Episode 12: Attentive, SMS best practices to build relationships & compliment your retention network

FINAL Podcast Episode 12 Blake Attentive

On this episode of Retention Chronicles, Blake Imperl, who heads Partner Community as the Manager of Partnerships Growth & Insights at Attentive, the largest SMS marketing platform for Shopify merchants. He walks through his experience in bringing his perspective as both a user and an expert working in SMS to the table. Blake shares his opinion on why he thinks SMS has gotten to be so popular. He paints a 360 view on what Attentive can actually do for their brands and how SMS marketing can compliment email marketing to create a bulletproof network of communication to your customers. In Blake’s opinion, he’s seen SMS being used as a tool for relationship building and email marketing as a more informative communication. We dive into the ‘do’s’ and ‘don'ts’ of conversational marketing and some examples in how strategies can differ based on industry. The Attentive x Malomo integration is now live and we chat about the what and why behind this integration and how brands can build phenomenal SMS post purchase transactional notifications. Blake walks us through some cool use cases with current brands that stick out and are doing some really cool things through SMS.

TRANSCRIPT

SPEAKERS

Mariah Parsons, Blake Imperl

Mariah Parsons 00:03

Welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. On this very special episode of Retention Chronicles, Blake Imperial, who heads partner community Attentive, as the Manager of Partnerships Growth and Insights. Attentive is the largest SMS marketing platform for Shopify merchants, that really helps them to deliver powerful commerce experiences at scale. We are not kidding when we say that Blake is the expert. There's so much great content in this episode. I'm so excited for you all to hear it. He walks through his experience in bringing his perspective as both a user and an expert working in SMS to the table. Blake also shares his opinion as to why he thinks SMS has gotten to be so popular and references a really cool study that Attentive did. He paints a 360 view on what Attentive can easily do for their brands. And our SMS marketing can complement email marketing to create a bulletproof network of communication for your customers. And his opinion, he has seen SMS being used as a tool for relationship building. And that can really complement email marketing, which can tend to be more informative. We then dive into the do's and don'ts of conversational marketing and some examples of how strategies can differ based on industry. We are very excited to announce the Attentive and Malomo integration is now live. So we chat a bit about the why and the what behind this integration, and how brands can really use the Malomo data to hyper-charge, their Attentive platform and their SMS marketing strategy. Blake then walks through some really cool use cases with current brands that stick out and are doing some really cool things through SMS. So if any of this sounds like something you're interested in, which it should be, please enjoy this episode. So welcome, Blake, we are so happy to have you on Retention Chronicles this week, I thought it would be great if you could give an intro to yourself, your position, your background, and what Attentive does.

Blake Imperl 02:25

Yeah, for sure. Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it's great to be on the show. So my name is Blake Impearl, I head Partner Community here at Attentive, I sit on the partnerships team. I'm in this community facing role sort of like the outermost facing part of this partnerships team. I do a lot of things here at Attentive. But I guess I before I talk about what I do, maybe I should talk a little bit about Attentive and who we are. So Attentive is the industry leading conversational commerce platform. And we're focused really on reinventing business to consumer communication. Our SMS for software platform really helps anyone from entrepreneurs to enterprises, for these strengthen and scale relationships with their consumers in a new way. So through two way real time, personalized messages, we drive billions of dollars in E commerce revenue for at this point over 4500 leading brands, which is hard for me to wrap my head around, I think we just have this explosive growth. And it's really been great to be on this rocket ship. But we work with brands like CB2, Pura Vida, Urban Outfitters, Jack in the Box, Coach, just to name a few. And we help these brands to really deliver powerful commerce experiences at scale. So that's a little bit of Attentive, what is my day to day look like? I really you know, I do a lot of things about partnerships team through events, thought leadership, speaking on awesome podcasts like this, and just general community engagement programs. I think that my role here and what I do at Attentive is sort of like this spiderweb kind of crossing over and building this kind of rich community network around this already robust partner ecosystem that we have. And we've been building out here at Attentive. Right, that's awesome. Thank you so much for sharing, and how did you kind of like get into the space of like, building out that community for Attentive? Yeah, I think I have a really unconventional path to getting into marketing technology, I think, as most do. And I had the privilege of being a super user of the Attentive platform, like long before ever even came to marketing technology. So at my core, I'm a B2C marketer. I spent the bulk of my time and my career there. I started cutting my teeth a few years back in conversational marketing, which is now I think, being called retention marketing or lifecycle marketing changes every year. But that's things like email, SMS, and even messenger marketing at the time. So I was at an E commerce agency. I did a lot of work there to really build out retention marketing programs for DTC brands, also started up my own side hustle consulting for a lot of brands and I still did that up until I came to Attentive. But in 2019 SMS was kind of like an emerging channel, it's when I got into SMS marketing, I wouldn't say I was like a pioneer in this space by any means, like there's people far before me doing this stuff. But um, SMS was just something that not a lot of brands were thinking about, not people were talking about in the space. And I saw the channels inherent value as its relationship building tool. And so I started to really double down on SMS with all the brands that I was working with. And once I got serious about SMS, I quickly made the switch to Attentive and I haven't used another platform sense. So flash forward now 2021, I had an amazing opportunity to come my way to actually take the plunge into marketing technology, and go lead growth at a company called Tone, which is a conversational SMS platform. So I actually ended up meeting their founding team, giving them so much product feedback that it turned into a job. And so I was at Tone for just a few brief months, helping them lead growth until we were acquired by Attentive in June 2021. So that's how I got my way to the Attentive partner team. And really now building out this community role, and using a lot of the kind of the knowledge and background that I have in this retention space to really kind of help drive that forward. So you, I guess, you could say, I've lived the life as an end user of this platform before I ever got to come here. And so now seeing the other side of that is a really interesting, really awesome experience. I'm loving the challenge of really adapting and working in this industry and not having some of those professional tool sets. I think that's another people in the space do. But it's been the best decision I think I could have ever made.

