How Top Marketers Get Delivered

Posted by Stephanie Colleton 

We just completed a panel discussion led by Anita Absey entitled “IN Their Own Words – How Top Marketers Get Delivered Every Time – Well Almost.” Our panelists included Jenny Ahujo from comScore, Michael Cleary from Proctor & Gamble, and Herschel Thompson from Charming Shoppes.

We started out with polling the audience to get a sense of what types of email people are sending. Turns out, most people are sending a mix of promotional and editorial email. In addition, most people are not including any promotional messaging in their transactional messages.

Jenny from comScore got us started by telling us a bit about their program. comScore does not use an ESP, they send their email through their in-house solution. What Jenny and her team have learned about deliverability is that they need to be in charge of their data quality. Bad data = bad deliverability. Not managing their data has led to issues with complaints, unknown users and spam traps. To address these issues they have implemented feedback loops, cleaned their list and adhere to a strict schedule of processing opt-outs and bounces. They have further managed their list by using domain weighting and setting up DKIM.

Michael from P&G has a different set of challenges. P&G uses an ESP and his group enforces compliance, but each of the 300 brands is responsible for the reputation of their own email program. So, best practices need to be communicated internally across all of those teams. To keep tabs, they have a Wall of Fame/Shame where the best and worst email practices from across the brands are featured. One of Michael’s main tips is to invest in the relationship up front by not just sending a welcome message but sending a GREAT welcome message that arrives immediately and sets the stage for an engaged monologue with the new subscriber. P&G does some cross brand promotion but they need to be careful to respect permission. In addition, since each brand is responsible for its own P&L, there is not much incentive to cross-promote.

Next we heard from Herschel from Charming Shoppes. Herschel believes that it’s critical to educate your internal stakeholder on the value of email. His brands focus on specialty sizes so there is an opportunity to have conversations about style, fit and trends. However, he finds it a challenge to keep his program from slipping into just coupon after coupon. He believes they need to do more to leverage the data they have on customer behavior (web browsing, purchases) to create more targeted messages. Finally, he managed deliverability at Charming Shoppes for four years on his own, but in the last year has found their rates to be much more volatile and therefore have needed to use more a more comprehensive approach.

This panel really demonstrated how reputation and response challenges can vary greatly between types of businesses.

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About Stephanie Colleton

Stephanie began her digital marketing career 20 years ago with AOL followed by BMG Columbia House. She has been with Return Path for 11 years working with clients to optimize their email marketing programs by leveraging custom consulting and innovative AI solutions. Stephanie is based in New Jersey.

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