EP #55 The Blueprint for Future Email and Multichannel Marketing, and CRM

EP #55 The Blueprint for Future Email and Multichannel Marketing, and CRM

About this Podcast

In today’s episode of the ‘For The Love Of Emails’ podcast, we welcome David Palfreeman, a CRM, Loyalty and Digital Strategy Consultant, with host Avadhoot Revankar, Chief Growth Officer and Business Head at Netcore. David is a seasoned MarTech expert with 13+ years in the industry. His journey is a testament to his proficiency in developing and enhancing CRM capabilities, loyalty programs, and digital strategies, showcasing his adept navigation of the ever-evolving landscape of marketing technologies.

In this podcast:

1. Discover the intricacies of creating effective email campaigns that resonate with the cultural nuances of the Australian audience.

2. Explore effective diverse audience engagement strategies with success stories.

3. Gain insights into how brands have strategically enhanced customer lifecycle management, leading to improved repeat purchases and increased Lifetime Value (LTV).

4. Explore the latest trends in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Multi-Channel Marketing for 2024.

5. Learn how to utilize customer data effectively while maintaining trust, striking the delicate balance between personalization and privacy.

6. Uncover the transformative impact of interactive emails and mobile optimization on reshaping brand-audience interactions.

7. Delve into best practices for integrating Generative AI (GenAI) into your marketing strategies.

8. Understand the implications of the new Google and Yahoo privacy guidelines on your 2024 campaigns.

Episode Transcripts

Intro (00:06):

You are listening to the ‘For the Love of Emails’ podcast, powered by Netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks engage, grow, and retain customers through reliable, smart, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization, optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns. No fluff. Tune in to hear best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners. Master your email communication now.


Avadhoot Revankar (00:39):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of our podcast, ‘For the Love of Emails.’ I’m your host for today, Avadhoot, and I drive growth GTM for Netcore Cloud. We have David joining us from Australia today, who has more than 13 years of experience in CRM and loyalty. Welcome, David. It’s great to have you with us.


David Palfreeman (01:00):

Thank you so much for having me.


Avadhoot Revankar (01:03):

And let’s get started right away, right? Could you share a little bit about yourself and your journey in this world of MarTech?


David Palfreeman (01:11):

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been working in MarTech, in fact, since 1997, so a very long time. I worked with a number of companies in Europe on some of the first event-driven campaign marketing tools, which were, at the time, absolutely bleeding edge. Now, they’d be pretty average, but at the time, they were world-leading. I moved to Australia in 1999, and since then, I’ve helped a lot of Australian firms implement CRM, especially event-driven campaign management platforms, especially around marketing. Most recently, I’ve been doing a lot of help with organizations with CRM and loyalty strategy and programs.


Avadhoot Revankar (01:43):

That’s interesting, David. In your experience, what makes an email campaign truly effective, and how does it contribute to the overall success of a marketing strategy you’ve put together?


David Palfreeman (01:56):

Yeah, I think that the key part you said there is part of an overall marketing strategy. It needs to be part of a wider marketing campaign and also consistent with that campaign. And it needs to be a very clear call to action on that email. You need to be really clear about what you want the customers to do when they receive that email. You need to make sure that emails target the relevant customers and, probably more importantly, not target the wrong customers. Too often, I see email campaigns promoting a special offer on a product that customers have just bought; you really need to think about who you’re targeting and, more importantly, who you’re not targeting as well.


Avadhoot Revankar (02:28):

Absolutely. And I think the last point that you mentioned is very true, right? A lot of times, I end up buying with the brand, and they still end up sending me a promotional message the next day, right? And I actually cannot buy, right? So, it absolutely doesn’t make sense. In fact, what they could possibly do is send out informational content to me about how I could better use their product, as well as related content around what they’ve sent, right? Maybe that possibly could make sense. I think that is very true, David.


David Palfreeman (03:00):

Yeah, think about your customer journey.


Avadhoot Revankar (03:02):

Yeah, absolutely. And, how do you see, and this is something I’m interested in as well, how do you see email marketing and CRM strategies differ, especially in the Australian market? Are there cultural nuances, you know, that marketers should consider when they’re curating campaigns for the Australian audience?