Mariah Parsons 06:31

Okay, and so how do you think that's helped you like, because you said your user before you're, like an employee or working in this space? Like, does that give you a different perspective? And that's helped you then grow Tone and now Attentive?

Blake Imperl 06:44

Yeah, for sure. I think it's been, you know, one of the things that is bringing a different perspective to the table, I think, in a lot of ways. I'm sort of, you know, I'm sitting in this community role, but a lot of what I look at what I'm helping with is enablement, you know, both internally, within our own teams, you know, talking about how do we tell this narrative of SMS, if it's with an agency partner, if it's with a technology partner, you know, in showing what's possible with the channel, or additionally, you know, externally, a lot of the thought leadership that I'm doing me to speaking at events and kind of helping to drive forward the narrative of Attentive, I'm just really passionate about talking about SMS, it's a little bit nerdy, I think, to say, but I think it's, it's really great just to be able to have some of that subject matter expertise, living that life, and then getting to kind of now, you know, help others, you know, find their own kind of way to write.

Mariah Parsons 07:37

Yeah, I don't think that's nerdy at all, I think that's beautiful. And it really your passion for it shows, which is so cool. To just like, hear that opinion from your side. And I kind of relate to because I feel like the brands that some of the brands I use before SMS became such a, you know, a hot topic in the E commerce world. I feel like I saw it first as a consumer where I was like getting texts, or is it silence, you know, opt in for text notifications about your, your order, or you know, our marketing. And I thought it was really cool. Like, I kind of relate as you're talking about through the journey, like a user first experience, and then working in the industry now and kind of being on the flip side, it's really cool. And in your opinion, what do you think, like, why do you think SMS has become so popular over the last couple of years? Because I feel like a couple of brands were maybe doing it like the huge brands, but now it's like, no matter what size a brand is doing, I think it's kind of on the in on the forefront of everyone's minds.

