NS, the Dutch Railways, is a large organization with a strict defined brand identity for each of their three labels: Domestic, business and international.
From first class tickets abroad to one-day getaways including lunch, the offering of products of the NS is vast. For their display campaigns, the NS works with several creative and media agencies.
Working with so many stakeholders, creating new banner sets is a long and arduous process for any advertiser. Moreover, sluggish workflows make investing in simple Below The Line (BLT) campaigns expensive with a less than perfect Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Agile marketing has made its entrance at the NS. Luuk Kool has been spearheading the formation of agile teams for each of the NS’s three brands. The teams are tasked with focusing on generating online impact and awareness for the offerings on the website. Turning to display advertising to help create a lift in relevant traffic, each team had set the goal of selecting five offerings to put in the spotlight each month.
The team also expressed the desire to be able to create additional display ads ad-hoc when needed. At the very least, 15 new display ads would have to be created each month. Luuk: “A lack of freedom can cause teams to choose the familiar option instead of a novel, more promising one. Our traditional way of working involved too many briefings and feedback to really adopt agile marketing. We were eager to get rid of that”.
In this set-up, working together with an agency seemed like an impossibility. Depending on anyone outside the team for adaptations could cause a delay of a week or two, after which the team would already be halfway to their deadline. At the same time, the teams had no design or coding skills while still wishing to work with animated HTML5 banners. These should always fit their brand identity and be compatible with several programmatic networks like Sizmek and DoubleClick. Luuk: “Because our team members are all used to fulfil a more coordinating role, we anticipated some reservations they would have about doing stuff self-service. This meant we had to look for a solution that would be very easy to use and would make sense in terms of providing agility and really saving some time”.
Luckily, a creative agency had already developed a set of display ads for each of the NS brands that were easy to rebuild in Bannerwise. Rebuilding the sets and setting it up as a template allowed the teams to quickly duplicate it and change the content in Bannerwise’s CMS. Now, each team member can easily replace an image, copy or CTA and set up a set of display ads within minutes. The ads can be exported for each of the DSP’s the teams use, or sent over to a media agency that takes care of this when the team has too much on their plate. “We quickly noticed that we needed to experiment with copy and images to look for the best effect” says Luuk. “Traffic alone doesn’t say much. To us it’s really about generating qualitative traffic that engages with our website for a significant amount of time. Luuk adds:
“The speed with which we can set-up new ads allows us to find significant differences in ad performance that we can use to improve.”
With additional services like training and personal instructional videos, Bannerwise has helped facilitate NS’ transformation to agile marketing. Moreover, the teams have been empowered to experiment their way to better campaign results.
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