October 15, 2020

CDP use cases: How Rip Curl boosts marketing performance

minute read

Global surfing brand Rip Curl used the Lexer Customer Data Platform (CDP) to achieve a single customer view, identify high-value customers, significantly improve campaign revenue using intelligent segmentation, and minimize irrelevant messages. Here’s an overview of their experience with Lexer, including the implementation process, quick wins, and their future plans for the platform.

Increasing impact while minimizing budget is a near-universal priority for every digital marketing team.

That certainly holds true for Rip Curl, one of the most well-known surfing brands in the world. As manager of Rip Curl’s digital marketing team, Sam Hopgood is always looking for ways to improve his team’s performance, streamline daily operations, and increase the visibility of marketing impact to the leadership team.

By partnering with Lexer to implement the Lexer Customer Data Platform, Sam and his team were able to do just that. With the CDP and support from the Lexer success team, Rip Curl achieved a number of goals, including:

Here’s a recap of the insights and strategies Rip Curl used to boost marketing performance.

About Rip Curl’s Digital Team

Founded in 1969, Rip Curl was started by two friends who wanted to fuel their surfing lifestyle. Since then, the brand has grown into a global powerhouse of surfwear and technical products for surfers.

The digital function at Rip Curl comprises of:

  • Websites: Rip Curl, Ozmosis, Peak, The Search, SearchGPS.
  • eCommerce: Rip Curl, Ozmosis, Peak.
  • Digital Marketing: web, mobile, email, content, partnerships, SEO/SEM.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

By optimizing the customer experience across each of these channels, the digital team hopes to:

  • Learn by using data to understand and engage customers.
  • Grow Rip Curl’s digital footprint and retail sales, both online and offline.
  • Lead in the delivery of digital marketing activities and campaigns.
  • Improve the customer journey and experience.

However, there was one problem getting in the way of these goals.

The Pre-CDP Challenge

Prior to the implementation of the Lexer CDP, Rip Curl’s data streams were disconnected and siloed across channels and locations. Without a central database, opportunities to capture and draw insights from data were lost.

“It was really a two-dimensional overview of our consumers and we didn’t really have an understanding of what a journey looked like,” says Sam Hopgood, Rip Curl’s Digital Marketing Manager. “That was where the need for a single customer ID eventuated. At this stage, the consumers demanded it as well—we were no longer in a period like 2008 where we could get away with marketing with the data we had in two or three channels. We needed to bring it all together to better serve the customer.”

In other words, Rip Curl needed to be able to capture and interpret data at every touchpoint—including online, in-store, customer service, and SearchGPS watch data—and consolidate that data into a single customer view in order to offer a seamless and connected customer experience.

That’s where Lexer came in.

The Solution: Lexer CDP

Rip Curl decided to implement the Lexer CDP to unite their disparate data and create a single view of the customer.

The CDP would act as Rip Curl’s single source of truth for all customer information across channels and touchpoints, giving the digital team everything they need to create consistent and personalized customer experiences.

“The connection and input of data were vast,” says Sam. “Lexer is relatively easy to onboard and connect—you don’t need to be a massive tech head to use it. You can also work with Lexer to create niche input channels as well, and the SearchGPS watch is one of those niche datasets. Lexer does do it all.”

After implementing the Lexer CDP to create an enriched single customer view, Sam and his team at Rip Curl would gain an unprecedented understanding of who the customer is, what they buy, and why. The CDP enabled self-serve customer insights, advanced customer segmentation, personalized targeting, and omnichannel campaign activation.

“Almost immediately, that two-dimensional view of our customer was elevated overnight when we uploaded all of these touchpoints into Lexer,” says Sam. “This new source of truth changed the way in which we communicated to the customer.”

Here’s an example of what the true single customer view looks like using Sam’s profile:

The single customer view includes both the typical attributes such as email address and transactional information, as well as more niche data tailored to Rip Curl’s unique needs. Currently, Rip Curl has almost 100 attributes associated with their customers in the CDP, making up a huge bulk of actionable data to segment and push out to marketing channels.

