Adweek panel: How to effectively message and reach customers who are trying to tune you out

Reaching the right audiences is about seeing people behind numbers, respecting their privacy and understanding what they want and need.

Messaging custom audiences for omni-channel activation delivers a clear, concise and consistent message and stream of communication to attract and retain customers.

This session will explore how advanced analytics and machine learning techniques enable activation of best-suited audiences across integrated online and offline channels to effectively reach custom audiences across all channels. 


  • Stacey Hawes, President, Data Practice, Epsilon and Conversant
  • Lung Huang, Head of Growth Solutions, Mars Petcare
  • Heather Steiger, Senior Marketing Manager, Freshly
  • James Hercher, Reporter, AdExchanger
  • Steven Abrahamson, Vice President, Direct Response, National Audubon Society 

Watch the 40-minute panel discussion or read the transcript below.

James Hercher: Let's bring the panelists up. You can come on up and I'll let you each... We'll go down the line and you can introduce yourselves.

Heather Steiger: Okay. Hi guys. I'm Heather Steiger. I'm from Freshly, I'm a senior marketing manager there for acquisition.

Steven Abrahams: I'm Steve Abrahams, I'm vice-president direct response at the National Audubon Society.

Stacey Hawes: I'm Stacey Hawes. I'm president of Epsilon's data practice.

Lung Huang: I'm Lung Huang. I lead growth for kinship at Mars Petcare.

James Hercher: Great. Well welcome, I'm glad you could all join us. I think there'll be a good one. Some quick housekeeping. We'll have some Q and A opportunity afterwards, so if you want to submit questions you can do it with the Slido app. And yeah, welcome to this nice cool theater. Let's start with some quick background from you Stacey, on what the data practice is and then we could jump into it.

Stacey Hawes: Sure. I think I'll start with a quick visual here if that works. So at Epsilon, we our a adtech martech company. The data practice is really responsible for curating as well as monetizing our third party data assets. So what does that mean? We work with thousands of brands across sectors, across verticals to help them really understand who their customers are and how to reach them and activate them in all channels. So everything from onboarding via a live ramp into a DSP or a DMP, social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, addressable television, both data-driven linear, as well as addressable television and digital media channels. So what we do is take identity at its core and tie that to real people. So if you can't actually reach a real person, we don't consider it effective data or effective marketing.

James Hercher: Great. Well I'll try to keep this informal and for the panelists, definitely feel free to interject, jump in. Let's start with each of you. I think would be good to just know what channels you're in, where you're spending, especially if there's any recent additions to that mix, but Lung, we'll start with you and then move down.

Lung Huang: Yeah. I'm with Mars Petcare and I'm in a fairly newer division called kinship. And I think kinship, it's a diverse group of people and there's a lot of us who just joined it. It was launched by Mars Petcare about in April. So we're still very new and we're kind of trying to shape the future of pet care, and it's such an exciting time. So I'm sure there are many of you who are both pet parents, as we like to call them, as well as you have a pet at home. So it's a really dynamic area in pet care. There's actually more pet care households than there are human households. So there's quite a bit of really growth around it, beyond just nutrition. We're also the world's largest vets, Banfield, and VCA, and Blue Pearl or some of our brands.

So as far as messaging, we're across the board. Both from an identity standpoint as also in reach. I think that we're getting into a point where I think many brands were just relying on proxies to try to reach people, and now we're getting the case where it's really true to it. And I loved your slide because I could sit there and watch that slide for a while I was mesmerized.

Stacey Hawes: Well, I could've left it out the whole time, but I thought people would leave in a trance.

Lung Huang: Flash, Epsilon, Epsilon, Epsilon.

Stacey Hawes: Subliminal messaging.

Lung Huang: It was great. So across the board I think direct mail for a lot of our different brands, we're in many different countries. So we tried to take the similar approach and scale it, so I'd be more than happy to talk about identity because I've been kind of in that space for the last seven years.

James Hercher: Cool. Steve?

