How to Master your Marketing Strategy

Exclusive Discoveries from the Dotdigital Global Benchmark Report

Jul 18, 2023 1:30 PM2:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Amid economic uncertainty, evolving consumer behavior, and industry advancements, brands must pivot and remain flexible. This involves analyzing data points and KPIs to refine and customize email marketing campaigns. How can you obtain actionable insights to increase AOV and customer retention and drive revenue?

Establishing strategic campaign benchmarks allows you to test various strategies, gauge performance, and measure success. KPIs like click-through rates evaluate engagement so you can develop personalized campaigns to retain customers and build long-term brand loyalty. When tailoring campaigns for optimal engagement, consider deploying omnichannel approaches to communicate with customers, harnessing UGC content, and creating calls-to-action (CTAs) linking to products or categories.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Brianna Martinez, Marketing Strategist at Dotdigital, who offers email marketing strategies based on a global benchmark report. Brianna shares how to alter email campaigns for Q4, how to retain and engage customers through targeted email campaigns, and the fundamental KPIs for boosting campaign performance. 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Leveraging data to create personalized marketing campaigns
  • The importance of analyzing email click rates 
  • How brands can adapt to shifting consumer behavior 
  • Targeted email strategies for customer engagement and retention
  • Email marketing campaign alterations for Q4 
  • Premier KPIs for driving sales and revenue on email campaigns
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Event Partners


Dotdigital is a customer engagement platform that helps digital marketers and developers deliver communications across the customer journey. They harness the power of customer data, powering engagement, conversion, and loyalty for brands as they grow and scale.

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Guest Speaker

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Brianna Martinez

Brianna Martinez LinkedIn

Marketing Strategist at Dotdigital

Brianna Martinez is a Marketing Strategist at Dotdigital, a customer engagement platform. In her role, she develops marketing strategies by delivering actionable, data-driven insights to businesses. With over five years of experience in marketing, eCommerce, and digital communications, Brianna has worked for brands both internally and externally. 

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Brianna Martinez

Brianna Martinez LinkedIn

Marketing Strategist at Dotdigital

Brianna Martinez is a Marketing Strategist at Dotdigital, a customer engagement platform. In her role, she develops marketing strategies by delivering actionable, data-driven insights to businesses. With over five years of experience in marketing, eCommerce, and digital communications, Brianna has worked for brands both internally and externally. 

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18  

Happy Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co founder, Managing Director here at BWG. Connect. We're networking knowledge sharing group 1000s of brands. And we're going to do, I don't know, a couple 100 of these virtual educational events this year, we encourage you to send in questions via the chat or the q&a as we go. We want to answer those real time. You need any connections afterwards, just let us know. That's what we do. I'd love to spend time with you, I spend the majority of my time talking digital strategy with brands to figure out hey, what are the biggest pain points people are trying to solve for? And who's helping them solve those problems? And that's how we come up with the topics and the guests for any of these webinars we do. If you're in a major city around tier one, tier two city, let us know we're gonna do close to 100 in-person, dinner events this year. But you know, as we kind of kick off this webinar, Bri from Dotdigital is here, but you want to jump in and brief intro on yourself. Dotdigital, that'd be awesome. And we can kind of jump into the content here. But I'd love to hear a little bit about you in Dotdigital, I'd be awesome.


Brianna Martinez  1:18  

Yeah, so I have about over half a decade of experience in marketing, eCommerce and digital communication, working internally for brands as a marketer and externally for brands via consultancy and agency work. I've been helping companies achieve their goals through creative strategy and marketing innovation. I combined my experience as internal and external marketer for a plethora of different business types and industries and joined dot digital as our first ever us marketing strategist, just essentially to provide some marketing consultancy services by delivering actionable insight in the form of marketing strategies to our customers based on their needs specific goals and capabilities within dotdigital. So let's


Aaron Conant  2:05  

get to it. Yeah, so just the equators kind of said this, they've done so dotDigital's great friends, partners, supporters, to the network, a ton of brands in it. And they well we'd like to share is when our partners do these global benchmark reports, is, you know, provide an opportunity for people in the network to jump on and we can kind of go through those, you know, rather than just I mean, everybody could have access to it, I'm sure there's a link, we can send out that everybody could download it. But it's also sometimes just to have that guide, guided path through it. But if you want to jump in, that would be awesome. We'd love to hear some of these findings. And again, if people have questions, drop them in the chat or the q&a, and we'll get them answered.