Blake Imperl 08:36

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's a great question. And, you know, like, like, I kind of said, the onset was like, 2019, when I got into the space, you know, like, having that conversation with with brand founders was like, you know, it's very, you know, we're doing email marketing, you know, we're doing something else, we're really in on paid marketing. And it's, it's been this kind of shift. I think, in the last two, three years, as we've seen, there really are two key factors I pointed out personally, which I think kind of caused some of the shifts and adoption of SMS, like as this preferred own marketing channel. I think the first trend is this ecommerce boom that we've been in, you know, I feel like I'm kind of, you know, maybe, you know, beaten a little bit of a broken narrative here with saying this, but I think it's worth mentioning is that, you know, like, we really been in this boom, now, our mobile commerce, I think accounts for it's almost three quarters of all total ecommerce sales. You know, by the end of 2020, I think mobile commerce reach about $338 billion dollars, which, you know, represents about I think, 25 or so percent year over year growth. And so, consumers and brands really, these days are mobile first and it only makes sense that we're on our phones more often, you know, with things like the pandemic, you know, embracing this mobile first shopping kind of experience, the average US consumer, and I'm very guilty of this, checks their phone about 96 times a day, I would say, I think that's the stat I'm sure it's it's probably almost over 100 You know, if you look at like some different, you know, Gen Z and things like that too. And so when you look at these trends, additionally, I think in 2013, that 90% of the population had a smartphone, or actually a cell phone, and only about 50% of cell phone, smartphones. And in 2021 97% of the population had a cell phone, and I think it's about 85 or so percent having that smartphone. So we're also, you know, growing with smartphone adoption, being that mobile first internet kind of based device, and SMS is the perfect channel to to really tap into something like that. And brands are needing this channel to communicate with their customers, it's personalized, it's conversational, and it's really built for a smartphone. SMS is that channel in a lot of ways. So I think that that's the first trend, you know, kind of is growing, shifting kind of consumer and just overall market behavior. But I think the the really the second one that I point to that has been like, I think the definite needle driver for a lot of DTC brands is is data privacy, and first party data movement that's happened, you know, over the last, you know, 12 months or so. And so, you know, it's getting harder to reach consumers on digital advertising, email channels. And so brands are now looking at zero party data, first party data, things like that, for the answer, zero party data, which is something that a consumer actively shares, and then first party data, which is like behavioral interactions, you know, say you browse the site, you click on a text, things like that. Those are kind of become buzzwords in this community. But I think for good reason, these are like the building blocks upon which brands can build effective acquisition, retention and customer experience strategies. And you know, as a way to circumnavigate these changes, brands are really prioritizing a channel, like SMS, which is built on that first party data capture, and zero authority data capture to be able to create those personalized experiences for their consumers. So I think it's a little bit of you know, consumer trends, but then also just like, a strict need of like, we need a channel that we can actually go and retarget and really communicate with our customers in a meaningful way.

Mariah Parsons 11:57

Right, can you can you dive into you mentioned, like, SMS being built on that first party and zero party data? Can you kind of like dive into what you mean by that?

Blake Imperl 12:07

Yeah, for sure. So I think I'll start with the first party data, because that's a little more a little more common, I think. So, you know, SMS is built on identity capture, day one, you know, we're capturing a lot of really, you know, valuable data points, you know, things like where they're located, you know, you know, what's their phone number, we're switching that to, you know, that identity. So now we know, when they interact, you know, we're going to be able to grab things like, you know, I browse this site, and I looked at specific products, I purchased this specific product, and tying that back to that customer profile, you know, different different insight, engagement things, you know, what, at what pages, I'm viewing all these different things that kind of like, it's the mobile phone numbers, like the modern cookie, and a lot of ways I think, you know, like, we lost the cookie with some of these things, and data and privacy changes. And so now, this is kind of a new way of doing that. So we're able to paint this 360 view of what you're doing at any really given time on the site, or just generally engaging with the SMS program. So that's some things with first party behavioral data, Those things trigger all of our automated messages, and some of the additional segments that we might build to retarget a customer. So if you make a purchase, you know, we're going to be able to actually, okay, Mariah made a purchase, let's enter this text. So those are the things that that kind of first party data unlocks zero party data, and this is something that is, you know, being enhanced a lot by some of our two way messaging features, which I can talk more about a little bit later. But that's sort of like that preference data, you know, say, I send you a text and you reply back telling me that you're interested in shopping for a pair of blue shoes, you know, and I can now tie that to your profile. So I know that, you know, you're telling me actively you're sharing that data, you want to, you know, buy these blue shoes, for example. That's it, but data is really, you know, still beneficial in a lot of ways, because we can use that to actually, you know, personalized messaging further. But then also, we're learning more about your your preferences, and really being able to kind of target you a little bit more, I guess, in a personalized way.

Mariah Parsons 14:08

Yeah, that's so cool. Thank you for diving into that. Because I think it's, you know, you mentioned you're kind of like the expert in the field with SMS. You've studied it for so long. You've been working, working with Tone and Attentive, it's so cool to hear you just talk about the actual, you know, like nitty gritty of it about SMS. And it seems to be that there's this like consensus of, or not consensus, but a little, sometimes there's opposition of like email marketing versus SMS marketing. And I wonder if you have that same perception where they're if they're either competing with each other, or if they can be complementary with each other in a whole, like customer retention marketing strategy?