Steven Abrahams: Yeah, well as a charity, direct mail is probably the biggest channel for us and that's true for a lot of our sector. We're in a lot of digital channels, obviously email, like mail, it's direct and people click on the link and give us money. A lot of digital advertising, mostly Facebook, Instagram, we have large followings as well. So that's the main things. We're not in DRTV, a lot of other charities are. You'll see those ads in the middle of the night, like ASPCA. I'd like to be there, but not quite there yet. The other channel is just people on the street stopping you and saying, "Do you have a minute to talk about birds? Save conservation." So that's an interesting channel because that's one where unfortunately we don't know the people until we finally get their information.

Stacey Hawes: Let me know when you solve attribution.

Steven Abrahams: Yeah, that's a little challenging.

James Hercher: Heather.

Heather Steiger: Yeah, so I'm at Freshly, I'm probably not as direct mail focused and centric as my other counterparts here on the stage. So we're D to C. Primarily we bring in most of our consumers through paid social and then we also have our other digital channels, paid search affiliates, email, that bring in a sizeable amount of our business. And then for our offline channels, which are pretty new for our business, is primarily direct mail and television.

James Hercher: Great. Well it's an interesting set and I think it's good that we have so much sort of direct mail, a lot of offline work, which I think gets missed out but is also sort of an interesting part of the data mix here. I want to start with something broad. The idea of omni-channel marketing, it gets kicked around a lot, has been for a long time. Things still seem pretty channel-based, people's jobs, campaigns. I'm curious about your thoughts on where we are in that process and is that even where things are going? Maybe it just makes sense to be channel-based. I'll start with you Heather, since you sort of do have a focus.

Heather Steiger: Okay. So basically where I am, I am direct mail. So the reason why marketing seems so channel focused and teams are channel focused is because they are. And it's not necessarily a bad thing because every single channel has its own nuance. So T behaves one way that direct mail doesn't, that email doesn't, that paid social doesn't. It's more of just trying to gain an inherent understanding that while they operate the way they do, they all kind of talk to each other and play in a sandbox. And it's trying to figure out how they do that. So I think when it gets to omni-channel, we're trying to understand how the different channels play together. And once we get to that level of understanding, then we can try to have omni-channel campaigns.

James Hercher: Right. And I think Lung you're sort of in the most channels I would say.

Lung Huang: Like all channels.

Heather Steiger: Channels are great.

James Hercher: Yeah. So how does that work sort of internally even for you?

Lung Huang: As Heather, was kind of talking about it. I mean we all kind of came from various backgrounds. Like listen, I was in radio, I mean God's sakes, I was in radio and I'm here now. So I got to thank my lucky stars on one hand. But if you look at the channel mix that is today, and as Heather was kind of talking about it, it was really about, where are we kind of got here is what can we measure? You can't manage what you can't measure. And the fact that you have an industry in various pockets, you have outdoor, you have OTT, you have all these great ones. But if you actually didn't know who the person was, it was really hard to build metrics to say, "I'm going to invest more money in email, versus direct mail, versus television."

And I think we're at that great place because we've really been... Direct mail and email were kind of the first two to be most addressable. And I'll say this, in 2015 I kept on saying, "Addressable's here, addressable television is here." And it isn't yet. I don't know why, I still believe in it, but I'll still kind of say that I think addressable TV will be here. But I think the brands and then their partners such as agencies, we have to catch up and really say what really works. And it's not easy, but we'll invest when we see performance. And that's what I love about where we're at today is we are getting closer to the case where we can really use data in a function to show performance. And so that's the world I want to live in.

James Hercher: Stacey, I think this is sort of a good jumping off point for you. It's certainly on the sort of offline data side. Because you do have a bunch of direct mail in the conversation. What you're seeing, I think people would think about the data practice a lot of like digital media, the kind of most data-driven channels. But what are you seeing with the mix? And that's my question.

