Case Study

Hearst UK

Leading publisher pivots quickly after pandemic lockdown to offer first-ever virtual shopping event

Partner Agency
United Kingdom

Hearst UK publishes 21 brands including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. Their print and digital brands reach one quarter of the entire UK population. Print circulation is at 2.1 million magazines per month, while Hearst UK engages more than 20 million unique digital users and generates more than 79 million likes and follows on social media.

Aside from selling magazines via retailers and subscriptions, Hearst also offers beauty boxes and branded beauty advent calendars, as well as holidays and experiences around their brands. Hearst UK’ s events division, Hearst Live, connects with over one million people a year through events such as Cosmopolitan’s Self Made and Country Living Fairs.

The Challenge

In spring 2020, Hearst Live was ramping up for a popular consumer event: The Spring Country Living Fair would bring readers and artisan brands together for a live shopping event in a marketplace atmosphere. But then the pandemic hit, and large gatherings were suddenly cancelled due to lockdown restrictions, including the Spring Country Living Fair.

It was decided that since the event couldn’t go ahead, Hearst would run their own virtual Country Living Artisan event instead. This meant that the Hearst team was faced with less than two weeks to execute an alternative. The events team reached out to Hearst’s CRM division with a plan: Create the first-ever virtual shopping experience, the Country Living Virtual Artisan Event, supported by a campaign to create consumer excitement online. With such a short turnaround time, Hearst relied on Selligent, a trusted partner, believing the platform’s capabilities would allow them to pull it off.

The events team put in a huge amount of time to get this virtual event off the ground in a scarily short period of time. Without Selligent, we would not have been able to help them turn this around so quickly and with such great results!

Suz Brownlie

Senior CRM Manager, Hearst UK

The Path To Success

The event aimed to create traffic and sales for small artisan retailers and companies impacted by the pandemic. Participating businesses offered 20% discounts through Country Living for customers who registered for the fair, thereby also generating new leads for Hearst.

The campaign for the Country Living Virtual Artisan Event was implemented in Selligent across email, social media, web, and video channels – and replicated the excitement of an in-person event. To drive urgency for the shopping fair, they sent out a countdown email, in the lead-up to the event. To ensure maximum event participation, two journeys were set up with the shopping link email:

  1. The single shot was sent to all registrants who had signed up over the two-week period before the event went live.
  2. A trigger was also set up to fire every 10 minutes for any additional registrations after the shopping link went live.
  3. A sign-up form in Selligent was also used to capture consumer profile data.


The Hearst Virtual Country Living Campaign was widely successful for both the brand and artisans selling during the event, with participating businesses reporting that the virtual event provided a much-needed boost amid the pandemic. The fair’s shopping pages generated a huge volume of views during the event, while 90% of artisans saw web traffic increase over the course of the event.

Given the success of the event, Hearst is now able to monetize virtual events and feels confident in doing so – especially with 99% of participating artisans reporting they wanted more virtual events. Hearst UK is ready to deliver: “We took a huge amount of learnings from this first event and now have insights which will add an additional revenue stream for Hearst, and the artisans who take part, in what is a very difficult time for businesses,” said Lucinda Woodhead, CRM Manager, Hearst UK.

Following the recipe for hosting virtual events in Selligent, the publisher has since launched similar initiatives for other titles, including Women’s Health Live, Good Housekeeping Big Book Day, and the CNL Christmas Artisans event which saw over 31,000 registered shoppers. “Each time we learn something new, and we learn how to optimize journeys and drive the biggest shopper volumes,’ said Suz Brownlie, Senior CRM Manager, Hearst UK.

64 %
Email Open Rate (for mails sent after event had gone live)
50 %
Registered Shoppers Made Purchases

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