multichannel marketing an experiment on leading citizens to online public services
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Multichannel marketing : An experiment on leading citizens to online public services. Marije Teerling Telematica Instituut [email protected] Willem Pieterson University of Twente [email protected] Channels in Balance | Research background.

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multichannel marketing an experiment on leading citizens to online public services

Multichannel marketing : An experiment on leading citizens to online public services

Marije Teerling

Telematica Instituut

[email protected]

Willem Pieterson

University of Twente

[email protected]

channels in balance research background
Channels in Balance | Research background
  • Government Multichannel management
  • Partners: national government agencies, ministries, local government, universities
  • Basic principle:
    • Citizens’ are able to choose their preferred channel
  • Key topics
    • Channel synchronization: how to realize consistent information for customers across channels and services
    • Channel marketing: how to entice customers into using the most cost efficient channel given their problem (usually the electronic channel)
multichannel marketing trends developments
Multichannel marketing| Trends & developments
  • ’90  introduction new (digital) service channels
  • Digital channels  efficiency, lower costs
  • Citizens still mainly use the traditional channels!
  • How can governments lead citizens to the online public services?
multi channel marketing examples of instruments
Multi-channel marketing | Examples of instruments

Municipal Rescricted access to the front desk


eCitizen helpers

Land registry (office) Online prices lower than offline prices

multichannel marketing instruments citizens preferences
Multichannel marketing instruments | Citizens’ preferences


web service


  • Four categories of instruments
  • Citizens prefer soft instruments, like communication and web service offering
  • Strong correlations between ‘positive’ instruments
  • Citizens do not favor compulsory or discriminatory instruments
  • Effectiveness instruments is unclear






Offering (WSO)




Web services


Legal /




Teerling and Pieterson (2008)



  • Citizens continue to use digital channels.
  • Service provision through digital channels can be more cost efficient.
  • Citizens & governments seem to favor softer instruments like communication.
  • Lack of clarity on the effectiveness of multichannel marketing instruments.

Our objective:

  • To determine the effectiveness of communication – specifically through a personal letter – in
    • influencing citizens’ choice of channel and
    • its effects on citizens’ perceptions of service delivery
multichannel marketing field experiment with the svb
Multichannel marketing | Field experiment with the SVB
  • Field experiment with Dutch government agency responsible for pensions and child benefit (SVB)
  • First time a citizen submits a claim for child benefit
  • 2nd – xth childfully automated process
  • Goal: ensure all citizens who are entitled to child benefit receive it as soon as possible
  • 2x2 field experiment
  • Procedure
    • Current
    • Experimental
  • Group
    • Experimental branch offices
    • Control branch offices
experiment apllication procedure for child benefit
Experiment | Apllication procedure for child benefit
  • Standard procedure:
  • Citizens receive a letter and a pre-completed form
  • Experimental procedure:
  • Citizens receive a letter indicating them to go online






Internet application

is online







citizen by


Bi-weekly mailing

(3000 ex.)

Application of


SVB judges






Letter &


Form send

by mail

Mailing company



experiment data collection
Experiment | Data collection
  • Data collection period: June 2008 during two bi-weekly periods
experiment data collection measurements
Experiment | Data collection | Measurements

Measurement before experiment

  • Average number of claims through each channel (post versus website)
  • Number of letters sent June 2007

Measurement during/after experiment

  • Number of claims through each channel for each group
  • Number of citizens in the experimental group that call for a form
  • Survey amongst citizens in both groups measuring their perceptions with respect to the SVB and the procedure for claiming child benefits
experiment results channel of application
Experiment | Results | Channel of application
  • Channel of application before the experiment:
  • 63% applied through post (equal for control and experimental offices)
  • 37% applied through the website
experiment results forms requested by phone
Experiment | Results | Forms requested by phone
  • 333 citizens in the experimental group contacted the SVB to request a form
  • Reasons to request a form:
    • About 40% did not have access to the internet
      • 33.8% have no access at all
      • 7.7% temporarily did not have access
    • DigiD
      • 15% did not have a DigiD
      • 20% got stuck using it
    • Other obstacles
      • Clumsiness in using the internet
      • Language problems
      • Technical problems on the website
experiment results citizens perceptions the letter
Experiment | Results | Citizens’ perceptions | The letter
  • Respondents are similar in their view of the letter, regardless of which they received.
  • In both conditions respondents were equally pleased with their choice of channels.
experiment results demographics
Experiment | Results | Demographics
  • Average age is 31.89
    • Is the approximate average in the Netherlands for women to have their first child
  • Gender
    • Women are more likely to apply through post than men
      • Experimental group: 16.4% versus 10.7%
      • Control group: 26.2% versus 20.8%
    • Men are more likely to apply through the website than women
      • Experimental group: 49% versus 39.8%
      • Control group: 19.5% versus 17.6%
  • Education
    • % of elementary or high school educated citizens is highest in the experimental group applying through phone & post (resp. 26% and 46%)
    • % of college educated citizens is highest in the control group and experimental group applying through the website (resp. 47% and 42%)
experiment conclusions
Experiment | Conclusions
  • Adoption literature indicates the following crucial aspects for adoption:
    • a well-functioning web service
    • increasing awareness of e-services
    • showing that the e-services provide more value than services offered through the traditional channels
    • building trust
  • Citizens who called for a form:
    • Lacked trust (in themselves and DigiD)
    • Got stuck  well-functioning web service
  • By increasing awareness of the e-service through a simple letter
    • Advantage of the web over the other channels was reached by leaving out the pre-completed form
    • Usage was practically doubled
    • Respondents still felt they had a sufficient choice of channels
experiment conclusions1
Experiment | Conclusions
  • Customer groups
    • Digital divide (based on education level) still needs attention
  • Governments should carefully consider
    • Implementing a recall mailing possibly with the pre-completed form
    • Keep website functioning at all times
    • Make e-services as simple as possible
    • Improve the identification procedure (DigiD)
  • SVB management was advised to implement the experimental procedure as the standard.
multichannel marketing future research
Multichannel Marketing| Future research
  • Communication as information or as propaganda
  • Effectiveness of the other instruments / combinations of instruments
  • Removing barriers to internet use
  • Further research within the project Kanalen in Balans
    • Qualitative study for the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs
    • New smart forms of communication @ SVB
    • Training & self-service technology @ IBG
    • From channel choice research to defining a multichannel marketing plan @ 3 Dutch municipalities
    • Improving the web channel (chat function) @ UWV
HICSS – 42

January 5 – 8, 2009