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E126 : Phill Manson

How To Utilise Email Marketing To Grow Your Company And Overcome The Biggest Challenges

Phill Manson

eCom@One Listen on Spotify

Podcast Overview

Does your company use email marketing to retain your customers? We hope so. 77% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months and this can be you. 

Email marketing is one of the mystical keys to the path of success and it is so easy for you to implement today! If you want to drive growth throughout your business through customer data automation with ease, tune into this episode. Phill gives his professional insight on how to truly utilise customer driven data and email marketing

eCom@One Presents:

Phill Manson

Phill is the Managing Director at PAASE, an Agency that drives growth for ambitious eCom brands from customer data through marketing automation, by maximising their investment in the eCommerce tech stack, implementing proven growth strategies and advanced segmentation. 

PAASE was set up by Phill in 2019 following 9 years of working with businesses such as Avis Budget Group, Travelodge, Sainsburys, Interflora and the Bourne Leisure group, driving their online sales growth.  

Phill uses his multiple years of experience to give us a true insight into the world of email marketing and customer data. 

‚ÄčTune into this episode to understand the truth about blanket emails, why email marketing is so important to retaining customers and how you can strive and overcome stumbling blocks in your eCommerce business.

Find out how to improve your welcome sequence and what makes Klaviyo one of the best Email Platforms for eCommerce stores. 

Topics Covered:

2:20 – How Did Phill Get Into The World Of eCom

5:38 – What Is Working For Clients Right Now

16:50 – Key Areas To Be Focusing On Right Now For Email Marketing

20:20 – How To Improve Your Welcome Sequence

27:26 –  The Biggest Challenges Facing eCom Right Now

33:05 – What Makes Klaviyo So Good

38:08 – What Is On The Road Map For PAASE

42:56 – Book Recommendation

Richard:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eComOne. Today's guest Phill Manson, manager and director at PAASE. How are you doing Phill?

Phill Manson:
Very good. Yourself Richard?

Richard:
I am very well, very good indeed. Now, me and Phill met probably not too long ago, actually. Probably six, seven months ago, at an eCommerce expo, The eCommerce Expo in the UK. We talked quite a lot on different podcasts about the different events that we go to and the people that we meet, and the partners that we meet at the different events. And I think this it's just another example of getting yourself out there and get, getting out to events as I think this episode probably wouldn't be happening if we hadn't both of us gone to an event. So great to be getting you on the show, Phill. And today, we're going to be talking about all things email marketing, and the tech around that, and the tech stacks around email, and the different data sources, and things like that. But I think before we get into that, it'd be good for you to introduce yourself and tell us how you got into the eCommerce space, and how you became the MD of PAASE.

Phill Manson:
Okay. Yeah. I mean, my team will laugh at this cause they've heard this story many times if they're listening in. So having spent nine, 10 years working tech side for a marketing automation automation platform, that business went through a restructure. I think nine years was a long time to spend at any business, especially in the last five, 10 years, everyone seems to move on after a couple of years. But I'd evolved through that business from an account manager up to heading up their customer success team, and just sort saw it as an opportunity to kind of try something else.
The business as it stands now wasn't what we set out to create, as is always the way. Got three young children. It's supposed to be a bit of a lifestyle business and a bit of a change from lots of traveling, certainly in the UK and long nights. And very quickly, evolved into what is probably a bit of a beast now that we have before us.

Richard:
Yeah. So in effect like agency side or tech side sort of thing, and then went from that to sort of going out on your own. Yeah.

Phill Manson:
Yeah. And for me, the background is customer success or account management, whatever you define as your business. And seeing those results for clients. I was embedded with clients for many years. Actually, really working alongside them gives you a good understanding of what brands are looking to do and trying to achieve versus that almost transactional process. Sometimes agencies do of, "Well, you've ordered this. We're going to give you that." Versus, "Well actually, you've asked for this, but what's it doing? What does it mean to the wider piece?" And that's where the upsells and that client develop, and those longer term relationships come through. So we kicked off the business July 19. First client came aboard October, September, October, 2019, and they're still a client now. So actually nice longstanding client. That relationship's developed and evolved over time as they do from a bit more hands on to being, we did a platform migration for them during COVID. In fact that March, April '20. And now much more of a kind of stand back consultative role, getting in there, having a look. Really just guiding them through what the industry's doing rather than doing.

Richard:
Yeah. So very much not doing, what's just needed of a company. But really getting to know that company, really looking at sort of leading rather than just sort of ticking a few boxes and doing the minimum requirement, which maybe a few people may do. But really, understanding that brand, understanding what the plans for that brand, what they can potentially cope with and scale up to. They're looking at potentially all the different tech that they use, and seeing how that can be incorporated.