Stacey Hawes: It's really both and I mentioned I have the opportunity to work with so many different brands across different verticals. I still see a lot of silos that have been set up. There are people responsible for direct mail, versus people responsible for email, versus digital media, TV separately. I actually think that's still a positive. You have to have expertise in those various channels. I think the key is organizationally that organizations align up to someone who's ultimately responsible for all of those channels. And that's what I haven't seen still yet a lot of today. I think that they still are set up to sometimes have competing goals. Like if I acquire a customer in this channel versus you acquired a customer in that channel, who gets credit for it? And a fault I see a lot of organizations still making today is they're giving it to the new shiny object.

They're giving it to the digital channel, or they're giving it to the addressable TV channel to try to boost it up because I'm with you, someday it's going to really pay off and work. But the key is really setting up your org to have someone ultimately responsible, so that at the end of the day you can measure, here's how many sales came in, here's how much dollars we generated across every channel, and here's the return, and here's what we spent. So we understand that ROI. Instead, what I see is if you really add it up from a channel perspective, all the sales from each of those, it would be a greater number than the gross revenue generated by that organization. So when you still see that happening, there's really a big flaw.

Lung Huang: Just on that point. I agree with you and I wonder if it's going to be on the agency holding companies side. And I know you guys represent one now, but I think... That's why they paid so much money for you guys is-

Stacey Hawes: What? $4.4 Billion.

Lung Huang: Yeah that was a lot. And I was at one. I was at Merkle, that was bought out by Dentsu. So their identity is big. But I think the tipping point is really going to be, in the next couple of years hopefully, not for my competitors, but for other ones, where you really start seeing where it is not the social team going to take the credit for it. It's going to be the customer development because ultimately the stack of of agencies is so awful because you're just thinking about each channel. But now when you look at it from a stack around identity and really looking at it from an omnichannel basis, it's completely different. And the metrics will. And it'll just take time because they still have to report to us based on certain silos.

Stacey Hawes: Yeah.

Lung Huang: Which suck. But-

James Hercher: Yeah. That's another, that sort of that measurement angle where we've been hearing a lot about the end of last touch, multi-touch attribution, lots of fun buzzwords. But you know it does seem like last click is still pretty prevalent. It is hard to kind of like kick it up to that level. The sort of promise that's there. Steve, I think you have the direct fundraising.

Steven Abrahams: Right. So it's like whatever got the money into us is probably the most important thing. Getting back to the earlier question, I'm fortunate in that in my organization all of those channels report up to me. And I know in a lot of a lot of organizations in the nonprofit sector, that's not true. Because digital came in years after direct mail, it ended up in communications, or it ended up under some group doing the website, and so you have like fundraising in different places, which is a disaster because then then you get into fights over attribution.

So that's a thing. The other thing is we use a form for our analytics that just looks at all of the channels. So while we have a digital agency in a direct mail agency, the analytics come from a third party. And that's helpful because we're not relying on the analytics coming from each agency. Obviously when you dig down deep into sort of your testing and things like that, you have the individual agencies, but when we're looking at our KPIs, that's a third party that is neutral. So it becomes less about each channel fighting for what it is and looking overall, trying to understand where donors are, looking at donor migration from channel to channel. Which actually isn't that large.

Lung Huang: Donor migration?

Steven Abrahams: Yeah. Going to Florida.

Lung Huang: I was going to say that was a bad bird pun.

Heather Steiger: Or North Carolina.

James Hercher: He sort of mentioned with last click, the kind of feuding over attribution in a sense, and you hear about that. With you being, you're responsible for direct mail. People sort of have their channels. Do you see the same thing?

Heather Steiger: It's interesting the term fighting over retribution because we don't fight. It's more like trying to just understand how each channel talks to each other. Because literally where I sit, I have one person to my right who does paid search, the person to my left as television, the person to the paid search person's right does paid social, and the person in front of him does affiliate. We're also highly specialized where because we use promo codes within each one of our individual sources. So if someone goes to, orders whatever meal selection that they choose and puts in a promo code, that's how we're able to attribute a specific order to a specific channel.

