Responsys emphasizes design and mobility to optimize email

To drive email response rates, marketers should be mindful of the little things such as colors, hierarchy, balancing text and images and mobile optimization said executives at the Responsys Interact conference in San Francisco, Calif.

Heather Blank, Responsys’s VP of strategic services and Wacarra Yeomans, Responsys’s director of creative services pointed to examples from Gaiam, Whole Foods and Hawaiian Airlines to illustrate their point.

“Use creative to facilitate relationships,” said Blank. “Think of segmentations in a more detailed manner and look at mobile as an experience enabler.”

The theme of customer-focused retention marketing carried into the second day of the conference when Ted Wham, VP of customer relations marketing at Orbitz, encouraged the audience to rethink the fundamentals of segmentation. He added that marketers should stop thinking about what content will go in this week’s messages and should start thinking about sending automated but personalized messages. “Customers are individual people,” he said, pointing out that their emails should be individual too.

Wham said that marketers should be segmenting to create a more personalized experience and thinking about things like “recency, frequency and monetary value.” He said that more than half of customers are gone after six months in Orbitz’s email program, but he pointed out that the company sees an increase in transactions from customers that remain. Orbitz, which has more than a 100 billion airline choices a day, sends triggered emails based on key events, such as the time since the most recent click, the time since a customer searched on the site, and the time since a customer has made a purchase.

The company uses email to cross-sell throughout the consideration window. “As we get better at this, we hope to identify individuals based on specific behaviors,” he said. “Are they procrastinators like me, or are they planners like my wife.

Shawn Meyers, product manager at Responsys, said that building a mobile experience would help build retention. “Mobile has the ability to build a relationship and deeper engagement,” he said.

For Whole Foods, that meant creating a mobile app that lets users search for recipies based on different criteria, such dietary restrictions or ingredients you have in your kitchen. The app, which has a 29% engagement rate 6 months after a customer downloads it, was designed to “satisfy and delight” the customer, said Becky Chambers, integrated media program leader at Whole Foods. “It’s about being there before and after the sale, not just when they are in the store,” said Chambers.

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