Brianna Martinez  2:40  

Yeah, so feel free to grab your copy of the report using the QR code on the screen. You'll also have the opportunity to grab the QR code again at the end of the session as well. But I just wanted to start by thanking everyone for having me, I'm excited to introduce to you and talk through Dotdigital's 2023 global benchmark report. We've analyzed billions and billions of email and SMS campaigns orders a billion carts, billions yet subject lines across 8000 Different Dotdigital accounts spanning nearly 50 sectors over two years worth of data from 2021 and 2022. So there is a ton of data to go over. And I'm obviously here set for a fireside chat. So I promise I won't be too slide heavy. But I just wanted to start by pulling up a stat that I found very interesting from our report. You can see here that we found about 19% increase in email sends and a 15% decrease in click through rates. However, I want to point out too, that there are that 47% of customers will unsubscribe due to irrelevant content, which is very interesting. So


Aaron Conant  4:04  

I mean, click through rate email since biggest number on here is 47. Subscribers will unsubscribe due to irrelevant email content. When can we dig into that just a little bit? That'd be awesome.


Brianna Martinez  4:19  

Yeah, for sure. I think the main point here is that it's crucial for your content to be strategic and data driven. So that's it's in line with your subscribers wants and needs. Something that I like to really dive into in my day to day is analyzing top performing email campaigns to seek out commonalities. So ways to do that would be looking through your emails to identify commonalities among email topics, themes and tones, the products or categories being featured email design and layout, or the amount of or type of imagery being used. You can also investigate your audience in Google Analytics To uncover data driven insights and preferences with key data points like demographics, device usage, if your audience is heavily using mobile devices to look at your emails, you're going to want to design those emails to be mobile first, so that they perform at the most optimal level. Also looking at things like top driving, top channels driving traffic, if your audience like social media, or prefers social media, social commerce, shopping, things like that, you're gonna really want to put a heavy focus on those areas as well. And other helpful points, like top affinity categories really helped to personify your audience, to be able to cater your content in the most data driven and actionable way.


Aaron Conant  5:49  

How much of the unsubscribe rate is due to subject lines alone is the first question that


Brianna Martinez  5:53  

comes in? You know, that's interesting. It, it could be relevant to email subject lines. However, I think the meat and potatoes here is what we're focusing on the content that's within those emails. Is it attention grabbing? Is it falling in line with what your customers want need. So I wouldn't necessarily say email subject line has a huge impact on that unsubscribe rate. However, that's definitely not to say, it is not impactful at all. So you're gonna want to test and test and test again to be sure that everything is performing in the most optimal way.


Aaron Conant  6:38  

Awesome. Another question that comes in over email. Would you recommend? If so, let me just go right here? If so, if content generation is an issue, would you recommend dialing back the number of email send to have it be more to have it deliver more appropriate content? So essentially, I mean, you're saying, half of the reason I have people subscribers will unsubscribe if I give them the wrong content. So dial it back if contents an issue.


Brianna Martinez  7:09  

Yeah, if content creation is an issue, that is an option. However, I would challenge you to think outside the box for content creation utilize UGC content that is super helpful to kind of really approaching your customer base with people that they're similar to. So that could be from reviews, images that are provided from reviews or influencer, marketing, things like that, that can really help with that content creation aspect.


Aaron Conant  7:45  

Awesome. And just to remind us, if you have questions, drop in the chat drop into the q&a, and we'll keep answering them as we go. All right. Okay, back. Thanks for letting me jump in with those questions.