Phill Manson:
And some of it is telling them they're not ready for it, or it's the wrong thing. And actually being quite candid, it's like, "You can't afford this, or you don't need that. It's not going to give you the return on investment you need." And making those recommendations to part company or to not start work. And I suppose the trusted advisor state is that it can be classed as, is. Until a year ago, we didn't have a dedicated sales person. We built a business the size it is without that sales function, off those referrals recommendations. So it's how do we evolve that across the business and that whole ethos?

Richard:
So what would you say... We are literally in the throes of Black Friday when this episode airs and this sort of final push now for the quarter. What would you say is working well for your clients right now in this space?

Phill Manson:
That's the million dollar question, isn't it? I think there is no one-size-fits-all for this. I think that's the thing. If we look back over the last 12 months, we've had clients that email growth has been stratospheric, that's then stopped because they've run out of stock. So the whole piece around this is how do you maximize that revenue? How do you do it without discounting? So the brands that we are seeing some good traction for Black Friday in, and actually it's interesting this year. We seem to have been going a little bit later. Last year, I think everyone started in October rather than November. There's a few clients. We've got one brand that's going to do a Black Friday sale, but actually they're going to donate 20% of their profits to a charity. So they're not actually giving a discount off the product. You're buying full price.
Lots of brands are looking at how they can get rid of excess stock at a decent margin. A lot of brands are looking at how they can gate this away from their main website, so they're looking at those type of things. And they're really almost trying to just hunker down and try not to have too big a peak, some of them from a resourcing perspective as well. So there's lots of different things out there at the moment.
I think what's really interesting for us as a business in the retention space is, you've been around this longer than me, I don't know. How do I say that nicely now? But email and retention is never the sexy thing. There's always a social media or there's a pay social campaign. Or there's something that's a bit more sexy. But for me, looking at data, it's a vanity metric of visitors for a site, not a conversion. Emails that store that just keeps driving consistent sales volume throughout this process now. If we do talk ourselves as a country into recession, or we're already in one, depending on how you look at it, retention and email marketing is one of the most cost-effective channels you can use. You've then got the other channels in the SMS space, etc. etc. But again, how do you measure that return on investment? And I think the majority of brands we work with use Google last click. They're looking at that as a metric. So they say, "Well, if we can put 1,000 pounds into email, what's it going to deliver as a return of investment putting 1,000 pound into social?"
And the brands that are a bit more intelligent or a bit further along that journey. They're starting to say, "Well, these people that are buying regularly, but they're buying from PPC, let's try start to exclude them from PPC. What does that do to our lifetime value?" So they're starting to really drive through the data. And I think brands are coming up a back of the COVID pandemic where people were set at home as a captive audience. So, actually we have got to kind of think about this versus just putting more volume out top of funnel to drive these sales.

Richard:
So are you saying then that this year, a lot of people you are seeing are leading less with the discounts as-

Phill Manson:
Yin and Yang. I think you've got some brands that will just go, "Oh God, 10% is not working. We'll try 20," and really will hemorrhage their margin. And that tends to be kind of a short-term view. DFS sale, everything's always on sale. People are just waiting for the next discount code, versus those that are starting to think about the lifetime value.
We talk to a lot of brands, and typically purchase is 1.7 times a year. So why are we sending three emails a week? Or to everybody. Why aren't we thinking about cohorts of data and starting to develop that? So I think brands are starting to think about being a bit more intelligent. And on the flip side of that, you've got some really good technology out there helping you do that. But it's flipping it around to say, "Is it commercially viable?" Do we need 15 segments of 500 people that are going to all have bespoke messaging? When if you think about your phone, you go 500 emails, let's be generous. 50% open, that's 250 opens, 20% click. You're suddenly 20, 30 people visited the website conversion. You're at three sales, put all that work at top of funnel.
So actually is it better to say 5,000, order segments, use the technology to do that, and just use the first attempt as a reporting metric rather than a deployment metric.

Richard:
Yeah. So are you seeing any sort of ... we'll jump into Klaviyo, the platform in a bit. But are you seeing any other integrations that you mentioned, APIs, data, any things that are standing out to you at the moment? Whether that's quizzes or certain things around doing different things with the data that's helping your clients at the moment? That's maybe a little bit for our listeners particularly that they could probably go and have a start exploring.

