HOW THOMSON REUTERS COORDINATED AUTOMATIC E-MAILS WITH SALES LIFE CYCLE
Objective: Thomson Reuters needed to automate its email marketing due to having fewer resources and a higher volume of email campaigns.
Strategy: The company extended its existing direct mail life cycle marketing strategy to its email marketing program.
Results: The company saw a 13% increase in click-to-open rates compared with other, nonlife cycle campaigns run during the same month.
Information and analytics company Thomson Reuters was faced with a problem in 2009. Email marketing volume for its West LegalEdcenter division was up, but staffing was flat. The unit, which provides ongoing training and education to the legal industry, needed a way to increase the number of campaigns it was sending out—especially at the end of the year—without adding to its head count. Thomson was already using life cycle marketing in its offline direct mail efforts, and with good success; so it turned to a similar strategy with its email campaigns, said Shawn Stavseth, director of marketing.
The company, in conjunction with its email service provider Responsys, created in June 2009 a program to send highly targeted data and content to law professionals depending on where they were in a buying cycle. Emails would be triggered automatically by events such as Web site shopping cart abandonments or upcoming compliance deadlines.
Before launching the program, Thomson ran a trial of the email life cycle marketing program, sending messages out manually until it was sure the strategy was something it wanted to pursue. At that time, the company discussed what campaigns could benefit most from automation and ranked implementation based on key performance indicators such as response rate, revenue and sales, and open rates.
“We look at a lot of percentages such as click-to-open and lifetime value of the customer, although that's more difficult to measure,” Stavseth said. “However, we do look at conversion from one purchase to another purchase.” Thomson gathered the data using Omniture's SiteCatalyst, then worked with Responsys to set up the automation, she said.
Segmentation was the most significant piece of the life cycle marketing program, Stavseth said. “Segments include practice area of the attorney, the states in which the attorney is licensed, type of customer [for example, subscriber versus transactional], number of times a customer has purchased, Mandatory Continue Legal Education (MCLE) compliance deadline and high/low volume purchasers,” she said.
Previously, the company was segmenting only by practice area, jurisdiction and compliance date, Stavseth said.
“When marketing legal training and [continuing legal education], it is imperative that Thomson Reuters markets to attorneys when it makes the most sense. Whether it is an upcoming compliance deadline, a critical change in the law, or an abandoned cart, these "triggers' allow for greater personalization resulting in higher response rates and revenue,” she explained.
The life cyle marketing focus has allowed Thomson Reuters' marketing department to become more efficient. Today, one marketing person sends out as many as 135 email campaigns per month because everything is based on templates and triggers. This allowed the company to allocate resources, which were already stretched thin, to other activities, Stavseth said.
After implementing email life cycle marketing, Thomson Reuters saw a 13% increase in its click-to-open rates when comparing life cycle marketing campaigns to featured online product campaigns. The unsubscribe rate was also very low for these campaigns—less than 0.01%. Plus, the company's life cycle campaigns have generated 0.07% additional revenue over the other email campaigns.
“That may seem like an insignificant amount,” said Stavseth, “but I am happy with it. Not only am I getting additional revenue but, with resources stretched, I am making that money with very little effort.”OTHER E-MAIL STORIES