David Palfreeman (03:22):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of my bosses used to have a great saying, which is, don’t be fooled by the language. Just because they speak English doesn’t mean they’re gonna act the same. So I’ve seen a number of cases where overseas companies have had a campaign they’ve used in the US or in the UK, and it’s been really successful; they tried to bring it to Australia, but it just hasn’t worked. Because they’ve not taken into account those cultural differences, and I’ve got a really great example of this. I worked for a firm, a UK firm, that tried to bring a campaign that had been used really successfully in London, in England; it had images of London taxi, and on the side of this taxi, it had, when it comes to IT, we have the knowledge with the name of this company, I won’t name them, but and in London to drive a taxi, you need to know over 25,000 streets and destinations without the aid of a map or a GPS.


David Palfreeman (04:11):

So it takes four years to pass this test, and it’s called the knowledge. So as a result, taxi drivers in London black cab drivers are really well respected, and they’re really highly trusted. And people saw this ad and said, when it comes to IT, we have the knowledge, they go, oh yeah, they’ve got the knowledge. And it kind of resonated with them in the UK, and they thought these people know what they’re doing. And it was a very successful campaign. Unfortunately, in Australia, the path to becoming a taxi driver takes about 10 days instead of four years. As a result, taxi drivers aren’t particularly well-trusted or highly regarded in general to the extent they are in the UK. So I was saying, when it comes to IT, we have the knowledge on the side of the taxi; it just didn’t resonate.


David Palfreeman (04:56):

It actually damaged their brand. So that’s a key one. So, really take the content into consideration and do not use the content you’ve used overseas. Language is another key one. So, again, although they speak English, there are some very different things between Australian English and American English. So, thong is a classic example. In Australia, it’s footwear. In the UK and in America, it’s the low half of a bikini. So, telling people to wear thongs kind of makes people think the wrong way. And often you get those signs outside the bars saying no thong, and people are going, how do they check? So yeah, you need to be careful of that. There are some other notable differences, for instance, between Australian English and New Zealand English, and even though there are some differences between some of the states, there are different words.


David Palfreeman (05:47):

So make sure you’re using Australian English, personalized correctly, keep your message brief and to the point, and make it very clear to the receiver what you’re trying to do. And keep the tone appropriate. And a couple of other things: For images, make sure you’re using Australian images, not overseas images. People pick up on that straight away. There are different time zones in Australia, so if you’re doing time-dependent emails, just be aware of that. And legal as well. So there are different laws in Australia, and there’s a spam act, which is quite important. You can only email people who’ve actually consented to you emailing them, and the penalties are quite high. I might talk about that a bit later. There are other laws relating to email in Australia that are different from other countries as well.


Avadhoot Revankar (06:30):

Got it. That’s interesting, David. And I think a lot of points, which possibly, I’m sure, are new to me and to our audiences as well. Thanks for sharing that. And maybe it’s just an extension of the last point. Can you share some examples of successful email marketing campaigns that engage with diverse audiences and communities effectively, keeping some of these points in mind?


David Palfreeman (06:57):

Yeah, so Qantas did a really great campaign a few years ago for their New Zealand customers living in Australia. And it was tied in with Airbnb. And they used New Zealand’s term for holiday home, which is called a bach. And this really resonated with New Zealand customers ’cause it spoke to them in their language and showed that Qantas understood them. And it was actually a really, really successful campaign with that particular segment. Very targeted, very focused, spoke to their language. Also, Autobarn, one of the automotive parts suppliers here, has done some really great campaigns in terms of back-in-stock campaigns and price drops. So, it’s really targeted based on consumer behavior. Some of these campaigns have had a 70% open rate but, more importantly, a 2% buy rate. So for every hundred people they’ve sent it to, 2% of those people have actually bought the product, which is amazing.


Avadhoot Revankar (07:46):

Those numbers are not heard of.


David Palfreeman (07:48):

Yeah, it was great. I mean, I couldn’t believe the stats when I saw them. We had to triple-check them, but these emails are relevant; they’re timely, you know, relevant to the customer. Yeah, it’s really good. Also, Autobarn has done some store-based campaigns, which have been really good as well. So they sponsored one of the racing teams here, and they notified people who were in the locality of particular stores when the drivers came in to sign autographs. There were literally queues around the block for people to get a sign up for bits of their car sign, their T-shirt sign, and other things. And it was actually really interesting ’cause we found that the customers actually wanted Autobarn branded stuff just so they could get it signed. So yeah, it was really good, again, targeted at those particular segments and customers.


Avadhoot Revankar (08:34):

Nice, and Autobarn promoted this whole thing at the store only through emails. That’s how they only did it?


