How Haymarket Media Achieved 10x Higher Engagement Rates

Joshua Storch is, in his words, ‘fiendish’ about learning and pushing his craft and his programs to the next level. He is relentless in his search for ways to simplify the way his team harnesses customer data to make every interaction more personal.

“We’re constantly looking to understand the ways people interact with our brands at a granular level, and personalize the ways we target them accordingly. There is a ton of buzz around AI and understanding inferred interests through predictive modeling and analytics, but more practically, what’s been really effective for us is surfacing the data that’s explicit but wasn’t readily available until we had the right technology in place.”

After leading an exhaustive search and evaluation, Josh selected and implemented a new customer engagement and automation platform at Haymarket Media, one of the world’s foremost leaders in specialist digital media for B2B practitioners.

Within a matter of months, Maropost for Marketing has become an integral part of Haymarket’s customer engagement strategy, enabling personalized campaigns with 10x the previous click-through rates and hours back in operational efficiency. Last year, Josh was awarded ‘Best Individual Achievement’ at Haymarket Media’s US Awards for the successful migration.

Here’s how it happened:

Joshua Storch, Senior Director of Email & Data Operations at Haymarket Media

With a diverse portfolio of over 70 market-leading brands Haymarket media is one of the world’s leading media companies covering specialties across the b2b space. Their brands include PRWeek, Clinical Advisor, and more. Over 16000 companies rely on their content, advertising, and marketing programs to connect with their audiences at the right time, with the right message.

The brain behind their powerhouse customer engagement channel is their Senior Director of Email & Data Operations, Josh Storch, and this is not his first rodeo. With more than 12 years and 10,000 deployments under his belt, Josh is a full-on owned media, email, and marketing operations expert.

Content is Haymarket’s bread and butter, and they have made a massive shift to become a digital-first company. Today, most of their revenue comes from ad dollars and custom campaigns, so building their community and engaging their readership is mission-critical. For nearly seven years, their ESP enabled incredible growth for Haymarket as their digital footprint expanded and their volume increased.

As Haymarket evolved, so too did their strategy — and their digital ambition.

They became very interested in the power of customer data and what it could do. In 2017, they installed Customer Data Platform (CDP) Lytics on their website to help their team target first-party data based in specific interaction, and began to push their platform to its limits, resorting to workarounds and hacks to access data at the granularity they needed.

They recognized that the platform that grew with them for so long was not the tool that was going to power their evolution, and kicked off a comprehensive search for their next engagement platform, evaluating 13 total vendors over the course of a year

What they were looking for:

  • Granular Segmentation – In order to get precise in their personalization, Haymarket wanted complete flexibility in their targeting and the ability to segment their audience based on their demographic data and the recency and type of their interaction.

“Segmentation doesn’t just help with email and click rates, it helps with inbox deliverability. In the end, the bottom line impact is all that matters. Sending to smaller, more thoughtful segments increases your chance of reaching the inbox and decreases the likelihood of opt-outs. Our goal is to send as little as possible while improving existing engagement levels.”

  • Improved Reporting – Haymarket needed to be able to see all of their important data points in one place, as well as the ability to surface straightforward statistics to inform their triggered and automated emails. According to Josh, this can be especially tricky for ongoing campaigns. They were also looking for pivot reporting: the capability to send an email to a massive group and understand the statistics at a granular level, for instance, understanding the stats for just C-level folks within a list.
  • Faster, more reliable Interface With so many campaigns and segments to manage across so many brands, Haymarket needs serious computational power. They needed pages that don’t crash, faster searches for different campaigns and segmentations, short loading times, quick calculations, and the ability to run multiple data jobs simultaneously

Intuitive Journeys for Precision Customer Engagement

The biggest use case Haymarket was looking to solve for was the ability to trigger personalized email automatically, populated with dynamic content based on a readers demographic information and historical interactions with Haymarket’s brand.

Haymarket’s medical publications include 20 separate publications, each targeting a different professional specialty, so it’s important for them to be able to personalize the content each person sees and A/B test to optimize their program.

For example, if Clinical Advisor is trying to fulfill a lead generation goal for a client in their medical business, it’s not enough to know that a reader is an oncologist – they want to know exactly what kind of oncology content they read and how often in order to re-engage them with relevant content.

With Maropost, Josh’s team can target anyone that clicked on a link containing, say, a specific drug name in an email or on their website website and enter them into a re-engagement campaign to serve them up an email with the latest content relating to the ailment they’re researching.

According to Josh,

“It’s a much smoother experience for the reader and a much more effective way to get people back to the website. Timeliness is vital, and the ability to send that follow up an hour after that engagement versus a few days later is critical.

We were absolutely leaving money on the table in not being able to pull in the latest content each time a follow up email went out. The clickthrough rates with this strategy are 5-10x higher than our standard newsletter.”

I especially love how we can make these journeys diverge and converge again – it made whiteboarding things like this so much easier. Setting up such a robust program would have been impossible in the past, and overall we can deploy automation about 10x faster than we used to be able to… In Maropost, I can set up touchpoints four follow-ups deep in about 3-4 minutes, whereas previously it would take me more like an hour.

The People Behind the Platform

Let’s be honest: it’s a massive lift for any company to transfer systems – especially for a company like Haymarket who manages so many brands and complex customer journeys.

“Maropost expressed genuine interest in understanding our business and wanted to be a true business partner. That’s really important to us for the technologies we work with. We want to learn from you, and grow with you. We wanted our vendor to be as invested as we were in the relationship.”

Kat and Rebecca on Halloween, as Cardi B and Queen B, respectively.

Josh worked closely with Maropost’s on-boarding specialist Katharine Nowlan through implementation, and today considers Rebecca Pan, Maropost’s Strategic Customer Success Manager an extension of his team.

“I don’t know that other vendors have a live chat feature in the app. That was awesome. I remember one time Katherine emailed me at 5:30 in the morning about something she saw on our end that looked funky. Katherine was so dedicated to onboarding that I haven’t spoken to her since – and that’s a great sign that she was all over it.

Rebecca and I are on nearly a daily email cadence – whether its about a quirk or an issue or a new feature that I’ve asked for. I feel like she’s a colleague as much as the people I work with in my office, so the support has been great. I’m absolutely certain we have the best platform. Right now our biggest problem is working to utilize all the features to their fullest extent – so I feel good about that.”

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