Brianna Martinez  7:54  

No problem. Though another part of our report is around like rates or open rates rather. Um, so I have some tips on how to shift the mindset from basing success on your campaigns from open rates to click rates. Essentially, it's just simply not reliable anymore to base your success of your campaigns on open rates. And we need to make the switch in our day to day activities. We live in an ever changing world. And part of those changes includes adapting new KPIs and being aware of how day to day marketing abilities are being affected by industry wide changes. This is all changing because of things like stricter privacy policies, and operating systems implementing enhanced data protection, the list can really go on and it's changing every single day. So it's important for us as marketers to change with them. In our report, we discovered that brands who continue to segment and send to audiences based on open rates post Apple's MPP are completely skewing what an engaged customer really looks like. So we want to be looking at the following metrics on your screen to determine success with things like click rates, click through rates and click to open rates.


Aaron Conant  9:20  

Na super interesting, just as we follow you know how things change. It used to be everything's getting more complicated, like we're on KPIs as a whole. And as we switch those to from open rates to click through rates, now awesome. So, you know, another part just, you know, having access to the report was, you know, we think about economic uncertainty, behavioral patterns, things that are going on, I have a lot more you know, conversations around you know, conversion, you know, actually site performance, lifetime value of the customer, like this So things that have worked in the past aren't necessarily working in the future, which is kind of what I'm tying together with this change in how we're looking at, you know, KPIs as a whole. Like, do you see, like other behavioral shifts? I mean, he has just deal with so many people. Right. Yeah. What other things should people be thinking about in this in this space?


Brianna Martinez  10:19  

Yeah, it's, it's really interesting. I work with a vast difference in in clients, from b2b b2c, D to C, you name it, and that are all selling different products and services. But I think what we found is there's a lot of changes in the historical revenue patterns over the last two years. More to the right. Yeah, to say the least, orderly this


Aaron Conant  10:50  

is the complete inconsistency, right? Like, we're looking for something. And while there are overall trends, while we're monitoring it real time, it's all over the place.


Brianna Martinez  11:00  

Right? Order rates are inconsistent. Historically, high revenue periods have shockingly, underperformed in the last year, right around that Black Friday, Cyber Monday period, which is really interesting. And it just shows some serious worldly impacts causing and these inconsistencies. But it's important to know that they're out of your control. So we always just want to keep your finger on the pulse and be ready to adapt to industry, economic or worldly changes when necessary. And it's important to prioritize retention above acquisition. I say that, and if there's anything I've learned and for marketing, during the pandemic, I would say that that's probably one of the most important things that I've found to be successful. Economic Uncertainty means acquisition will be more difficult. We want to focus on retaining customers and building long term loyalty. And we can do that by deploying omni channel approaches to communicate to customers in the most preferred channels. We also want to understand the average reorder rates and purchase decision timeline. So you can continuously win back your customers when they're most likely to buy, essentially, let data lead the way I tell this to a lot of my clients, dive into the data as deep as you can get and try and connect the dots as much as you can, and see what works test. And test again, like I said earlier, is going to be the key to finding your success in your strategy.


Aaron Conant  12:29  

So quick question comes in, do you have a general idea on frequency and or number of templates?


Brianna Martinez  12:37  

Up to you in in your branding style. I've seen clients that have the same template for every single campaign, and I don't necessarily see a problem with that, just based on the business type or the type of content that they're sending to their their subscribers. I also think, you know, for for brands that our more stylish or have kind of more of that luxurious type of approach. I think it is important to have quite a few different templates. But I think focusing on the templates maybe isn't as important as the information and the products or services that you're promoting and how you're promoting them. So whether that's speaking to current trends, you know, being being a leader in starting trends, things like that is going to be key. Awesome.


Aaron Conant  13:40  

So they have any data that shows if broadcast marketing emails or triggered campaigns are a bigger source of unsubscribing. I think it's interesting, because there's a lot of questions around I think people are concerned about the unsubscribe rate, specifically, because of your comment here. The economic times means it's going to be harder to go get somebody new. So we don't want them to unsubscribe.