David Palfreeman (08:42):

Yes, emails and social media as well. So, it was a multichannel campaign. Some of the customers weren’t on the email list when they came into the store, but they got signed up. But yeah, we had local social media campaigns and in-store promotions as well, and quite a bit of it went viral because people are really passionate about motor racing, or some people are in Australia in that particular segment. The word got around that the particular drivers were coming to the store on this day, and they were all very excited about it. So yeah, it was really good.


Avadhoot Revankar (09:08):

Nice, and I think you mentioned, you know, 70% open rates and 2% buy rates for a back-in-stock kind of email. And some of those are great stats, right? Can you share some other important benchmarks around what email open rates and click rates look like?


David Palfreeman (09:28):

I mean, it really depends on the campaign. You know, not just the customer base, but the campaign for that customer base. For example, those event-driven campaigns. So if you like a price drop campaign, If somebody has looked at something on a website multiple times and then we announce that the product has dropped in price, and if they’ve got it in a wishlist, those go through the roof. If we’re not getting a 2% buy rate on that, we’re doing something wrong. Usually, a 2% buy rate is unheard of. So, it really depends on the context of the email. You tend to find with it that the more mass and the more broad you send emails, the lower the open rates and the higher the unsubscribe rates. So that’s one of the things where you have to monitor really carefully: those unsubscribe rates. And sometimes, we do a lot of A/B testing as well and just look at what’s working and what’s not working. But yeah, really need to make sure that you’re really focusing on monitoring the whole time, looking at what your previous campaigns did and what you can improve on.


Avadhoot Revankar (10:26):

Got it, and David, can you share some unique examples of how brands have optimized their customer lifecycle and possibly improved repeat purchases and Lifetime Value(LTV)?


David Palfreeman (10:40):

Yeah, I mean, that’s a great one. Some of the Australian airlines do a really good job here. I think we copy each other, to be honest. So, they make it very easy for you when you’re looking for tickets to buy for your flight. Once you’ve locked in and confirmed, they will come in with the extra. So would you like a car? Would you like insurance with that? Would you like a hotel with that? Would you like a car hire? And they come with recommendations and deals and all these things that a lot of people want anyway. A lot of people book their flights first, especially in Australia. You book your flights first, and then you sort everything else out. So they’re very good at doing that and really thinking about not putting it in the wrong place.


David Palfreeman (11:20):

If you start to book a flight and they try to ask you what hotel you want and what car hire you want before you’ve actually committed, you’re less likely to complete it. But once you’ve actually completed the purchase, then they’re coming in with all these special offers once you’re locked in. So yeah, I think they do that really well. One of the things the airlines are really good at is looking at when people are flying, their regular routes, and giving special offers for those if they stop flying, and things like that.


Avadhoot Revankar (11:45):

Got it, that’s very interesting. And what you’re saying is, essentially, they’re trying to increase their wallet share with the customer once they’ve made the first purchase.


David Palfreeman (11:56):

Absolutely. They’re not being greedy like, well, we want the flight; that’s the key thing. But once we get the flight, then we want to get all the add-ons and make it easy for the customer to get those add-ons as well.


Avadhoot Revankar (12:05):

Absolutely, and in fact, today, we do some of that for one of the largest airlines across the globe, and we’ve actually built a unified view for them. We are predicting as you said, their preferred route, their lunch preferences, and meal preferences. Are they family travelers or business travelers, you know? So we are predicting some of those aspects for the brand and basis that their personalizing every message that goes out to the user to, you know, get better conversions from them because they don’t, they want the user to book directly with them and not with an aggregator.


David Palfreeman (12:43):

Yeah, I mean, one of the airlines I work with actually got down to the level of looking at personas when people are traveling singly for business; they’d booked business. Still, when they were traveling with multiple people, they’d booked economy. They were traveling with their family, and it was their own money. And it’s a very different, same person, but a very different customer journey and preferences and a whole lot of other things. So yeah, that was quite complicated to work out.


Avadhoot Revankar (13:06):

Absolutely. That’s actually interesting. And a similar point is made about the repeat purchase. One thing, David, what we’ve also seen kind of work is this whole aspect; while you mentioned it in the airline world for the ecommerce industry, we’ve seen making sure you are sending out very personalized recommendations to users you know, post-purchase during the in the funnel when the users are dropping out, making sure your cart abandonment emails, wishlist emails actually have recommendations in them kind of also helps to a great degree.