Phill Manson:
Yeah, I mean you mentioned quizzes in that kind of intro. And I think one of the favorites out there at the moment, you've got the likes of Divinci and Octane. From a Shopify perspective, the Octane/Shopify/Klaviyo is a stunner really. We've got a case study for example, with a brand that those products for curly hair, you take people through a journey. Who knew there was different types of curly hair in terms of thickness, whatever. The amount of curl.

Richard:
That's what it is. Or that's with-

Phill Manson:
That's with Octane. 100,000 subscribers in seven months, all with qualified data against them. Now that's not on its own. It needed a PPC campaign on top and paid social to feed it. But for me, the value is thinking about if we spent I don't know, 10 pound to acquire a visitor to the site, are they worth more with an email address and a marketing permission? Even if they don't get the transaction in that session, suddenly there's another conversion metric to kind of bring through top of the funnel. So I think those are sort of things that work really well. Trying to understand whether someone's buying for themselves or they're gifting.
So Jim, maybe just step back a second. So for the guys that are listening, go back to that. So in that example, this company sells hair products all for that type of hair, or for all hair types or-

Richard:
Predominantly focused for people with curly hair. It's a specialism.

Phill Manson:
So you go to a quiz. Basically what we're doing is we're taking everybody through, or say 10,000 people take this quiz, where then can then segment them based on the type of hair they've got.

Richard:
Yeah. So you could use it in a number of different ways. So if we take the Klaviyo, one is it gives the product rec recommendations on the site. And think about it as almost a concierge. You've gone into John Lewis and you've asked a question. For me, it's the Christmas shopping for the wife. What does she like? No, that's the garage.

Phill Manson:
It's asking those questions and making a recommendation. So you are suddenly going away from just someone walking into a shop going, "Oh God, I'm not sure where to start. They're on the right aisle. They're looking at the right area." And it's that piece. But also, that data is then captured against the email address. So that means that we can serve them more relevant content moving forwards. So actually, their newsletter has become what I would call personalization at scale. So we're not designing separate emails for everyone, but we're changing content based on those variables that we've tracked to say, "Richard's got this type of hair or has had this product recommended to him, and Phill's had this one." And it really just drives that forward in that space really-

Richard:
You're sending the same content, but you're just changing those dynamic elements so they're-

Phill Manson:
Exactly.

Richard:
Almost the same text, but the products that are in there or-

Phill Manson:
You could change the whole email. So you can change the banner. Because those structures and their templates, they're built within the platform. Actually the logic is there and all you're doing is changing an asset via an image or text block to say, "I want to say this this time." And suddenly you've got much more relevant content going through.
An example would be or could be, we talked about John Lewis very briefly randomly. But I know that I'm closer to Milton Keynes and you are closer to X, Y, and Z. Well, suddenly you could have your local store manager giving the email. Everybody's getting the same email, but you are just changing small elements.
So I think personalization is a big buzzword. It has been for years. And there's definitely moving on from kind of just first name merge fields to how do we use that relevant data? What brands don't think about is unless I've got that information about that customer, how can I show them what content? So either I've got to infer it, and you could do that based on the pages they visited. But how how much better is it to ask somebody about their need? Or their shopping profile, and serve that back to them very softly as a, "Well here's what we'd recommend."

Richard:
So I would say out of thousands of people that are listening right now, how many of you are doing quizzes? How many of you are filtering like that? It's almost like another level, isn't it? But when you say it out loud, we've all I'm sure seen those quizzes, but how many of you are actually doing that and then taking those decisions and those choices and then using that within your email marketing? I think it's super powerful.

Phill Manson:
Really interesting point on that. We see a number of brands when we audit sites or audit brands for what we do, that have got the quiz, but they haven't got an email capture. So they're using it as a conversion process on the website, but they're not thinking that post that initial conversion.

Richard:
So just to get that initial order and that's it. And if they don't get order, then they got nothing.

Phill Manson:
They've got nothing. And you sometimes hear, I don't know, whoever's responsible for the website said, "We don't want to put barrier up to the purchase." Well actually what is that barrier? What does it look like, versus what's the value of holding that data and owning it natively because next time they come back and they come back through for PPC again, and we've had to pay to acquire the same person. What's the point? We want that data. And actually, segmentation or personalization based on the fact that I brought product a last time I purchased, doesn't mean that I'm going to buy product A again. Was product A the right thing for me to buy?
You look at it sports sites that do boxing, football, golf. And I've brought golf, but I might be interested in football, but suddenly I'm in golf only because that's what I last transacted on. So how do you start to cross sell up sell within that space?

