Small Marketing Team Harnesses Personalized Omnichannel Journeys with Shopify Plus and Emarsys

As a Shopify Plus customer with a very small marketing team, JOLYN — a woman’s competitive swimwear brand that provides bright and colorful industry-disrupting bathing suits  through their e-commerce store — discovered the Emarsys Certified App for Shopify Plus.

Samantha Tedder, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at JOLYN, had this to say after connecting Shopify Plus with Emarsys, “Within a day we had the plugin running, we had the code on our site, and if we were creatively prepared, we probably would have been able to prepare our IP warm-up that same day.”

The process was smooth and seamless and required no requests to their IT team… and zero developer resources.

Five years of JOLYN’s data flowed into the Emarsys omnichannel customer engagement platform, and the AI quickly placed customers in categories, such as hot leads, defecting customers, cold leads, and customer lifetime value.

With the click of a button, JOLYN deployed pre-built use cases and tactics to create 1:1 omnichannel journeys with personalized content and offers on their product pages, as well as on Instagram, Google, Facebook, and within email and SMS.

The team at JOLYN were free to be marketers, and focus on strategy, rather than being dependent on developers or the IT team to launch new use cases.

At their fingertips, JOLYN had the power of a much larger, resource-heavy team. All their advanced data was available so they could quickly and easily create highly personalized 1:1 omnichannel journeys for customers and prospects on any channel… all with zero dependencies.

Create 1:1 personalized omnichannel marketing with your Shopify Plus store


How E-commerce Companies Are Predicting Customer Behavior Like Never Before

Alexandra Simion knows a thing or two about innovation in the world of marketing technology. She also knows, first-hand, the challenges of being a busy brand marketer in today’s e-commerce ecosystem.

Figuring out how to track, respond to, and proactively get the right offers in front of millions of database members is a mind-boggling task to even the most savvy digital marketer.

Over the last three-and-a-half years with BrandAlley UK, Alexandra has worked cross-functionally to adopt new tech, help connect systems, and ensure brand consistency. But everything has changed for the retailer since adopting AI about a year ago.

As she reflects back, BrandAlley’s astute and pragmatic Head of Marketing knew that she would be taking a risk by adopting artificial intelligence.

“As a business, you can’t succeed if you don’t take risks… imagine that you’re adopting something that you’ve never used before, maybe no one else has used before… there’s definitely a risk, but you have to make a decision — is it more important not to take the risk, or is it more important to try and see what happens?”

          — Alexandra Simion, Head of Marketing, BrandAlley UK

AI has reached a tipping point. Retail companies worldwide are employing various use cases to affect enterprise-wide impact more quickly than ever before.

For e-commerce, AI shines brightly (and is getting much better), specifically, around predicting customer events. This might include purchase probability, likelihood to convert, who will churn, who will take action on certain offers, anticipated revenue, and more.

twitter“We were able to use #AI to see when an individual would lapse, & communicate with that person” says @AlexandraSimion of @BrandAlleyUK       CLICK TO TWEET

Why the sudden and widespread interest in AI? The answer is three-pronged:

  • Key AI-related technologies (machine learning, AR and VR) have passed the peak of inflated expectations (Gartner), and are well-understood than ever.
  • The AI Revolution is underway, and digital marketers are awakening to the reality that scaling 1-to-1 interactions is impossible to achieve without automation and AI.
  • AI makes sense. Nothing has carried higher potential than AI when it comes to efficiency, automation, and data analysis.

E-commerce marketers use AI to become proactive

AI in Action: Understanding Tangible Benefits

If AI can drive autonomous cars and help us fly people into outer space, it should be able to — and certainly can — change the way e-commerce brands both dissect their data and communicate with customers.


Machine learning, deep learning, and predictive analytics (subsets of AI) connect data, decisioning, and marketing automation in a way we simply haven’t been able to do before.

Three big ways this is all coming together for e-commerce teams include: targeting lapsing or churning customers, converting first-time to second-time buyers, and predicting revenue for lifecycle segments.

How AI Targets Churning Segments

If you know that Customer I buys every 60 days and Customer II buys every three weeks, you know each has very different purchase cycles. AI can help understand which customer is a higher-value customer, and, if they go cold, it can deliver the content/offer most likely to convert them before it’s too late.

This requires testing and optimization over time, as Simion describes:

twitter“#ArtificialIntelligence told us when to communicate w/ ‘likely to churn’ customers,” says @AlexandraSimion of @BrandAlleyUK       CLICK TO TWEET

BrandAlley generated a 24% increase in conversions among “churning” segments with AI as an ally.

How AI Increases First- to Second-Time Buyers

AI also helps to identify first-time buyers who are likely to convert again, and encourages a second purchase with the right offer based on what they bought the first time. It identifies these active buyers who are likely to convert, then provides an irresistible offer to get them to keep coming back. Over time, expect to see incrementally higher conversion rates and AOV of this segment.

In their first-time to active buyer program, for example, BrandAlley saw a 10% increase in average basket value.

Average Order Value

First- to second-time buyer campaigns are arguably the most important to get right. By its nature, this segment is at high risk for being a “one and done.” So, using AI, you can maximize the chances that first-time buyers return.

How AI Predicts Quarterly Revenue

For marketing executives who want to project customer lifetime value (CLV) and quarterly revenue, AI can be helpful in forecasting dollars for upcoming events.

For example, BrandAlley anticipated revenue for the business for all lifecycle segments for the quarter ahead.

Final Thoughts

Companies like BrandAlley showcase what enterprise AI implementation looks like in practice. They’re driving tangible impact using AI, and go way beyond abstract benefits like “AI saves time,” and “AI automates messaging.”

AI helps predict important aspects of customer behavior, including which segments are most likely to take action and on which kinds of offers.

When we talk about AI fueling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with respect to e-commerce,  this is exactly what we’re talking about — and why we’re so high on AI.

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AI predicts buying probability, likelihood to convert & CLV. Learn more!



How Tupperware Boosted Email Marketing Revenue 5x with Emarsys

As an innovative leader in preparation, storage, and serving products, Tupperware, has long relied on word-of-mouth and influencer relationships to spur purchases and build a network of brand lovers.

But its unique business model – built mostly on a team of enthusiastic but remote consultants – made it challenging to connect disparate data sets, create complete customer profiles, and communicate consistently with their sales force in the field.

In an effort to revamp its marketing communications approach and consolidate all customer and consultant information, Tupperware needed a marketing automation platform that was equally a partner and pioneer.

The Challenge: Dealing with a Data Deficit

Tupperware’s well-known product parties aim to connect consultants with customers in a fun way, complete with food and freebies. But this kind of business model was becoming a double-edged sword.

The disparately situated sales team had no central place to store notes, updates, and data about the people they were interacting with on a daily basis. Most of their notes were kept in individual siloes, usually on each consultant’s home computer.

“We were not collecting data effectively. When you looked at each field, you might have incomplete data… so what we have to do is show consultants what we’re trying to achieve through [a unified marketing] platform is actually going to benefit them so that we can all start improving our data collection.”

Rick Medeiros • Global Vice President of Digital Transformation, Tupperware

The brand was also unable to do any personalization at scale. Consultants were limited to only two kinds of emails: massive one-size-fits-all blasts and lots of one-offs created from scratch. On top of all that, the ESP platforms being employed were expensive for such limited features.

“We were very data poor, and, therefore, we didn’t do any personalization. Our previous ESP wasn’t properly connected to any of the data sources we had. So that was challenging to find a platform that could support our consultants and that would be flexible enough for everybody to work with. It [a new platform] had to be data-first with all the marketing automation capabilities that came on top of that.”

Kiara Sanchez-Mora • CRM and Digital Outreach Strategist, Tupperware U.S. & Canada

As consultants began to migrate more and more towards digital, email was a natural first channel to re-evaluate, and the corporate Tupperware team was looking for an AI-enabled solution to offer personalized product recommendations – whether via email, social retargeting ads, or on the website.


How a Unified Solution Changed Everything

After Medeiros & co. did their due diligence and carefully considered their options – including surveying 52 members of the marketing team on usability – the Tupperware team chose Emarsys as their new unified marketing platform.

With their data all in one platform, Tupperware realized they had a goldmine to tap into. In effect, all customer data that would be needed could be accessed and acted upon from a central location. Finally, Tupperware could personalize communications both inside of the business and out.

Email, in particular, saw tremendous improvement in terms of automation capabilities. Tupperware’s new “on behalf of” email campaign set up a program where corporate could operationalize outreach to customers on behalf of their consultants. Recipients can click through to their consultant’s website and directly buy there.

Consultants can now build their own email lists, and corporate can also track email performance among consultants, so they know who’s opening, who’s clicking, who’s activating, or who’s not activating.

The brand could also create a better omnichannel experience. Though an initial email may start the interaction, by using the Web Channel tool, Tupperware could connect email to website and create more personalized experiences, including web recommendations.

Positive Results for Tupperware

With their new solution, Tupperware saw the following results:

  • 5x-7x email revenue growth.
  • CRM return on ad spend (ROAS) grew 30x.
  • $8,000 revenue increase from email due to email recommendations.

Sanchez-Mora summed it up plainly when she said: “For us, the experience has been awesome. I can’t think of a better word. And I’ve talked to other prospective clients that have since come on board, which speaks for itself. It really is kind of our marketing secret that we’re spreading to one another.”
Check out Tupperware’s full story and grab the PDF, here.

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Emarsys Partners on Email Marketing, e-Commerce, & Personalization [Revolution Video Presentations]

This article features content from Revolution 2018. Join us for in London March 2020 for our next event. Interested in learning more? Click here.

It’s time for our third and final installment of Revolution presentation videos! In our first release, speakers discussed how to create a 1-to-1 experience with a solid strategy and inspiring content/creative, and in our second collection, presentations centered around adapting to the new martech ecosystem and using the Emarsys platform to do so.

In today’s edition, leaders from partner and client brands share insights on email marketing, personalization, and automation. Gather ‘round, and enjoy!

Adapting to (and Adopting) New-Age Email Marketing Ideas

Is email dead — or is it dying? What happens on the way to the inbox — who sees an email after the sender sends but before the recipient receives? Which email metrics really matter, what do Microsoft and Gmail truly care about, and what are the tricks to get you a higher inbox placement rate?

Email specialists Dan and Priyanka from Return Path share the answers to these questions (and examine a few brand examples, including Netflix) in their presentation.

Video #1: Customer-Centricity in Email Marketing: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Key Takeaways:

  • Hidden metrics → inbox placement (reputation), messages read (subscriber contentment), messages forwarded (email value), and more are all important to look at and will reveal subtleties among subscriber preferences.
  • Achieving personalization, as Priyanka describes, can make everything work when done correctly; but neglecting it (or being creepy) can break valuable customer relationships.
  • Email still produces the strongest ROI when compared to any other channel. Due to email’s popularity, the inbox has become the marketer’s battlefield where the everyday challenge is to boost deliverability, get into and stay in the inbox, and increase engagement.

Video #2: The Journey from Batch-and-Blast to Personalized Emails

You may find it surprising to learn that 94% of brands do not personalize their emails! Kickdynamic’s Matt Hayes and Jordan Sawyer discuss their recipe for successful email marketing automation, personalization, and relevancy.

Key takeaways:

  • Why do brands stick with batch-and-blast emails? The BAU (business as usual) loop stifles innovation. Lack of time, content changes, stock and availability fluctuations, and plain laziness all inhibit a brand’s ability to personalize email at scale.
  • Kickdynamic’s foolproof (and easy) approach to email marketing means leveraging automation to move from mass emails, which aren’t personalized, to more engaging, relevant, rewarding emails that contain live content tailored for each customer.
  • Kickdynamic’s clients have achieved amazing results, including 300% uplift in revenue of Live products, 52% AOV increase, and 33% conversion from email.
twitterBrands stick w/ batch-and-blast when stuck in a BAU loop – but this status quo inhibits their ability to #personalize #emails at scale, as @Kickdynamic explains        CLICK TO TWEET

Enhancing the Online Shopping Experience Through Automation & Personalization

Video #3: Reclaim Your Time with e-Commerce Automation: Using Shopify Plus

We’ve all been there… staying up late to push a product live, launch a campaign on time, or pull together a report manually. In their session, Tim Sumner and Anna Bray from Shopify Plus teach us how to reclaim our time using e-commerce automation (and offer brand examples from Saski Collection, Interline, Frankies Bikinis, Gymshark, and more).

Key takeaways: 

  • Time is our most precious commodity, and all-nighters do NOT scale! We can’t let time go to waste doing manual tasks. Instead, we must apply e-commerce automation tricks to save time and money and increase revenue.
  • Learn about using the Shopify platform — including triggers, conditions, actions, and more to optimize your e-commerce business with automation.
  • Use automation to simplify execution (planning everything throughout the year), drive higher conversion rates (due to a better CX), and monitor in real time (before, during, and after campaigns).

Video #4: Enhance the Digital Experience, Delight Shoppers, & Drive Revenue with Rich Onsite Content: Zmags

Zmags exists to challenge the process between content creation and publication.  Their Director of Business Development, James Hawkins, discussed the best way to delight shoppers and drive revenue with rich, engaging content.

Key Takeaways:

  • An “experience” is both an event or an occurrence which leaves an impression or feeling on someone. With content, we can leverage both parts of that definition to truly delight online customers. By creating great content, putting it in front of shoppers on the customer journey, letting those shoppers choose the way in which they experience that content, and using tech to scale, the digital experience can be enhanced.
  • Online shopping isn’t always easy, but it should be! Choice paralysis and shortened attention spans can actually deter shoppers from converting online. Strive for an effortless customer journey with guided discovery, a smooth experience with content (while allowing the customer to choose), a continuation from social media, and a seamless email-to-onsite journey.
  • The typical content creation process in retail consists of designing, developing, and releasing. Using Zmags’ “creator” tool, you can produce dynamic content and publish it to your website without writing any code. It’s this process of automation and using technology to scale that will propel you into the future.

Video #5: How Automation & Personalization Turned Offline Mail into One of the Most Powerful CRM Channels: Optilyz + Poster XXL

Are you thinking outside of the box when it comes to your CRM strategy? In their presentation, Optilyz’ team is talking about letters and postcards! Direct mail has a 3.7% average conversion rate across industries and across use cases, making it a highly profitable CRM channel within the customer journey. But how do we keep it relevant? The answer: the future of direct mail lies in personalization and automation.

twitter“With direct mail – letters & postcards – you don’t need opt-in under #GDPR, plus, conversion rates are really high at 3.7% across the board,” says @robrebholz       CLICK TO TWEET

Key Takeaways:

  • As Rob Rebholz alludes to, direct mail is the only remaining channel that is virtually without restriction — sending mail to prospects and customers requires no opt-in under GDPR regulations. It’s highly profitable and has the potential for long-term impact.
  • Running direct mail independent of other channels is not a viable option for high-performing marketing organizations. Poster XXL went from trial to full-scale integration of its direct mail program, for example, in one year. The German retailer used RFM modeling, a machine learning model (segmentation), and omnichannel integration to completely integrate direct mailers within its larger strategy.
  • Direct mail can complement other event-based physical touchpoints. Direct mail doesn’t have to be an isolated channel. Print can fit into a larger omnichannel journey, thanks, in part, to modern martech as well as AI.