David Palfreeman (13:43):

I think abandoned carts are a great one, as you say because people often abandon a cart because it’s not exactly what they wanted, right? So sometimes we found at Autobarn, they are sending out some abandoned cart messages with some other recommendations or similar type of products, you know, that was a good way to sort of encourage them to come back, say, oh, well they’ve got other ranges, or they weren’t aware what other products, similar products they had. So get some back on a website, browse, and hopefully purchase again.


Avadhoot Revankar (14:06):

Correct, absolutely. And in some cases, we’ve actually seen the average order value also go up by above 10 – 15 $ just by making sure you’re adding recommendations to those card drop-offs, wishlist drop-offs, and those types of units.


David Palfreeman (14:20):

Yeah. Also, when people are buying things, especially out with Autobarn, and they’re buying parts, they don’t necessarily just want one part; there’s a whole number of things they want when they are fixing their car. So we can make recommendations. A great example would be if they’re buying brake pads; we might want brake discs as well.


Avadhoot Revankar (14:34):

Right, absolutely.


David Palfreeman (14:35):

So, we’ll offer the complimentary products that go with it.


Avadhoot Revankar (14:38):

Correct, and you can actually decide which type of products you want to recommend. Do you wanna just put in complementary products recommended for you or, you know, bestsellers and stuff like that, right? Yeah. So, which makes it fairly easy for brands and just possibly another addition to, and it struck me when you’re mentioning, one of the very creative campaigns which we’ve seen brands run here is,  cricket is a big thing in India and Australia, right? I think in both places.  We’ve actually seen brands do this whole concept of reply-based campaigns, where they actually run a contest, and they ask end users to predict who will win, whether India or Australia.


David Palfreeman (15:25):

Australia will win.


Avadhoot Revankar (15:27):

That’s kind of got true in the last match. But yeah, I think we’ll see how we match that the next time we play. However, the fact that users actually ended up replying like we actually got those 12 to 13% of people replying to those messages helped with engagement rates going up and the domain reputation going up.


David Palfreeman (15:50):

You’re getting those clickthroughs; you’re getting that engagement. People are participating.


Avadhoot Revankar (15:54):

Right. And you are now added to the user’s contacts, which gets you to the maybe through the primary inbox the next time you communicate with them, right? And I think those are a few interesting things Brands are also doing just to stay on top of their mind on the email side of things.


David Palfreeman (16:12):

Because that’s a real challenge. ’cause there’s so much coming through, you need to get on the top of that.


Avadhoot Revankar (16:18):

Right. Absolutely, and David, the other question we commonly get asked, and I think your thoughts on it will help, where, what do you think are some of the common or some of the trends you see emerging in 2024 for overall CRM, all multichannel campaigns, and email marketing as well?


David Palfreeman (16:38):

Yeah, I mean, customers are starting to know the value of their own data. So they know, you know, if they’re giving you the data, they want something in exchange, right? So, if you are asking them for their email address, permission to market to them, and personal details, what are they getting back from it? Why should I give it to you? Loyalty programs and rewards are really great examples of this.


David Palfreeman (17:01):

So, if you are rewarding your customer, say you give me an email address, we’ll give you special offers, we’ll give you points, we will give you entry to the competition, pre-entry to competitions, all this stuff that actually gets them engaged, okay? Now, I’ve seen some value in giving you my data.


David Palfreeman (17:16):

Because customers get very nervous, when we try to get people to sign up in stores, well, why should I? I’m not giving you an email address. Well, you gotta give them a reason to choose. So one of the customers we worked with, we found what the customer actually found was really valuable was having the receipts. So people are buying tools, people are buying stuff, especially power tools and things. You get the receipt, you lose it, you know what it is. But if you get the email address at the time of purchase, then you can email the receipt, and they come in 11 months later and say, I bought this, it doesn’t work. Oh, did you register with us and look up the email? Oh yeah, here it was 11 months ago, and it’s still under warranty. And customers really see the value in that,


Avadhoot Revankar (17:55):



David Palfreeman (17:56):

So you’ve gotta give something back to the customers for having their data.


Avadhoot Revankar (18:03):

Correct. That’s a great point. And you mentioned loyalty programs. Are you seeing the emergence of paid loyalty programs? Do you get the user to pay $5 or $7?


David Palfreeman (18:17):

Especially in Australia, that’s becoming more and more common. Customers have a short commitment as well, right?


Avadhoot Revankar (18:23):



David Palfreeman (18:23):

If it’s a free loyalty program, everyone will sign up if they think they’re getting a free whatever, but you show a bit of commitment. You’ve actually invested in it; you actually put some money into it.


David Palfreeman (18:34):

Amazon is a great example; if you pay for Amazon Prime, you get all these great benefits. So free delivery, it’s great. We have a company here called Kogan. They’re really good. They’ve got a similar sort of thing. You pay, not a large amount, but pay, and you get free delivery; you get entry to a draw every month. And you know, part of that loyalty program, you get points from it as well, such as frequent flyers, etc. It’s good. And that’s becoming more and more prevalent.


Avadhoot Revankar (18:59):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that commitment kind of pushes the user to continue engaging with that with that brand, and in a way, they can also compensate for that commitment, right? For one of the brands, I paid about $10 for their loyalty program. They actually gave me a few goodies in return for free, Yeah. It kind of compensates for the price I’m paying, but I’m still investing in that program.


David Palfreeman (19:27):

And one of the programs I was working with recently they have a $10 every year for their members to do a $10 gift card. And they get way more than that back because people come in store, they wanna use it, and it’s like nothing costs $10. It costs more than that. So they end up spending a lot more, and it drives them into the store. It’s really good. So yeah, loyalty programs can, I think are gonna become a big part of CRM and marketing.


Avadhoot Revankar (19:49):

Nice and David, you mentioned data, and I think this whole aspect about the privacy of data, Google rolling out, you know, this whole change about no third-party cookies tracking data, etc. How do you see that changing and moving in 2024?


David Palfreeman (20:11):

Yeah, I mean, laws on user data are getting tighter and tighter around the world. And also, as you mentioned, as the new rules are coming out around marketing, emails are getting tighter as well. I think customers expect their messages to be personalized. They want to be relevant, but they don’t want it to be too creepy.


David Palfreeman (20:28):

You don’t want to go too far that you’re predicting too much or you’re delving too much into them. I worked with some of the supermarkets; they could tell when relationships were breaking up because of people’s food-buying habits.


David Palfreeman (20:42):

You don’t wanna be sort of going like “see your relationships in trouble..”,  you don’t want to go too far with that use of data. And one of the airlines I’ve worked with would only provide flight and holiday offers to authenticated users on a shared device. So if a device is shared, like someone’s got a shared tablet or iPad that two people are using because it’s got two sets of authentication cookies on it, the customer has to be logged in for them to see the offers.


David Palfreeman (21:16):

They were clever. If it was one, only one user on it, they just put all the standard ads up. But if it were two, they’d be very careful about how they targeted it. In Australia, you can only collect and store data that you need to communicate, and you also must communicate this with customers. And I find there are a lot of brands out there who are collecting a lot of customer data but not using it effectively. So, to me, I mean, the best practice is collecting the minimum data that you need and showing the customer you can be trusted with it.


David Palfreeman (21:47):

So, as I said, if they made a wishlist, price drops in that email are incredibly effective ways of driving sales and providing trust.


David Palfreeman (21:56):

The customers have told you they’re interested in this product, but they’re not prepared to pay that price, basically, because that’s why it’s on the wishlist. So the drops in price there,  being price sensitive, are great; these people actually notified me when it’s dropped in price.


Avadhoot Revankar (22:10):

Absolutely, and that’s a great point you make, David; knowing the fact that the end user is price-sensitive and sending out messages based on a price drop is exactly what you would want to do. And the same stands true even for new arrivals, right? Like, if there are new arrivals that have come in and if, let’s say, David, as a user, has an affinity towards Nike products, you would possibly want to make sure that message goes to David only and not to me or not to someone else, right? Yeah. So I think that’s possibly something that brands should surely look at. Making sure they use data basically, right?


David Palfreeman (22:48):

Yeah, absolutely.


Avadhoot Revankar (22:53):

Another crucial aspect of this entire email marketing as a piece, David, is sender reputation, right? And what are your inputs or suggestions on how brands should manage it? Especially with the new changes that are coming from Gmail and Yahoo.


David Palfreeman (23:13):

Because with those new changes, the opt-out rates, obviously, all the email authentication, but the key thing around having to unsubscribe one click. Which isn’t mandatory in Australia at the moment. You don’t have to have one click. It needs to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be one click. But I think, comply with Google, they’re gonna have to make it that way. Also, having those unsubscribe rates of less than 0.2-0.3%. You really need to have your unsubscribe rates really low and monitor that.


Avadhoot Revankar (23:49):

Also, the spam rates, right? For the spam rates on Gmail, control to about 0.3 or so.


David Palfreeman (24:11):

0.3 that’s right, and one of the things companies find coming to Australia is that email providers aren’t all the same. So, you know, we’ve got other providers like Telstra and Optus, and people often use Telstra and Optus email. They’ve got slightly different rules as well.


David Palfreeman (24:27):

So you need to be aware of that. Open rates in Australia tend to be higher than in other countries. Interestingly enough, mainly because of our spam laws. People don’t get as much spam because we’ve got very tight spam laws, but Australians will report spam and unsubscribe if they don’t like your emails.


Avadhoot Revankar (24:31):

Got it.


David Palfreeman (24:40):

But I mean, I’ve worked with one client that generated $25 million in revenue from one email campaign.


David Palfreeman (24:41):

I’ve got to say that it was a good day in the office.


Avadhoot Revankar (24:47):

Yeah, and I think, like you rightly mentioned, this whole aspect of ensuring your spam rates are controlled is very important, and I think it’s good for email as a channel. Because it just helps you reduce the clutter in the inbox. That’s what the user finally wants.


David Palfreeman (25:05):

Yeah, I mean, what we tend to do best practice for us is if we’ve got an email, we’ll send a small batch out first, a significant number, but just monitor the unsubscribe rates on that.


David Palfreeman (25:17):

And if they’re above a certain threshold, I’ll just stop it and work out why. You’ve done everything right; you’ve proof-checked it a hundred times, but there’s a typo in there that no one’s picked up, and that’s just gone straight to spam.


David Palfreeman (25:30):

Or people have thought it’s spam. So you’ve got to really just monitor the whole time and be real. If people are telling you to unsubscribe, then kill the campaign until you’ve worked out why.


Avadhoot Revankar (25:41):

Right, and are you saying that just because of a typo, people end up unsubscribing or marking things as spam?


David Palfreeman (25:47):

Yeah, especially if it’s something in the title, like the company name or something really basic, that’s kind of setting alarm bells off with them.


Avadhoot Revankar (25:55):

Got it, interesting. And I think one of the things that we at Netcore are very cautious about, and that’s something we help brands do, is ensure getting brands the highest inbox placement rates by making sure we kind of manage their reputation with Gmail, helping them segment campaigns in the right way. And I think we’ve done it for some of the largest brands like Kitabisa in Indonesia, Fidelity Bank in Nigeria, and many other large brands like MakeMyTrip, ICICI Bank, and many others back here in India. So, I think that’s one thing that we are very careful and cautious about.


David Palfreeman (26:41):

Yeah, absolutely. That’s good.


Avadhoot Revankar (26:44):

Some people still keep saying that emails have become less effective. Maybe they’re about to be dead in some way, but the ROI from it is not as significant. What’s your take on it?


David Palfreeman (27:01):

Look, I think mass untargeted email is generally ineffective. If you’re just sending out to your whole customer base a big spam email, then yeah, that’s not gonna work. It’s got to be part of a coordinated campaign. As I mentioned before, I had a customer who generated $25 million off one email campaign, which was a success. And, the event-driven emails I talked about before, such as price drops, abandoned carts, and back-in-stock, as I said before, get 70% open rates and 2% buy rates. If they’re relevant to the customer, they’ll work. And making these emails relevant for content, timing, and location. So, the great example I’ve got of this is a company called Dymocks here, which is an Australian bookseller. They’re not the cheapest, but my daughter used to love these books by an author called Jacqueline Harvey about a character called Alice Miranda, and she absolutely loved them.


David Palfreeman (27:50):

I got an email from Dymocks saying that not only was the latest book out, but it was in stock at my local Dymocks. It showed me the location of my local Dymocks and where I was. And I actually left work early and drove down to the bookshop and bought it for my daughter. That’s the only email I’ve actually ever done that for. But that was so effective, and I know I could’ve got it cheaper on Amazon, but I knew my daughter would just be desperate to get this book as soon as it came out. And I thought that was a really great example. So, making the relevant content, timing, location, and all those things work when you get it right.


Avadhoot Revankar (28:23):

Absolutely. What’s your take on the future of email? Do you think interactive emails are actually reshaping the way brands interact with customers on email?


