On 10 June, Agillic CXO Rasmus Houlind joined Jesper Lindeberg, Group e-CRM Manager at Miinto, to hold a Webinar about going “From Newsletters to Omnichannel Marketing.” Lindeberg shared his wisdom on moving beyond email newsletter campaigns to build timely, personalised and scalable omnichannel communications.
Miinto and Marketing
Early Wednesday morning, Rasmus Houlind and Jesper Lindeberg sat down for a conversation on Miinto’s marketing journey and how retailers can strategically utilise omnichannel marketing to optimise communications.
Since its founding just over ten years ago, Miinto has undergone a significant growth journey. The B2C e-commerce platform and fashion marketplace operates by partnering primarily with independent retailers that are too small to do e-commerce on their own. Miinto earns a commission from sales made on their platform, whilst supporting local businesses that would otherwise struggle to compete with major retailers, both on and offline.
Now, in 2020, the company has reached a huge milestone: they are expecting to hit 1BN DKK. Miinto has over seven million monthly visitors across the seven markets in which it operates. It boasts over five-hundred thousand products online provided by over two-thousand partner stores, which attract over eighty-thousand monthly customers. In 2019, Miinto grew by 28%, or a staggering 250 million DKK.
Lindeberg attributes this growth to a combination of factors, including their recent adoption of lifecycle-based, automated marketing methods. Since partnering with Agillic, Miinto has expanded their marketing approach to communicate highly relevant messages across multiple channels. However, the company did not achieve these results overnight; it took a re-evaluation of their marketing priorities to reach this point.
Escape the “Spiral of Discount Death”
One of Miinto’s first steps was moving away from the frequent and broad newsletters they had been pushing to customers. Retailers looking to adopt targeted omnichannel marketing methods first have to escape what Houlind calls the “spiral of discount death”. This phenomenon occurs when companies attempt to maintain high open rates through promotional newsletters, resulting in an endless loop of discounts and sale offerings. The result is a customer base who grows accustomed to discounts and deals whilst simultaneously developing brand fatigue from the over-communication:
Before automating their marketing methods, Miinto was caught in that spiral, allocating significant resources to sending out three to four newsletters weekly. Ultimately, they decided to reprioritise, diverting time away from the labor-intensive newsletter campaigns to prioritise automation towards the customer journey. Lindeberg calls this an “investment in the future”:
“Initially what you will see is that you’re not having the same revenue or volume as from manual campaigns, but the point is that you will down the road be able to get more income coming from automated emails instead…Now we still have big, manual campaigns, but only when they are relevant to the most people and the offer is the strongest, and then we cut out the rest.”
Now, Miinto is working to maximise their use of the Agillic platform, starting by automating the easiest, most impactful flows and optimising from there:
Add Volume to Lifecycle Communication
According to Houlind, as soon as retailers start automating their marketing, many take it too far towards hyper-personalisation. Ultimately, this approach sacrifices the reach and, therefore, revenue from any message. Miinto avoided this pit by working to “make generic content relevant”, pairing more general images with personalised copy fields such as name, preferred brand, and dynamic product recommendations. Says Lindeberg:
“We do not rely on having to build one email for one brand, we can use the personalised data fields and dynamic product recommendations to build scalable emails that have a much larger volume.”
As a result, their open, click and conversion rates are marginally lower – but their messages reach over thirty-five times more people, which has boosted revenues enormously.
Leveraging insights in Lifecycle Communication
Miinto uses Agillic to leverage insights in Lifecycle Communication to find the sweet spot between using simple and complex aggregated data for maximum profitability. To reactivate dormant customers, Miinto uses their data to create targeted, segmented winback emails and save money where they can.
Alternatively, when Miinto has insufficient data on a customer, they utilise a lookalike algorithm to create relevant communications. Says Lindeberg:
“What we focus on doing is using this lookalike algorithm or logic. When customers that have the same purchase pattern as you but actually have more purchases historically, we use that to provide data about you… And what we’re also looking into is not only being able to communicate the preferred brand but also trying to up-sell and cross-sell across brands.”
Miinto uses the data they do have to build brand families, which enables them to create relevant communications for all of their customers.
Expand From One to Multiple Communication Channels
Miinto has also expanded their communications to channels beyond email, such as Facebook, Google Ads and SMS. Reaching customers’ other touch-points expands the scope of a campaign, but also requires a different approach. When using SMS, for example, Miinto’s open rate rises to 96-97%, compared with around 25% for manual campaigns. However, SMS communications are considered far more intrusive than other channels, so must be used accordingly. Another important consideration is that different platforms are perceived differently across cultures.
Another key consideration is how automation can optimise B2B communications – as Lindeberg says, “we don’t deliver results if our partners don’t, too.” Miinto uses automated emails to communicate monthly performance reports and other important information to their partner shops. This keeps them informed without requiring Miinto to manually build emails.
Measure Effect in the Right Way
Once retailers gain access to data, it is important to correctly measure the effect of automated lifecycle communications. Analysing the customer journey enables marketers to avoid last click attribution – where a sale is incorrectly attributed to the customer’s last touchpoint, without considering the rest of the customer’s brand interactions. For Miinto, this means looking beyond Google Analytics and using automation to focus on customer lifetime value, which allows them to gauge the effectiveness of several different touchpoints.
“What we could see after a while is that customer lifetime value rocketed much more than the numbers that we could see from Google Analytics… that has been really good for us to provide business cases on being able to focus more on automation because it’s not just the last click attribution you should look at but also the customer lifetime value.”
Secure Continuous Growth
In order to secure maximum growth through customer lifecycle communication, it is important to ensure that you have the right marketing resources. Miinto has divided up their marketers into a campaign group and a data-driven group. Allocating a team dedicated to lifecycle communication and data accumulation is central to success.
At some point, however, the growth provided by introducing customer lifecycle communication naturally slows. Miinto is using this flattening point as an opportunity to optimise on their automation. They are doing this through several approaches, including A/B testing plans, continuous flow evaluations and prioritising CRM. Even small changes make a big impact in this industry; a 5% increase in click-rates would boost Miinto by millions of DKK.
Besides optimising, Lindeberg also sees this as an opportunity to explore new possibilities within automation, and new uses for data. In the future, they want to use the web tracking script to deliver communications based on users’ behaviour on the Miinto website.
Lifecycle Lessons: For Retail and Beyond
Miinto operates as a retailer, but the lessons taken from their journey towards lifecycle-based, omnichannel marketing can be applied to companies across industries. Agillic works with companies operating from transaction and subscription-based income models.
For companies looking to expand their marketing methods across multiple channels, the first step is to start using your customer data to personalise your communications. It is important to find the balance between maximising personalisation and still expanding reach. Once you have collected enough data, you can leverage it to create personalised communications across multiple channels. It is important to ensure that you are measuring effect accurately so that you can work to optimise your omnichannel marketing practices and, ultimately, secure continuous growth.
Taking the first step towards automating marketing data can be difficult, especially when the pressures of existing campaign-driven marketing deadlines are significant. Therefore, it is smart to allocate part of your team specifically to adopting lifecycle, automation-driven marketing like Miinto did.
To learn more about the partnership between Miinto and Agillic, and how it has helped the fashion marketplace to optimise their marketing and boost their revenue, please watch the recording of the webinar or read more here.