Brianna Martinez  14:06  

Right? Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I don't have specific data off the top of my head that really leads into you know, unsubscribe rates being related to triggered or automated campaigns. My biggest tip for that would just be to continuously monitor and benchmark against yourself. If you're not seeing the typical performance metrics that you see in a standard campaign, then maybe something needs to be switched and really dive into the areas that are being interacted with most in those triggered campaigns and kind of compare and contrast the differences in engagement with a standard campaign that is a well performer versus your triggered campaign that may need a little extra help.


Aaron Conant  14:57  

Awesome. So Todd has a couple of things here. Uh, this book released recently support you on retention being greater than acquisition breakout brands by some brands take off and others don't. Jared Schreiber Thanks, Todd for sharing that if others want to grab that. Breakout brands, any data on emails or social posts with the CTA versus ones without a CTA, especially if linked to a


Brianna Martinez  15:20  

PDP? Yeah, that's, that's interesting. Um, I would always say emails should absolutely always have a CTA, for sure. Whether that's linking to a PDP or a category, page collection page, what have you, I think it's important to kind of focus on both. When it comes to linking within emails, I like to recommend to my clients that the main CTA, unless you're promoting a specific brand new product or something like that, something's on sale. If it's just kind of more a generalized product promotion, I like to recommend that my customers use a category or a P LP, as the main link in their CTA buttons, and then further down in the email, link out to specific products that will kind of gain the attention of the subscriber. For social posts, specifically, I think if you have social commerce capabilities, and you're able to tag your products in your posts, that's a great call to action. I say that in quotes, because sometimes it is a little more difficult to have that direct call to action. But that kind of all is just going to go into your copy in the caption and in how you're kind of gaining that attention and interest in, you know, whatever you're promoting.


Aaron Conant  16:54  

Awesome, and anybody keep dropping questions in the q&a or the chat or emailing them? To me? This is super fun. One comes in over email, can you dig into understand your average reorder rates and purchase decision timeline? Can you just dig into that? The fourth bullet point down?


Brianna Martinez  17:14  

Yeah, yeah. So you always want to understand the rate at which your customers are going to be making that subsequent purchase. So however much time is lapsing between the first purchase and the second purchase, or the second and third, third and fourth, things like that, really understanding the amount of time that it takes for your customers to decide to make a purchase as well, the higher your price point for a product based company, typically, the higher amount of time it's going to take for your customers to make that decision to purchase. So really understanding the amount of times that someone visits a site, your site before they purchase, or the amount of time that they have an open cart, or the amount of times they receive an abandoned cart campaign, things like that, to really understand one the amount of time that it's going to take between subsequent purchases, so that you can then win back your customers and to the purchase decision timeline. How long? Or how easy is it for someone to decide to click the Checkout button? Awesome.


Aaron Conant  18:30  

One more question. And then we can keep rolling this as others come in drop in the chat or the q&a. How should I have just read this directly? How should we be thinking about changes to our email marketing program as we hit q4? Yeah, because I'll give a little backup because I see this one. But I also think you're talking about like the last few years, where if we look at two years ago, where people were short on inventory, and so you know, there wasn't as much marketing or discounts or deals. And then last year, everybody was flush with inventory. So there was more discounting in the deals. Right. So I think in my mind, I have two questions. One is, Hey, what is strategy around q4 And then specifically around as you see what has happened in this q4, and what should people be ready for as far as, you know, communication


Brianna Martinez  19:18  

as a whole? Yeah, I think when we're talking about just communication and how we're approaching different aspects of email and promoting sales, I think it's important to be transparent and true to your values and or your business's values and really maximise on what your customers love most about your brand. So whether that's putting best sellers on sale during Black Friday or conveying exclusivity or really kind of diving into your your pool of loyal costs. summers who maybe are part of a loyalty program, kind of making your customers feel special in that sense, and giving them special discounts. I think a big trend right now. And some may roll their eyes at this is personalization, all customers are, I won't say all most customers are pretty aware of marketing in this day and age. And so they're going to be quick to kind of get turned off by any very obviously blaring marketing tactics. So I always like to err on the side of transparency, really offer what you are truly offering within your marketing. And be be clear and straightforward about those offerings. And you will have very loyal customers from that. I think transparency is super key. And that exclusivity aspect as well, as is really going to kind of surprise and delight your customers and that q4 period. Awesome.