But we also know too that maybe they saw something on TV, but they searched for it and then went into Facebook. So it's kind of like how do we possibly attribute it? So what we actually do for acquisition is we pull all the spend, all the users acquired, and we have a blended number. That's the number that we report.

James Hercher: Got you. Yeah. I think things used to be maybe more commission-based around that. And I think that probably was part of those complications too. Steve, you said before it's sort of interested in getting into RTB. And one of the questions I wanted to ask the marketers here, is if someone just sort of gave you, here's some money and try something new. What would you sort of like the opportunity to try? We're talking about new media channels, new strategies. Yeah. What do you think? If you had X dollars to work with, what would be the thing you'd like to experiment with? I'll throw that to you Lung.

Lung Huang: Oh, money's always good, and there's no lack of ideas or vendors out there. I think for us, right now, is we are in a very dynamic industry of pet care. So we do nutrition, we do vets, we do DNA testing, we do smart collars. So we believe we are one of the leading brands in that, but there's a lot of things where I think we're trying to help shape the future of pet care and make it better for pets. So how do we help some of our eCommerce pet specialties? Or groomers? There's a lot of things that go into that. And so I think for me, it would be really investing in the whole ecosystem because that's really what we're trying to do, is accelerate our ecosystem. So a lot of it really with the way consumer acts today, and the millennials, I know that everyone hates that term, but by percentage, they're one of the largest pet parents there are of any other generation.

That age group really has an affinity to our pets and we're just trying to foster how they spend their lives and to make the pets world better. So for us, that's how I'd really invest it, in really seeing new things because it's not like I can get a lot of stuff off the shelf for their needs.

Stacey Hawes: Can I jump in?

James Hercher: Yeah. Please.

Stacey Hawes: I'm just curious from the millennial perspective, do you see certain channels working better targeting millennials than other generations?

Lung Huang: Yeah, I think so. I think it's to be seen because they're very diverse on where they live, what they shop, their tendencies. So I think for a lot of things it's very digital first and it is very much on an ad need basis. So there's such a on demand generation that it's just trying to keep up and use data for predictability. And that's why I like identity is that you can learn from that. I mean, we're at a wonderful place where we're trying to predict what are their future needs around science, technology, pet healthcare. That's another industry, people need to take care of their pets. So I think from that end, that's really where we're trying to foster a lot of our innovation budget around, and really capture how do we serve those needs to make their lives better.

James Hercher: We'll call that way upper funnel.

Lung Huang: Yeah. I don't know if it's in the funnel yet. Yeah.

James Hercher: Yeah. Got to get the measurement program in place. Steve, same question to you. You mentioned RTB before, but don't feel bound by that.

Steven Abrahams: Yeah, no, I mean that's obviously one thing. I think if I had money right now, the main thing I would do is build up our texting platform and our capability. The most important thing for us is to be able to connect with people. Right now most of our emails are read on mobile phones, isn't surprising. And more than half of our donations coming through mobile and obviously nobody's picking up their phone and answering a call anymore. So texting is really a much more important way for us to reach people. I mean I used to be able to telemarket to people even 10 years ago, and reach most of my donors and get gifts from them. And now it falls flat, it's dead, nobody's picking up their phone. Even if I can call them on a cell phone, nobody answers.

Heather Steiger: If someone's cellphone rings, they're just like, "Who the hell is this?"

James Hercher: Yeah.

Heather Steiger: "How could this person call me?"

Steven Abrahams: So building up texting and being able to do that and effectively do that. A lot of organizations are doing that and there's different platforms, but we need to really build that up. That's kind of where I would invest money right now because it's going to have the most biggest pay back.

James Hercher: What about you, Heather? Any channels you think are...

Heather Steiger: It's like none of my coworkers are here, so I'll just take all the money for my own account. But that's really not true. What's interesting with where I get to come from is everything's new. So we started digital only. We only branched out into print in 2018, we haven't even been a national brand for a full year yet. So it's not so much about finding a new channel, it's more about how can we take the current channels that we make and make them better? How do we make the reporting better? Because I know we use... I was talking to my coworker about television and we were talking about reporting there, and if you have an ad that airs on like the Hallmark channel at the same time it's airing on HDTV and someone orders, how do you know which channel they ordered from?