Richard:
That's so true, isn't it? When I think about your interests when you buy one particular product. But clearly I have other interests or other things. It's like clothing. Clothing's quite an interesting one. Obviously so many different variables there around size, and there's a lot of smart stuff you can do there.

Phill Manson:
Oh yeah. I think return. If I brought three products the same but different sizes, which is the right one, how does that infer? All that kind of try before you buy piece is quite interesting.

Richard:
So for the people that are listening then, I would say we've probably got a 20, 30% of our listeners that are doing email okay. And probably a 5% that are doing it really well, but probably 70% that aren't even flipping doing a great deal. That's the reality of life. I'm sure we have similar conversations where multimillion pound stores that might at stretch have an abandoned car campaign and not lot else. Still sort of baffles me and I'm sure it baffles the hell out of you when you see it.
But for those that are doing, that are invested in some tech, whether that's Klaviyo, whatever else it may be. But maybe hit a bit of, it's a bit of a tricky question, but they've hit a little bit of a roadblock. They've hit a bit of a limit. "Oh yeah. We do a bit of email." What would you say to those companies that have hit a stumbling block in email? What are some of the key points they should be looking at, key areas that should be focused on?

Phill Manson:
The big no-no is you send more volume. You see a lot of that. I'd sent a million emails, I've made a million quid. It's a law of diminishing returns. 2 million emails isn't going to make you 2 million pounds.
I think for me, and what we do is we put the customer at the heart. So it starts thinking about the customer journey. Well actually, we've done a great, and look at the data. So okay, we're doing a great job with our welcome series. We've got loads of people signing up. We've got them making their first order. But actually, they're not making a second transaction. And that's where the profit for a lot of brands is. It's not the first order, it's the second or third transaction. They pay to acquire that first order. So how do we start moving the dollar between second and third?
So for me, an audit or a fresh pair of eyes, and actually it's not someone coming in marketing your, but it's someone giving you an alternative view. We talk to a lot of businesses that have got big teams internally. Great. But the advantage of maybe almost a hybrid with an agency kind of supporting is they've got x number of other clients that they've tried, and tested, and they've done other things. A fresh pair of eyes I don't think is a bad idea at all. The other one, which we found quite a lot is, "Our customers wouldn't like that. They wouldn't like that email."

Richard:
They're assuming that.

Phill Manson:
And it's kind of that challenging, it's a personal casing point. I don't particularly like receiving SMS from brands. So the brand suddenly says, "Well, we're not going to send it much." Because the what does the data tell us is the opportunities versus what's that kind of preconceived piece of we just need to send more email. So I think doing a piece on the customer journey, understanding well actually... let's take your cycling jacket for example that you said earlier. Well if it's a good quality product, I'm not going to be buying that every month. I might buy one every other year. If I'm a really big fan, I might buy two. So one's in the washer, I can wear the other one. But realistically, there's a finite number of times I can buy that product. So then it comes to what else can we cross sell, up sale. How can we get you to introduce other people in your cycling community, or whatever it may be? And you evolved the sales that way versus, "Richard needs to buy another one cause he hasn't bought for six months."

Richard:
Yeah. So obviously, different campaigns you touched on there, the listeners, they're running a series of flows. You got your abandoned cart is the most obvious one. You've got your sort of welcome sequence. Let's pick on welcome sequence. What's maybe one thing or a couple of advanced things that's your sort of go-to, that our listeners can add in to their welcome sequence? So you must have seen literally hundreds and hundreds of welcome sequences. But nine times outta 10 they don't have, go.

Phill Manson:
Either they are so brand focused and they want to give the life story of the business within the first two emails and they're 65 pages long. I think people send less than 10 seconds scanning an email. They're looking for a piece of content that resonates an a call to action. So there's that piece around just thinking about just because you find it interesting because it's your brand, doesn't mean that client.

Richard:
So you're not saying don't have that in there. You're just saying just wait.

