MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008 indicates that 57% of emailers say list segmentation is “routinely justified.” And most industry experts agree that segmentation works, so this percentage would be much higher if more marketers truly dedicated themselves to this tactic.
Don McNichol, Ecommerce Director, Intermix, and his team got segmentation religion two years ago. For the last year, they’ve become really serious - breaking down their all-female demographic for the women's wear retailer into very distinct files.
Their most successful segment has been ‘executive moms’. For Intermix’s purposes, McNichol says, these moms are career women that make “at least six-figure salaries.”
“They are working a lot, have a household to run and show certain buying behaviors in stores and online. An executive mom is stuck in a meeting with the CEO until 8 pm on Monday, but she’s got to get that special clothing piece for the gala on Tuesday night.”
When emailing this segment, they’ve averaged an impressive 37.5% open rate with a 44% clickthrough rate. McNichol declined to give other stats, but he says the overall executive mom numbers are higher than the pre-segmentation numbers. And the tactic has helped manifest a “60% online sales growth,” he says.
“We have a very healthy conversion rate for the emails that convert at the website. When you factor in the emails that get used at the store, we are even happier. And, our opt-out rate has been less than 1%, which means we’ve really been able to target and understand our customers at a higher level.” Here are the five strategies they’ve used to target executive moms:
-> Strategy #1. Create a smaller bucket
The names in the ‘executive moms’ file certainly didn’t appear out of thin air for McNichol and his team. They mined the segment from a larger, more general file called ‘professional women’.
“When compared to a female without a family who’s just entering the workforce,” he explains, “things like the social calendar and generally what’s important are drastically different for an executive mom.”
Names placed in the executive-mom bucket met the following criteria:
o Six-figure income (data picked up in their biannual survey)
o Overnight or 2-day delivery requests
o High average-order value
-> Strategy #2. Team up with local stores
McNichol and his team viewed email as a potential driver for multichannel sales. They coordinated coupon-coded offers with stores to drive foot traffic toward their 24 US locations. For example, McNichol says, they sent out a campaign about a new high-fashion dress that was available only for a short time at a Los Angeles store.
To target executive moms in a particular city, they simply searched the online database by zip code. Then, they sent an email only to women within driving distance of the store.
“You don’t want to disappoint customers in another market simply because the delivery truck hasn’t gotten there yet. We get feedback from our store managers all of the time, where they tell us about customers getting an email the night before and excitedly coming in during the following morning.”
-> Strategy #3. Adhere to once-a-week frequency
McNichol and his team followed a best practice for frequency: How often you send emails should have much more to do with a customer’s needs than with sales goals. In short, they sent one email a week – an ongoing strategy.
“Our subscribers know that we are not going to run promotions constantly. Whether it is email or direct mail, they understand they are not going to get dozens of blanketed campaigns from us.”
-> Strategy #4. Make executive moms feel special
There were occasions where a portion of the executive mom file got a second message in a week – a local opportunity they’d appreciate being *exclusively* privy to. McNichol and his team did this to make subscribers in this high-end file feel like they belonged to a special club.
In one instance, they sent out an invite to nearby executive moms when their warehouse in New York was making space for new products with a clearance sale. The invitation offered them a chance to come early – before the sale was open to the public – to have the first pick at the clothes.
-> Strategy #5. Mail postcards
The executive moms’ emails were given an occasional boost from direct mail. Those campaigns were supported with full-color, 5-by-7-inch postcards, which employed the same marketing copy and imagery as the email.
“Some of the segment responds more to email; some like the postcards. But if we send a woman four postcards and she doesn’t respond – but she is converting via email – we’ll definitely quit [snail-mailing] her.” 3 Additional Tips for Emailing Executive Moms
-> Tip #1. Make online offers at night.
Typically, because of their busy schedules, executive moms shop online in the late evening during the week and in stores on weekends. Tailor offers to their schedules.
-> Tip #2. Tailor the offers to the demographic.
McNichols and his team do not promote the clothes that women wear to singles clubs to executive moms. They don’t treat them like they’re super young. Rather, they stick with the latest fashionable dresses that are appropriate for the workday and a night out with a significant other.
-> Tip #3. Make the purchasing experience easy.
OK, all email segments demand this type of treatment. But remember, these women are especially busy.
“Make every interaction with them a convenience,” McNichol says. “They already have enough things to deal with in concerns to their family, job and social events.” Useful links for this article
Intermix's Targeting Strategy
New Study Data: Moms Spend 13.2 Hours Per Week Online (vs 7.6 Watching TV)
MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008
iPost – Intermix’s email services provider: