This week Team Taxi went to the Advanced Email Conference at Bounce Farringdon, London. Here are our picks from a great conference.

Personalisation is still the aim

A theme running through the day was that personalisation is key - both to drive engagement and roi, and to prevent disengagement and unsubscribes.  Emma Stebbing of Thomas Cook highlighted the importance of subject lines, and showed how they’re going beyond first name personalisation there. She also reminded us to consider mobile when testing subject lines, as the experience is different there. Emma also gave us plenty of useful tips - next time you create an email, give it the squint test and check you can read the key message quickly.

Email Tools and Process

Email teams still find it hard to execute complex email programs. Various brands discussed how they had implemented better personalisation and segmentation techniques, but were eventually limited by their team’s ability or platform’s offering. Some marketers are using solutions that are good but not great, and have an appetite to do better. There is a great opportunity for marketing teams to achieve more here.

GDPR

There was a great panel discussion about GDPR and the challenges marketing teams face. Some key things to consider are that 1) the time of sharing audience data via usb sticks and excel documents is over, and 2) when users join a list, we not only have to capture how they signed up, but also capture a time stamp.

Overall, GDPR is an opportunity to put the customer at the heart of what we’re doing, and once we’ve crossed the initial bump in the road it will improve the inbox experience.

Marketing vs Advertising

Anthony White at LiveIntent presented an interesting talk on marketing vs advertising, and why email marketers hold the key to success. Traditionally, marketers focussed on maximising customer experience and lifetime value, whilst advertisers oversaw media buying and last touch attribution. People based marketing has began to merge the two, and central to that is the email address. 89% of advertising and marketing decision makers consider email the most valuable piece of customer identification (Forrester).

Email marketers have known this for years, of course, but it helps that email addresses are common across devices and environments, but are tied to one user. However people based marketing has traditionally been dominated by the big three walled gardens - Google, Amazon and Facebook.

These gardens perform well but drastically reduce export of data, so marketers are stuck inside the various ecosystems. Email addresses present a great opportunity to break out of this - unlike walled gardens, email allows the CRM loop to be closed fully.

Customer Experience is key

Andreas Edebol at Trainline described how everything they do in email (and in general) is driven by improving the customer’s experience. They use multiple channels, so that the right message arrives in the right context. They automate recommendations using an intelligent algorithm, based on a customer’s natural pattern of usage.

Their email designs are built to be as flexible as possible, so that content can be tailored in depth for each campaign. Inspirational recommendations are harder to achieve, though they can use a combination of the user’s data and general trends to create relevant content, aiming to inspire new leisure journeys.

To top things off, Trainline created their own channel that works in a similar way to email, by including a message inbox in their mobile app. These email-like messages are proprietary and are only shown in their own environment, meaning they can create great experiences. (And they’re hiring!)

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