Wrapping Up Emarsys Revolution 2018

This year’s revolution event encapsulated several themes that marketing is heading toward or experiencing now: overcoming “empty software” with technology that makes you better,  the value of achieving personalization at scale, and how e-commerce brands can incorporate both as part of an encompassing omnichannel strategy. Check out all of the Revolution session videos and gather loads of insight from today’s highest performing e-commerce leaders.

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Revolution: The Future of Marketing Starts Here

Revolution. When you hear this word you might think “overthrow or repudiate” and the “thorough replacement of the establishment”; or perhaps you prefer “a sudden, complete, or marked change in something.”

However you view a revolution, it’s clear that marketing is in the midst of one. Consumer shopping habits have changed. They want a more 1-to-1, personalized experience than ever before. And it’s no longer just a nice-to-have, but a must-have for brands to succeed in today’s market.

So for brands, what does this mean? It means the way we market to the consumer must change. We must put consumers first and market from their point of view.

That’s why we developed Emarsys Revolution. We know marketing must change, we have to revolutionize it. This 3-day event is all focused on the future of marketing. Keynotes from industry leaders, interactive live sessions, and hands-on training labs will push attendees to rethink their marketing strategies.

We dive into shifting consumer habits and expectations and how brands can use AI, personalization, and omnichannel strategies to push boundaries and provide unforgettable customer experiences.

Read on to learn more about highlights from Revolution 2017 and 2018, reasons why you’ll want to attend Emarsys Revolution, and some tips and tricks (including a free downloadable letter) for convincing your boss to send you to Revolution London March 9-11.

Highlights from Past Revolution 2017

Hosted in Berlin, Revolution 2017 focused on the growing need for 1-to-1 communication and AI’s role in helping marketers scale and personalize their marketing.

The Promise of Marketing

Ohad Hecht | CEO, Emarsys | @OhadHecht

In the opening keynote, Emarsys CEO Ohad Hecht touched on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how marketers must put their customers’ wants and needs first to be successful. Watch Ohad’s full presentation here.

“Put yourself in the shoes of the consumers — we are consumers first, and marketers second. Are you really being understood… are your experiences truly being personalized? Is your communication with the brands all about them or all about you?”

Are We Ready for AI Marketing?

Rusty Warner • Principal Analyst, Forrester • @RustyWarner

Rusty Warner, Principal Analyst at Forrester, focused on AI marketing and how it can close the gap between customer expectations and marketing capabilities. Watch Rusty’s full presentation here.

“Every company’s strategy should be to become customer-obsessed… and every decision you make needs to be made on insights based on analyzing data about those customers. If you get that right, you become connected across every customer touchpoint and you become much more agile and quick in the way you execute or the way you adapt to changes in the market.”

The Runtastic Story

Stephanie Peterson • CMO, Runtastic • LinkedIn • @Runtastic

Stephanie Peterson, CMO at Runtastic, gave attendees an inside look at how the Runtastic brand uses personalization and marketing automation to create engaging experiences for its app users. Watch Stephanie’s full presentation here.

“The question is ‘how are we going to differentiate ourselves?’ The answer is…meaningful, targeted content that comes back to this idea of personalization.”

Highlights from Revolution 2018

Hosted in London, Revolution 2018 focused on driving more customer-focused marketing through personalized marketing and an exciting announcement about the evolution of the Emarsys product.

How Marketers Can Thrive in a Consumer-Driven World

Raj Balasundaram • SVP of AI, Emarsys • LinkedIn • @RBalasundaram

Raj explains the product vision for Emarsys and how it will help marketers reach consumers and create truly personalized experiences in a consumer-driven world. Watch Raj’s full presentation here.

“Consumers demand personalization. For marketers to execute personalization in their campaigns, they’re dealing with HTML, scripts, queries, and on and on and on. The thing is, that’s not even personalization. It’s not even marketing. That is a degree in IT.”

Customer-Centricity for Retail Survival

Rob FeldmannCEO, BrandAlleyLinkedIn • @BrandAlleyUK

In his presentation at Emarsys Revolution 2018, Rob Feldmann, CEO at BrandAlley, discussed the brand’s customer-centric journey – from web navigation and content display throughout, to customer care and product quality, all touchpoints reflect the brand values. Watch Rob’s full presentation here.

“A customer-centric company is more than just a retailer of goods. We are in the business of making people happy and a customer centric business offers the end consumer a holistic brand experience.”

Becoming More Customer-Centric

Jens PytlichDigital Marketing Manager, Salling Group • LinkedIn • @SallingDenmark

At Emarsys Revolution London, Jens Pytlich, Salling Group’s Digital Marketing Manager, discussed how his team led a digital transformation — identifying the right people and the right technology for the job — that allowed them to use their data to be more customer-centric and deliver truly personalized experiences for every customer. Watch Jens full presentation here.

“We wanted the right product, at the right price, at the right time, on the right channel, for every single customer. That’s the problem we were trying to solve with the execution platform.”

These are just a few of the presentations that forced marketers to rethink strategies and put the focus back on the customer.

Why Attend Emarsys Revolution?

Wondering what makes Revolution different from other marketing conferences? Here are a few reasons you’ll want to join us for Emarsys Revolution in London this October.

You’ll walk away with a new perspective on marketing

Our interactive live sessions and hands-on training labs are designed to push marketers to rethink the way you are marketing to your prospects and customers. Consumer shopping habits and expectations have changed. They now demand truly personalized, exceptional experiences. So why are brands still sending stale, one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns?

Our conference is all about the future of marketing, and we’ll dive into shifting consumer habits and expectations and how marketers can use AI, personalization, and omnichannel strategies to push boundaries and provide an unforgettable customer experience.

Connect with peers from around the world

As a global brand, we have connections from all over the world. Revolution gives us a chance to invite them all to converge in one location for an action-packed event. With plenty of opportunities for networking, you’ll get the chance to meet marketers from all walks of life and connect with them about their day-to-day strategies. You’ll talk shop, learn a few things from each other, and in some cases, make connections that last a lifetime!

You won’t find a more affordable conference

It’s no secret that attending a conference can be rather expensive. Luckily, Emarsys Revolution is one of the most affordable conferences on the market. With 3 days full of live sessions, networking events, and hands-on labs, you won’t find a more affordable conference that packs as much punch. Our event features over 10 keynotes from notable speakers, 45 interactive sessions and hands-on labs, and 4 learning tracks – making it a great fit for the marketer or business leader alike at a price you won’t find anywhere else.

Hear from world-class brands

We pride ourselves in having world-class brands from around the globe as customers, partners, and friends. We’ve learned so much from working jointly with them over the years, and we want to share our knowledge with you. That’s why we’ve tapped some of the best and brightest minds to come and speak at our event. Hear from industry experts, our top customers, and partners from Google, Facebook, Forrester, Unruly, and more as they discuss AI, data, personalization, omnichannel strategies, and much more. Read more about our awesome speakers here.

