PR Recap: Trends from the World’s Largest Independent Beauty Trade Show, Indie Beauty Expo

As our beauty, wellness and grooming team stepped foot into this this year’s Indie Beauty Expo in NYC we experienced immediate excitement, awe and delight. Vibrant colors, incredible aromas, ingredient innovation and beauty talk with category pioneers filled the room. We were like kids in a candy shop – The biggest question was where to begin?! With a record-setting 227 independent beauty exhibitors, the show offered consumers, press and buyers a look into a plethora of emerging brands offering unique spins on categories including, skin care, cosmetics, nail art, hair care, ingestibles, and more.

5W’s Beauty Division had the honor of representing Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) for its third annual New York show – the most expansive and successful show yet from Aug. 22-24. The 3-day show consisted of segments created for Brands, Buyers, Press and Shoppers – CONNECT, SHOP and TRADE INDIE – which attracted more than 2,000 attendees cumulatively.

The first day, CONNECT INDIE, was held on Aug. 22 at Skylight Modern NYC and focused on education for emerging beauty entrepreneurs with programming that included Indie Essentials structured learning courses in the areas of finance, retail and media. At CONNECT, I had the opportunity to host a PR 101 panel alongside top tier editors from Allure, WWD, Racked and Well + Good – providing key insights and tips for entrepreneurs looking to achieve awareness via media relations. All panelists were very passionate about the indie beauty category and the unique stories of the entrepreneurs behind the brands.

Following CONNECT INDIE, a press preview was held on Aug. 23 at Skylight Clarkson Sq. and allowed key members of press to peruse the floor for the latest in indie beauty. 5W secured over 300 members of the press from leading trade and consumer outlets including The New York Times, WWD, Today Show, ELLE, Town & Country – the list goes on. The exciting shopping event open to the general public, SHOP INDIE, immediately followed and attracted more than 1,500 consumers who were able to browse and shop, all while sipping cocktails, crafting flower crowns, and more. The show concluded with TRADE INDIE on Aug. 24 that attracted over 500 buyers.

The indie beauty craze has experienced explosive growth worldwide and these beauty pioneers continue to be on the rise. The brands at IBE NY 2017 certainly didn’t disappoint, so trendspotting was a necessity. Here are some notable trends present throughout the show:

Quinoa in skincare

Quinoa isn’t just beneficial for your next meal – it contains the vitamins, proteins and antioxidants skin needs to look its best. Exhibitor Zue Beauty uses quinoa, and also harvests the quinoa from Indigenous people in Peru. Spa brand Aypa uses quinoa, blue corn, and also indigenous ingredients from Peru.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are here to stay! A brand that everyone had their eyes on was Petite Amie, the French term for girlfriend. From new Emoji “baby masque” with hydrolyzed rice protein and hydrolyzed collagen to help erase fine lines and wrinkles that brings back baby soft skin, to a lip treatment mask to moisturize and smoothen the lip for a younger and more kissable looking, their products are to naturally formulate skin with safety and efficacy. In addition, Smoothie Beauty is taking the edible beauty trend to the next level with their 100% organic food-based face masks that are fresh, additive-free, refrigerated and sustainable.

Nighttime Beauty

With indie beauty brands, there is such a thing as “beauty rest.” Moonlit Skincare is dedicated to night-time skincare. They sync up natural, potent ingredients with the power of sleep and are passionate about creating a more welcome sleep space. Their Midnight Shift Overnight Face Oil is infused with the relaxing scent of lavender to gently calm your central nervous system. Emerging brand Florapy who specializes in 100% coconut sheet masks, showcased their Sweet Dreams Sleep Mask that encourages you to take a breath, relax, feel the stress melt away and prepare for sweet dreams with the energy of Yarrow and Lavender. The lavender aromatherapy empowers relaxation, calms the nerves and promotes sleep. 

Natural/Clean Beauty

Roughly 161 out of 227 that exhibited at IBE would be considered clean and green – it was eco-beauty heaven! And these brands didn’t just fall into the typical skin care, hair care, color cosmetics categories. Brands like Freedom and Honestly Phresh showcased all-natural deodorants that do everything traditional antiperspirants do, but better and safer. Ojai Wild introduced their collection of natural fragrances made from native California botanicals, resins, woods and roots, by artisan perfumer Janna Sheehan. As more and more consumers are becoming eco-conscious in all aspects of their lives, it was uplifting to see indie beauty jumping on that bandwagon.

