Moderated by: Kath Pay, founder of Holistic Email Marketing
Attended by: Komal Helyer (Marketing Director at Pure360) and senior CRM & Email Marketers from Arsenal FC, ZPG Group, Kurt Geiger,, Crew Clothing, Richmond Events, The Great Run Company & Secret Escapes

On Tuesday 20th June Holistic Email Marketing and Pure360 teamed up to host a roundtable event focused on personalisation, giving attendees the opportunity to share their challenges, headaches and success stories. You can find a full round up of the event here.

Here are the key takeaways.

  1. Personalisation goes beyond demographic and behavioural targeting – true personalisation goes further and considers factors such as timing, content and tone of voice. Put your customers’ hat on – if they signed up to buy from you then help them and make it as easy as possible. In this context personalisation in email marketing becomes a no-brainer!
  2. Personalisation is not an outcome, it’s a tool that should be used to enhance the customer experience and help you achieve your overall marketing and company objectives.
  3. Lack of resource is the main barrier to implementing effective personalisation. Many brands have “one-man band” email teams who lack the time for deep campaign performance analysis and advanced testing plans.
  4. Although email is proven to deliver the highest ROI of any channel, marketing teams are struggling to get their senior management team or board to invest further. The channel is often seen as performing well, so the question arises “why we need to change anything?”
  5. Personalisation does not necessarily mean the end of bulk campaigns. For some brands (not all) using email as a branding exercise can be beneficial as consumers are unpredictable. Understanding when they have intent to purchase is difficult and so “planting the seed” can be very effective.
  6. The psychology and advanced analytics behind the in-store experiences have not yet translated across to the digital landscape. Understanding how different personalities engage with email content differently could help give you the competitive advantage.
  7. There are ways to create a more personal experience without having a vast amount of personal information. “Fake Personalisation” (based upon assumptions and tone of voice) and using emotive language can have a similar effect.
  8. Pure-play online brands are reliant on email as a revenue driver and so use email to solely promote their latest deals and offers and not provide nurturing content, which could mean sacrificing loyalty and long-term engagement. It is up to the individual/team to build a compelling business case based on the importance of understanding their customer’s lifetime value – not just reporting on weekly or monthly revenue.
  9. “Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t” was a phrase put forward by one of the brands, which resonated with everyone. Whilst this sounds obvious, testing is absolutely essential to providing your subscribers with a more personalised journey. Start with a hypothesis – “I think this is going to happen because…” and be prepared to be “wrong.” Results are often counter-intuitive to what management wanted or expected. Be sure to always provide context though, e.g. is it representative enough?
  10. When testing, ensure you have a comprehensive test and learn procedures – testing on a whim is a waste of time and effort. Make sure your test results have statistical significance, that the test is timely and then use the test findings to optimise the conversation cross-channel too, especially social media.
  11. All brands are different and so one should be cautious when adhering to “best practice advice.” It should always be taken in context of your industry and your audience. Think of “best practice” as a starting point to begin testing from, not the end point.