ROI Through Operational Maturity

Event recap; see ATL Insider Insights post on

Who? Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association + Object 9’s Sarah Arrington
What? AIMA Email SIG Panel Recap
Where? Atlanta Tech Village
When? April 23, 2015

Jon Parise, Director of Customer Marketing, Kabbage
Elizabeth Perry, Technical Product Manager, Permission Marketing, Cox Media Group
Carey Paris, eMarketing Manager, Mizuno

Dave Walters, Product Evangelist, Silverpop

I was so bummed to miss this event as I’m currently transitioning into email marketing and would have loved to connect with Carey from Mizuno. Luckily, Sarah was able to go in my place and tell me all about it. The premise of this discussion was effective content marketing, which includes a balance of email operations and program management to gain efficiencies that will lead to a higher ROI. Thanks to Sarah’s notes, and the never-ending AIMA Twitter feed, here’s my recap.

Topic Introduction

The panel opened with the emergence of “Browse Abandonment.” Not to be mistaken with “Cart Abandonment,” which happens a step after, Browse Abandonment is defined as an opportunity to serve specific content on what that user was browsing. Here’s an example: Your wife/girlfriend is browsing the “For Him” section of a website, which will trigger an email of the “Top Sellers” from that category. Dave mentioned that, for one of Silverpop’s clients, using this technique they were able to deliver a near 100% conversation rate! Basically, the conversion rate decrease will cause the number of emails to increase and vice versa.

The importance of being able to scale automated marketing campaigns is crucial when dealing with a breadth of clients — from single customers to large enterprises. Marketing automation gives you the ability to have just a few employees managing the campaign while still reaching upwards of 16 million customers! A practice of this caliber simply cannot be ignored.

Panel Discussion


In dealing with its marketing automation, Kabbage employs a mighty team of one to manage this practice. Jon estimated the interactions to be 75% automated and 25% ad hoc. He said a recent want in their efforts is to start automating weekly emails, further streamlining the process.

Current campaigns Kabbage is running include a “Baby Come Back” mail-out every Tuesday and a nurture campaign that’s set over a five-day period. The overall campaigns are constantly refined, restructured, and measured alongside their organizational impact, which is common in marketing automation campaigns.


Carey said that his team goes through strategy, copy, review, and design leading up to an automation deployment. Efforts are honing in on automating the connection between demoing and ultimately purchasing a product. Stats show that once consumers try a Mizuno product, they are then much more likely to buy that brand moving forward. Get that product in people’s hands, Mizuno!

After a bit of a late start, Mizuno launched its first website campaign in 2011, gathering names and email addresses for a newsletter. But the company wasn’t segmenting by sport. Today, touch points are sport-specific and even subdivided within a given sport: Think accessories, apparel, equipment, and much more.

Carey experienced high email open rates, even without harnessing the huge amounts of data and analytics at their disposal. With such great products and loyal customers, imagine where this powerhouse brand will be once they’ve perfected the automation practice! Current initiatives Carey’s team is developing include highlighting the importance of segmentation and big data as well as incentivizing large amounts of their customers to register their products, thus capturing additional emails and data.

Cox Media Group

Elizabeth explained how campaigns and emails are kept separate between departments and channels at CMG (newspaper, radio, TV, etc.) and that they mainly push out news content. An important statement from Elizabeth for everyone to keep in mind: Know when to stop automating! At a certain point things just get either a) super creepy or b) annoying as $%*&! I’m sure almost everybody with two lungs and an email address can attest to being pestered by brands’ automation. Current campaigns for the CMG team include an on-boarding and lifecycle campaign that begins when you sign up for a newspaper subscription. At first confirming with, “Did you get your newspaper?”, followed by touch points that include payment reminders, profile set-up, content preferences, and more in hopes of create a more dynamic and less static newsletter. Very impressive.


Deliverability: How are IPs Performing?

So, we all know it’s easy to sign up for an email newsletter, but are people actually engaging with the content? The panelists went over a few of their key performance indicators (KPIs), listed below.

  • Sales
  • Opens
  • Click-Through Rates (CTRs)
  • Event Activation / Physical Store Appearances
  • Brand Presence and Sentiment
  • Account Engagement (logins)
  • Downloads
  • Web Traffic
  • Contest Participation

Dave then asked the panel: “Who is the most important person on your team?” At Mizuno, the Digital Marketing Manager, because this role sets the benchmarks and goals for the team. At Kabbage and Cox, the Data and Analytics Managers. No surprise here, as we’re living in a Big Data World these days.

A final discussion focused on frequency control: Finding the right level of engagement without sending too many emails. You must have balance in your communications! Jon recommends supplementing all of the above with real, human interaction. If nothing else, let that final phrase be your takeaway today. Nothing overcomes the power of simply shaking hands and making eye contact.

Connect with Object 9 on Twitter (@Object9), LinkedIn, and Facebook. Be sure to check out AIMA’s upcoming events. I’ll be there!


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