Blake Imperl 15:26

Yeah, I think, you know, that's a really great question. I actually led a panel a few months back, but we do these SMS plus events that are kind of one of our flagship events here at Attentive. The topic was SMS plus email. And so it's actually funny funny to kind of bring this up, but I think, yeah, absolutely. 100% SMS and email should be a part of any I think DTC brands strategy, you know, they can be and should be complementary in a lot of ways. You know, and we make it easy to orchestrate that and within the Attentive platform, you know, and looking at where's that kind of preferred channel that the customer wants to engage on, and really kind of doubling down on that channel. But additionally, I think it, a lot of the onus is on the marketer or the brand, whoever's on the wheel of both of those kinds of platforms to really think about that customer journey. So, you know, we see a lot of brains using SMS as sort of like the relationship building component and sort of like that urgency component, and then email is sort of like the educational channel where you can use a little bit more of a long form communication, to send some, you know, different things, if it's like, educating them on the product that is purchased, or, you know, maybe trying to educate them pre purchase, and then SMS sort of like enriching through some of that, you know, touch points, if it's transactional updates, if it's, you know, promotions, you know, customer service, things like that. So I think it's, I don't know if I answered your question, but I think in a lot of ways, it's more, you have to just kind of think about how the channels kind of interweave and really, where's the best point to to engage with both because a channel like SMS is going to have higher engagement rates and open rates. But then additionally, you kind of want to make sure that you're also, you know, thinking about the different touch points that you would be using with those channels for.

Mariah Parsons 17:10

Yeah, no, that answers my question completely. I think like the distinction that you made where email you can kind of like it's more of an educational piece. And then SMS may be like, it's the preferred channel for those really important notifications that you want to get. I think that's a great distinction, because I have definitely heard the argument of like, SMS is more personal. So I think some people are more apprehensive to, you know, jump on the jump on the bandwagon for SMS strategy. So I think that differentiation, I think, helps kind of kind of display how they can be complimentary and both getting at the same aspects or the same event or whatever it may be, but sure, having different information, so it isn't just like repetitive across email and SMS, I think that's really important. Yeah. And that kind of leads nicely into some of the SMS best practices that you've seen. So I'm curious if you could talk about how you can tell a narrative how you can, like, walk us through the customer journey through an SMS lens?

Blake Imperl 18:20

Sure, yeah. So I think, you know, SMS best practices, you know, I think, at its core, SMS doesn't really very, you know, it's this relationship building channel, it drives revenue, naturally conversational, you know, we're already texting, you know, in this way. And so I think brands embrace that, obviously, that's really best practice. And it's also you're getting instantaneous feedback through something like channel engagement. So those are all things I think, are common, you know, mainstays of best practice. But really where it does differ is strategy. And that can vary, you know, greatly by brand, industry, vertical, all those good things. So I'll try my best to kind of give you a few different kind of frameworks about how brands think about SMS. So I think, you know, two of the ways that we see most commonly are, you know, this first, this loyalty or VIP club approach. So you know, they're leveraging SMS as a way to kind of be a loyalty program if they don't have a loyalty program already. So some things they might communicate or incentives might be exclusive offers perks, or maybe even just like exclusive access to tears or priority, you know, eye drops or things like that, that maybe they're only getting to be on that SMS channel. So that that can be one approach is sort of this exclusivity and VIP type approach. And then also, this can also kind of, you know, be a little bit of a subset, I think of that VIP approach, but some brands really just dive in on this as a conversational approach. And this is my preferred strategy. I think this is a lot of where SMS is headed, and generally in the 2020s here, but you know, looking at things like two way communication for customer service, you know, product recommendations, maybe like consultations, we see a lot of skincare brands who actually have like just sort of like concierge approach, where, you know, you maybe you don't have that in store experience anymore, but you can use SMS to kind of give you that next best, and a lot more use cases around that. So I think within like, verticals to, you know, like we look at like Fashion and Retail, that's, you know, most commonly I think brands are using SMS is sort of in the fashion, retail space, but we're also seeing a lot different verticals grow. But within, you know, fashion, retail, we're seeing things like, you know, communicating product drops, you know, collabs, with maybe celebrities or influencers, again, that VIP exclusivity kind of feel. But another really cool use case that I think is actually really interesting, we're seeing a lot of growth in is in the food and beverage space. So we work with a merchant, like Jack in the Box, who actually uses this to deliver, like VIP offers, location based incentives, loyalty programs, you know, and just a lot more to kind of create this true, like, insider kind of effect. But I think the core takeaway of all of this is that, like, SMS can be the sort of VIP channel, and you should really look at kind of enriching, you know, through your campaigns sort of that like exclusivity, but then also when you're automations, like, you're really using a lot of that first party data, zero party data, etc, to be personalized, and sort of enrich that entire customer experience.

Mariah Parsons 21:18

Yeah, no, I think there's, there's something there the exclusivity factor of it all. Because I feel like, even just like on a personal level, you tell someone's like, Oh, you have to be a part of this to like, be this member. They're like, Oh, I kind of want to be like an in crowd, you know? Exactly. Yeah. So that's, that's awesome to hear. And you touched upon this, a little bit of how SMS can differ between like industries or brands or verticals. So would you say, are there common practices? Like for like food and bev versus like skincare? Do you do tend to see more of that like consultation piece for like skincare? Or is it really like across the board or up to the brand as to what that SMS strategy looks like?