You’ll have a lot (and we mean a lot) of fun!

Hosted at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London, you’ll be at the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world! From the Houses of Parliament to Big Ben, you’ll be just steps away from some of the biggest attractions London has to offer. Not only that, but our conference will be jam-packed with interactive sessions and hands-on training that will be both entertaining and engaging. Each night you’ll have the opportunity to explore London or join us for some fun extracurricular activities!

Win unforgettable prizes

Ready for a little adventure? Soul Flyers is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity for Revolution attendees. Guests who attend all 3 days of Revolution (and are present on the last day) will be entered for a chance to win a skydiving prize with Soul Flyers in the Summer of 2019. When (or where) else will you get the chance to fly with World Record holders and Red Bull Affiliated athletes?

How to Convince Your Boss

So, this sounds great, right? But maybe you need a little help justifying the conference and trip to your boss. Check out these tips and tricks that will help you convince your boss to send you to Revolution.

Align the conference with business goals

Attending conferences is about more than fun and networking. Conferences give you the opportunity to turn off your day-to-day mindset and refocus on strategy. Is your company looking to launch an omnichannel marketing strategy or implement AI-driven tactics? Present your trip as an opportunity to learn about these solutions. With 3 days full of interactive sessions and hands-on labs, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn and connect with others about the strategies you’re trying to implement.

Plan ahead for missed work

Sure, conferences take you away from your day-to-day activities, but the vast learning opportunities are definitely worth it. But what if your boss needs a little more convincing? When presenting the conference, be sure to have a plan worked out for how your responsibilities and projects will be managed during the time of the conference. Working ahead and promising to check in during the conference are ways to show your boss you’re committed to the company as much as you are to your own personal development.

Focus on the strategic benefits of the conference

Have you ever been on a run or in the shower and come up with a game-changing idea? Some of the best ideas come when we turn our focus to something other than the day-to-day activities of our job. That’s what it’s like going to a conference like Emarsys Revolution. You’ll get away from your day-to-day activities and be able to open your mind to new possibilities and strategies for your team. You’ll also hear from leading industry experts and like-minded marketers for a full 3 days of knowledge sharing and learning. Talk with your boss about how you’ll be able to take a step back and bring fresh perspectives back to your team after attending.

Network with a purpose

At Emarsys Revolution, you’ll hear from leading industry experts, global brands, and other marketers just like you. With a focus on topics like AI, machine learning, omnichannel marketing, and personalization, you’ll have plenty of topics to discuss during the many networking opportunities. Not only can you further discuss session topics, but you’ll have the chance to connect with other like brands and learn what is and isn’t working for them. Talk with your boss and make a plan for connecting and networking with brands that can add value to your experience.

Need a little more help? We’ve create a free downloadable letter that you can personalize and send to your manager. The letter will outline why Emarsys Revolution will be beneficial to not only you, but also your company.

Download your Letter

Final Thoughts

In a world where so much is changing with the consumer-retailer relationship, isn’t it time for us to take a stand and deliver on the promise of marketing? Join us for Revolution London 2018 and walk away with actionable insights and tools that will revolutionize your brand’s marketing strategies, teams, and technology.

Don’t miss your chance to attend Emarsys Revolution in London March 9-11, 2020.


2018 Engagement Trends That Will Make or Break Your Q4 Holiday Season

As we move into June and the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s typically the time when brands take stock of how they’ve performed in the first half of the year. It’s also the time when team members take a little time off for rest and relaxation before they start preparing for the “all-guns-blazing” chaos of the holiday season which seems to consume all resources from September to January.

One proven way to prepare for the holidays is to look at your customer data for shopping trends that impact your brand the most. We see how important this can be for our clients, when you can make decisions about Q4 2018 that are backed up by key metrics, ROI, and other marketing opportunities earned in the past.

In this month’s benchmark report, we’re going to focus on three key e-commerce metrics, namely “add to cart,” abandoned cart and conversion rate. By looking at these, you’ll be able to better decide which levers you should pull in the next few months to optimize your business while resources are still available — and before plans are set in stone.

The underlying goal here is engagement, and not every customer will engage with your brand in the same way or for the same reason. While this is true on a year-round basis, the differences in customer behavior become more complicated in November and December. That’s where technology can really make a difference for brands who truly want to customize the shopping experience for their customers.

Engaging the Unengaged

As more and more clients embrace AI-driven segmentation, personalization, and execution across channels, we’re seeing a steady month-over-month increase in the percentage of our clients’ databases that engage with a brand’s website, mobile website, or mobile app, but there’s a more notable jump in these percentages that started in November 2017 and that has continued to rise since then (as shown in Chart 1 below).

For “best in class” clients, nearly 50% (49.3% on average for the top 25% of all e-commerce clients) of the contacts in their databases will engage through at least one channel in a given month. Rather than concentrating on open and click-through rates for individual channels, it’s important that we start taking a customer-centric view of engagement. Where do they come to meet your brand? And what kind of experience will keep them coming back?

Once you can see what percentage of the database you’re engaging with across all your marketing activities, then you can focus on the contacts who are not responding to your core messaging. Reaching these unengaged customers requires different strategies and tactics.

First, as shown in Chart 1, we’ve taken a look at the web and mobile visits for our clients’ customers and discovered that, on average, each contact only visits the website once per month. So, it’s really important to optimize on-site targeting and personalization to make the most of that traffic and drive conversions.

Chart 1: Trendline for share of contacts with a web visit (e-commerce, April 2016–April 2018).

Determining Who Tends to Add Things to the Cart

When you’re reviewing your previous holiday performance, one shopping behavior to understand is which customers tend to put items in carts. It depends on the industry, of course, but what we see further down the funnel is that the median “add to cart” rate for Emarsys clients is 23.5%. However, the top 25% of Emarsys clients, on average, see 35.5% of their visitors hit the “Add to Cart” button — a massive 12% difference (as shown in Chart 2).

Chart 2: “Add to cart” rates (e-commerce, January–April 2018).

What do these brands do differently to get over a 50% increase in “add to cart” rates?

What makes these brands most effective are two key elements: on-site recommendations and utilizing on-site marketing strategies to drive first purchases and reduce exit intent. This means that on their product pages, the most successful brands are making it easier for customers to purchase, primarily by reducing friction in product discovery and deploying technologies that drive first and repeat purchases. Knowing how much time each customer spends on the site coupled with predicative analytics can indicate which customers are most likely to add items to their carts and intend to save the decision of purchasing for “later.”

Our partner Magento suggests that more and more brands are using wish lists or email reminders to make it easier for customers to register their interest in buying a product for another day. Not only are you giving your customers the freedom to shop as they like without impersonal sales pressure, but it gives you and your brand another chance to market to the 76.5% of people who don’t typically add items to their cart during their visit, as shown in the example below ( is our Emarsys Magento-powered demo store).

Fewer Abandoned Carts with a Frictionless Path to Purchase

Even though some of your visitors frequently click the “Add to Cart” button, you still face the huge challenge of ensuring the conversion actually happens. The median result across all Emarsys e-commerce clients is a 67.2% cart abandoned rate.

Chart 3: Abandoned cart rates (e-commerce, January– April 2018).

This represents a huge revenue opportunity to better optimize your website and mobile purchasing process! The best brands have the fewest steps to checkout, and make it easy for people to buy while also reducing the need to duplicate information, such as billing address, shipping address, or account creation details.