Which and did they see that prompted them. And getting into that type of, I think she said she uses machine learning in order to be able to attribute that consumer. For me, it would be about data refinement. Right now prospecting is done on a pretty elementary level using data enhancements, and using lookalikes, but there's so much more out there. I got to test a machine learning model in direct mail, just to see can I get incremental audience and what can that do for me? I would take money and want to invest in non-brand, which would make my friend who works in paid search very happy because the temptation is to just stick with brand, stick with brand, but you need the non-brand in order to truly prospect and grow your channel. And Facebook gets all the damn money at work anyway. They got enough money.

Stacey Hawes: I think it's interesting too. You said you're pretty new into direct mail?

Heather Steiger: Yeah.

Stacey Hawes: I mean as a channel?

Heather Steiger: Yes.

Stacey Hawes: When you did have extra money to figure out how to go test, someone chose direct mail as a channel. How did that decision come up?

Heather Steiger: I know that prior to me starting... So my role is brand new. It was basically they said, "We want to bring direct mail in house." So prior to that they went through an agency and I think they... I'm not exactly sure where they got the agency from, but it was pretty much, "What are our competitors doing. Oh I know. Hello Fresh is in the mail and they mail a crap ton. So maybe we can figure out a way to make this work for us."

Stacey Hawes: Yeah. I think it's interesting that what we've seen in the last few years, by far the biggest growth channel for digital natives or pure plays has been the direct mail channel, which is kind of counterintuitive and why I was asking about the millennial question as well. If you make an assumption that millennials prefer digital channels all day and all night, you're missing out on opportunities to reach them somewhere else.

Lung Huang: I did say that.

Stacey Hawes: You didn't say that.

Heather Steiger: ...also digital is so loud, there's so much happening. You're scrolling through Instagram, or you're scrolling through your Facebook feed and you're just being sold stuff constantly. Where with direct mail it's like you can actually sit back and there's nothing else happening around it. You're just holding a piece of print, and then you can put it down and pick it up later if you want.

Lung Huang: And that's the thing. As we are chatting beforehand, a lot of what is really good is the old stuff. You start with the old stuff and then you adapt it. Because two years ago everyone was talking about Messenger. Everyone's going to IM everyone. There's going to be chatbots in IMs and I don't know where that is. Maybe it's taken off. But I think it's really around the consumer behavior and consumer behaviors just don't turn on overnight. They don't start with a generation. This is something that they have to adopt over time and as a marketer you can't afford not to be there. You really have to try and be a practitioner around it because it could be the next thing, but you have to do it smartly. I think this is the main thing

James Hercher: And we were also mentioning something we were talking about earlier as well. That's just the explosion of the ecosystem, just trying to manage the point solutions, and vendors, and analytics that are coming in. I think it would be good to get a sense of... For you all, I'm sure it just manifests itself as annoying emails, but how you think about and handle the sort of vendor portfolio or roster you work with.

Stacey Hawes: Some of us call them partners.

Lung Huang: The thing about all of that and like emails, email's a wonderful channel but it's also difficult. We all have multiple emails and unless you get into the worlds of where Epsilon, or any of those other companies, you really have to test out which is the best email because they may give the Audubon Society a certain one, but their personal one is another. Not that they would, they would give you the best one. But then that's when all of the brands, you really have to test. Is this the one that goes to the one folder? Is this the AOL account or is this the real Gmail one? You have to really start testing out the availability around that, which is totally worthwhile because each person is unique around how they want to be messaged. And I think email is kind of giving people the chance to kind of filter in some respects there.

Heather Steiger: Well, even with Gmail it depends on the algorithm because what is fine today is spam tomorrow.

Lung Huang: Oh God, don't get me started on Gmail.

Heather Steiger: It happened at my last job, it was like, "Oh my God, all of our mail is going into spam boxes. What the hell do we do?"

