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Q&A: Email Marketing & CRM with Nina Thompson

Earlier this year our Malibu eCRM campaign was the pick of the bunch at the Performance Marketing Awards picking up the Grand Prix award, and so its been back on the shortlists once more… this time for The Digitals from eConsultancy.

Nina Thompson, our eCRM account director and one of the brains of the campaign, took time out to talk to the awards about the work and wider industry. Here’s what she had to say.

The Campaign

What do you think really made this project stand out?

This was a fun, engaging and relatable email campaign for the consumers but was fundamentally based on great data and insight. We were able to capture real-time data from our consumers as they experienced the Malibutique event not only data about who they were but what they were actually doing. This meant we could serve each and every consumer bespoke and tailored post-event emails with content and offers based on what they really wanted to hear about from Malibu. The valuable data we captured from these highly engaged fans allowed us to recruit and build a database of like-minded people over the last year and means that the brand’s database has grown substantially while remaining highly engaged and responsive.

How do you build the perfect team?

By nurturing the strengths of every individual and working together to reach a common goal – in our case to become the most innovative partner to all of our clients

Other Campaigns

Which campaigns have you seen recently that are defining the digital marketing landscape?

IKEA do a lot of innovative stuff and are definitely aware that the way consumers consume digital is changing. This year it launched an interactive catalogue app. Users can add products or whole lists of products to their shopping cart, they can view additional content and videos of the products in use and can even use an augmented reality feature to see how an item of furniture actually looks in their home.

And for a brand that is known for its particular sense of humour, IKEA’s BookBook video – a parody of Apple – duly went viral and, of course, contained a link to the digital version too.

What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?

The retail sector has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital marketing and, out of all industries, seems to have really embraced the importance of mobile the most – from the way they design emails, to producing user-friendly, m-commerce sites. FMCG is never far behind though and these brands are often the most integrated when it comes to their social channels and making their content as shareable as possible.

Trends & Thought Leadership

Marketing is becoming more and more data and technology-driven, how can marketers ensure the right balance between creative thinking and scientific marketing?

There always has to be a balance. Being data-focused certainly doesn’t mean marketers have to reign in their creativity. Consumers, especially Millennials, are extremely savvy when it comes to their personal data and it all comes down to a value exchange. Brands can only expect people to give up their data for something in return such as relevant, sharable content or tangible, added value. In return that data should be used to inform decisions at every stage to ensure brands are hitting the mark when it comes to their campaigns. More often digital campaigns are shifting from product-focused to consumer-focused.

What do you see as being the biggest digital trends of 2014, and do you see examples of companies capitalising on these as part of their digital marketing campaigns and programmes?

Data again! More and more, big multi-brand companies are realising the value of having a single customer view model. Data from CRM, ecommerce, online tracking and tagging are all being fed into and stored in one place giving everyone in the business 360 degree view on everything. There is a big shift trend towards truly integrated campaigns that work across every touchpoint. The future is about completely tailoring the customer’s journey based on all of this data – of course Amazon is the king of this, providing recommendations for you as soon as you land on their site and in fact anywhere else you go online with carefully targeted ads.

Also, mobile has become such a fast-evolving area full of opportunity that it’s taken a lot of companies by surprise. This has led to a trend in brands making their mobile optimisation (or lack of) a top priority this year and for 2015. High-end online retailer Gilt has optimised its emails so that mobile users see a pared down version with easy tap call to action. On clicking the user can either view the mobile site or the app and this preference is remembered for the next email sent.

How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?

By going beyond standard KPIs; as digital marketing becomes less and less about detached specialities and more integrated so too do objectives. Again it comes down to a consumer-focused rather than product-focused approach; creating an open and sincere two-way conversation with core consumers that can be shared out to the passive majority and creates genuine buzz seems to be a big measure of a campaign’s success for many brand teams. Of course sales will always be the ultimate goal and customer insights show increases in awareness and brand-love are good news for marketers and shareholders alike.


What are the core elements of inspiration to be found within marketing?

People! Even though we may work in marketing or advertising we’re all still consumers and we all have our opinions. Everybody comes up with great ideas from the little, every-day improvements to the next big global digital marketing campaign so it’s important to mix things up and involve people from all over the company or agency when it comes to gathering inspiration and new ideas.

What inspired you to enter The Digitals this year? What would winning an award mean to you? 

We wanted to share what we’ve done with Malibu and their Malibutique events as we’re proud of it! It’s also great to see what exciting things everyone else has been up to as well, and inspiring to see what’s been achieved in a year. It spurs us on to come up with something even better next time.

If we won it would be a fantastic achievement for Malibu and for Vizeum – we are still a relatively small CRM department and to win a Digital would mean a lot on a personal level to the whole team.