Phill Manson:
Well, how can you get it down to one paragraph and link them back to the website? Let the website do the selling. So link them back to your history on a page. We typically will tend to split out, although it might be the same created for say the welcome emails, but we like to track whether they've signed up through the footer, whether they've signed up through the popup, whether they've signed up through the checkout process. And making sure that a customer that signed up through the checkout process.
And I'm thinking Shopify and Klaviyo here just for ease. Those people don't get the, "Get 10% off your first order," when they just transacted. They get a slightly different experience. But what you can do is then bring people back together for maybe that second email, which is a bit more of the history of the brand or whatever it may be, and start to split them out again.
So just starting to think about where they've signed up, how they've signed up. Potentially why. Is it because they want to get a discount code, or is it because they want to find out more? They've subscribed to a back in stock. And then test. But think about your tests and the data you've got available. If you are getting 100 people a month sign up, you're going to need to run that test for a lot longer to get a learning from it. You're not going to get it in the first week.
So test, learn, experiment with what works, what doesn't work. Think about what you're trying to do. And actually you really just want email to be the vehicle to do. Let the website do the selling. So for me, I don't I hold my hands up. So for me, email design is one of the least important pieces. It's the segmentation and the deployment. Let the click-through and let the website do the selling. So where are you sending people through to the homepage, a generic homepage? Or are you sending deep into a product page, to a blog? What's that page then doing to allow people to divert to?
I'll give you an example. A few years ago, we had a brand that we worked with that did kind of a news update or... how did they describe it? But it was more of a roundup of interesting things they liked. But they were sending people up to the BBC homepage. They were sending people up to YouTube, not to their website. So actually from a reputation perspective, it looks spammy. So how do you get people through to your blog then divert them back off again? You get more sessions, more clicks, more reputation. And that works really well.

Richard:
Yeah. It's interesting. When you say about clicking off to different sites, not your own side, that sounds just crazy, doesn't it? But I know something we've done in the past with email is if we've got a new range going on a site, a new set of products, whether that's a new brand or just a new set of products for an existing brand, and we want Google to index it quick rather than asking it to index, adding those products to emails, which obviously you would do that. That's light to get those pages indexed quicker as well. Because Google's seeing all those different unique visits from however many hundreds, or dozens, or thousands of different IPs.

Phill Manson:
But to your website, not to-

Richard:
Yeah, to your website. Not to someone-

Phill Manson:
YouTube doesn't need any help in that regard.

Richard:
Right, no. I think they're managing okay. So that's the welcome series then. I know some of that stuff's across the board, segmentation. But second and third order, second and third, that's where the money's at, isn't it? That first order's one thing, but that second, third.

Phill Manson:
If you think about it as a funnel, so I'm thinking about the transaction. So you mentioned abandoned basket earlier. So again, thinking Shopify, Klaviyo, it's 90% of the market. It is what it is. The Klaviyo abandoned basket is triggered off the started checkout metric. So you've got to physically gone into the checkout. Now the advantage of using something like Klaviyo and using the popups we talked about to, cookie seed and the good engagement and open rates is based on cookies we can start to trigger other campaigns. So again, I think it's out of the box now. Abandoned browser comes into play. So you've viewed a product. The other one that people quite often miss is added to cart. Actually the physical action of adding to cart. Let's say a brand just for ease is making 10,000 pounds a month from basket . We're seeing an increment of 10,000 pound a month being added by using added to cart. Because people are using it seeing the price, but aren't starting the checkout process. So it's little things like that, that start to build through.
What I would say is based on your data, don't let an agency, take Michael and go, "You need to have five, six emails." Think about what works for you or what's the business need. If you've only got 1,000 visitors a month, think about your funnel. Maybe you just need one email at each of those sections. You don't need three, four stage follow-ups, because you're just not going to see the return on the volumes by the time you get down there. We do it for smaller brands, where we'll set the structure up for a multi-stage flow, but only activate the first email, because actually that's the one that's going to drive the revenue. So we are looking at how do we drive our 10:1 ROI spend with us as a business, and actually us spending four times as long doing all those extra bits that aren't going to deliver any value. That's where the challenge comes.

Richard:
So there's probably some quite simple things there as listeners ... that's still with us. Enabling abandoned and abandon add to cart, simple things like that, when you think about it.

Phill Manson:
Fashion stock's another one. Fashion stock.

Richard:
It's that time of year. Yeah.

Phill Manson:
But with Klaviyo, Shopify, let's just paraphrase that. Making sure you've got the ability to add the sign up to the list. So don't just get the subscribe to back in stock. Subscribe mailing at the same time. Suddenly they're interested in the brand. And that leads to another point around data structure of well actually, make sure everything's going into one list. Use the hidden properties to start identifying the source or the location they've come from, but get people in one so you can start reporting again. We'll quite often review do an audit and someone said we've got 10,000 profiles and you go, "You've got 5,000 in that list and 5,000 in that list. And they're the same people. Because they're not " So get everything into one place. Look at your data structure, and that's your baseline to build from there.

Richard:
Brilliant. Love it. So, lots going on out there in the world right now. We won't make this episode too doom and gloom. But obviously, there's some challenges out there. What do you see as some of the biggest challenges for eCommerce brands coming up? And how potentially can email help them with the upcoming potential challenges?