Beauty Ingestibles

As consumers are becoming more knowledgeable that what you put inside of your body is just – if not more – important than topical products, brands are following suit and there’s been a escalation in beauty ingestibles. At this year’s show, a few notable brands emerged: Dope Naturally is your beauty counter on your kitchen counter and the purest plant based, energy superfood blend available on the market. Swhey’s Organic Multivitamin & Green Superfood Powder, with just 44 calories per serving, is a complex superfood loaded with everything to keep a busy woman in top shape.

Male Grooming

With the male grooming industry worth close to $50bn last year, men’s grooming brands are certainly on the rise. This year’s IBE showcased 5 incredible indie beauty brands offering men an unprecedented grooming experience in masculine packaging. The 18.21 Man Made namesake was inspired by the 18th and 21st amendments of the United States Constitution and offers hair supplies for men inspired by the roaring spirit of swanky Prohibition era speak easy lounges. Given the sleek, masculine packaging, BIG BOY drew a lot of attention from passersby. Drawing inspiration from its Sicilian origins, BIG BOY products combine rich, natural ingredients like Sicilian olive and almond oil, bees wax and shea oil to create superior skin and hair care products that work in harmony with the skin’s natural elements.

Female Empowerment

An astounding 85% of brands at this year’s IBE NY 2017 were women-owned, further proving that strong women are on the forefront of innovation in the beauty industry. A few notable brands lead by women include A Complete, a skincare company founded by Angelica Fuentes, one of Latin America’s most prominent businesswomen and philanthropists, which offers a 5-step 3-minute skincare routine for women on-the-go, Dana Jackson from Beneath Your Mask wanted the natural beauty of the skin to come through, so she sought to create products that were safe, non-irritating, and non-toxic for the skin to absorb and that would not challenge the immune system, and Thorn & Bloom’s Jennifer Botto who created a company specializing in artisanal perfumery handcrafting luxury botanical fragrances using the finest natural aromatics.

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Have We Reached The End Of Brand Purpose?

Rather than offering solutions to societal needs, brand ‘purpose’ risks becoming a euphemism for ill-conceived CSR campaigns. The Holmes Report’s Alex Brownsell talks to CMOs, including the marketer behind ‘Fearless Girl’, to find out where brands are going wrong. Rema Vasan, EVP and a global client director at MSL and a Cannes Lions 2017 jury […]

The post Have We Reached The End Of Brand Purpose? appeared first on MSLGROUP’s Blog Critical Conversations: Critical Conversations.

Can Data Save Marketers? Six Steps To Effectively Leverage Data For Marketing Campaigns

The data ship has long since sailed. Today data is everywhere. In fact, data has grown at such an exponential rate that it has forced marketers to forge new paths in how they leverage data as part of their marketing campaigns. However, there is so much data and so many options regarding what to collect and how to leverage it that many marketers simply don’t know where to begin to move towards true people-based marketing. Here are six critical steps for marketers to effectively leverage data in order to drive successful marketing campaigns that help brands reach their business objectives.

Set Measurable Goals

Surprisingly, the first step is the one that often gets the least amount of attention. Setting measurable campaign goals that are specific and well defined can be the lynchpin in your overall data strategy. Be as specific as possible in defining your success criteria (e.g., xx percent response rate and/or xx percent increase in revenue). If a longer-range goal like more brand awareness is an integral campaign goal, define what you want to accomplish within your campaign’s timeframe. It’s important to have a big vision, but figure out ways to deliver value that can be measured within this bigger goal.

Leverage Your Customer Data Wisely

Your own data is always your best data. At your fingertips, you have the names, contact information, and purchase histories of your customers to help you determine who to target in your marketing campaigns. Once you determine the best targets, remember that most customers today expect campaign messages to be customized to their own preferences, so a thorough understanding of your customers is critical to your success. For this reason, it’s important to know what data you are missing that might help you reach the most ideal prospects. After you analyze your transaction histories and determine your targets, you can build look-alike portraits of other prospects to target.