James Hercher: Yeah, I mean we hear a lot about... There's the email policies too. There's the cookie policies, browser issues. A lot of ink is spilled on. It would be good to get a sense of how it impacts you sort of in the trenches. Steven, ask you, is that on your plate, those problems?

Steven Abrahams: Yeah, I mean if our emails don't get delivered, Thanksgiving Tuesday is a huge day. If suddenly Gmail decides to throw all of our emails into spam, we are in serious trouble. So we have to worry about deliverability all the time. And in terms of privacy, yeah, I mean it's a concern because some of the new privacy laws are being written in such a way that the burden on nonprofits to meet the requirements would be just overwhelming. So we're trying to figure out how to make sure legislators are thinking about that. That there's different approaches for charitable organizations because the compliance can just kill us and kill a channel for us if it's not done right. So that keeps me up at night sometimes.

James Hercher: Yeah. I mean my sort of next question was going to be about, got CCPA coming out, I don't know how much in Europe, any of you are with sort of GDPR. From the reporting side, it seems like there's less anxiety or urgency about CCPA. So for the marketers is it top of mind for you? Are you sort of undergoing compliance? Have you brought in any new help? Or is it something you even have to address or is it just business as usual?

Lung Huang: I'll start. I think from a GDPR standpoint I was fortunate enough where I was launching data businesses there in Europe during the start of it. We had to scrap one and build one. And the thing is I would much prefer a GDPR legislation than I would anything around what California is attempting to do. Because in GDPR the goals are much more defined and the rules or really there. It's around showing that you did take the proper steps, that if somebody wants to be forgotten you could, if they want their information to be corrected. And they also want to know if you use their data, where does it go?

I don't think that there's any marketer out there, maybe some of them, but most of them will be like, "Yeah, those are clear lines of how do I engage." The unfortunate thing with the California law, it isn't as defined and I think that's really going to make a lot of companies a lot more money, who have to provide marketing services. So from that standpoint, I think we all welcome it. But I really believe the federal government will come in prior and quash something.

Stacey Hawes: No. No.

Lung Huang: It's getting too late. It's getting too late.

Stacey Hawes: Too late. Do you mind if I jump in here?

James Hercher: Yeah, this one's... Yeah.

Stacey Hawes: We got our European business GDPR compliant, it's been what? A year and a half ago now. It seems like anyway. CCPA is different in that it doesn't require an opt in. And I agree with you that I think that brands and consumers should be able to share with consumers how we collected their data, what type of information we have on them, and where we send their data, and certainly the right to opt out, or to be forgotten. Absolutely. The way that the CCPA law is written is still so vague and left to interpretation, and there are nuances around it that I don't think we're going to get answers to from the California AG anytime before this law goes into effect in January.

 So what that means, I mean companies like Epsilon, we've kind of had all hands on deck getting prepared for CCPA. Obviously we manage third party data assets, we have to be compliant on January 1st and will be. But that's required us to invest a significant amount of money to build a privacy platform basically on top of all of our data assets, to be able to enable that to and from reporting. We've been working across the industry with other data providers, to figure out from a consumer perspective, what type of information is going to be digestible because if you think about it, just take your marketing hats off in here for a minute and just be a consumer. If we started telling you where we got your information and I described it from a subscriber file, and someone else described it from a publisher file, or a donor file, or a retailer, those words mean different things to different consumers and different people, and how you digest them.

So even just telling someone where you got their information, because it doesn't have to be at a brand level. I'm not telling someone I got their information from Audubon Society, I'm saying I got it from this type of a category of a business is where I got that information. And where I sent it the same way, it's at the category level. There's so little consumer education that has gone on around what we do as marketers in this space and how we use data, I actually think the vast majority of us are really good stewards of the data. That we each own, that we use and leverage, and what we do with it. To just open up the floodgates with consumers and tell them all of this at one time, it's really scary and I don't think it's what the intent of the law was even meant to do.