Phill Manson:
If I could hit the million dollar question. I think there's a risk that brands will take the short term view. If we know that we can get X sales if we do Y. And what I think we'll see is the likes of Google, Facebook, the acquisition costs will start to keep creep up again. So brands need to think about the cross the mix, and it isn't a do acquisition or do retention. One doesn't go without the other. So if you switch your acquisition off, your retention works for a bit. And then the top of the funnel's not filling up again. So I think it's having that balanced piece there.
Not be afraid to test. And I think stop thinking about just being a list to being people, and personas, and segments. And understanding well actually, Phill's this type of customer because he does. Richard's that type of customer because he does Y. We wouldn't treat each other the same going into the shop because we're slightly different. How do we treat treat people different?
And also, not to panic cause I think we're about to go into a peak with Black Friday. Email volumes, SMS volumes are going to spike. There will be a natural tendency for some brands to panic and keep that volume up all throughout January into probably February, March. You need to let some of that data go far though. You need to give some of that inactive data a chance to breathe. Let it relax. Think about what's working.
I'll give you an example. We onboard a client. They've got I don't know, a million records in the database. They're sending it to everybody twice a week. A lot of data going through. We say to them, "Look, we built some segmentation out based on who's engaged with an email, who's not." We'll send the same volume of data but in the two different segments. And roughly it'll be about 50/50 split between who's engaged and who's not. I will guarantee you that the 50% of data that's engaged will give you 90, 95% of the orders and revenue. The other 50% is going to give you 5%.
Now, it's also then reflected in the open row. So 25, 30% for your active, 1 to 5 for your inactive. Now, just sending more volumes isn't going to change that. But actually if you let it go back and then come back to it once a month for example, you start to really reengage it. Because it's gone, "I haven't seen an email from brand A for a while. I'm going to try again." So it's-

Richard:
Yeah.

Phill Manson:
Trying to understand what the data is telling you versus just going, "I've got a list and it's great. I've got 100,000 people." Actually you've probably got less than 50,000 that are really interested.

Richard:
Yeah. I think that's got to resonate. A lot of people are blanket, blanket, blanket. Whereas hang on a minute, half your list aren't responding. So what you going to do with that half to reactivate them? Now whether that is leave them alone for a bit so then when you do-

Phill Manson:
It's a really tough one to try. And this is why we tend to run a test where we're running a split with the segments just so you can see the response curve. The other one is think about how you're reporting.
So what I mean by that is my background is enterprise. So I've always used Google Analytics. It's last click. Okay. Yeah. It doesn't truly represent the influence a certain channel has on the transaction, but it's a good way of comparing contrasting certainly year-on-year. So if you've moved from platform A to Klaviyo or whatever, at least you can report year-on-year that analysis.
I think of an SMS platform that's out there at the moment that's pushing a 30 day attribution window. Well, I'm not being funny. I could write a postal card and claim that in 30 days, someone's made a transaction that's a sale attributed to that postcard. Think about how you are tracking success, because you'll see a lot of the platforms will be claiming the same sales.

Richard:
Yeah. That is obviously an ongoing challenge in the space. Depending on what you're running. All the parts usually add up to about 130%.

Phill Manson:
Yeah. But it's not a case of ... you can look at in Google and go, "Our paid social, it's not performing. It's getting all the volume, but it's not getting the transaction." Actually, if we switch that off, does that affect email sales? Because actually they're then not signing up to email to get the welcome discount.

Richard:
Yeah.

Phill Manson:
Yeah. So actually there's a platform out there called Triple Whale, which is actually an interesting way of just looking at what was the first touchpoint, the last touchpoint, and the touch points in between. And once you know some of that information, you can start to say, "Well, actually we can down weight this spend because it's not doing anything, or we can up weight this spend for these reasons." So I think it's not making a blanket decision based on a transaction happening or not happening, but what's the influence of that channel on the other channels.

Richard:
Yeah. I love it. So Klaviyo then. Obviously that's pretty much why we're sat here I think because obviously we met you at an event, etc. And I know some of our guys have seen some of your guys at various events and this and that, and we seem to have spent quite a lot of time together over the last few months all due to the Klaviyo guys. So thank you for that.

Phill Manson:
Klaviyo.

Richard:
If they're listening in, which I'm sure they are. So in terms of platforms, why Klaviyo? What would you say about... obviously most of our listeners, they're going to be Shopify, Magento, Woo. There's a lot of options out there, but why Klaviyo?

