Weekly Email Sends – Is But a Game of Blockbusters

    Danni Hunt | Head of Future Email

    I loved Blockbusters as a teenager, not just to test how much I knew compared to my peers, but also to ponder the tactics of the contestants as they worked their way across the board. There would always be one player who thought it would be clever to throw a curve ball into the mix, and how I would mock when their tactic failed.

    The premise of Blockbusters was simple. Complete the journey across the grid for a chance to win the Gold Run. In this sense, it’s a lot like email marketing. Plug in those cells with the correct message, retain the customer and reap the rewards.

    The advantage for us marketers these days is that the answers are now pretty much solved. Our messages are relevant, personalised, intensely targeted and timely. The customer journey is well planned and automated and after years of testing are now highly successful revenue generators.

    Except for that marketing ‘curve ball’ all clients like to throw. Those weekly, tactical email campaigns sent to the masses.  The ‘game’ of generic, weekly, tactical sends for the majority of companies has changed very little in the last few years. Segmenting your data is one thing, but to segment and keep the weekly email message unique to each recipient can be a down right pain in the ‘B’, Bob.

    Often these campaigns are reactive, compulsive and as a result are, for the majority of recipients, irrelevant, tenuous and counteractive.

    Now this makes no sense to me. You’ve been working the board, your strategy so far has been smartly tailored to each customer’s unique journey with the brand. So why once or twice a week ignore them completely? The message can quickly become dis-jointed and the recipients can again become disengaged. Yesterday you told me you loved me, but now I’m just a record in your database.

    For example, a loyal, high value customer has just returned from their holiday and were grateful to receive a ‘welcome back’ correspondence which made them feel recognised and valued by the brand. They may very well book again. However, 2 days later they are sent a generic email with holiday destinations which are completely non applicable to that individual.

    By this analogy the break in the chain is obvious and as marketers we need to fill or fix this void, whilst also respectfully understanding the need to showcase new products and services to the masses. If data driven behavioural content drives the highest responses and conversions then this must be a key implementation in order to retain the customer/brand relationship.

    RedEye were recently faced with such a conundrum. Monarch Airlines were keen to increase engagement and conversions from their generic, offer-led email campaigns sent to the majority of their database every week.

    By enhancing the content of the generic template by adding behavioural content, RedEye was confident this would increase all key responses and create more flight bookings for their generic offer-led campaigns.

    Adding last search, destination specific, details to those recipients whom had not previously booked would showcase more relevant content per recipient, increase engagement and hence provide a message hailing more propensity to book.

    RedEye’s unique template algorithm created an instant, considerable uplift in all key responses from campaign deployment. For those whom received behavioural content, after only 48 hours, open rates increased from 23.8% to 41.5% comparing abandoners to non-abandoners. The same control cell abandoners receiving the generic content only achieved 26.1% open rate in the same time frame.

    The same uplift was seen in both click through rates and conversion.  A massive 23% increase in unique click through rate compared to the control cell of abandoners. 745% increase in total revenue compared to the control. 154% increase in conversion rate compared to recipients receiving the generic weekly email template.

    Adding more complex behavioural algorithms will only add value and increase the above, such as dynamically inserting welcome back content, upsell opportunities for booker not yet departed and lapsed customers.

    So before I sign off, “What ‘B’ is the type of content that would drive higher engagement, responses and revenue from you weekly tactical email campaigns?” Yes, the answer is ‘Behavioural’. You’re off to the Gold Run. Now that really is Blockbusters!