David Palfreeman (28:37):

Look, I think interactive emails are going to be a game-changer. I don’t think many people realize what interactive emails are like and what they can do. So I think it’s gonna make it much easier for companies to order and interact. They’re able to receive an email and order directly from that email. They’ll receive an updated email about what they’ve ordered online. And that update email will basically refresh in real time. So, the status of an order actually shows in that email where it’s tracking in real-time, without having to go to a website. It’s gonna make it so much easier for people. It’s gonna be really good.


Avadhoot Revankar (29:09):

Right, absolutely; this is actually like another website or shop for the brand, right? Actually, I’ve seen brands now going to the extent of bringing in commerce within the email itself, where you can actually finish a purchase within the email. We’ve tied up with some of the payment gateways, which kind of ends up making sure that the end purchase also ends up happening with an email. You can actually search with an email as well.


David Palfreeman (29:42):

And I think those back-in-stock price drop emails, where we talked about abandoned carts, are just perfect for that sort of thing. Because they get the email, and they just click, and it’s all done.


Avadhoot Revankar (29:50):

Right, absolutely. And all the bottoms of funnel emails or even things like replenishment campaigns, because you just know he needs grocery after one week. It’s a no-brainer for the end user that he has just two clicks, and he’ll get it delivered to his place. So, yeah, I think shortly what we call inbox commerce is actually going to change the way how users see email, and we believe it’ll become another shop.


David Palfreeman (30:25):

I think that’s gonna be one of the big trends for this year, actually, as people, more and more people get on board and more and more customers get used to it. It’s gonna be huge.


Avadhoot Revankar (30:34):

Another piece we would like your take on, David, is that this whole aspect of mobile usage is growing, and customer habits are transforming; all of them are becoming heavier on mobile devices. How do you see that playing a role in enhancing the overall customer experience?


David Palfreeman (30:55):

Yeah, I mean, the customer journey messaging needs to be coordinated across the channels that you’re communicating with the customer, not just online, not just on the web, on mobile devices, but in-store as well. So, a great example is you’re talking about loyalty before signing up in stores; it needs to be simple and as seamless as possible to the customer. Make it really easy. One of the big supermarkets here in Australia, Woolworths, has some really great apps you can order online, but the in-store experience is really great. So when you go into the store, it’ll not only tell you that it’s in stock, but it’ll show exactly what shelf it’s on in the store.


Avadhoot Revankar (31:34):

Oh, okay.


David Palfreeman (31:38):

So that sort of stuff’s really good. Using that location-based data, you can do some really good campaigns like the Dymocks one I mentioned before. I think the emails you send, the communications, especially with email, it needs to look good on desktop, it needs to look on tablet, it needs to look good on mobile as well. A lot of people forget that, but they don’t try it out and test their emails properly on multiple different devices on Android and Apple, and sometimes they don’t optimize properly and don’t look good. And that’s when you start getting opt-outs.


Avadhoot Revankar (32:09):

I got it. One of the things that Netcore does is we go beyond conventional email campaigns, and we try and connect it to your app notifications, personalization on the website, WhatsApp and SMS as a channel. We help brands have that single messaging across platforms using AI-driven insights. How do you see that shaping up in the coming year?


David Palfreeman (32:41):

Yeah, I mean, look, in today’s market, you need to be coordinating across channels. You need to have consistent messaging. That includes your social media messaging; all those sorts of things need to be consistent. But I think AI is a game changer as well. So, it can be a really great asset in helping create emails, helping with the content, juicing images, and improving deliverability. Because I think, especially with your product, you’ve got the AI ability to help make sure that you’re actually, your email subject lines and preview text and all that sort of thing is actually gonna be optimized for deliverability.


David Palfreeman (33:20):

Absolutely, because that’s a really key one. And, AI I think another great potential for AI is in product recommendations.


David Palfreeman (33:27):

Because often customers, you’re targeting customers’ products with AI that they have been interested in, which is one of the most exciting possibilities for marketing.


David Palfreeman (33:37):

Every email you send out will have a different set of offers per customer based on what they could be interested in based on using AI technology rather than your other customers buying this. Still, you’re actually using a lot more intelligence. You know what that particular customer’s bought in the past; you know what they’ve browsed in the past. You can pull all that information together with AI and come up with some really strong recommendations that you wouldn’t have done otherwise. And you can do that at scale.


Avadhoot Revankar (34:00):

Got it. And, David, how many brands do you see actually doing that today? Like making recommendations in emails and other messages?