Aaron Conant  21:10  

And I don't know if we have more slides. I mean, thanks for tackling all these questions as we go, this is why these things are so fun, I just put a link, I'm not sure if we're gonna get through, you know, you know, all the slides, obviously, we're not going to be able to cover everything in that report. So I put it out there, everybody can go download it. But they're like, key takeaways are there things that I mean, we had 30 minutes, we should probably have one of these it's an hour long. But are there like key insights that, that you're like, hey, we cover the top three, there's 180 more, but the next five or two or three or XYZ?


Brianna Martinez  21:46  

Yeah. Um, so I think the the points that I hit on today are definitely my most important insights that I like to kind of make my clients aware of. But I think the biggest piece that I can convey to everyone here on the call, is that a benchmarks are helpful in telling a story, but they don't give the full picture. And context is key. So every business is unique. And we know that. But the most important thing that you can do, especially during uncertain times is to routinely benchmark against yourself for the best results. Awesome.


Aaron Conant  22:24  

And then I have another question that popped in here. Do you look at QR codes as only acquisition? Or, you know, what are some best cases for retention campaigns with QR


Brianna Martinez  22:33  

codes? Yeah, um, I think that's an interesting question. I don't see them as only acquisition. Although I think that's the most obvious use case for QR codes. I think where QR codes could come in handy for retention is through loyalty marketing, maybe you're adding a QR code to a piece of print marketing that you're including in an order. And that could then provide extra loyalty points, or an additional discount for their second purchase, something like that to really, again, surprise and delight your existing customer base to in turn make them loyal. And yeah, loyal customers.


Aaron Conant  23:23  

Love it, love it. And if anybody has last minute questions, you can drop them in here. I just think that what are the best practices around that another one pops in? What are the best practices around how marketing can influence or drive sales and he KPIs we need to be cognizant for marketing impacts or measurements? So I mean, this is an interesting one. Because sometimes executive teams have ideas on KPIs that are different from the actual KPIs that we want to focus on.


Brianna Martinez  23:55  

For sure. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think it's all about really having an open communication with the teams within your business and really understanding the the goals of what you want to promote. So you can really influence and drive sales through your marketing if those initiatives are aligned in within the business's goals. I think when it comes to specific KPIs, it's gonna be a combination of a number of different metrics. I think specifically, like I mentioned earlier, click rates are going to be extremely important. I specifically like to look at unique click rates, because it kind of boils it down to kind of one on one ratio, their conversion rates, of course, and really just ensuring that your marketing campaigns are driving revenue, traffic clicks if you just kind of want engagement on your emails, kind of nailed down that that goal of those specific emails and really brainstorm with your team and figure out what is going to be the best way to approach those campaigns? Yeah. Awesome.


Aaron Conant  25:17  

So I guess the last key takeaway, and then we can kind of wrap this up, I always like to end at least a minute or two early.


Brianna Martinez  25:24  

Yeah. I mean, really, my main takeaway is really just ensuring that you're going to benchmark against yourself, whether that's year over year, month, over month, quarter over quarter, I think that is going to be the most telling of success, or, or lack of success, if you're decreasing year over year, month over month, that's going to be really telling and, you know, it'll give you the clear opportunity to kind of pivot and try something new.


Aaron Conant  25:56  

No, I love it. And especially that benchmarking against yourself, right, because sometimes we look at the benchmark, and we're making great progress. But we see and we compare ourselves to others, right? And we might be a year or two on our journey and their year 13. We're not going to be as far along we're not going to know as much so Exactly. There's something to strive for. It's not something to get depressed over. Right. So awesome. Well, Bree, thanks so much for your time today. Thanks for sharing. Again, we can kick out you can scan the QR code here. If you want the the the report, I also put the link in the chat there for everybody to go grab. We can also send a link to the report as well over emails. We kind of do our follow ups here. But with that, we're going to wrap up this this webinar as a whole hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday. Everybody, take care, stay safe and look forward to having you on a future event. Thanks again. 


Brianna Martinez  26:49  

This has been fun. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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