“You can see on the left-hand side that my profile includes the SearchGPS data—how many waves I’ve surfed, the date of the last surf, the longest wave, and really all my actions in the water,” says Sam. “This is a really niche form of data that we’re pulling into the Lexer CDP. It’s not a run-of-the-mill connection like an email subscription or social channel. It plays an integral part in establishing who our core surfers are and ultimately marketing to those surfers whether they be in a cold climate or a warm climate. We can also reward customers for reaching certain touchpoints or goals when they’re surfing, which sets us apart from competitors.”

From the implementation to the continued use of the Lexer platform, Sam describes the experience as relatively easy and low-stress for Rip Curl’s digital team, thanks to both the platform’s ease-of-use and strategic support from Lexer’s success team.

“In the initial rollout with Lexer, when we were uploading data from multiple touchpoints, Lexer was there to help us with that,” says Sam. “After the fact and when we started using the dashboard, they helped us figure out where to begin. When you’re looking at a lot of data, it can sometimes be quite intimidating and tough to figure out where to start and what to focus on. The Lexer team really helped us with that.”

Who Uses Lexer & How?

Currently, the CDP is used across a number of business and marketing functions to create a truly connected, data-driven approach to customer engagement.

The customer insights found using the Lexer CDP can be used to personalize website messaging and creative, create segmented lookalike audiences to engage on social, orchestrate targeted campaigns across every channel, reduce wasteful ad spend, track and measure the impact of marketing activities, and continuously optimize those activities.

“When we have all customer information together under a single identity, we receive better engagement in our marketing channels, we generate more traffic, and ultimately, we get more conversions out of those brand advocates,” says Sam. “We can get quite granular around personalization, and the effectiveness and the spend of that is minimal compared to what we’ve done in the past.”

Along with its many benefits for Rip Curl’s digital team, the CDP has generated actionable insights for Rip Curl’s product team as well.

“We see a lot of questions starting to come from the product managers,” says Sam. “What are certain demographics purchasing? How often do we see swimwear purchases? What color? What size? What’s the average order value? Ultimately, this is playing a key part in the seasons to come in what our product managers are creating for the consumers.”

Quick Wins

When first getting started with a CDP, it’s important to learn how to walk before you try to run. With support from Lexer’s success team, Rip Curl started implementing A/B tests to learn how customers would engage with initial campaigns and zoom-in on an effective approach.

Personalized eDMs boost open and click rates

By personalizing eDMs using the Lexer platform, Rip Curl saw an open rate increase of 28% when using the recipient’s name in the subject line, and a click rate increase of 16% when using the recipient’s name in the email copy.

“It’s not an insane increase, but over the course of the year when you’re sending to hundreds of thousands of inboxes, that does play a huge part in driving tens of thousands more to your site,” says Sam. “Ultimately, when there’s more coming to your site, there are more chances for conversions with those brand advocates. I look at personalization as being simple, yet significant, and we’re better serving our brand advocates because of that.”

Lexer segments increase conversions from surfer and wetsuit campaigns

Rip Curl also used the Lexer platform to create segments of customers interested in surfing and wetsuits and tailored creative to each segment. The results were incredible:

  • Overall, Lexer segments drove 93% more revenue per campaign in August.
  • The wetsuit campaign to the CDP-powered segment drove 15x higher revenue than its benchmark comparison.

Although the Lexer segments are a small fraction of the Rip Curl database compared to the general population of their customers, they engage much more heavily with marketing content. Knowing this, Rip Curl can use these Lexer segments to minimize their bulky, spray-and-pray communication and only target those who are likely to engage with each particular campaign which has a greater overall impact.

Win-back campaigns re-engage customers and reduce spam

Additionally, Rip Curl implemented win-back campaigns across email and social media. Disengaged customers identified with the CDP receive automated and personalized messages across social and email prompting them to return to the eCommerce store. If these users still don’t engage, they’re suppressed from weekly marketing communications and only contacted about major announcements. This strategy minimizes spamming and ensures Rip Curl is only communicating frequently with those who are engaged with the brand.

