“Fly Buys has come a long way with its online communications since those early campaigns back in 2004. Obviously there’s been a large amount of change to make this happen – technology choices, creative suppliers, and internal team members – nevertheless, the path to where we are now from where we were has been a smooth and successful one. I put our relationship with Permission during this period as being an integral part of this achievement.”
– Chris Lamers, Head of Marketing and Product Development
If you were a Fly Buys member back in mid 2004 you may have in your Inbox the first ever email message sent as a campaign on behalf of the Loyalty New Zealand marketing team. Back then Fly Buys had dispatched only a small number of email campaigns, all through agency providers. Unfortunately, these projects had taken longer than expected to deploy and came at a cost that made any ongoing campaign work seem cost prohibitive.
Permission was then approached to see what it could offer. Fly Buys liked the flexibility that a relationship with Permission afforded. Email was a new space for the marketing team and they were not sure how it would proceed. Permission is an independent ‘technology agnostic’ supplier of email marketing support services, and the Fly Buys team liked the luxury of being able to pick and chose the technology and support options that best suited them at this early stage.
This flexibility also transcended the creative space and was evident in Permission’s ability to ‘play nicely’ with a range of creative suppliers. This allowed the Fly Buys team to retain existing agency relationships for creative content while also keeping their options open. Permission could accept content from all these sources and manage the detailed process of turning it into an email- and ISP-‘friendly’ format prior to planning its dispatch.
The situation seemed ideal and Permission was engaged. A decision was quickly made on a local email marketing technology provider who was up for the job. Teams from both Permission and Fly Buys were trained in the technology and planning started on the initial campaigns.
Their first campaign was dispatched to just 15,000 members. Those early messages were designed to gauge members’ acceptance of this new channel and were seen as tentative steps forward. Nevertheless, member response was positive and over the next 6 months they had dispatched four campaigns to just under 100,000 members.
The success of email marketing began to take hold and monthly send volumes grew and grew and with it the complexity of each campaign. So much so that in 2008, after 4 years of sterling use, it was decided that the original email dispatch technology was not able to provide the features necessary for the next generation of email marketing campaigns the teams were planning.
So, as was the case back in 2004, both companies began to define the revised business requirements and embark on the process of finding a new vendor. Unfortunately, a search among local technology providers drew a blank so overseas suppliers were approached. The US-based technology provider, Responsys, came through as the best match and was engaged in August 2008.
Permission and Fly Buys staff were trained on the Responsys application and both teams began the task of migrating all future campaigns onto the new platform. The detailed campaign dispatch process that both teams followed was modified to allow for the new technology and quality checks were run before the first campaigns were released.
One of the many new features the system offered was improved content-targeting options, allowing member messages to be better tailored to suit their individual needs. Creative suppliers were also changed during the technology upgrade as the design was refreshed to keep pace with the new Fly Buys brand.
The campaign activity from those early days’ work is now dwarfed by current average monthly campaign counts of 35, which produce email sent volumes that frequently break through the million mark.