For instance, if you tell someone they have the right to be forgotten and they tell you, "Delete my information. Erase me from your database." How do we know 30 days from now. When you came back in through somebody else, that we already forgot you? We don't know that we forgot you. I mean just the way that it's written, there are some inconsistencies within the law. I do think federal legislation will come. So it's the timing of when I think it's going to come.

James Hercher: How about you Heather? I'm sort of curious what the compliance picture looks like.

Heather Steiger: Yeah, it's not front of mind yet, but it's in the back of my mind because I know that it's coming. And for me personally, California is a very responsive market for the company I work in. So if I now can't promote to them, Oh crap, what do I do and where do I go? And then once California's law goes into effect, what's to stop Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, and every other state coming up with their own way of thinking what their privacy action be? And then from there you have when does it become a federal thing?

Stacey Hawes: Yeah. I think there's 21 states now lined up behind California.

Heather Steiger: Crazy.

Stacey Hawes: So the answer is not to stop marketing into California residents. By the way, they can be sitting in New York or Florida and still be a California resident.

Heather Steiger: Yeah. Well, even with what I do, I know that for every mailing that I do, I have a do not promote file that are just consumers who call freshly and say, "I don't want anything from you." Then we have the direct mail direct marketing association. So you have, their list of people who say, "These people do not want anything from anybody." If you don't want to hear from me, I don't want to talk to you. It's okay. It's okay.

Stacey Hawes: Just market to those people who are going to respond.

Heather Steiger: Exactly. I can really refine a list of 98% response. It'll be 12 people, but they are going to want to hear from me.

James Hercher: I'm going to start pulling some questions from the Q and. A. I see here actually. For Steven, I see this, in regards to acquiring new donors, what digital channel do you find most effective? How much priming do those prospects require?

Steven Abrahams: In our ads on Facebook, probably most effective and that goes back and forth with search. And that depends on what's going on. If something breaks in the news and a lot of people are searching for us and they they want to find out about the issue, and they care about what's going on, search will be a lot cheaper. Otherwise, generally day to day Facebook. I'm not really sure how much priming, I mean it's hard for us to know all the channels that people are seeing us in, seeing things in. So I don't have a good answer to that, but it's a good question. I have to sort of think about how to get a better handle on measuring that.

James Hercher: Yeah. Well, I mean I think for one thing, in terms of the social media, taking on users and converting them into donors, what's the sort of success rate there? What do you see in terms of that?

Steven Abrahams: In terms of just, I mean we have whatever, a million and a half, 2 million followers on Facebook and very few of them are going to become donors. There's not a good conversion there.

James Hercher: Right. So if some big wave of Twitter followers or some vies doesn't necessarily-

Steven Abrahams: Yeah. We rarely convert people. We get people onto our email list and convert them, and we use lookalike models to find people who look like our current donors and that's where we have success. And we do more directed acquisition of lookalikes as opposed to just general list acquisition because we get very low conversion rates there.

Lung Huang: You guys should own Twitter. I would hopefully The Audubon Society has a good... We Twitter, we tweet a bit.

Steven Abrahams: Our is Instagram because photography and visuals of birds obviously that's our more bigger growing channel.

Lung Huang: The puns I would have if I-

Stacey Hawes: The tweeting. I just got it.

Lung Huang: Yeah.

James Hercher: And here's a good one, which is-

Stacey Hawes: It's a bird, right?

Heather Steiger: All together.

James Hercher: We've done a lot of on the offline channels, direct mail. So where does out of home, digital out of home fit in for any of you? Is that part of the mix?

Lung Huang: Yeah, out of home is great. It's a sign with a stick on it for the most part. Those type of ones, they are out there, but they give nothing back. So when we talk about attribution in this, and I love outdoor, but the industry needs to come together because they have digital out of home. But if you actually see how many can you actually get a response back for us to do all our attribution, it's very little. And so I guess that's my biggest challenge on outdoor or non-addressable media, is we're playing and we're getting information from all these great channels and then we get nothing from another. It's really hard to really justify that, to say, "Yes, I'm going to throw in money each and every year on that," or, "I'll throw money now because of it." There's definitely a reason for out of home, but I think that to me, not having enough feedback to be able to run some analysis on it is kind of hindering that industry as a whole.

