Last week, our team had the privilege to attend eTail East—one of the premier eCommerce and Omnichannel marketing conferences in North America. We were joined by our client, Jennifer Palerino of Kroger Digital/Vitacost.com. Here are some highlights from our incredible week of sharing knowledge – and learning a lot ourselves:
Email is Still Cool
It was an honor to be the Chairperson of the pre-conference event, TransformEMAIL that focused on email, Retention, CRM, loyalty and social media best practices. I opened the day with an ode to email in the style of Jimmy Fallon’s thank you note skit on the Tonight Show. It was a fun warm-up to a day full of learning. I moderated two panels that focused on how brands are leveraging email as part of their omnichannel strategy. It was clear from listening to the speakers and panelists that email is still very much at the center of any brand’s digital strategy and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Our brilliant client Jennifer Palerino of Kroger Digital/Vitacost.com led four roundtables, where we got to discuss the challenges and wins brands face when it comes to email and omnichannel customer experience. Jennifer was a great roundtable leader, as her own stories as a brand-side marketer resonated with the participants. Turns out, many of the brands in attendance are still in a state of digital transformation. All agreed that email is still the king of digital when it comes to ROI, retention and leading the customer experience, so we spent a lot of time focusing on that—specifically how to personalize, which leads me to my next highlight.
Personalization is Still a Challenge for Brands
Jennifer and I led a packed workshop during the main conference where we discussed the evolution of Vitacost’s program over the years that we’ve worked together. Going back to the beginning of the relationship, Vitacost’s program had no personalization at all. Over the last few years, our collaborative partnership has impacted the evolution of her program.
Jennifer shared some examples of how email personalization was quite basic at first with category-level dynamic content, and how the emails are now one-to-one with product level recommendations and even kinetic content. We discussed Vitacost’s plans to do even more -- adding other channels into the mix and moving even faster with optimization decisions by leveraging Selligent Marketing Cloud’s AI solution. The audience had so many questions that showed that brands are still struggling to figure out personalization. Many claimed to be held back by their technology stack, which leads me to my final takeaway.
Marketing Tech Stacks are Holding Back Brands
We heard a lot about how marketing leaders have a big challenge of figuring out the right mix of technologies can drive optimal customer experiences. With thousands of technologies in the martech space with overlapping capabilities, the challenge becomes ensuring that all the systems integrate with one another and provide a 360-degree customer view and can orchestrate the right messaging at the right time, via the right channel.
As we were having discussions last week, it was clear that technology can enable as much as disable the success of a marketing organization. As a former brand side CRM manager, I understand the barriers, but it was disheartening to hear so many still struggling with this. We’re proud that Selligent Marketing Cloud is natively-built from the data layer up and integrates well with other technologies. We never want to back a marketer into a tech corner.
Attending eTail was an honor. We shared knowledge. We gained knowledge. It was a week well spent with like-minded ecommerce and omnichannel marketing experts. Best of all, we got to spend the week with Jennifer.