Accurately Recognize Customers Across Marketing Channels

The emergence of digital channels has made campaign planning more complex because it increased the types of data available to marketers. But it also underscored the necessity of recognizing consumers when they use various marketing channels. Getting an accurate, single cross-channel view of consumers is the foundation for leveraging effective data-driven marketing campaigns. Select a partner with an identity resolution solution that is integrated with a large number of channel partners to ensure it can help you recognize your customers, resolve duplicate records, correct customer portrait errors, and add missing information to incomplete portraits. After all, if you are planning to search for look-alike portraits for “Brandon Smith,” you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the right “Brandon Smith.” Last, but certainly not least, is the issue of data privacy. By not selecting a partner that builds in data protection and privacy, you’re putting your company at risk. Seek out a partner that makes the ethical use of data a top priority.

Leverage External Data To Help Find Ideal Campaign Targets

Marketers usually need additional data to find and target prospects that will respond to their marketing campaigns. Leveraging outside demographic and attitudinal marketing data is crucial for most effective marketing campaigns because it cuts costly outreach to consumers who won’t likely respond to your efforts while allowing you to focus on audiences that will be the most receptive. It also allows you to append different types of data to your records, perform analytics to build audience segments, and target those segments that contain your next cream-of-the-crop customers. The three most important attributes to look for when purchasing outside marketing data are accuracy, coverage and freshness.

Test Your Data

Marketing ROI is wholly dependent on the quality of the data and analytics used to define audiences. Upon setting specific campaign needs, it is important to find a trusted and established partner to help define your test audiences, test against various customer portraits and segments, and evaluate how they perform against your goals. Marketers can gain a competitive advantage in match rate, coverage and accuracy when they have access to data that goes beyond household-specific coverage and drives consumer-specific marketing. For example, honing in on consumer-specific age, education, occupation and political party will result in a much more targeted campaign than simply looking at household data. If the test campaign doesn’t garner the expected results, then work with your data partner to discover a new segment or channel that over-performs and will make your campaign a success.

Measure Your Campaign Across Channels

The way you measure your campaign is critical to improving the way you leverage data for future campaigns. For accurate measurement, it’s important that you have the right collection system in place to bring the data together on the back-end, but it’s often equally important to engage an identity resolution partner’s data systems for measurement purposes. You’ll want to ensure that you are able to measure not only who responds to your campaign but also the channel in which they responded. This will ensure that you are able to match results not only to specific overall goals but also to individual channels.

It’s likely that new digital channels will continue to emerge quickly in the coming years. This means another tidal wave of data will become available to marketers. To avoid running marketing campaigns that could be adrift in this sea of new data, it’s crucial for marketers to follow the necessary steps to effectively leverage data and navigate a successful future in the digital world.


This article was first published on on August 24, 2017

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Blurring: 3 lessons from PwC’s Megan Brownlow

Regardless of where your business sits in the TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications) ecosystem, you will be involved somehow in a strategic shift that can be described as blurring. Sometimes called convergence, blurring occurs when businesses diversify their ways of making money, when they pivot into new or adjacent areas or when they take new approaches to engaging (and keeping) customers.

The Federation Star is Australia’s symbol of collaboration. It was designed to mark the occasion when several disparate states and territories formed one federated country on 1 January, 1901.

This important union is something Megan Brownlow recently reminded us of as she shared her insights from the Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2017-2021 at an intimate event at Jack Morton’s Sydney office last week. The message of Megan’s talk was rooted in the observation that areas in the entertainment and media world are blurring, just as they did amongst our Australian territories.

Now, as marketers we don’t need to be reminded that things are changing. We talk about it all the time. And while Megan validated some of our assumptions about the future, she also dispelled others, including our relentless focus on millennials and the need for everything to be on a screen.

The convergence of technology and reality is undeniable, and the introduction of a new audience in Gen Z bears all sorts of new challenges. Our new centennial friends are more safety-conscious, they know we want their data and they aren’t giving it to us for nothing. They are multi-taskers with multiple jobs, and as digital natives they’re often the help-desk at home. But, even though they seem to live their life behind a screen, that’s not the only way to engage them.

So, here are 3 strategies for survival I picked up from listening to Megan talk about the next 5 years in Entertainment & Media.

  1. Diversify

Expand. Differentiate. Branch out. Broaden your horizons. And do it everywhere. This message came through loud and clear.

For many businesses diversification of revenue streams will be the biggest focus. And keeping in line with the music theme, Megan highlighted Spotify as an example of a business successfully diversifying in this way. Despite having lower users than other sharing and streaming platforms they benefit from higher revenue due to their combined income from subscriptions and advertising and they have also been daring in their approach. In fact, by way of an unlikely partnership with rival Pandora, our team at Jacks were tasked to bring to life the audio streaming value proposition and take it to market, helping to grow the category on the whole.

With the emergence of eSports, we have witnessed a new form of entertainment in not only playing and competing in the virtual world, but even watching others take part. Over 25% of Australians now watch eSports and with competition, agility (of the mental kind), spectators and players assuming a ‘celebrity’ status, Megan rightly observed that this phenomenon is broadening our definition and application of what it means to be a ‘sportsman’. Young professional gamers such as 23 year old Brandon Defina are commanding audiences of millions just to watch them practice. And moreover, viewers are willing to pay for the privilege.

  1. Humanise the digital experience

Yes, we are going digital everything, but that doesn’t mean a future of people sitting on their own staring at a device or screen. According to Megan, the blurring of digital and live experience will be prevalent over the coming years and $2bn League of Legends owners Riot Games have already seen this opportunity with the 2016 Grand Final in LA attracting a live audience of over 20,000 and a further 43 million unique viewers watching the event’s live stream.

With 100 million players globally already, the obvious question for marketers is So how do we reach them?’. Well, it’s not going to be easy. With safety-conscious Gen Z being a large user group marketers are going to need to be increasingly creative in their targeting and approach.

By humanising the digital experience we can connect with new audiences. In most sports people don’t only become engulfed in the game itself, but in the people and personalities behind the game. Think back to our young friend Brandon. Enabled by Xbox technology, he is able to live stream himself practicing providing him with his own subscription revenue model. His fans can even purchase emoji’s and ‘stickers’ for their accounts to proudly share their admiration for the young influencer, displayed as a badge of honour not dissimilar to wearing the jersey of a particular soccer player. Through these micro transactions, users are able to brand themselves and bring their personalities into the virtual world.

Beyond the world of eSports, Megan provided an unlikely example of a category that has been kept alive as a result of retaining the human element of experience. Books are a unique example of a category that one would assume is shrinking, but is actually in growth. Live events such as readings and signings, innovations into new genres (colouring books for adults!) as well as environments to promote browsing, provide the perfect remedy to digital fatigue, again highlighting that it’s not just about the product, but how you experience it.

  1. Collaboration

Partnerships are typically considered to be a method of finding like-minded people and working together towards a common goal, but Megan challenged this notion. Partnering with people or businesses similar to us simply leads to a duplication of capabilities. The message was to collaborate with people who don’t do what you do, or have what you have. They may even look and behave differently, but this should be embraced not resisted.

At Jack Morton, we have been known to partner with other specialists to deliver extraordinary work. We have successfully collaborated with brand agencies, creative technologists and even consultancies to deliver cultural change programs for Telstra through to the Cannes Lions winning Nike Unlimited Stadium.

As experience evolves and the business we work in becomes increasingly blurred, we will need expertise in new territories. In the agency world this is more apparent than ever, with digital agencies becoming creative agencies and vice versa, niches are beginning to blur. But some smart businesses are going further than collaboration. Consultancies such as Accenture are beginning to acquire creative agencies, and they seem to be letting them continue to operate business as usual, respecting their ability to bring something unique to the table. This actually brings us full circle back to our first point – diversify. But don’t diversify by becoming less focused on doing what you do really, really well. Diversify through bespoke collaborations that enable you to offer more value.

Reflecting upon the blurring between our six territories, it is important to remember that this was in fact represented by a seven point star. The seventh point represents future territories, and that sentiment remains true here. As the world continues to blur around us, it will be easy to get caught up in the swell of change. While we may be able to take some guidance in preparing and navigating the next 5 years ultimately, nothing can prepare us for what’s next. Why? Because with the current rate of change, we have absolutely no idea what it is.