David Palfreeman (34:08):

Look, there’s a few doing it. And I think that the real key is to do things that, and the way AI can really, you know, deliver value is doing things that the customers themselves hadn’t thought of. But when the AI recommends, oh wow, what’s that? And they actually click through and look, and they’re actually interested in it, and they’re taking them to a place that they wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. That’s where I think it’s good. But in terms of brands doing it, some of them are doing it well, and some of them are not so well. Amazon obviously does a very good job with its recommendation engine. They’re probably the world leader. But yeah, the supermarkets are good in that they look at what I’ve bought in the past, they will have deals with their suppliers, and they will offer competitive products from their suppliers for similar sorts of things. I mean, the supermarkets in Australia do mass emails at scale with individual personalization.


Avadhoot Revankar (34:59):

I got it, and I think you mentioned how we look at the headline and the campaign that is being sent out, how it impacts your inbox placement rates and other stuff. I think another thing we’ve now started doing with this whole new wave of generative AI is helping brands generate the subject line, the notification content, and all channels we’ve been helping brands generate content with an input of data to it. We are actually looking at what is performing for that brand and working for them. What’s your take on this new wave of generative AI, and how is it transforming multichannel marketing?


David Palfreeman (35:43):

Yeah, look, I think AI has great potential, especially in terms of generating content and generating things, but you need to be careful of when to use it and, more importantly, when not to use it.


David Palfreeman (35:56):

So, there have been cases, especially with chatbots, where companies have set up chatbots but have not implemented them properly and have had some very bad results. So they’ve linked it too closely with chat GPT, and people have basically been able to fool it and get it to say things it shouldn’t be saying.


Avadhoot Revankar (36:11):

Yeah. It keeps hallucinating


David Palfreeman (36:14):

So I think knowing when and when not to use it is really important. Keep monitoring it and just focus on the things you want to use it for, and don’t expect it to do everything for you.


David Palfreeman (36:27):

And, if it’s generating content and images, check those images because sometimes we’ve used generative AI to generate images. It’s got people with hands and eight fingers on them.


Avadhoot Revankar (36:41):

Got it.


David Palfreeman (36:42):

Yeah. You need to look at it. You need to have that human review over some of your things. And it’s up to you to make sure that, you know, the content makes sense as well. And again, for some of those cultural differences, some of the wording you might just get if you’re doing campaigns for Australia, make sure it’s Australian English.


Avadhoot Revankar (37:00):

Absolutely, and I think one of the things that we are looking at, David, for Sure, is this whole aspect of seeing how generative AI not just helps generate content but also helps kind of do experimentations at scale, right? Yeah, send out a cart abandonment message with a very different wait time for David and a different wait time for Avadoot and on a different channel altogether, interact with them in a very different with a very different language. This is one of the ways that we are looking at where the generative AI itself auto-optimizes the journey for every individual user. You know, and that’s one thing we are bullish about where we just tell, my goal is to improve conversions by 3%, and rest of the things get taken care, so then the marketer doesn’t have to have to you know, spend too much time on it.


David Palfreeman (38:00):

Yeah. And I think especially with email, optimization of campaigns where you can do a lot of A/B testing and use AI to really finesse that for you, so you can do multiple iterations and just keep on refining.


David Palfreeman (38:13):

And especially with those event-driven campaigns, you can just keep refining those as well, what works, what doesn’t, what offers works, what doesn’t, particular segments, there’s a lot of potential there.


Avadhoot Revankar (38:23):

Correct, of course, as you said, making the marketer himself a lot more effective, right? Send-out can be just done through chat, or creating a segment could actually be a chat. You put in a chat that I want users who’ve not purchased in the last 30 days but are my loyal customers and come from Melbourne. So essentially, they could just type that in instead of doing 10 clicks to create a segment. I think that’s absolutely valid. But yeah, I think thank you, David, for taking the time. I think it was great talking to you, and thank you for sharing so many insights, numbers, and how things are gonna emerge in 2024. I’m sure you know the audience has learned a lot from what you’ve shared with us.


David Palfreeman (39:14):

My pleasure.


Avadhoot Revankar (39:15):

Thank you.


David Palfreeman (39:16):

Thanks very much.


Outro (39:17):

You’ve been listening to the ‘For The Love of Emails’ podcast powered by Netcore. Hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player to make sure you never miss an episode. To learn more about effective email communications and engagement through AI-powered email solutions, visit netcorecloud.com. The only global email engagement leader delivering marketing ROI and value to 25+ global unicorns and 6,500+ brands for over two decades.

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