How to move from Batch and Blast to Customer Focused Comms with exMissguided’s Nicola Fox (episode 249)

Nicola Fox is a retail marketer specialising in CRM and Loyalty, over the last 10 years she’s been working for top UK retailers like Holland & Barrett where she designed and developed a healthcare loyalty programme. Most recently she worked at fast-fashion giant Missguided, where she took on a task familiar to anyone in eCommerce – shifting customer marketing from batch and blast to a data-driven, segmented, personalised program. A difficult enough task in small, slow-moving retailer – let alone one of the fastest biggest retailers around.

2020 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend

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About the Business

  • Fast Fashion Retailer 
  • Based in Manchester
  • Established in 2009
  • One of the fastest-growing fast-fashion retailers in the UK
  • Focuses on women’s fashion for women 16-35
  • Sells worldwide, with websites across 9 territories including the UK, United States, Australia, France, Germany Poland, and Spain
  • Exceeds revenue of 200 million

About Nicola

Nicola progressed her career outside of eCommerce with fairly established retailers who also have a heavy high street presence. Nicola says she was familiar with eCommerce but she has only been involved as part of her job recently.

Much of her work in loyalty and CRM crossed over into that world but it was when she began working on creating data-driven, personalized experiences that she became really eager to understand more about the capabilities of digital.

The thing that drives Nicola is her desire to treat customers as real people—not simply a number or transaction. She wanted to figure out how to do that in an omnichannel world and knew that getting the right data and creating personalized segmentations would do that.

This realization incentivized her to ask to be transitioned into a Digital Marketing role at Holland and Barrett—a move that set her up for her current gig at Missguided. 

The Missguided Team

At Missguided, the in house teams manage everything—from buying to finance to digital experiences.

Nicola says that the teams’ ability to follow their interests and move quickly makes Missguided a really exciting place to work. Fast fashion is by its very nature an incredibly fast-paced business, so agile, dynamic teams are a must. Being on your game is essential. 

Transitioning from Batch and Blast to CRM Properly

Sometimes, making the transition to personalization is a difficult switch and it’s hard to know where to start. Over the course of the last ten years, marketers have gone from having very little data to too much, and the majority of teams now have more than they know what to do with.

Until recently, the technology just wasn’t there to help turn that data into manageable action. Manipulating data at the customer level does take commitment, time and resources. Because of this, Nicola says that insights companies have collected are simply collecting dust.

However, if increasing your performance and improving your customer experience are priorities for your business, then it is the right time to start taking baby steps toward personalization. 

The Two Main Components for Successful Data Integration

The two areas that are non-negotiable for businesses who want to implement a successful data-rich digital marketing strategy are technology and culture.   

Technology—Having the right tools will make the use of your data more tangible, intuitive and will give you the ability to actually use your data.

  • Do your research. Who are you as a business? What are you trying to solve for? Bring your resources (people) together before you bring in solution providers.
  • It’s not about buying into the most expensive platform. The most important thing is to buy into the right technology for your business. 
  • It does not have to be complicated. Your technology solution just needs to be the right tool that will allow you to put information in front of your customers that will make your business perform better. 
  • Start Simple! Start with just one need specific to your business and design out from there.

Culture—Culture is a really important determinant for whether or not your business will be able to use data. If your teams aren’t interested in using data for their day to day, then whatever technology you buy into won’t do you any good. 

  • In order for teams to change how they work they must be comfortable with the changes, you are implementing. Slapping in new technology and expecting everyone to uptake won’t typically work. 

Using Channels to Create a Smooth Customer Journey 

For some businesses, a single channel like email will be their bread and butter. For others, especially bigger retailers, there need to be multiple channels in place.

Thinking across every touchpoint with your customer’s experience in mind is crucial to implementing the right tools. If your customer is going to interact with any channel, you need to be there and you need to be thinking about it within the context of their overall journey.

By looking holistically, businesses are able to create a smooth conversation across the entirety of their customer’s journey. 

Where to Start

Working out where to start can be tricky and Nicola says it’s not about stopping what you’re doing now, but rather evolving your approach over time as your understanding improves and your capabilities increase.

Focusing on technology and culture is key but Nicola says that it will be your customers who ultimately demand that you take those first steps. Consumers are increasingly savvy and expect their experiences to be smooth and relevant. 

  • Start dreaming, planning and developing what your customer strategy is going to be. Results aren’t improved by just continuing to communicate with everyone. Even the smallest adjustments you can make will help set you on the right path. 
  • Nicola says that often businesses already have some resources available to them. Take a step back and see what you already have—whether it’s unused data, expertise, special skill sets or even just some results that show where you currently are. Look at those resources and set out some hypothesis for your business and begin testing. This test and learn journey will help you determine what the future technology will need to do for you.
  • Make sure you don’t do this on your own. It’s crucial that you design together as a team for your customers. If you don’t have everybody lined up and signed up for using data in the way there will typically be less buy-in generally. 

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Know where your customer is
  • Understand how your specific customers behave on different channels
  • Creating engagement will enable you to predict and generate traffic that wouldn’t have organically visited your site.

Tool Top Tip

  • Trello, Asana, Monday—anything that allows your whole team to see an overview of what everyone is doing on the team. It also allows leaders to dip in and see what everyone is doing without being overly heavy-handed in project management.

Growth Top Tip

  • Scaling at a faster rate relies on delivering newness. You must drive new customers to your business. These four tips will help you do that:
    1. Make sure you can distinguish new customers from existing (or returning) customers.
    2. Be clear on what channels give you an optimal response.
    3. Be prepared for a negative ROI when you are driving newness.
  • 4. Get your retention team in order and make sure that from the moment your new customer gets to your site they are given an experience that will convince them to stay.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Kate Barrett author of “E-telligence: Email marketing isn’t dead, the way you’re using it is”
  • Using Product Launches to create 200% annual growth with Chris Vallely of Dixxon Flannel Co
  • Project Repat’s Nathan Rothstein on how a focus on email sign ups led to $4million sales in 2015

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