appboy’s liquid logic, I am able to personalize campaigns and segment them appropriately.

Q: What skills are most important to succeed in retention marketing?

The success of retention campaigns depend on user behavior so it’s important to know your audience. Looking at what has worked in the past and presenting it from a new angle is key. Conducting multivariate tests within Appboy are a sure way to study my users’ behavior and level of engagement. 

Q: What is unique about your approach to retention marketing and how does mobile fit into that?

What makes my approach to retention marketing unique is being able to offer users the chance to meet their favorite artists by entering a contest. Alerting users about such opportunities via push, in-app message, and email is something that no one else is doing.

Q: What tools and technologies do you most rely on to do your job?

Appboy is my primary customer relationship management platform that I use to engage our users. I also use an internal content management tools platform called RadioEdit, that allows me to engage with users within the iHeartRadio app by featuring recommended stations at the top of the “For You” pivot, as well as on the web by programming the top campaign of the day on the homepage of iHeartRadio.com.

Q: Which teams within and outside marketing do you most work with?

As the marketing engagement coordinator, I work alongside the programming, editorial, social media, and activations teams to align various integrated communication and marketing initiatives including creating a daily engagement strategy that encompasses the development of campaign ideas, testing, execution, segmentation, and deployment. To ensure that we are effectively executing such campaigns, I work with our business intelligence and data team. Their expertise and analysis assists in identifying user behavior inflection points, and gives insight into campaign performance.

Q: What’s your marketing mantra?

Even in the digital world it’s all about relationships: Obtaining new relationships, and maintaining existing relationships. Keeping your brand top of mind while providing a valuable service is critical in building a level of intimacy and working your product into the user’s daily routine.

Q: Aside from your own, what brand’s marketing campaigns or messages do you love most, and why?

I’m intrigued by the push notifications I receive from Bandsintown, a free live concert discovery app. Their pushes are always straightforward, provide value, and cater to my interests. I’m always notified when my favorite artists are touring in my area, and when ticket prices decrease. After purchasing and attending a show, they follow through via push asking you to rate your concert experience.

Q: What are some of the most important drivers for the campaigns you make? Are they based around customer events, purchase behavior, seasonal promotions, new store openings… or what else?

As an all-in-one free digital music and live radio streaming service, the content we provide to our users is varied and endless. Not only are we able to execute one-off music related campaigns that pertain to new releases and album anniversaries, but we have the creative ability to carry out seasonal and holiday campaigns. Being a part of the larger iHeartMedia brand, we’re able to push out content that is relevant to a user’s local area including music events or breaking news. The most important driver of these campaigns is our ability to connect fans with their favorite artists through contests and iHeartRadio events and theater shows.

Q: What gut checks do you go through when designing a campaign, from ideation to launch?

I tend to ask myself a series of questions: Is this relevant? Does this provide value to our users? How can I make this personalized? Has this been done before? If so, how was it received?

Q: What is a major pain point you wish could be solved as soon as possible?

An ongoing pain point for an engagement marketing coordinator is identifying and prioritizing which campaign tests to launch first.

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