There are many reasons why customers abandon carts and excellent campaigns to bring those left-behind items back to the top of the shopper’s mind – but our research has shown that one of the biggest reasons people abandon their carts is because they have forgotten the password to accounts they’ve already created!

Email is a great driver of acquisition, but sometimes important message data, like the frequency of password resets, sits in a silo with the IT team or forgotten somewhere in the vast e-commerce backend system. If you’re not tracking these things, you can’t optimize for them. Check how many “forgotten password” emails your own brand sends in a month and make sure you’re looking at simple steps to improve the brand experience and reduce the number of steps in the purchasing process.

Recommendations Boost Conversions

Top-performing brands recover lost revenue opportunities well. Recommendations alone can make an enormous difference in bringing customers back to purchase. Make sure your strategy includes recommendations as part of your abandoned cart campaign. Below are some of our most common AI-driven recommendation types followed by an analysis of email recommendation click-through rates (as shown in Chart 4):

  • Personal recommendations are selected for the individual customer from all products/content.
  • Category recommendations are selected for the individual from products/content within the same category (for example, recommending other TVs for people who viewed a TV online but didn’t buy).
  • Post-purchase recommendations are selected for the individual user based on their last purchase and the products and accessories that people like them typically buy with their last product(s) purchased.
  • Abandoned cart recommendations include the products that were in the individual customer’s cart as well as recommendations of similar products based on what other people bought or what the individual customer might like.

Chart 4: Click-through rates for email recommendations by campaign type (e-commerce, April 2018).

In terms of click-through rates, abandoned cart recommendations are the highest performing of all recommendation types in email campaigns with the top 25% of all Emarsys e-commerce clients seeing 10.6% click-throughs on the products served to customers.

More Channels Deliver Greater Engagement

Clients with the best-performing abandoned cart programs are those that are using multiple channels to reach their customers. Typically, these brands send an email within an hour of the customer leaving an item in their cart, and then follow up with a display ad campaign for those who don’t immediately come back to complete the purchase. As a last resort, brands can engage with customers through a higher-cost channel like SMS, especially in situations where you have higher value baskets at stake.

With our partner Optilyze, we’ve even seen carts being recovered a few days or weeks after the they were originally abandoned, and this is done with a programmatic direct mail campaign targeted to the individual customers. At the very least, make sure you’re optimizing your programs across multiple channels and using low- to high-cost campaigns intelligently to recover lost revenue.

Prioritize Your Customers Who Are Most Likely to Convert

Our clients who have the best conversion rates — 13% on average for the top 25% of Emarsys e-commerce clients (as shown in Chart 5) — typically employ multiple strategies that align with the customer lifecycle. These brands are great at capturing data, converting leads, and recovering lost baskets through email and other channels. They also ensure they engage with their clients over time so that their existing customers purchase more than once.

Successful brands have a solid email program that engages with clients over time, and they use AI-driven campaigns (Welcome, Abandoned Cart, Post-Purchase and Win-Back series) to drive repeat sales.

Chart 5: Conversion rates (web, April 2018).

The foundation of these winning campaigns is automation, one of the best conversion tools that marketers have today. In fact, for the top 25% of Emarsys clients, 73.2% of their emails (as shown in Chart 6), on average, that are sent on a monthly basis are automated via AI through the Automation Center within the Emarsys platform.

Chart 6: Share of emails sent with AI-driven automation (e-commerce, April 2018).

Planning for the 2018 Q4 Holidays Starts Now

2018 has gotten off to a strong start across the Emarsys client base, especially in terms of customer engagement trends, and we’ve seen the patterns discussed here as they’ve taken shape for the more than 2,000 brands we work with. Moving into the summer months, it’s incredibly important for brands to understand how to engage their clients over time and how to effectively prime the “holiday season” pump for their existing customers.

Looking over the last 12 months, we can see that a well-thought-out email marketing campaign is still the backbone of a great e-commerce business with steady, dependable engagement rates all year long.

Chart 7: Trendline, email open and click-through rates (e-commerce, April 2016 – April 2018).

You have an opportunity to look at the top of the funnel and capture more contacts, drive “add to cart” behavior, and recover some of those baskets that got left behind with targeted email campaigns.

But even more than that, you should connect these campaigns to higher-cost channels, such as Facebook and Instagram Ads, Google AdWords, SMS, and direct mail (print) to make sure you’re driving performance up toward the metrics we see across the top 25%.

In the run up to the Emarsys Revolution in London this October, we’ll be doing more to share what we learn from the “best in class” brands and marketers we work with, to explore the winning tactics that delivered the results these brands wanted, and to celebrate the top 25% across some of these key metrics.

Handpicked Related Resources:

Alex TimlinAlex Timlin is VP of Client Success at Emarsys where he leads the Client Success organization to drive adoption and growth across 2,000+ clients in more than 100 countries. Alex is a long time member of the Direct Marketing Association’s Customer Engagement Council, Marketing Intelligence Hub, and is a regular industry speaker on marketing, customer success and SaaS technology.

Connect with Alex: LinkedIn@ARTimlin


3 Types of Email Campaigns & How They Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

One of the most appealing qualities of email marketing is its versatility. There are many different types of email campaigns that can be leveraged as fundamental components of any digital marketing strategy to drive results. The key is finding the campaigns that work best for your brand and the specific business goals at hand.

For example, email marketing can be used to gain brand awareness and visibility, boost engagement, acquire new customers, retain existing ones, and more. While email marketing is an umbrella term that covers a variety of unique strategies and campaigns, there are certain benefits and challenges that come with each campaign type.

Types of Email Campaigns: Benefits & Challenges

Here we’ll identify three common types of email marketing campaigns, and explain how they can help boost your overall digital marketing strategy.

1. Ad Hoc Emails

An ad hoc email campaign is a batch campaign that is often unsegmented and unautomated, meaning that your brand will use one standard template and send it to a large group of recipients. These emails are sent at a fixed time and only get sent out once.

A brand may utilize an ad hoc email campaign as a way to send out updates like recent news or an upcoming industry event that falls outside of your typical email marketing strategy. This type of campaign could also come in handy to push out information on a new product release or a special offer.

Compared to other campaign types, ad hoc emails are more straightforward and can be put together quickly for a specific purpose. They can be launched immediately, existing outside of your usual strategy, or they can be scheduled to send at a future date.

In the example below, Hydro Flask sent out an email highlighting new color options for their products and invited recipients to create their own unique water bottle.

ad hoc email

Source: Hydro Flask

Depending on the amount of emails you are already sending and which emails customers are opted into, you have to be careful to not overwhelm an inbox with one-off recurring emails. When planning a campaign like this, make sure you’re still using the customer data you have to make sure you’re sending these updates to customers who really want them. The content in these campaigns is often standard for all recipients, but depending on your goals for this campaign, you may choose to add other features including personalization, conditional text, and block targeting for better engagement.

Emarsys Pro Tip: Already a client? Ad hoc campaigns can be triggered as part of an Automation Center campaign, via the API, or launched directly from the Email Campaigns module.

2. Recurring Emails

Recurring campaigns are also batch campaigns but unlike ad hoc emails, these emails are set up at regular intervals and can be automated.

Brands that use recurring emails can find ways to seamlessly fit them into their digital strategy. Such campaigns provide a brand with an idea of what they can build around in the upcoming months, or even years.

For many brands, these emails come in the form of personalized updates for customers – reward point updates, cell phone data usage, home energy updates, and more. Recurring email campaigns offer a way for brands to regularly interact with consumers by providing them with tailored content on a regular basis.

