Regina Love

Finish Line Tells Us What Customers Want in Email Marketing

February 5th, 2016

For leading athletic retailer Finish Line, a memorable customer experience means focusing on product, presentation and people.

During MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, after presenting his session on “What Customers Want,” Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, interviewed 2015 MarketingSherpa Best-in-Show Award Winner, Aaron Buchanan, Digital Personalization Manager, Finish Line. His session presented marketers with information on how they could turn basic segmentation practices into highly personalized, multichannel campaigns.


In this day and age, it is very clear to see why 77% of consumers prefer to receive the majority of their marketing communications through email. And while it would be ideal to create one quick email blast to all your customers, personalized email communication is an important element in gaining and keeping subscribers.

That does present a challenge to marketers, because not everyone has the same interests or needs even if you have a general product.

In his interview, Aaron walked through ways marketers could create a significant email experience for customers. By following a few of the tips below, you can also build better engagement with your customers.


Tip #1: Discover the balance between high-level and in-depth segmentation

  • Determine the types of segments you want to create

o   The possibilities are endless, which is why Aaron said, “you want to chase it all, but you really have to start elevating priorities, and make sure that you focus on knocking out the best opportunities first.”

o   Patience is also going to be a factor in the process. Good things take time, so make sure your email segments are strategically planned.

  • Remember the tools you use can provide insight to many paths and opportunities

o   Learn how your email marketing program manages list segmentation within your main list. Utilize the tools at your disposal — its job is to make your email marketing process more efficient for your team.

  • Listen to your customers and test

o   What issues are your customers facing on a regular basis and what products would they like to see more of? Make sure that you are addressing their needs through testing.  A/B split test your email marketing campaigns, then review the results and refine your messaging. Then test again to optimize the experience.


Tip #2: Identify marketing touchpoints with your customers

  • What contact methods between your company and consumer work best?

o   Create a touchpoint map that lists out all of the times when your customers may interact with your brand and make sure that each one of those touchpoints leads to excellent customer service and experience.

  • Locate the paths of interest and areas of engagement

o   Use the data from your segmentation tools to discover where customers are engaging. What are their behaviors like on-site versus email? Segmenting by interests can be an effective method in building valuable email marketing campaigns.

  • Blend customer concerns with your business priorities to focus on their needs

o   Create messages that will support the business and marketing objectives for your company. What is your company’s overall goal?

o   Aaron’s mission was to provide a fully relevant experience for his Finish Line customers. By identifying the challenges with his customers, he was able to align the business core values to establish the strategy required to achieve the goal.


Tip #3: Utilize best practices with available resources

  • Start small when it comes to budgets

o   Before diving fully into email segmentation, Aaron said, try starting with one variable. Although Finish Line is a large brand, Aaron’s team had to work within budget constraints, and more doesn’t always mean better.

  • Locate the best areas for your team to optimize

o   What are essential areas producing lower-than-needed conversion rates for your company? One of the best places to look for the answer to this question is in your user experience. Track each step customers or customer personas will take, and scan them for friction or frustrations.

  • Maximize your ROI with research

o   Prove to your company leaders that you have put in the time. Researching is the most time-consuming phase, but will help you to market segments properly.


In the end, when dealing with email segmentation knowing your customer’s experience at every stage of the sales funnel is key.

To see Buchanan’s full session from the Email Summit, just register here.


You might also like

Watch Full Sessions from Email Summit 2015 – Including Jessica Best in the “Quick Tips: Elements of email” sessions

Email Segmentation: Finish Line’s automation initiative lifts email revenue 50% [From MarketingSherpa]

Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , , , , ,

  1. February 5th, 2016 at 04:41 | #1

    I was going through this post, its awesome but what I was expecting here to have more about customer experience after conversion. This is key of every sale we make.

    Customer experience study and improvements make a way for next conversion. So far email marketing had played very fine role not only for influencers outreach but also keep them known with new strategies & getting customer expectation level.

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