Lindsay MacDonald
Content Manager @ Yotpo
September 14th, 2022

In the first event of our eComm Insiders series, we spoke with Chanel Devetter, Head of Lifecycle Marketing at MuteSix, to discuss why it’s now more important than ever for brands to double down on retention.

Between the recession, the state of the global economy, and the shifts in privacy regulations, brands have to do more than incentivize sales — they need to create lasting relationships with their customers in order to scale and grow successfully.

Sara Pereda, Senior Partner Manager at Yotpo, spoke with Chanel Devetter, Head of Lifecycle Marketing at leading digital marketing agency MuteSix, during our first eComm Insiders session hosted in LinkedIn, Acquisition vs. Retention: Growth Advice From a Digital Marketing Expert. They dove into how brands can build a digital marketing strategy that drives lifetime value via two key channels: a loyalty program and SMS marketing.

Check out some of the session highlights here:

While acquisition will always be a priority, there is an urgent need for brands to double down on the relationships they build with their current customers. Can you give us some reasons for this?

Chanel: First, uncertain economic times and the threat of recession means brands have to become more sensitive to customer spending and need to pivot strategies to focus on providing more value in every interaction with their existing customer base. 

Consumers will be re-evaluating what they deem an essential part of their budget, and brands have to provide the best experiences at every moment throughout the buyer journey in order to remain competitive, relevant, and successful.

How do you see the recession affecting your clients’ brands, budgets, and digital marketing strategies?

Chanel: Acquisition costs have gone up, so it’s harder for them to acquire new customers in a time of economic downturn because people are less likely to try new brands. The brands who are winning are focusing on retention and driving repeat purchases through personalization and loyalty experiences.

Have shifts in privacy regulations made your clients’ acquisition efforts even more tricky?

Chanel: Definitely. With the signal loss that came from the iOS14 update, CPMs are rising across the board, so brands are definitely having to diversify their ad strategy to try to mitigate the increasing costs of acquisition.  

This is, of course, having an impact on list growth for both email and SMS. Plus, when you add the iOS15 update and Mail Privacy Protection on top of that, it’s definitely added a whole new layer of complexity to lifecycle marketing. So, focusing more on retention should be a more integral part of a brand’s strategy especially during a recession economy.

Have you seen SMS marketing and loyalty programs drive retention for your clients?

Chanel: As their own individual channels, loyalty and SMS are powerful retention tools for our brands, but together they’re even more impactful. I think of lifecycle marketing as the digital equivalent of walking into a store and talking to a salesperson. Nowadays we have so many tools to help customers feel like their experience matters. 

Brands come to us looking to build better relationships with their customers, and we do that through SMS — it’s the most direct way to have those 1:1 conversations. It also enables you to speak to customers more intimately, and if you integrate a loyalty program into that strategy, it will increase ROI on both channels as well as customer LTV. 

If you can let customers know how many points they have, how close they are to the next rewards tier, if they have a birthday reward coming, it’s going to keep customers coming back. 

Personalize the digital experience for every individual and you have a winning strategy. 

A loyalty program has another secret weapon: it’s a great data collection tool. Have you seen your clients leveraging loyalty programs to collect customer data to create better customer experiences?

Chanel: Definitely. Loyalty programs encourage shoppers to share their product preferences, demographics info, like birthday and location, and shopping behavior, like purchase history and frequency, and more — all this information is essential for a brand to be able to recognize customers and provide them truly personalized experiences that keep them coming back.

An eCommerce brand is only as good as its data, and leveraging loyalty helps build relationships. If you’re a brand and just asked me for my birthday, you’re asking me to fill out a form and give personal information about myself. Why would I do that? But, if you’re a brand I shop with and you tell me I’ll get additional reward points that I can use towards a future purchase or for a gift, I feel better about giving you that information. 

When a brand recognizes my name, VIP status, point balance, etc, it makes me want to buy from them again. Yotpo just released an enhanced loyalty segmentation engine that enables brands to build out really specific audiences to create these experiences. Is segmentation a priority for your clients?

Chanel: Segmentation is our top priority. Inbox providers have gotten more strict in 2022 with all the privacy updates and iOS15. Making sure you’re sending the right messaging to the right people at the right time is more important than ever in this privacy centric time. It also ties in to the importance of personalization. 

If you’re a brand that’s just blasting the same message to every person, regardless of their stage in the funnel you aren’t marketing to the level that people in 2022 want to see. Every touchpoint should be personalized and it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Try including a dynamic banner in an email that shows people their rewards points — loyalty members have a 78% higher repeat purchase rate compared to 23% for non-loyalty members. 

How are you seeing your brands use SMS marketing? What types of texts are they sending?

Chanel: The ROI on SMS is insane. It’s the strongest channel for creating personalized experiences, especially when used with a loyalty program. SMS and loyalty working together can be a brand’s most effective retention driver.

Our clients are sending loyalty status updates, points and redemption reminders, VIP tier updates, birthday rewards, and more to drive LTV and reach customers where we know they are, their phone. They never miss a message.

How do brands build their SMS list?

Chanel: A hot tip is if you can encourage loyalty members to sign up for SMS for a reward or to share perks via text, it helps with boosting subscriber collection. That is definitely a win-win.

With SMS & loyalty working together, brands deepen their relationships with loyal customers and treat their VIPs with personalized SMS experiences that increase lifetime value, drive repeat purchases, and optimize lasting program engagement.

To learn how your brand can get started with SMS and loyalty, speak to a specialist here


About eComm Insiders

eComm Insiders is a leading program for eCommerce brands looking for expert tips, out-of-the-box strategies, and game-changing insights from the top players shaping the industry.  

The eComm Insiders program gives brands access to vetted advice from award-winning experts that have seen it all and succeeded. Learn and grow with the pros who have driven innovation and have won huge results for the biggest brands in eCommerce.

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