In the example below, Duke Home Energy sends out a recurring email to its customers giving them an update on their home’s energy usage. Customers get information about their individual home and information on how they compare with homes around them. In addition, Duke provides them with additional content related to their efficiency level that customers can continue to engage with them on.

Recurring Email

Source: Duke Home Energy

When using these emails in your marketing strategy, it’s important to make sure you are able to create a steady and rhythmic flow of emails. Customers who receive an email with their loyalty reward points update every few months are less likely to be engaged (and purchase products to earn more points) than if they were to receive a monthly update. But by using marketing automation tools to drive your email marketing, your brand can target the right people, at the right time, with the right message and keep them engaged with your brand.

Emarsys Pro Tip: Already a client? Recurring emails can be set up by adding content manually or automatically via RSS feeds. A preview campaign is generated 30 minutes before launch so you have time to check the content and make last-minute changes.

3. On-Event Emails

Unlike the aforementioned email campaign types, on-event emails are triggered by recipient action. These emails usually focus on continuing the customer journey, by incentivizing existing customers to keep interacting with your brand. On-event emails can be some of the most lucrative for marketers as they focus on the behavior of the customer and offer a more personalized experience.

Potential triggers for this campaign type include:

  • On Birthday: Delivery of this email is linked to the “date of birth” field in the contact database. Typically, email systems will scan for available date-of-birth entries and automatically send “on birthday” emails as appropriate.
  • On Abandoned Shopping Cart: This email is launched if a customer adds items to a shopping cart but doesn’t complete the purchase. In those circumstances, a reminder email can automatically be sent.
  • On Change Profile: This type of email is launched when a change is made in a contact profile, and sent to that particular contact following the change.
  • On Referral: The email is sent after a designated email has been forwarded via the prompt on a referral page. The addressee will appear as the forwarding contact.
  • On Contact Us: This email is sent after a contact submits a Contact Us form, usually to confirm and set expectations for a response.
  • On Date: This type of email is sent on a specific date. This could come in handy for any other noteworthy dates besides a birthday. For example, you might want to send an email centered on a holiday or anniversary.
  • On Import: This email is sent after an import has been performed. For example, you might want to send a welcome or confirmation email to contacts who registered for your newsletter from an offline campaign or your own database.
  • On Registration: The email is sent after a recipient registered through a form of your choice. For example, this could be an email confirming registration.

These are just a few examples of how a brand can use on-event email campaigns to extend the dialogue with customers and personalize their experience. When using on-event emails, it’s easy to “set and forget” them. But because these emails offer a tremendous amount of opportunity for additional sales, it’s important to review their performance among your customer base on a regular basis. If certain emails aren’t doing well, make sure to revisit them and refine their content.

Emarsys Pro Tip: Already a client? On-event emails can be triggered from the Email Campaigns module.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous ways you can leverage email marketing campaigns and the different types that we have outlined above as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. These campaign types provide your brand with the ability to elevate personalization, and improve the customer experience.

Learn more about how Emarsys can help you create powerful, one-to-one email campaigns.

Additional Email Marketing Resources:


May Benchmark: The Best Metrics for Understanding Your Most Valuable Customers — CLTV or AOV?

Average Order Value (AOV) or Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) – which one is more important? How do we calculate them? What are the best ways to use AOV and CLTV insights?

As the largest independent marketing platform company in the world, Emarsys has been working on solving these challenges with more than 2,000 brands and tens of thousands of marketers by analyzing more than 2.5 billion consumer records and purchase histories.

Many businesses are looking for a winning formula to determine their optimal Customer Lifetime Value and using Average Order Value analysis to understand what’s working well and how to set a benchmark.

But this can be a confusing topic. If you’re unfamiliar with this kind of data analysis or if you’re looking to take your current analysis to the next level and actually make meaningful business and marketing decisions based on customer data, this month’s benchmark report is for you. Here we’ll share some hard-won insights based on our experiences with our clients and the common challenges and pitfalls to watch out for.

Which Value Is the Most Valuable: Customer Lifetime or Average Order?

One of the most common questions we get from new clients is: What’s more important when you’re defining what good looks like: Average Order Value or Customer Lifetime Value?

This murky topic is exactly why we provide monthly benchmarking data, because the true answer is often buried down in the data.

To Acquire or Not to Acquire, That Is the Question That CLTV Answers

Customer Lifetime Value is a key metric within your business because it enables you to understand the relationship between your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and your ability to maximize the return on that initial investment over time. Essentially, CLTV feeds CAC, especially when it comes down to the specific amount to spend on customer acquisition.

Many e-commerce businesses try to make acquisition and budget decisions in the most simplistic way: If the customer’s first transaction costs the company more in CAC than they will make in AOV, the company thinks that acquiring this customer is not profitable and therefore not worth the effort. But that’s without taking into account that your marketing plan will monetize that customer over time and drive repeat purchases at an ever-lower CAC.

Reviewing a customer’s CLTV (quarterly or semi-annually) enables you to devote more budget to your Google AdWords, Display, and Facebook/Instagram budgets. You’ll also pay a higher percentage of sales to your affiliate and retargeting partners on that first purchase, but you’ll make this up as customers stay with you for the long run.

Within our own client base as shown in Chart 1, we see that, on average, only 37.8% of monthly revenue comes from leads making their first purchase (new acquisitions) — that means 62.2% comes from existing customers.

share of first purchases in revenue

Chart 1: On average, Emarsys’ clients’ first-purchase revenues make up a little over a third of total revenue.

AOV: How Much They Spend

Critical for calculating revenue, Average Order Value informs your keyword bidding and display budgets, but the vast majority of businesses, particularly high-growth or early-stage businesses, choose CLTV over AOV as their key metric for acquisition because it allows them to spend more and increase their reach and exposure to get new business.

As we saw in Chart 1, our clients can afford to spend more on advertising because each month there is more revenue coming from existing customers than there is coming from new customers. This means that they can pay higher costs to acquire customers and be safe knowing that they can monetize that contact over time by getting more purchases from them.

But before we completely disregard AOV, let’s take a look at AOV and CLTV combined.

Chart 2 shows the distribution of Average Order Value (also called Average Basket Value) based on buyer status (leads, first-timers, actives, defectors, and inactives). The key thing to note is the differences between the Average Order Value of a lead making his first purchase and an active buyer making her third, fourth, or even tenth purchase.

avg basket value by lifecycle status

Chart 2: Average Order Value by lifecycle status (all industries, March 2018).

The median numbers for our clients show that the defecting customers spend the most, not leads or first-timers. However, the numbers are very close to each other, which leads to this conclusion: Average Order Value is an important metric, but, statistically, it’s a lot easier to influence someone to purchase again than it is to influence the value of their purchases within that transaction.

In fact, in a given month, an existing customer is up to 8 times more likely to purchase than a lead as shown in Chart 3.

conversion rate by lifecycle status

Chart 3: Conversion rates across all customer lifecycles (March 2018).

We should also look at the difference between the Average Order Value of the lowest spenders (bottom 25% of our clients) versus the highest spenders (top 25%). For leads making their first purchase, on average, there are €109 between the €45 (1.6%) at the bottom and €154 (11%) at the top – that’s more than 300% difference between their basket values.

