September 10, 2019

Email on Tap Episode 15, with Corrina Cohen, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Platform Developer, Caleres


Our Director of Product Marketing Anthony Chiulli closes out his first season of Email on Tap with this interview with Corrina Cohen, Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform developer at Caleres. Corrina enjoys the brand-side of email marketing after spending years on the other side of the transaction at places like ExactTarget.

How does she treat email today in her role at Caleres? Tune in below to find out…

(Keep scrolling for key timestamps and even a full transcript. Plus, find links to our podcast version!)

Total Run Time: 9 minutes
0:22 – Overview of Caleres, its brands, and Corrina’s role responsibilities
1:20 – Corrina’s backstory and beginnings with ExactTarget
1:40 – Caleres’ target audience and market
2:23 – How understanding the buying life cycle, frequency, and fashion trends influence digital strategy
3:12 – Email’s role amongst other digital marketing channels across Caleres brands
4:41 – Ways Caleres is infusing artificial intelligence into email marketing strategy
6:08 – New opportunities and initiatives Caleres is working on
7:01 – Why email is still king of digital marketing?


Listen and subscribe on your favorite platform:

   


Transcript

Anthony Chiulli
Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Email on Tap. I’m your host Anthony Chiulli. And today, my guest is Corrina Cohen. She’s a Salesforce Marketing Cloud developer at Caleres. Corrina, thanks so much for being on the program this morning.

Corrina Cohen
It’s good to be here.

AC
How are you?

CC
I am fabulous. How are you?

AC
I’m great. So tell me a little bit about your role, the Caleres brands, and your responsibilities.

CC
I am a Marketing Cloud platform developer at Caleres. Caleres is a portfolio of brands. Many of you would be familiar with Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman. One of my favorites is FrancoSarto. Dr. Scholl’s is another one and many, many more. We would be here all day if I tried to list them all. We’re forever expanding and getting more. It’s retail and fashion, so it’s ever-changing. So my responsibilities are a lot of the data integrations, doing the data audits, governance, teaching my team best practices, giving them my experiences from other companies that they can then use in their marketing programs now to bring them up to be a more real-time and really innovative marketing department instead of trying to catch up because fashion has always been known as kind of being behind the times in technology. So that’s what Caleres wants to no longer be known for.

AC
And you have an interesting backstory with Salesforce and even previously ExactTarget. Can you share that story with me?

CC
I would love to. So I was one of the very first technical interns ever hired by ExactTarget. They even put me right outside of the CEOs office on my very first day; no pressure [laughter]. From there, I actually went into release management for ExactTarget but realized that I don’t really like software engineering. And it isn’t really as glamorous as the other parts that were starting to be developed within the ExactTarget atmosphere. At the same time, Scott Dorsey, the CEO at the time, sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in this new deployment consultant role building and sending on behalf of our big-name clients that were coming in but didn’t want to take the time to hire an email marketing team, because back in 2007 it wasn’t worth it and most people still weren’t sure. People would even come up to me on the street, and they’d be like, “Oh, you work for ExactTarget, that spam company, right?”

AC
Funny.

CC
I’m like, “We’re not spammers.” So, yeah, that was a lot of fun. After that, I actually started my own company that I ran for about 10 years but really started to miss being brand-side. And so that’s how I ended up back at Caleres.

AC
That’s a great story. Shoes, something that I don’t know much about, clearly. How does understanding the buying lifecycle and the fashion trends kind of influence the way that you infuse digital strategy with the Caleres brands?

CC
Well, fashion has two big seasons. We have our spring and our fall that we usually have, but we don’t want people to only buy twice a year. We want people to come and buy boots. We want people to come back and buy sandals, and in between we want you to buy maybe some cute flats or even some loafers like I’m wearing today. A lot of that is based on being there at the right time, at the right time of year, and one of our dreams is even to be able to start targeting based off of the weather in your area and what shoes would be a great fit for that time period because that’s really going to start making it so that we’re as relevant as possible for all of our customers.

AC
And how many Caleres brands are there again? There’s 13 or–

CC
We’re up to 14 I believe.

AC
Okay. And how many of those are actually just e-commerce only meaning they don’t have a brick and mortar presence?

CC
12. So we only have Famous Footwear and Naturalizer are our only ones with stores. Oh, sorry. I apologize Sam Edelman also has some, but they are spread throughout the United States. I think there’s about 10 total.

AC
So I’m interested in, what role does email play for e-commerce brands amongst other digital channels such as paid search, SMS, or push. Where does it fall on kind of the hierarchy of horsepower for digital marketing?

