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Say it with flowers – and data

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The world’s biggest flower delivery service has turned to big data marketing tools from IBM to make the customer experience more meaningful.

At the IBM Amplify conference in San Diego yesterday, IBM announced a digital marketing collaboration with Teleflora, the world’s leading flower delivery service. Working with IBM Commerce, Teleflora is using sophisticated digital systems to create more meaningful experiences for its customers.

The initiative comes as small business florists face increasing competition from big box retailers, grocery chains and new e-commerce players. While overall spending on flowers has remained stable, smaller florists have seen sales slide nearly 40 percent in the past few years to $5.9 billion in 2014 from $9.4 billion in 2006, according to IBISWorld, a global research firm.

To address this market dynamic, the Los Angeles based Teleflora directs all of its online orders to a local florist within the company’s network to fulfil and deliver the arrangement. Because of the company’s focus on driving business for florists, while also providing exceptional customer service, giving customers rewarding experiences is regarded as a key to success. However, because the way shoppers interact with florists has evolved, leveraging online resources more frequently than brick and mortar locations, the Teleflora marketing team decided to focus on providing customers specifically with what they want, instead of blanketing them with generic marketing messages.

The way consumers shop for flowers has evolved to a much more digital model,” said Totran Radke, Senior Manager of Online Marketing at Teleflora. “As the only online floral company to work 100 percent with locally owned, ‚Äòmom-and-pop’ florists, highlighting our value from big-box stores is vital to success. To do this, we have to incorporate extremely targeted, personalized digital marketing campaigns to keep the Teleflora brand top-of-mind.

Teleflora markets to a variety of audiences, including a consumer team that targets the purchasers directly: services, which markets to and implements digital marketing campaigns on behalf of the network of florists: and partnership marketing, which markets to and develops strategic partnerships with relevant companies.

With this variety of audiences that require their own distinct marketing interactions, being timely – communicating at the most convenient time for each individual – and providing the most useful information at a personal level is critical. Whether it’s a reminder to place a Mother’s Day order or an update on an online special, the only way to achieve this level of individualization at scale is through sophisticated digital marketing. Some of the specific targeted campaigns Teleflora deploys include:

As the Teleflora marketing team continues to progress in its digital marketing sophistication, they will become even more targeted by breaking down channel silos and having a true omnichannel presence, creating a single identity for each customer.

Customers today are flooded with marketing messages,” said Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM Commerce. “With only 21 percent of consumers defining communications from brands as ‚Äòusually’ relevant, companies must find a way to stand out. To be successful, they must provide information that is not only relevant and timely, but also interesting and useful to the customer at the right time. Individualization is key to marketing success, and this is something Teleflora has achieved and continues to advance.

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