Stacey Hawes: Not as measurable.

Heather Steiger: Yeah. Basically the same thing here. We're just way too conservative at this point to tackle out of home.

Steven Abrahams: It's interesting. We're not an out of home, but there are other nonprofits that do use out of home, and going back to texting, they use texting as the reply channel. And through a series. So if somebody texts you send them a message, "Great, you care about our issue. Here's some more information. Sign up on our email list." And then there's a follow up, "Hey, how about giving?" And you send them a link so they can do a mobile donation form. So it becomes a direct channel through that way. Then I don't have the resources to do that now, but I see some other organizations that have been successful with that. So there's ways at least of of doing that on limited basis, making it work.

Lung Huang: And I think it gets back to the, when we were talking about the channels and everything if I'm building awareness or branding, yeah, there were some cases where you can't just attribute that. If somebody can figure that out, that'd be great. But there are times where we have that, but a lot of times with what we're focusing on is really what is the working performance media. And that's the one where you really have to know and be able to really get in there and measure what you can. And so I think that's the most interesting thing when you talk about omni-channel and what we're looking at. But I don't spend as much time on the awareness side or branding portions. I'm saying, "We invest this dollar, when do I get back?"

James Hercher: I'm going to sort of loosely paraphrase this, but do you have a perspective on what type of content is most useful? And I think that sort of goes along with a recent trend, a lot of big expansions, a lot of investment in contextual targeting, a lot of sort of interest in that category. I don't know if that's something you're looking at, but yeah, this same sort of question. What sort of content do you find is good for breaking through? And if you're doing anything around sort of personalization, contextualization?

Lung Huang: Cats, people love cat. Cats are cute on the internet.

James Hercher: Breaking news.

Lung Huang: Yeah. Breaking news there. I think when you think about personalization, I mean that's where you have to be right. So if I'm going to speak to a consumer and they're a cat household, they're not a dog household, and now all of a sudden I'm showing them all these dog things, it's going to fall flat and we waste the money. So I think that's really the ultimate answer to that question is just, I want to be at a place where I'm personalizing everything. And if regulatory items doesn't allow that, then I think you're going to have a lot of consumer backlash, that why am I getting these dog ones from my competitors?

Stacey Hawes:  Yeah, I think in general, figuring out, I mean really starting with the basics of who your customers are, what they care about, what they're passionate about, where they shop, what they prefer, not just what they're doing with you, but what they're doing out there across the ecosystem, and then tailoring that content around it. So I'm not a cat person, don't market a cat to me. Maybe I'm a bird person. Figure out what the right imagery is that's going to evoke emotions, so it's relevancy, it's personalization. But it's kind of crafting that strategy around how do you emote someone to want to do something or to take an action? And you can't figure that out one to one, much less at scale, without the right data at the core to help you understand who they are.

James Hercher: Well, I actually would like to throw the same question to you.

Heather Steiger: Okay. I don't exactly go into a campaign on-

James Hercher: Do you any sort of programmatic out of home retargeting or anything like that?

Heather Steiger: No.

James Hercher: Like do you... No?

Heather Steiger: No. No. For us the most recent thing we tried, we don't necessarily go in with the, okay, they're trying to tune us out. What do we do? It's more like a where can we capture them at a moment in their life and show that we are an effective solution for them?

James Hercher: Right. If there's no ad blocker for the mailbox.

Heather Steiger: No. Like for paid search for example, let's say you've recently retired, I can target an ad to say, "Why cook? You can have fresh meals delivered to your house." If you recently moved, like "Unpacking your kitchen's a pain in the butt, keep it clean. Here. Here's some fresh meals you can order." It's more in trying to find someone at a moment in their life and trying to help them.

James Hercher: Great. Well, we're, we're coming up on the end now. I don't think we have time for another question, so thank you everyone.