Engagement marketing is a buzzword that’s constantly thrown around in the marketing community. Though it’s a simple concept to grasp, many companies miss the mark on their customer engagement strategy and struggle to achieve real, sustainable results as they grow and scale.
Enter Braze, a leading customer engagement platform based in NYC, that seeks to “power memorable experiences between consumers and the brands they love.” Their product is superior at helping customers achieve consistent user engagement, which has made their brand name synonymous with this core product offering. However, their true secret to success lies in making customer engagement a primary goal for their business and clients, which ultimately leads to stronger customer lifetime value (LTV). This strategy has allowed them to scale to $200M annual revenue (ARR) and a +840% lift in ROI within just a decade since launch.
When Braze was founded in 2011 as Appboy, its first products were limited to email and iOS delivery services. Their initial success was ignited when they won the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon that same year. Here at NoGood, we’re TechCrunch Verified Experts in Growth Marketing, so we know what it takes to join that exclusive club.
As the marketplace evolved, so did Braze. They re-branded the company in 2017 and expanded their services to include Mobile/Web Push notifications, In-Browser Messaging, Content Cards, and SMS/Text. As their product offerings became more robust, they attracted new clientele, including startups, mobile-first companies, and enterprises. Fast forward to 2021 and they’ve achieved industry-wide accolades as one of the Best Workplaces by Fortune, Inc. Magazine, and Crain, making them a leader in both the tech space and professional networking circles.
Dissecting the True Value of Customer Engagement
Customer engagement is a cornerstone of the Braze approach, and they are committed to helping businesses build genuine and sustainable connections with their customers. Over the years, they have become the expert at communicating with users at critical points in their journey, both as a company and as a service provider. In their 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review, they proved that successful customer engagement tactics are directly correlated to higher customer lifetime value results, and lower customer acquisition costs, resulting in long-term, capital-efficient business growth.
So, let’s break down that formula…
- Achieve Higher LTV: From a financial perspective, the benefits of customer engagement go far beyond traditional ROAS. If you’re able to hook a new user into your Growth Loop and your product is best-in-class, then it’s only a matter of time until you see a lift in their overall customer lifetime value.
- Lower Acquisition Costs: New user acquisition can be a costly game if you’re not committed to the Hook Model. Yes, conversion should be considered a win, but the work doesn’t stop there. It’s critical to keep that user engaged with your product/service until they develop habitual engagement. Once you achieve this, you can analyze your strategy to optimize your Growth Loop at lower costs.
- Maximize ARR Growth: Achieving widespread customer engagement for brands on a global scale can be daunting. However, companies who commit to this strategy will be more likely to achieve their revenue goals compared to those who neglect this tactic.
Beyond these core areas of success, user engagement builds loyalty and retention with both new and existing customers. Eventually, this tactic will elevate your product offering to become an essential part of your customer’s life, and using it will become a no-brainer for them. Braze has accomplished this for their business, as well as countless clients including Venmo, Headspace, and HBO, all of which are used daily by their customers.
Offer Superior Cloud-Based Technology and AI
From a strategic perspective, giving clients the tools to generate strong, consistent customer engagement has been their core product offering since inception. However, Braze is so much more than a customer engagement platform.
The technology that powers their platform is one of the most sophisticated and robust cloud-based solutions in the industry. Their engineers have built a responsive, cross-channel experience that can be adjusted for large and small companies alike, and they pride themselves on offering custom solutions via flexible APIs that can be tweaked for a company’s needs.
In the early years, Braze focused on perfecting their technology. They prioritized building a product that would dominate the competition from a technical perspective. To maintain their growing presence as a digital leader, it was crucial they offered a platform that’s intuitive to clients. Today, the software saves clients up to 1.2K hours on managerial maintenance and integration work, giving them more time to actually focus on doing business. In fact, prioritizing accessibility has allowed them to deliver >1B push notifications per month for 3B+ active monthly users in 2019.
Their #1 product is Braze Canvas, which they’ve branded as an ‘Intuitive Tool for Marketers.’ This AI allows customers to segment, orchestrate, personalize, and test campaigns in one central place. The product excels at dynamic segmentation, automated flows, journey orchestration, and action-based delivery which pushes customer relationships to the next level.
