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Personalization and Data-A Marketing Match Made in Heaven ( John Volturo, CMO of Sparks Networks )

Posted on February 9, 2016 by Glenn Gow

Sparks Networks has been in the online dating game since 1997, growing from a single entry to a diverse portfolio of 30 niche dating websites. The company’s flagship site, JDate, began lagging in recent years, however, as new applications employing social media and deep personalization began to make JDate and other Sparks properties feel “a little bit dusty.” Enter John Volturo, current CMO of Sparks. Volturo, with a direct marketing background at data driven companies like BMG and Viacom, was brought in to refresh and optimize Sparks’ marketing system. In this episode of Moneyball for Marketing, Volturo joins us to share insights on understanding your audience, communicating to them with the right message at the right time on the right device, making the most of customer acquisition cost and using iterative testing to optimize data marketing. Some of the key insights learned are as follows:

Driving Data: John talks about how Sparks pulls together location, behavior, background data and device awareness to serve the right information at the right time in its marketing system. He explains how to do this when the user is anonymous or when the user’s actual online behavior clashes with what he or she has communicated he is looking for.

Multiple Methods: “Wins come in iterative processes,” says John, “not many people have those big gigantic transformative wins all the time.” He explains how to methodically use multivariable testing to build up conversion. He also discusses how Sparks networks’ marketing system employs different channels and methods for different audiences and reaffirms the human role in selecting and evaluating data.

Fatigue Fighting: “You think you’re doing one-on-one marketing because you’re putting out an email to somebody, you’re sending it personalized, but you start realizing that overtime they start to fatigue.” So says John about personalization, going on to cite strategies for improving customer acquisition cost and remedies for fatigue, including “paying attention to the journey throughout the day,” a lesson John says many marketers still have to learn “the hard way.”

John Volturo is the global Chief Marketing Officer at Spark Networks . Spark owns and operates more than 30 niche-focused online dating properties including JDate.com, ChristianMingle.com, LDSSingles.com and the millennial-focused CrossPaths dating app in the iOS store. John leads global marketing strategy, business development, branding, demand generation and fulfillment, lifecycle marketing, customer service, ad sales and operations, communications and more.

Spark Networks owns and operates more than 30 niche-focused online dating properties designed to build community, including more than 20 online personals sites such as JDate®.com,ChristianMingle®.com, LDSSingles.com, and CrossPaths iOS app.


Read the full transcript here

Glenn Gow

Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.


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