Phill Manson:
Right, okay. So the background to this story comes from setting up the business back in July '19. I had a coffee with an old CEO of mine who said, "Look, find a platform that you can come in and grow with." When I got to know and I got introduced brand new a couple of weeks later to the guys at Klaviyo through a client at the time. And reached out. There was two people from Klaviyo in the UK. They're now what, 200+ strong. But having looked at the platform, we've been chatting around segmentation. That's so straightforward, so easy to do. Don't get me wrong. There's nuances in the system and you have to kind of know your way around it. But the setting up the flows, the automations, kind of the speed to market is pretty quick.
Where we come in and add value as a business is starting to go, "Well actually, you're not thinking about the customer here because your flows aren' between each other," and that kind of customer journey piece.
But from a deployment and scale perspective, it's really, really strong. So you can come in and go ... the other thing just thinking back, at the time, MailChimp and Shopify pulled out if you remember back to those days where you suddenly got to put a piece of middleware in to see the transactions from Shopify to Klaviyo. Sorry, Shopify to MailChimp. And we just literally fell into that kind of ecosystem. And quite, candidly we've built a business around it. And we've now brought in other platforms and other specialties within our business. But it still forms a core part of what we do as an organization.
And that's because I donate many other, or $10+ billion value companies will let people like me sit on their partner advisory council and tell them how people are using the platform, where the opportunities are, where the challenges are, what does it mean to be in the UK or Europe versus being in the US. And how do we use email differently? How do we manage subscription, etc.? So for me, it's been that two way communication's been so strong since day one, that you really feel like you can evolve their product to better suit the UK market or European market. And we've kind of been there. I do think it scales from 1,000 email addresses or 200 email addresses up to 2 million plus, which is probably one of the larger databases we run.
Now I'm not saying it's perfect. I'm not saying it's not without its challenges, opportunities. But for a brand that's trying to get on, for the ease of use and scale out, it covers a lot of boxes. People do get to the point where you might go, "Well actually, we've got a use case here or here that doesn't quite match. And it's never going to match everything for everybody."

Richard:
It ticks a hell of a lot boxes there, isn't it? Because you've got those integrations as well. There's obviously lots of different integrations, but I think-

Phill Manson:
No, I was going to say all the platforms out there will do 90% at the same thing. It's like 10% use cases on the side that will define whether you use platform like Klaviyo, or platform like map, or whatever it may be. It's working out that use case to say this is the recommended platform for you, versus that this is what the agency's telling me to buy. Because that's what they know and that's what they're trained in. It's that piece. It's that 10% edge case.
And for most businesses, if they've not got a focus on a CDP customer data, now Klaviyo going into that space. But for me, that needs a kind of a change of approach for a business. It needs less people thinking about someone looking after email, someone looking after PPC, someone looking after to a much more conjoined approach and a different strategy. So you can grow that business with Klaviyo very succinctly and very easily. And then from an agency perspective, best practice can be sort of rolled out.

Richard:
Yeah. Well they are a joy to work with. I know, obviously we both work with them. But yeah like you say, I think obviously there are options out there. But whether you're a list of 200 or whether you're, we haven't got a 2 million database. I think about 120, 140K is one of ours. But they are geared for that growth, which I think we get a lot of people on that start with that idea around an eCommerce store. And then before they know it, they're on there doing 10, 20 million. So being able to grow with the platform. I think is so key. But I think like you say, going from a couple of people to 200 people, that's where really a few of the things like that, big commerce and some of the bigger other tech partners that we work with as well. I think they're just a brilliant firm to work with. So back to the last couple of questions then. So next 12 months. What have you guys got obviously to roll out?

Phill Manson:
You and I have had this conversation, but to summarize. So as a business, we're what we're calling Past 3.0. So past 1 was me with Todd at home, sitting in the bedroom crawling away. Past 2 was suddenly we need to start bringing people in and start to build some process and structure. Past 3 is us saying well actually, as an organization, we are looking at the volume of partners Klaviyo has, and that's fantastic, but also the risk that brings to us as an organization of does it become a commodity price point versus I can get the same thing for X versus what you.
So we are trying to differentiate ourselves. So if you think about the overlap between a Shopify agency that's Klaviyo, and an email agency or marketing automation agency, whatever you want to call us, doing it on their own, we know a lot more. I'd like to think in that overlap. But it becomes a commodity price point when people or brands don't know what they're getting. "Well they've said they can do basket abandonment and you are saying" ... the nuances aren't clear. Yeah. So what we've done as an organization is start to think about that mid-market space. So as Klaviyo are rolling up with their Klaviyo offering, we are going into that space as well with partners. We're partnering up with and Bloomreach. Which is great, because it really gives us in that USP to really differentiate us so that we know we won't be the right fit for everybody. That's without a shot of a doubt. Be it cost or just approach. If a brand's very, very creative heavy, we are not that brand. Because we want to be to email best practice and look at the conversion rather than it looking really, really ... we want to make it look good. Don't get me wrong, but we're not that kind of-

Richard:
The data and the segmentation.