The best platforms give users the ability to run tests quickly and nimbly, which is also a core function of Braze Canvas. To interpret the results, reporting and analysis tools are integrated directly into the platform, which allows customers to listen to and learn from their customers. Braze makes it simple for clients to tweak and optimize campaigns in real-time, which has driven a +624% lift in engagement rate when clients execute across multiple channels.
Selecting the Right Marketing Channels
It’s common sense that blasting the same campaign to customers on email, social, in-app, and SMS/push will likely have a high price tag with little ROI. Braze realizes that cross-channel promotion is paramount, and encourages its customers to choose at least two platforms to advertise on. They’ve found this messaging strategy leads to 4.2K higher customer lifetime value and a +73% lift in their likelihood to convert. However, they strongly recommend against publishing duplicate campaigns (without tweaks or personalization) to all channels.
As a business, Braze is picky when deciding which channels to enter. It’s not enough to “just be active” anymore. To make an impact and garner engagement, you need to be a thought leader and give your customers meaningful content. Simply sending a bland email campaign every Tuesday at 11 a.m. won’t get you very far. Consistency in tone and positioning across channels is also paramount for both stronger customer engagement and the overarching and brand reputation/voice.
Take Braze’s social media presence as an example. Their most active platform is LinkedIn, likely because it’s the leading professional network, and has its largest social media presence (26.8K followers). The majority of the content is blog posts from their website, which accomplishes three core goals. First of all, Braze is positioned as a thought leader. Secondly, this increases their visibility to reach new audiences and serves as an educational tool for newcomers and seasoned marketers alike. Lastly, these pieces are likely SEO optimized so it’s an easy way to repurpose valuable content. Beyond organic social content, this is the only social platform where they run paid advertising, another indicator that they don’t waste efforts on low converting platforms.
Their second most active platform is Twitter, which continues to be a leading news platform. Content is relatively consistent versus LinkedIn, and their engagement strategy includes retweeting partners and other off-page resource posts. They often comment on current events, which keeps them involved in larger conversations. Consistent with their strategy for this platform, Twitter is their second-largest social media audience at 16.2K followers.
Braze also manages an account on Instagram, though it has the smallest audience (2K). From a lead generation perspective, this is the least qualified social channel for Braze. They’ve made a strategic decision to focus efforts on larger reach, professionally targeted platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Therefore, posting on Instagram is less frequent, and the content is more casual and humanity-based.
Leverage Employee and Customer Feedback to Your Advantage
Braze has set an exemplary job at putting its customers first. Creating an intuitive, top-notch user experience has consistently been at the forefront of their strategy, and has earned them industry-wide recognition and financial success. To take it a step further, Braze heavily values customer feedback, which is also a crucial part of our culture here at NoGood. This tactic serves as their most reliable growth mechanism and has allowed them to scale to new heights.
The company strategically invests in both its employees (nearly 1K worldwide) and customers. In Forrester Wave’s Mobile Engagement Automation 2020 review, Braze was defined as an industry leader ahead of Adobe, Airshop, Salesforce, Acoustic, and Leanplum. They received the highest rating for orchestration, data integration, and execution of their product offering which is a testament to their commitment to receiving and implementing feedback from both internal and external perspectives.
Takeaways and Growth Bites
Braze’s success proves that companies who optimize their products for customer engagement will see larger lifts in customer satisfaction and lifetime value, lower acquisition costs, and company-wide revenue margins. This will also cultivate meaningful client relationships which is a key step towards transforming your products into a vital part of your clients’ lives.
However, generating customer engagement will only get you so far. In order to truly set yourself apart from the competition, your product has to live up to your marketing efforts. Listening to user feedback and adapting to evolving trends is particularly important, and will earn clients’ trust and loyalty.
It’s also important to be picky when deciding which marketing channels to enter. Testing content across channels is a smart and effective way to understand what excites your audience. Once you are confident in your marketing strategy, then you can concentrate your efforts on the channels that will deliver the most value for both you and your customers. It’s a win, win.
If you are looking for a growth squad to scale your business, please reach out to our team of TechCrunch Verified Growth Experts. Here at NoGood, we never use a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we take the time to understand your business, your challenges, and your goals. Together, we’ll build an integrated strategy that works best for you. To get in touch with our team, click here.