Blake Imperl 22:01

Yeah, sure, I think in in like traditional retail ecom, we're gonna see a little bit more of a, you know, kind of full lifecycle approach where, you know, they opt in to the SMS program, let's say pre purchase, you know, maybe your automations, get them interested. And then a campaign converts them. And then you start this kind of retention piece of it, which is sort of like your transactional updates, you know, post purchase experience, review requests, loyalty programs, like all these different things come into play. And it's, it's a more like baked out model, I think of, you know, like, we're already doing this on email, but we're doing it on text. But in like a food and beverage kind of category, they're using a little bit differently, you know, purchase frequency, and food embed can be a lot faster, like Jack in the Box, maybe you go to Jack in the Box, twice a month, for example. And so like you're purchasing a lot more frequently, maybe you're getting more campaign focused messages. So it can it can vary a little bit depending on the vertical that you're in. But like really, at its core, like you're still using a lot of that data to kind of tell like, what are those messages that are going to be sent out?

Mariah Parsons 23:04

Right, right. And so to kind of counter that, like best practices, what are some like worries or preoccupations that you see with brands when it comes to like building out that, that customer journey, or that SMS strategy.

Blake Imperl 23:19

Um, I think the first one, you know, would sort of be, you know, not using the data that you have to your advantage, you know, I talked a lot about, like, all the first party data that we're capturing through SMS earlier. And so like, use that to your advantage to personalize, if it's campaigns and building out a little bit more effective segments, you know, so don't just send one message to your entire list, you know, maybe you want to send a message to your first time customers, versus someone who maybe is made their 10th purchase with you. And it's being a little bit more personalized with how you talk to them. Also, like automations, to if someone makes a purchase, having like a flow set up, it's really easy to do the entire platform is to segment so maybe someone who's just made their first purchase with you versus you know, that returning customer and having different paths for them to recognize that kind of behavior, is it really easy to set up but it's these are the kinds of things that consumers are not expecting, you know, that kind of one to one personalization. So I would say using the data effectively, is one thing. Also, not offering two way communication is a big kind of missed opportunity there. We know that, you know, two way communication builds those relationships. And so offering things like customer service is really valuable, over 70% of consumers want better customer service over SMS and as growing, you know, by by the month and so really be able to deliver things like that is powerful kind of value add not having, you know, shipping updates, and we're going to talk about the awesome integration that we have here. So I'll save that for now. But having you know, different things that sort of enrich the customer experience, that that's a big missed opportunity. And then also just keeping it you know, just promotional focus. I think there's a lot more things that SMS can do that, that fall outside of promotions, but can still drive revenue can still drive engagement, and still really drive loyalty and affinity towards the brand.

Mariah Parsons 25:11

Right? Yeah. I love the two way messaging that you guys do, I think that's so cool. Because I definitely, you know, coming from the user standpoint, it's sometimes less convenient to have to, if you're like chatting with someone on your laptop and say, you're like, trying to leave your house or go do something, or, you know, whatever, you don't always have your laptop on with you. Or, you know, sometimes I don't have the hot, a hot spot plan. So like, you would have to be on Wi Fi to get customer support. So it's so cool that you can use your cell phone and have that two way messaging. So you know, it's efficient, it's right there, you can take your phone with you. Odds are you always have your phone with you. Right. So I think that's so cool. And I know, one of the things you also do is the contact cards, right? Where you can have like a brand added. So can you speak to you know, like, why you think that's important and kind of just like what it is?

Blake Imperl 26:03

Sure, yeah, so I think, you know, one thing that might be good, if you had your phone in front of you pull it out. And if you're on an iPhone, for example, you can go back to your, your folders, and this might be a feature you have to enable, but on my phone it is and you can see known senders for unknown senders, this is something you know, like kind of equivalent to the spam inbox on text. And this is going to be a thing that I'm not making predictions on what's going to happen, you know, full full out. But I mean, you know, like, it goes a lot to say, you know, I get dozens of spam texts, you know, week from from unknown senders and being in that known sender inbox, by saving a contact card, or having a compliant opt in, you know, all these different things that we provide our merchants at Attentive is so powerful. So if I know, you know that, you know, Jen from Bokksu, is now texting me and I have that contact card saved, it has, you know, the address all these different good things that kind of the phone is looking for as sort of like that known kind of sender, if I was to save, you know, just like if I was to save your contact card, Mariah, for example, having that sort of relationship goes a long way with deliverability and recommendation. So that's, that's one thing I can say right away. But then also, you know, you're just giving them a resource to kind of like, you're, you're extending, it's like the modern business card, I think in a lot of ways, too. Like, you often need a text program, and you're also getting that resource. You know, we can include a lot of cool things on the contact cards, like that address, like an email address, even to if you want to put that in there. So it's sort of just like you're extending that gesture, but also, you're really getting to that primary inbox, which is what we want, you know, when we're thinking about deliverability.