Why Using a Single Metric Is Dangerous

What we see rising to the top in our benchmarking and performance analysis is that when it comes to AOV, we aren’t using a single metric — at the very least, we always look at three metrics:

  • Bottom (average metric for the bottom 25%)
  • Median (average metric for the median results)
  • High (average metric for the top 25%)

A super simplistic metric would be to add up the averages of these three groups and divide by 3 and that’s the AOV for a particular lifecycle status. For example, let’s say we want to determine the Average Order Value for leads making their first purchase within e-commerce businesses in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH) as shown in Chart 4. The low-spending customers average €53, the median averages 96.7, and the high-spending customers have an average of €164. We do the math and come up with something like €105.

That €105 stands for all the leads in that category, as if they all want the same thing, respond to the same incentives, and purchase through the exact same channels as all the others in that group. But we know that is not true.

avg basket value by lifecycle status

Chart 4: Average Order Value by lifecycle status (e-commerce in the DACH region, March 2018).

If I base my marketing plan for CAC, discounts, incentives, or future purchases on just one number, one average representing thousands and thousands of customers, I can make a lot of mistakes by relying on inaccurate assumptions, and I’ll miss the mark for a lot of my customers.

That’s the danger of a single metric. It’s too broad to be of any real value to the marketer. What we need here are more data points. Specifically, we need groups for comparison because you get a clearer picture of a particular objective when you provide multiple points of context and relationship.

Why Emarsys Recommends Using 5 Buyer Status Groups

As a best practice, we recommend using at least three buyer status groups but strive for a maximum of five. For example, Low, Normal, Silver, Gold, and Platinum buyers will give you a better understanding of your whole customer population than just one AOV. It also tiers your customers into logical groups so that you can treat them based on their value to your brand.

By default, at Emarsys, when we help our clients understand their customers, we use these five groups, which are all based on Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).

Chart 5 shows a benchmark of average product value for Emarsys e-commerce clients in the Clothing & Accessories industry. For the average value, we use Bottom 25%, Median, and Top 25% to understand spending habits from a benchmark perspective, but we also look across our five buyer status groups in terms of Customer Lifetime Value.

avg product value by buyer status

Chart 5: Average product value by buyer status group (global, Clothing & Accessories industry, March 2018).

Low spenders aside, the value data is very similar for the other four groups. When there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the average product value across these buyer groups, what is the value in having them?

Chart 6 contains data based on average anonymized data sets, and when we look at the number of customers across these groups, Low spenders and Normal spenders are the most numerous and, therefore, perhaps the most important, especially given the data in Chart 5 about the very small differences in average product value across these groups.

Customers bz buyers status

Chart 6: Number of customers in each buyer status group.

Using the data set from Chart 6, Chart 7 shows this same group of customers in terms of their Customer Lifetime Value, which presents a very different story.

Customers bz buyers status

Chart 7: Customer Lifetime Value across buyer status groups.

Low-value customers have spent less than our Gold buyers and significantly less than our Silver buyers, and while we only have a small number of Platinum buyers, their CLTV per customer is huge compared to the others. And this is not unusual for the clients Emarsys works with.

The challenge here is that there is no such thing as a “typical” customer, and often it’s very dangerous to base business or marketing decisions on a single metric such as Average Order Value or Customer Lifetime Value because your customers aren’t all the same and a small number of metrics doesn’t give you a detailed view of them.

Multiple Metrics Give You the Best Customer View

Some customers buy big but only once in a while. Some customers spend small amounts, but they buy often – they might have the same Customer Lifetime Value, but the path that they took to purchase is very different.

Similarly, as we’ve seen from the data, Average Order Value is an important metric to understand, but it’s as nuanced as your customers are.

What we have learned from working in different geographies, verticals, and business models is that there are some highly predictable patterns and some very important insights to be had from your customer data.

But if you don’t have a tried-and-true test model or experience in working with data, the “outliers” (those customers with really big Customer Lifetime Values or really big single transaction values) can easily skew your data up or down.

When you want to understand your customer data, more is better than less. Create a series of groups or personas that include at the very least, low, average, and high and give yourself a platform to discover that point where a customer becomes “valuable” so you can make them feel “valued.”

Not all customers are created equally. The trick is to understand that, put the insights into practice, and appreciate that a single metric might not do justice to the hundreds or thousands or millions of engagements you have with your customers.

If you’d like to know more about some of the models we use at Emarsys to better understand customer data, please check out these related resources:


What I Want Marketers to Know: Allen Nance, CMO, Emarsys

A marketing revolution is underway. It’s being ushered in by a new wave of mar-tech AND unleashed with a creative renaissance spurred by the marketers who are reimagining their roles as creators, not data scientists or spreadsheet technicians.

Today, Allen Nance, CMO at Emarsys and accomplished tech startup investor, shares his thoughts on this shift in the marketing landscape and the future of marketing.

What is your location: In an exit row seat on a plane, otherwise known as “Entrepreneurial First Class.”

Current Role: Chief Marketing Officer at Emarsys.

One word that best describes how you view the state of marketing today: Measurable.

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I was born rich — and by that, I mean I had two loving parents who never told me I couldn’t try something. I am the first person in my family to attend college so I am especially proud of my education. In 2000 I founded one of the early email marketing platforms and lead it to three Inc. 500 awards representing the fastest growing private companies in the United States before its acquisition. I am a proud marketing technologist, and am honored to be a small part of telling the Emarsys story and share my passion for the future of marketing. This is what motivates me every day.

What do you wish marketers knew (but you’re pretty sure they don’t)?

In the history of the world, no acronym has ever solved a problem for a marketer or created a great experience for a consumer.

What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by marketers today?

The world has changed. Marketers are working harder than ever before, but we have simply moved beyond the human’s capacity to scale much of anything. There’s more data, more channels, and more choices than ever. It’s an opportunity, but only if we fundamentally alter how we are working. We can’t drag-and-drop our way to personalization.

How can they overcome this challenge?

Realize that data is the single most valuable asset any marketer (or company) has.

If you could tell all marketers just one thing, what would it be?

A “Creative Renaissance” is coming, and it is going to be freaking awesome.

Technology has already transformed marketing in so many ways. How do you see tech continuing to revolutionize the marketer’s role?

Humans make machines better, not the other way around. Marketers will spend more time on strategy, content, and creative.

What are you currently reading, or what would you recommend for marketers?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

Auren Hoffman, CEO at SafeGraph.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to marketers?

Do less, better. You’re already working hard, I know it. Do a few things better than anyone else and I promise your consumers will thank you.

Connect with Allen: WebsiteLinkedIn@AllenNance

Allen Nance is CMO at Emarsys, and is an accomplished entrepreneur, investor, and marketing technologist. Co-founder of TechSquare Labs — a technology hub in Midtown, Atlanta created to help startup dreamers bring their vision to reality — Nance is also an advisor to a set of companies that generate more than $500 million a year in revenue and employ 3,000 talented individuals.

Additionally, he is a vocal leader of our organization, setting the tone and cultivating education internally and externally about the impending, AI-driven marketing revolution.

Special thanks to Allen for his time and insight!

Know someone who would be a great fit for this series? Email Michael at:

Additional Resources:


How BrandAlley Scales its Email Marketing and Customer Acquisition with AI

This article features content from Revolution 2017. Join us for in London March 2020 for our next event. Interested in learning more? Click here.

BrandAlley UK, the #1 (private) e-commerce fashion, home, beauty, and lifestyle brand in the UK, needed a way to leverage all of the data it was collecting about customers, and sell more products to existing and new customers.

BrandAlley owns no retail stores. It’s a pure-play e-tailer (online-only business) — so it must get every aspect of its digital marketing approach right.