CC
Emails are lifeblood. We have our social media. A lot of that is dependant upon influencers like many other retail and fashion companies, but email is really how we communicate. That’s how we let people know our new lines every season. It’s when we let people know that we’re having a promotion. It’s how we reach out to find out how we’re doing with our customers. Our surveys are some of our most important pieces. We love to read what people are thinking of our brand, and we take it back to our other stakeholders that aren’t even in marketing to let them know if we have pieces. We’ve also had Customer Service with their reviews come up and tell us that one woman loves Rykä products, but she really wishes that we would feature the swim shoes in our emails. But we only have two swim shoes, so it’s not a big part of our email program. We’ve been trying to figure out a way to feature it within one of our programs to make people like her happy because she loves her swim shoes and she wants everyone to know.

AC
So that’s a great tangent to my next question. If and how are you using predictive intelligence and AI in your email strategy?

CC
We are using it in almost all of our emails now. The only ones we don’t are promotionals where we do some type of discount. A lot of those we are just trying to drive you back to the site and not everything is always part of those promos, so we don’t want to mislead you. So a lot of those we’re limiting. But when it comes to a transaction, at your order confirmation, I’m recommending other shoes that look fabulous on you as well. If we’re out of stock, I’m giving you some other opportunities to buy some other shoes that are similar instead of just going, “Sorry, maybe you’ll come back later we hope. Fingers crossed.” And even in a return, when we confirm that we’ve received your return and we’re crediting back your account, we give you some recommendations.

AC
So you’re capitalizing on almost every touchpoint, even transactional, to offer additional product recommendations or suggestions to your customers?

CC
Yes, and we’re also using it as our gateway for our welcome emails. We don’t do any promotional emails during our welcome journey. We give you our top sellers in your very first email along with a promotion code to hopefully either be your second purchase or your first-time purchase if you’re a brand new customer. And then from then on, we don’t give you any other shoe promotional emails until your final email if you haven’t used the coupon. And then that one we actually give you recommendations based off of your browsing habits from whatever you’ve done during the welcome journey on our social media and our websites.

AC
So it sounds like you have a pretty good pulse on kind of the customer lifecycle and the touchpoints that make sense along the way.

CC
Yes.

AC
What new things are you working on with Caleres?

CC
My favorite that makes me most excited right now as I was talking about earlier is our weather piece. We really want to be able to target people. If it’s hot in Florida, but it’s freezing in Quebec, we don’t want to send the same sandal email. We want to give you some fabulous boots because we’ve got some great snow boots. But we want someone in Florida unless they’re planning on maybe going to Aspen for a vacation, to have our cute flats and our sandals to make sure that it’s relevant to them. We don’t want to go into the trash or the spam box, especially now that a lot of the ISPs are going ahead and looking at engagement and moving you to the spam folder for you. I’m even having that problem with a lot of my favorite brands because I don’t always need to interact with emails every week. So when I don’t do that, suddenly my email disappears. And when I want that product, I can’t find my emails anymore.

AC
Right. Well said. I follow you on Twitter, and a few months ago, you were tweeting about how email is still king. If you could summarize in your opinion why email channel still dominates, what would that be?

CC
Email’s easy. And like I was just saying, everybody needs it. That’s our lifeblood, how we keep in communication with a lot of our brands. And that’s how I keep track of a lot of my favorite brands as well. I mean even in elementary school now you get an email address as a kindergartner. You may not know how to write yet, but you have an email address for your teacher to be able to get ahold of you. So I mean, we’re training everyone at an early age to rely on email for your source of information, and it’s easy to organize. You can’t sort and put your text messages into a folder. And your push notifications, once you dismiss them, are gone.

AC
It’s funny you mention that because I have a five- and a three-year-old and I just created email addresses for them because we travel so much that I wanted loyalty points for them on the airlines and hotels. And it was a very awkward experience for me signing up and registering my five- and three-year-old with an email address, but there you go. That’s a testament of how powerful it is.

CC
My 15-year-old knows that she can sign up for an email program, find the promo code that goes with whatever product she wants, make her cart, send it to mom via text message with the promo code, and I’ll go in, and I can check out in a few minutes.

AC
Corrina, this has been a great interview. Thank you so much for sitting down with me.

CC
This has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

AC
You’re welcome, and thanks everyone for tuning in. We hope to see you on another episode of Email on Tap.

Author: Nicky Copland

Nicky is the senior marketing manager at 250ok. Before joining the team, she spent the majority of her time crafting and implementing communications strategies for the association industry. She was never a brain surgeon, but she played one on the internet.

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