Mariah Parsons 27:41

Yeah, that's awesome. I mean, I think it's when I saw that I was like, that is such a cool thing. And that brings us to like our integration, why we're so excited for it. But yeah, so you, you kind of hinted at it, our integration with the Malomo and Attentive integration, which we are so excited for. So I'm gonna kind of ask you to give like a rundown of what it is you already mentioned, you know, the post purchase shipping notifications that you can build out with the Malomo data that kind of like hypercharged the Attentive platform. So I'm going to give you give you the space to kind of talk about it.

Blake Imperl 28:14

Yeah, for sure. Well, first of all, I'm really excited to be able to bring this integration into life and activity, you know, bring two powerful platforms together and enrich this post purchase experience, which I think is like the most important part, you know, a lot of reasons is for brands. But I think it's maybe important to preface to why I think of an integration like this. So as text as a channel has grown, you know, the demand for more one to one, personalized messaging is growing across that lifecycle. We ran a study at a tenant and the number one most asked for thing, and messaging, outside of traditional messaging was transactional updates about the order. In fact, I think it's over 97% of consumers want to receive messages like this. And so this is a this is a large opportunity for brands to tap into being proactive about their order is really, you know, a great way to build trust and transparency as a brand. So really compelling data from our friends over at Gorgias too shows that the number one most common customer service ticket is where's my order? And this single question is often just over flooding, you know, consumer customer service inboxes. And it's eating up value valuable support resources that I think could be out solving either higher level tickets, driving revenue through some customer service conversations, or just you know, being a little bit better staff. And so an integration like this really allows merchants to get ahead of that and to be proactive. So at a high level, you know, this integration is going to allow for merchants to drive revenue, reduce customer support costs, and ultimately just build better customer experiences post purchase. You know, if we know that transactional messages are some of the most important messages in the customer journey, and you pair that with a channel like SMS, who already was already received, you know, that high engagement right away like which I mentioned, it's really a perfect pairing to reach the consumer in the most effective way possible. So this integration, you know, enriches that post purchase experience from the start with being able to implement those transactional SMS journeys to inform customers, about the most up to date status in their orders. So this allows you to really link out to those awesome, you know, beautifully personalized and highly converting, should I say Malomo landing pages, which are great for not only informing your customers, but also building that brand awareness, and, you know, driving additional cross selling opportunities, even referrals as well. So some other use cases to think outside of just that transactional side of this is less growth in this growth is so foundational to SMS as a channel, as we know, you know, and being able to offer the customer the incentive of sign up for SMS to receive updates on your order is a huge value add. And I know a lot of brands are asking what are incentives that we can use outside of discounts that can get people to opt in, if 97% of consumers want to be receiving those texts, this is a no brainer, I think as another way to offer or even just to test if it works better than a discount. And then also, we can use a lot of the data from Malomo to actually feel SMS campaigns for those one time message sends, you know, to message customers about their orders on like a one off basis or anything related to their shipment. So I mean, that that, in a nutshell is sort of the integration at a high level. There's a lot of awesome use cases and things that can be built out around this. But I think this is just overall enriching that post purchase experience and adding a lot of value to the SMS channel.

Mariah Parsons 31:36

Right? Yeah, I completely agree. And I think like one thing that I've become more privy to has been the importance of that post purchase data. And you kind of hinted at it because of, you know, privacy changes, but all of the customer or consumer behaviors that are going on after a customer purchases, like that post purchase data, that's going to be become extremely important. As you know, like the beforehand the acquisition, the, you know, the pre purchase data side of things is kind of being taken away or harder to find with the Apple and Google Privacy updates. For sure. Yeah. And so one thing you kind of touched upon it, but like the excitement around it, I do want to say we are having our webinar, which we're so excited for, that'll be March 8, and it's great to hear you speak about the integration and excitement. I mean, our team were so thrilled for this, it's coming up this week, and it's been awesome. I think one of the really cool things that you can do with the integration is have that specificity when you're communicating. So anyone who's familiar with Malomo, you know, you can trigger based off of shipment carrier statuses, so things like order fulfilled and out for delivery delivered things along that case. And I think it's so cool to see the customers that are already, you know, our joint customers, how they can build out the different notifications, and like you said, send people to their tracking page where that's just another opportunity to kind of grow that relationship with the customer. And you're able to kind of like, of course, customize the tracking pages with, you know, whatever you want to emphasize whether it's loyalty or other products to cross and upsells. So I know we're so excited for it. I don't I think it's tricky to kind of pinpoint what I'm most excited for. But I think just like the potential of seeing how much brands can grow is something and like, see how the different language that brands will use in their SMS text is something I'm specifically excited for. So I'm curious, is there like one thing that really stands out to you like with this integration, something that, you know, you're curious to see how it plays out? Or just generally excited that this integration is upon us?