Rob Feldmann, Founder and CEO of BrandAlley leads the brand’s strategic direction, and notes an interesting phenomenon occurring in today’s brick-and-mortar stores:

“People walk into a store intending and expecting to find, say, a black dress at full price, but when they see an “on sale” section, it’s human nature to gravitate toward it and search it. Too often, when people don’t find what they’d initially been looking for in the sale section, they leave. This is one reason many brands went online.”

In conjunction with Emarsys, BrandAlley leverages AI marketing to scale its customer engagement strategy — primarily using frequently sent, highly personalized emails to delight customers, and CRM ads to get new ones.

Watch Rob Feldman, BrandAlley CEO, and Alex Simion, BrandAlley Marketing Director tell their story at Emarsys Revolution:

Video Thumbnail

Using Data to Inform Marketing

Most digital marketing teams are asking all the same questions — all surrounding who customers are, what they want, and how to adjust their strategy based on that information. In other words, they need data to make better decisions.


Most digital marketing teams are asking the same questions. Source: BrandAlley

BrandAlley’s team asked the same questions, but had two things going for it — (a) a high-performing marketing automation solution, and (b) a very engaged customer base — in part due to the fact that it’s a “closed website” (you need to be a member to login and use its services).

Because it caters exclusively to “known” users, BrandAlley knows what actions every member takes on its website. If customers don’t check out, for instance, BrandAlley knows where they stopped.

They know which brands customers were looking at, and the general customer journey people took. BrandAlley is essentially able to tell partner brands where they should be focusing with their products going forward.

The company had a lot of data about its customers, and needed to translate that data into more personal (and more effective) interactions.

All About the Customer

BrandAlley has an active, engaged member community. The brand sends 35 million emails per month to its customer base, and gets up to 2.5 million unique visitors per month on its website.

The average shopping cart value for a single transaction is £115 ($161) and typically consists of 2-3 (2.4 on average) items. 80% of transactions are placed on a mobile device or tablet.

Additionally, the company averages 300 new customers per day (the single-day record was 600)!

female members

BrandAlley skews toward affluent, mostly female members.

That’s all due to its ability to turn anonymous audiences into known customers, and use that data to draw actionable insights.

A self-proclaimed customer-centric company, BrandAlley was challenged to leverage customer data to draw actionable insights based on the massive amounts of data it had. It started using machine learning to help sort through large amounts of data, draw insights, and execute personalized marketing. It personalized its marketing following these steps:

  1. Create unified profiles to understand who customers are
  2. Use AI-driven predictive intelligence to create tailored messages for each
  3. Create and load personalized content
  4. Automate the delivery of those messages
  5. Analyze results for further optimization

Since implementing each of these steps, BrandAlley has seen great results. Let’s dig deeper into how, exactly, they execute.

BrandAlley’s Marketing Approach

Alexandra Simion heads up marketing at BrandAlley. Her team of five handles everything — they use no agencies or outside strategic help.

Overall, BrandAlley comes out with 5-7 new sales per day, mostly in collaboration with partner brands such as Mulberry and Coach for handbags, Hugo Boss and Gant for men, and L.K. Bennett for women.

BrandAlley’s marketing strategy relies almost exclusively on email.

Email at the center

BrandAlley boasts a VERY low opt-out rate, a direct result of its transparency during the signup process.

It’s philosophy around subscriptions is simple: make it clear! The brand clearly communicates that members will, by default, receive two emails per day, plus any abandon cart or triggered emails.

Bonus Tip: Keep registration forms as brief and frictionless as possible. For instance, Simion and her team do not seek the age of members at initial registration. Instead, they have an automated program that goes out every couple weeks in conjunction with their “birthday program” where incentives are sent to individuals on their birthday.

Within a preference center, it offers separate email options if customers don’t want two per day — they can switch between daily or weekly emails. There are no surprises about the amount of emails that they’ll get.

The brand is currently combining predictive intelligence and dynamic content to create personalized emails — complete with 1:1 incentives.

Machine learning and AI powers these incentive recommendations in emails. Incentive Recommendations helps analyze campaign lists to identify which customers are more likely to purchase when offered an incentive, then it assigns the most efficient incentive to each individual.

Some customers who shop a LOT with a brand or visit its website daily, for example, may require a low (or no) incentive since they clearly already shop a lot as a loyal customer.

It found that emails using dynamic content converted up to 16% higher than standard, manually curated email campaigns.

As a result of using AI within its email campaigns, it saw a:

  • +26% increase in revenue
  • +27% increase in clicks
  • +16% increase in conversions

“We used to be stuck in Monday meetings trying to decide what content to put in emails,” Simion said. “This [use of predictive intelligence] has simplified that process and literally given us more time for any other stuff [creative work].”

Email Tip: BrandAlley’s e-newsletter contains a collection of that week’s best-performing sales, as well as upcoming sales near the bottom. They’re looking to adopt Open Time Content, soon though, where Simion and co. will rely on AI to automate accurate, time-sensitive displaying of certain content within emails.

Driving traffic with CRM Ads

Of course, the brand needs to drive qualified, new (anonymous) traffic (prospective customers) to its platform.

It executes these acquisition campaigns primarily using CRM ads.

Within the Emarsys platform, BrandAlley collects and stores data about customers, and uses the Affinity Dashboard to organize the data for action — then executes CRM ads across today’s most popular social channels to target new audiences.

How BrandAlley Uses CRM Ads: The brand starts by creating micro-segments in the Affinity Dashboard, drops that segment into CRM Ads, creates a lookalike audience target group, then syncs that newly identified audience to relevant social platforms, and delivers content via highly targeted campaigns — all based on owned first-party customer data.

Smarter Acquisition

BrandAlley uses CRM ads to identify lookalike audiences, then targets them with personalized content across Instagram, Facebook. YouTube, and Google. Source: BrandAlley

As a result of using CRM ads, BrandAlley saw a:

  • +230% increase in Facebook registrations
  • +8x increase in customer reach
  • -50% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA)

It’s been using CRM ads for 18 months, and won’t stop anytime soon — as these are the core of its entire acquisition strategy.

Case Study Examples

Pretty Green Sale Campaign

In conjunction with Pretty Green, Liam Gallagher’s (the lead singer of Oasis) brand, BrandAlley targeted new customers.

It ended up massively over indexing in certain areas, and even prompted Pretty Green to open physical stores in new areas it hadn’t previously been active.

Pandora Expanding its Realm

Pandora is the largest and most well known jewelry brand in the UK. But with the help of BrandAlley, the Danish brand was about to sell new products in new areas where they didn’t normally do much business.

Final Thoughts

BrandAlley experienced 40% order growth in 2017, and expects similar results in 2018.

Feldmann attributes this growth to a combination of:

  • Traditional retail tactics of quality product and dynamic pricing
  • Savvy digital marketing practices, resulting in increased customer engagement, retention, and repeat purchases

In total, in working with Emarsys to power its personalized marketing strategy and execution, BrandAlley saw a:

  • +40% increase in orders
  • +40% increase in active customers
  • +61% increase in new customers

They successfully scaled their marketing on behalf of partner brands, and they’re moving to a reliance on AI marketing to power their entire marketing (email) and acquisition (CRM ads) approach.

► Watch Feldmann and Simion’s full-length, 30-minute Revolution presentation, here.

► Learn more about how Emarsys helped BrandAlley achieve a personalized marketing approach in this client success story.