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Mistress Adds QDOBA Mexican Eats to its Menu

Mistress is excited to add QDOBA Mexican Eats to its roster of clients, following a competitive review for the business. Mistress is tasked with creating and executing the company’s FY 2018 advertising campaign.

Scott Harris, co-founder and executive creative director says “We were already big fans of the brand and the food – how could you not be! So discovering that we were working with a client that had the same creative vision, and saw the same enormous opportunity for the brand as we did – that made this new partnership even more exciting.”

QDOBA has over 700 stores in the US and will be launching its campaign at the end of 2017.

Two new leaders for India and beyond

It’s been a year since we opened our office in Delhi. Like any first year of a relationship, we’ve spent that time learning and growing together. Now, as we cross the one-year mark, we’re expanding not just within India but around the world. That’s why in Delhi we celebrated our first anniversary by enjoying some cake, sharing some memories, and hiring two new senior leaders for APAC.

Anand Chakravarthy, currently the Managing Partner at Maxus India, will become Managing Director of Essence India. He’ll be based in Delhi. T. Gangadhar, based in Mumbai, is presently the Managing Director of MEC South Asia. He’ll take on the dual roles of Chairman of India and Managing Director of North Asia. Both will transition into these roles in January 2018, with Chakravarthy reporting into Gangadhar, who will report into our APAC CEO Kyoko Matsushita.

We’re in this relationship for the long haul, which is why we want to work with two experienced leaders who know how to sell global brands in such a complex market. We really enjoy cake, but if we could only choose one way to commemorate our second anniversary in Delhi, it would be celebrating the achievements of Gangadhar, Chakravarthy, and the rest of our growing team in APAC.

To learn more about our new hires, check out Campaign India.

Gender stereotyping puts products before people – and consumers don’t like it!

In the past few weeks no less than three gender-related stories have hit the national headlines. Jodie Whittaker was announced as the first ever female Dr Who, the BBC revealed its huge gender pay gap and it was refreshing to see the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) announce that it is working on tougher standards for what it called harmful gender stereotypes in advertisements.

The ASA’s stance hasn’t come a moment too soon. The issue has been bubbling under the surface since Proctor & Gamble’s #unstereotyping speech at last year’s Cannes Lions festival, where the brand pledged to end gender stereotyping across its brand advertising. While this was welcomed wholeheartedly, it’s a touch ironic since P&G has done so much to promote stereotypes in its Fairy Liquid commercials, which still featured a woman washing up as late as the Noughties! Only in the 2015 version did they first show a man doing the dishes. But let’s give credit where it’s due.

The ASA reports that this kind of persistent stereotyping, which has built up over the years, can be harmful, as it restricts the choices, aspirations and opportunities for young adults. This was supported by research released this week by Universal McCann, which found 49% of women surveyed “felt pressure from ads to be a certain way” and 44% agreed that ads had made them feel “not good enough”.

So what will the ASA’s new regulations mean for brands?

Well, hopefully naming and shaming those that transgress will encourage them to clean up their acts. But rather than this hindering brands’ ability to promote themselves, it should actually make their campaigns more engaging and effective.

Why? Because gender stereotyping is simply lazy marketing.

There is no denying that stereotypes can be effective. In this era of ‘audio-off’ video content, stereotypical behaviour portrayals are an easy way to get across a product benefit or brand’s message. But looking beyond gender stereotypes demands more creativity, resulting in campaigns that are more original and have greater impact.

Furthermore, stereotypical campaigns don’t reflect the real world, where – with the exception of pay it would seem – men’s and women’s roles have been becoming increasingly blurred over the past couple of decades. By falling back on gender stereotypes in their advertising, brands are no longer depicting a world that consumers recognise, so they are less likely to resonate or engage.

This lazy approach smacks of putting products before people. By thinking people first, and acknowledging, for example, the changing role of women within society that’s currently taking place, brands will create far more effective advertising. And this has been proved by the few brands that have made the leap.