Blake Imperl 33:58

Yeah, I know, for sure. I think you will you you kind of hit on, I think all the things that are awesome with being able to enrich and the text, you know, like the out for delivery, you know, like shipped all these different things that we're as consumers expecting, and a lot of ways. You know, I just bought something from Amazon last night, and I was still checking, you know, where's the order out on my phone, like every, you know, like, five minutes, and I'm really anxiously expecting you to be able to actually just use tags to communicate that it eliminates a lot of the worry and gives ease of mind, I think to the consumer, so I'm really excited about that for our merchants to be able to leverage. But I think additionally, like looking at all the opportunities that we're going to have for brands to you know, drive back to that landing page to drive additional cross sell, maybe its loyalty, maybe just referrals, whatever that strategy is, but using that landing page to to dynamically insert and then send out to the customer via text. I think there's just a lot of opportunity there for all those things that I mentioned. But additionally, it's like it's creating just a better experience over a channel like text, you know, we're already seeing integrations with things like a lot of reviews, and UGC, like maybe like loyalty programs. And those things are now we're connecting yet another piece of that post purchase experience. It just really goes to show how far I think text is growing as a channel. So I'm just from a retention standpoint, I think this is going to be monumental for the merchants that we work with.

Mariah Parsons 35:24

It's so cool, how everything is connected, you know, it kind of is becoming a network and you said it perfectly, like even just like UGC tying in there to have being able to have all these parts that are influencing each other. It's, it's awesome. With that I would love if you have like some use cases at the ready that you could share of just like, what are some things that brands are doing in SMS that are really like sticking out to you currently?

Blake Imperl 35:49

Yeah, for sure. So I love this question. Personally, I'm always subscribing DTC brands, testing out their SMS experience I am purchasing from them to you, by the way, I'm subscribing and trying to you know, get insider knowledge. But I think a few things that come to mind, you know, these are actually mutual customers, some of these Malomo, and a ton of which is really cool. Nomad Goods, Brumate, Wren + Glory, Bokksu, Big Blanket and Jack in the Box. I think three of those five are mutual customers. But happy to show some examples on those and what what kind of is standing out for me. So Bokksu Grocery, they actually save their SMS subscribers have trouble searching for their favorite products, with two way journeys, we were talking about two way messaging a lot earlier. And so what they're doing is, if a subscriber hasn't shopped in a few days after they opt in, they're automatically using two way journeys to text and ask the customer to basically tell them what they're looking for. And based on what they respond back with, they're sending a personalized recommendation that's relevant to that response. So let's say you know, I say I'm interested in X and then Bokksu is going to actually send me that recommendations specific to whatever I replied with. And then so by doing this, they're segmenting those subscribers based on their preferences, making that recommendation in real time to maybe take action immediately. And then also their segments are based on that response for future messaging, so it's, it's sort of like a kind of this, like, you're hitting a lot of different things with one tags to build out some more personalization, but also some more maybe revenue driving opportunities. So that's a really cool example of Bokksu highly recommend you subscribe to their channel. Big blanket and Brumate- these are two other customers, I believe our mutual as well. They're leveraging back in stock journeys, which is a fantastic supplemental automated trigger. And if you're not implementing that already, all these things we've been talking about today, you know, transactional, customer service reviews, all these different things are connected. But back in stock is something that I highly recommend you do, especially if you have a lot of velocity, and your sales. And so, you know, we did a really great case study with roommate on this and back in stock journeys. And so they wanted to recover lost revenue and create a positive brand experience. So they targeted subscribers that have viewed a product, but maybe hadn't gone out of stock. So when it came back and started using text to this, basically, let them know that it's back and stuff. And these messages had about a 23% click through rate, and I think almost a 15% conversion rate, which is phenomenal. And so this really helped to Brumate, you know, not only do they provide superior products, but also they're really giving that good customer experience. So you know, if someone wanted something it was out of stock to be able to know right when it gets back in stock. That goes back to that exclusivity sort of thing that we were talking about earlier. Another really cool example, Nomad Goods, they're an electronics accessories brand. And they use Attentive concierge, which is actually the tone product after the acquisition turned into authentic concierge. And that's our one to one conversational SMS product really serves as like a customer service layer for SMS programs that quickly resolves any issues that customers might be experiencing. So that can be like customer support to drive revenue driving experience. But these are all conversations done in real time, and allowing brands to be able to sort of scale customer service without having to have that team in house. And so it really helps to kind of, you know, handle buying objections, which in the case that Nomad is doing, they actually are using concierge to educate about their products, answer questions that people might have about them, and really just deliver that one to one human experience that can kind of crush that buying objection in the moment. So they were an awesome tone customer that we have a game or two Attentive of not using concierge, great to see them kind of have success with a product like this and highly recommend that as a best practice. And then the last example, I'll give actually, we're talking about Jack in the Box earlier and kind of a different vertical in food and beverage. They're using geotargeting just send those relevant offers and also to local audiences. At the time of this recording, the Superbowl was just a few days ago and so I think this is a really cool example. Last year they actually took advantage of the Super Bowl knowing that the day after the Super Bowl is probably one of the most called off of work days and the entire year for various reasons. But they partnered with Attentive and DoorDash actually to drive sales after the game day by running this geo targeted campaign called Super jacked Monday. And so they encourage subscribers to order those munchie meals to help them recover, you know, post Super Bowl based on where they were located. So there's a lot of cool things, you know, just that you can kind of leverage across those examples, but it really goes to show like texts- there's a lot more than just using it as an instantaneous promotions channel.