Phill Manson:
Exactly. So for us as a business, that's what we are gearing up to bigger brands to work with, which comes with it saying opportunities, challenges, however you want to look at it. And I think for us, it's about how do we build the processes as a larger organization. We've gone from, me on my own with my wife three years ago to a team of 17 and still growing very, very quickly. So how do we translate that down? So we've got lots of things in terms of recruitment. So we've got I think three apprentices within the business that we're training up. And we want to share that knowledge.
And the big thing for me is how do we not lose the ethos we've built the business on, which is that family first approach of trusted ... we don't want the culture to dilute as more and more people come in basically. So for us, we want to have clear conversations with our brands and our clients and prospects say that this isn't right or this is wrong. Or I think, we've done this a few times that, "Mr. Klein, we've had great success. But realistically you need this for six months. Why don't we just park this relationship for six months and we'll come back and see you?" We don't want to be taking money every month on a retainer that isn't adding and driving value. So how does that translate to our ops direct or our commercial teams, etc., etc.
So that's our challenge. And it's to do it within a recession environment potentially. Which having done this for many years, will be a positive for us. The challenge will be how do we recruit the right people to help us on that journey.

Richard:
Yeah. Well I look forward to getting you back on in 12, 18 months and seeing how it's gone and seeing how it's gone.

Phill Manson:
What, all the gray hair?

Richard:
We'll do a side-by-side.

Phill Manson:
Oh thanks.

Richard:
Very interesting. Yeah, I think standing out and really holding that, who you're going after, who you're serving, and who you're not serving, and who you're not-

Phill Manson:
Yeah. I think a big learning for us, well certainly for myself this year is that we don't see a direct competitor in what we do. That maybe sounds a little bit arrogant, but there's a number of other agencies that do what we do. But they're focusing on six figure brands. They're looking at those ... that's taking you from your bedroom or your garage at home to that first stage. Yeah. We're looking at brands that are doing 10 to 50 million a year online. And they want specialists and they want experts, not a generic digital agency. So we've got a USP, we've got a structure, we've got a process. And we've just got to kind of get that, as we talked about, the top of the funnel kind of opening and doing it in a way that doesn't break the team. Because it can be in this game as you know.

Richard:
Yeah. I think we also, when we get you back on, we'll chat more about the team and do some good things around sort apprenticeships and obviously all different levels. But I think we're possibly going ... well I am going to ask you to come on another podcast that we're launching, which is about scaling agencies. So we can chat on that episode in a couple of three weeks. So I like to finish every episode with a book recommendation Phill. Do you have a book that you'd recommend to our listeners?

Phill Manson:
The one I'm reading through, and I've met the author. And I got introduced to Gareth Healey recently. And he runs a series of LinkedIn posts for anyone that's seen Gareth Healey Standout, stand still or stand out. And the book I'd recommend is Gareth Healey Standout or Die. And really thinking about for agency owners especially, are you doing the same as everybody else? Are you thinking slightly differently? Are you continuing to evolve? You and I were at a conference yesterday. And I think both of us walked away with, "Bloody hell. That's a lot to take in." But we as business owners that want a sustainable, long-term business, we have to evolve. And just because we have a big thing here as we bring new recruits in just we do it this way. If you've got a better way or an improved way, tell us. Because actually, we can't keep doing the same thing. We have to continue to evolve. And that's what I love. That's what I thrive, and I'm sure you do. Tat changes the bit that excites me, not the day-to-day monotony.

Richard:
Yeah. It's a brilliant mindset to have, isn't it? Ultimately, there's a lot of people doing a lot of things. That might be similar to our listeners. It's like standing out, having that differentiator. Well, thank you absolutely for coming on the show.

Phill Manson:
No problem at all. Anytime.

Richard:
Great to have you on. For the guys that want to find out more about you Phill, more about the agency, what's the best way to do that?

Phill Manson:
Drop us a line on the website www.paase.co.uk, which is spelled awkwardly PAASE. There's a story behind that we should go into. Or find me on LinkedIn Phill with two L's. Because again. I'm awkward.

Richard:
Brilliant. It's been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for coming on the show. See you again soon.

Phill Manson:
No problem at all. Speak to you soon.

Richard:
Cheers.

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