It’s no fluke that Always’ Like a Girl Emojis US campaign was ruled the second most effective ad in 2016 by Warc research. This was one of a number of highly creative and pioneering campaigns under the Like a Girl banner that address the impact of gender stereotyping head on rather than depending on stereotypes to sell stuff like so many other brands do. The result has been highly effective marketing that has worked wonders for brand affinity, but also transformed the phrase ‘like a girl’ from an insult into an empowering message.

Meanwhile, Sport London’s This Girl Can campaign addressed not only gender stereotypes, but age ones too – and it was one of the most successful government campaigns ever run, resulting in a massive increase in British women playing sport. And Twitter got in on the act last week with the release of the latest ad in the powerful and empowering #SheInspiresMe campaign.

The 2016 Maltesers ads took things one step further featuring female characters making light of their disabilities as an extension of the brand’s ‘Look on the Light Side’ campaign. This was part of Channel 4’s diversity initiative in which it offered brands the chance to get £1 million’s worth of airtime for free in return for ads that featured disability. While this was a tremendous step forward, we do have to question if Mars would have made the ad without the airtime offer.

The main thing, however, is that Channel 4 inspired Mars to do this and hopefully the fact that the resulting campaign was not only seen as pioneering but also highly successful will encourage the confectionery giant to continue to keep up the good work.

Looking at gender stereotyping from a different perspective, EDF Energy’s Pretty Curious campaign toured schools across the UK recently inspiring teenage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. The aim was to tackle the gender imbalance in these subjects, which is threatening to cause a major skills gap in these key areas that are increasingly vital to the UK economy – and of course to EDF itself.

So by fighting for gender equality, EDF is also helping secure its own future success. But so is Mars and the other brands that are ‘unstereotyping’, because they’re actually doing what consumers want. Returning to the Universal McCann study, the research underlined the business benefits of pushing traditional gender boundaries, with 65% of women and 59% of men saying they like it when brands use traditional media to challenge stereotypes.

So it’s not just what women want, but also what men want – so wouldn’t it, therefore, make commercial sense for brands to want it too?

Sally McLaren is a Board Director at Sense.

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Willkommen to our new office in Düsseldorf

Driving from our EMEA regional hub in London to Düsseldorf takes only six and a half hours, a surprisingly short time to get from the United Kingdom to Deutschland. That’s good for us; as a result of GroupM’s increased investment in Essence, we’re opening an office there.

Expanding to Düsseldorf, though, means a lot more than buying some petrol and taking the Channel Tunnel train. It means establishing a base on the Continent from which to provide more local support in the region. It means working with a whole new team of offline experts, led by our incoming Managing Director of Germany, Christian Leipacher, currently the MD of Maxus Germany. It means getting to write and say “Düsseldorf” way more often than ever before.

This new adventure means lots of good things, is what we’re saying. We’re eager to metaphorically hop on the Autobahn and hightail it to our new home in Germany.

Learn more here.

Corona Extra: Gruden Hotline by Cramer-Krasselt.

The Drum – August 23, 2017

Rumors fly every year that football coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden will return to coaching. This year, he has, in a way. Fans can contact him for a personal dose of game day coaching via Corona’s new Gruden Hotline.

The toll-free Gruden Hotline (1-855-9-GRUDEN), part of a new campaign conceived and created by Cramer-Krasselt, further cements the beer brand’s advertising push into football.

Fans can call the coach and press 1 for “The Audiblizer” and select from a series of pertinent Corona or football questions to get Gruden’s pre-recorded advice on their issues. Or, they can press 2, answer a series of questions and receive their game day nickname.

The Hotline will be featured in a three TV spots and 3 three online social and pre-roll videos airing during the pre-season through November, 2017. In addition to TV and social, the Hotline will also be featured in retail point-of-sale, and, when dialed (and you press 3), will also offer consumers the chance to win a trip to Coach Gruden’s infamous “Gruden QB Camp” in Orlando, FL. as part of a national sweepstakes.

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Optimizing Email Cadence

Are you sending the same emails to everyone at the same frequency?  Acxiom has a cool magic trick to help you optimize your email cadence.

Before we get started, grab a deck of cards. Do a card fan, and then shoot the cards from one hand to the other, then a quick one-handed cut, and then finish with one-handed fans. Now put the cards down and stop showing off while we get serious. There are four stages to this trick – channel, personalization, strategy and cadence.