Mariah Parsons 40:37

Right? No, that is so cool. I mean, hearing you talk about all those different brands, I mean, like the the even the name like that's jacked. What was it?

Blake Imperl 40:46

The Super Jacked Monday?

Mariah Parsons 40:47

Yeah, Super Jacked Monday. Like that's so clever. I can see that definitely resonating with a lot of people who call out of work. And to I mean, Nomad Goods, they are actually they come on, they came on the podcast, Chuck at Nomad, just our previous episode. So it's so cool to kind of hear all the different things that they're doing within SMS. And one of the things that we like to end the episode with is just one piece of advice that you would like to impart. I mean, this whole episode has been phenomenal. But I wanted to give you the space to kind of add anything else that you would like to kind of leave with listeners?

Blake Imperl 41:24

Yeah, for sure. I thought a lot about this, and trying to think about what would be the most value add to listeners, I would say, invest in networking and telling your story on a social platform, like LinkedIn, for example, if that's where you're at, if you're on Twitter, you know, whatever that is, you know, whether you're a brand, I think you're if you're an E commerce operator, like myself, you know, for the longest time I wasn't a founder, I didn't think I had a story to tell and finding that narrative. Or if you're working in marketing technology, or just really whatever you're doing, just share your knowledge with others, you know, engage in the community and support those around you, you know, joining the DTC LinkedIn community was the single best career move I could have ever made. It opened up so many doors that I didn't even know existed, you know, to think where I was at a few years ago to now I owe a lot about to networking, and really just leveraging that community that I've been engaging with. So it's, it's crazy to say, but I think I sort of have been like that kind of like case study success story. And like, really just getting to know people opened up kind of job opportunities and things like coming to town, which got me to Attentive, you know, and being able to just be open to things like that. Those are the things that they don't really teach you in college, but I think are highly, highly valuable out in the real world. So I just encourage people to start today, find the story, you know, until it and be true to that. You might learn, you know, a new ecommerce strategy you might learn, you know, something you didn't know, or you might even find your next job through networking. So that'd be my my two cents of wisdom.

Mariah Parsons 42:55

It's beautiful- beautifully said. And I completely agree, I kind of live my life to the same thing of, you know, take other people's knowledge and be a sponge and impart your knowledge as well. With that, it has been wonderful to have you on the podcast Blake it has been so much fun. This has been so exciting. And I am equally as excited for our integration to launch and have our webinar in a couple of weeks.

Blake Imperl 43:20

Yeah, super excited for it. Thank you so much for having me, really excited for the webinar to be able to share more about the integration and just have a chance to do this. This is a lot of fun. So thanks for having me on the show.

Mariah Parsons 43:33

For this fact check, I just wanted to re emphasize the study that Attentive has done on SMS marketing, you can find that on their website. And there's a ton of numbers that Blake references in this episode. So I seriously encourage you to go check it out. It's a great read, super interesting stuff. Blake also mentions that he previously worked at Tone which was then acquired by Attentive, and that happened in June of 2021. The only other facts that we had to fact check was that are Attentive and the Malomo integration is launching February 17 and our webinar, which will also feature Blake, is on March 8. So if you're interested in either of those, please check out our website. Until next week.