Current State

The market has drastically changed over the past year, due in large part to the sweeping effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As digital continues to see massive growth, Rip Curl has elevated their use of the Lexer CDP to take advantage of this opportunity.

“COVID has weaponized loyalty programs and CDPs. They're more relevant and crucial than ever.” Sam Hopgood, Rip Curl's Digital Marketing Manager

Digital-only product rollout drives global conversions

One defining campaign from this year was Rip Curl’s global wetsuit rollout. The team had intended to roll it out in April at a Rip Curl event, but it had to be postponed because of COVID. Instead, they decided to roll it out digitally in June using Lexer CDP-powered segments, automated journeys, and global cross-channel marketing campaigns. With all of the Rip Curl retail locations closed, it was the brand’s biggest digital activation ever.

“Our premium product sold out of key sizes in three weeks,” says Sam. “It was really great to see that we were rewarding our brand advocates online and they were engaging with that content, even though the landscape had changed.”

Comfort apparel campaign drives growth during COVID

In April, it became clear that Australian consumers were increasingly interested in wetsuits and comfort apparel. Surfing was still an acceptable form of exercise under lockdown, and consumers were investing in tracksuit pants and comfortable jumpers while they were stuck at home.

In response to this boost in category interest, Rip Curl developed focused campaigns highlighting these categories and targeted audiences identified using Lexer. This strategy ensured that Rip Curl was still engaging customers online with relevant products even with stores closed, efficiently maximizing their digital presence. These Lexer-powered campaigns saw a year-over-year eDM growth of 117%.

CDP-inspired brand content achieves the most-viewed Rip Curl Youtube edit ever

CDPs are sometimes viewed as purely transactional entities used to drive conversions and revenue, but Rip Curl found that the CDP can be used to drive brand awareness and content engagement as well. With events canceled and international borders closed, Rip Curl still wanted to ensure that consumers got their fix of branded surfing content online.

Over the winter, surfer Morgan Cibilic and the Australian Rip Curl team spent 10 days on a road trip filming a surfing edit called Postcards From Morgs. After releasing this edit on YouTube, Rip Curl used the Lexer CDP to identify a range of core surfers—including SearchGPS users and those who’ve purchased the performance bikini, wetsuit, or boardshorts—and targeted them with trailers for the edit across social media via owned and athlete channels.

In just seven days post-launch, Postcards From Morgs became the most-viewed YouTube edit that Rip Curl has ever released, achieving over 400k views.

What’s Next for Rip Curl and Lexer?

Rip Curl continues to emphasize the importance of data in all of their marketing initiatives. In this day and age, there is so much data accessible to businesses that customer insight should be an integral part of every customer interaction and brand strategy.

“Within the last 24 months, we’ve increased traffic to the site with brand advocates and our ROI is better than ever from an online marketing standpoint,” says Sam. “Ultimately, this justifies the investment in a CDP and working with Lexer.”

Using the Lexer CDP to manage, segment, track, and activate their data across channels, Rip Curl plans to:

  • Run sweepstakes campaigns to grow their email database, reward brand advocates, and fill the gaps in their current customer data.
  • Develop the Rip Curl tiered loyalty program to reward highly engaged customers.
  • Extend automation capabilities and orchestrate personalized customer journeys to improve the efficiency and impact of their campaigns.
  • Integrate with additional activation channels to reach more customers.
  • Continue monitoring SearchGPS watch data and using this data to inform engagement.
  • Collaborate with outdoor specialty retailer Kathmandu, which recently acquired Rip Curl, on digital marketing and engagement initiatives.

Interested in implementing similar CDP-powered strategies to grow your business? Use the calendar link below to book a free demo of Lexer.

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Elizabeth Burnam
Content Marketing Specialist
Elizabeth Burnam is a content marketer and a poet at heart. She has a degree in Professional Writing and experience developing high-impact marketing assets for a broad range of industries.Outside of work, she enjoys reading, painting, people-watching, and exploring the natural wonders of Vermont.