If you have been blasting emails, the good news is you have a wonderful dataset for learning.  While it’s true we don’t know what will happen if you do less or more, we do have variance in how each customer has been reacting. Magicians love variance! With variance we can model email engagement at an individual level.

Of course email is just one dimension. Remember we live in a crazy, multi-dimensional, omni-channel, mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world (except for Lola). For this trick we want to look beyond email and examine engagement across all channels.

Let’s keep talking about Lola. You are reaching out to Lola today with email. To what extent is Lola engaging back with you? What are Lola’s engagement metrics – her open rates, click-through rates, time on site, pages visited, bounce rates, etc.?  How does Lola’s engagement compare to other customers’ engagement? Model and score Lola.

For customers new-to-file, you won’t have the history to develop an engagement score, but that’s OK. Their cadence is special, so you should be gently onboarding them with a welcome series. We can use their engagement metrics from the welcome series to assign them an initial email engagement score.

Do this trick for the other channels now.  What is Lola’s engagement in digital, direct mail, social, etc.? If you’re sending Lola a ton of emails and her engagement is low, what other options do you have for her? This is not about product, offers or creative; we just want to know the best path to Lola’s attention.

Email Personalization

The next phase of the trick is segmentation, but segmentation is an old-school term. Let’s call this personalization or audience development. You want to be a cool modern hip magician.

Just to be clear, we are only segmenting authenticated email opt-ins here. Membership within a segment will be highly optimized by email engagement and also metrics such as lifetime value or recency, frequency and monetary value. Create your segments with K-means clustering, decision trees or over a couple cocktails. How you get there doesn’t matter as long as the segmentation is meaningful, discreet and implementable (actionable).

Try to be mindful of demographic and lifestage homogeneity, because we will be using the segmentation to dive deeper and develop creative messaging strategies within the channel (by segment). That means we will need to build out personas including demos, lifestyles, hobbies and interests.


What do we know about Lola now? We know her email engagement score and her scores across other channels, which inform choices with Lola outside of email. Our segmentation gives us deeper insights into her overall value, the products she buys, category interests, demos and lifestyles, and shopping behaviors.

So what’s our strategy for Lola? Think in terms of quadrants – engagement vs. value. For the upper-right hand quadrant (HH), keep doing whatever you’re doing because it’s working.  Keep blasting emails if that’s what you’ve been doing. For the customers with high email engagement but low value (HL), keep blasting them with emails but try different messaging and offers. For the customers with low email engagement and high value (LH), explore other channels. For the LL, before labeling them non-target, explore other channels, different messaging and offers.

For your quick wins, focus on the “guys in the middle.” Let me explain. Think of the email engagement spectrum. On one end of the spectrum you have your highly engaged (which we talked about; keep doing what you’re doing with them). On the other end of the spectrum you have the opposite – highly unengaged (which we also talked about; explore other channels beyond email). The guys in the middle are the ones who can be swayed; we can move the needle with these guys. The power of the nudge!

Optimizing Cadence

OK, now the hard part of the trick, optimizing cadence.  The path to optimization is going to come from … wait … wait … wait … test and learn.  I know, you’re rolling your eyes now. Did he just say, “test and learn?” Really? Clients always roll their eyes when they hear those words.

Trust me, I’m a magician. Test and learn is your friend. Start by designing some strategies out of the gate – hypotheticals based on what you know about Lola from her channel scores and segment assignment.  Design an initial strategy and a “learn strategy.” Cut back your cadence on the non-engaged groups, and keep doing whatever you’ve been doing with those who are highly engaged. Focus on the middle. Set up some test-and-learn cells. The test cells get new cadence, while the learn cells get no variation in their treatments. Play with A/B testing. Play with time, day, and week. Are they more likely to engage with email over the weekend; is there a timing component to their engagement? Are we seeing certain product interests drive engagement? Is it possible to divide your emails by those interests?  Play with offer. Test and learn, measure incremental lift, and optimize.  Now take a bow but make it quick. No one likes a show-off.

La-la-la-la Lola. La-la-la-la Lola.


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