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Key principles for email marketing illustrated by 2 retail email marketing case studies

Author's avatar By Matt Clarke 09 Nov, 2010
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Connect 2010 email marketing conference summary

"It's all about the conversation" was a key message from Connect2010 email marketing conference which I attended in October.

Organised by eCircle, and now in its 5th year, the event included a rich mixture of clients and guest speakers notably Halfords, eSpares, Webtrends, RichRelevance and Stephen O'Brien (Customer Insight Partnership).

The day ended with a resonating presentation from Gianfranco Cuzziol, Planning Consultant eCircle, which was an alternative look at how fundamentally it all comes back to the conversation, and key thing you need to be asking is not necessarily which channel but do I have something to say?

Some key principles for all email marketers

  • Watch and listen before even speaking "You can learn by just listening to web behavior, click-stream activity, social engagement, offline activity. Digital body language is an important source of information
  • Find the incentive for taking "What's in it for the customer? Listen to Dell Outlet on Twitter because I will get a good deal. Communicate with My Starbucks Idea because my ideas of product development will be at least recognised if not necessarily introduced to stores
  • Give Options - How often do I want to hear from a brand...and what about? Let customers manage YOUR communication. One Dutch Travel brand actually allows customers to unplug from the conversation for a period. After all, we don't all buy or plans holidays every week. Result, a 35% reduction in full un-subscribes!
  • Never assume or impose anything - Best practice is not universal! Frequency, timing and content is not the same for everyone. Best practice is unique to each individual brand-customer-product combination
  • Take turns - Otherwise a dialogue becomes a monologue with you controlling the conversation.

Conference Highlights

I have added a short summary for each talk I attended and have embedded the presentations.

Halford's "Intelligent Lifecycle Marketing"

Retail Email marketing case study : Halfords

Some key takeaways and tips

  • Increase you opportunities for email interaction throughout the customer lifecycle "€“ mapping where you are today is a great first step
  • Consider measuring your email marketing maturity factors include, Strategy, Segmentation and Personalisation, Layout and content, List Growth, Automation and Efficiency, Performance Analysis.

eSpares "€“ 5 email marketing lessons learned by the eSpares online parts store

Retail Email marketing case study : eSpares

Some key takeaways and tips

  • Particularly of interest was how automated emails, which run without intervention, now make up a strong proportion of sales since launching the program in 2010
  • Try and learning something new with every email. One technique being used by eSpares is to try and guess the key performance measures on selected send-outs.

Learn more about how to plan event-triggered automated email campaigns.

New European Social Media and eMail Marketing Study

Showcased for the first time at the conference were summary findings from a new study shortly to be released by eCircle.  The study focuses on the way email and social media are utilised and how consumers are using social and email together in the "cosmos of communication".

How do today"'s consumers use Facebook, Twitter and Email?

5 facts and figures about digital dialogue marketing with Facebook, Twitter and Email


  • Social networks are used for acquiring information about products, not for direct selling
  • Fans and Followers are the new email subscribers
  • Email still forms the backbone for digital dialogue with consumers
  • When information is shared, it can have a wide reach
  • Users of social networks want to be engaged by companies.
Author's avatar

By Matt Clarke

Today Matt works at Adobe UK advising customers on a wide range topics across digital marketing and supporting Adobe's clients to become best-in-class multi-channel marketing organisations. Matt has worked across multiple industries over 15 years, most notably with BP where he led Usability, Web Analytics and Email Marketing as part of the global COE. Based in London and today working with leading retailers, Matt specialises in delivery of Adobe's Digital Marketing Cloud. During his career Matt has worked across many fields of expertise including; Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, eCRM, Social Media Marketing, User Experience, Accessibility, Web Optimisation and SEO. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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