How long it really takes to get things in place and see results

Chester Bullock

Presented by: ​Chester Bullock

Are you curious about what it takes to see the results and impact of changes to your email marketing strategy?

Chester Bullock

Director, Marketing Technology, RentPath

Chester Bullock 0:21
All right, good morning, everyone, and or afternoon or evening, wherever you might be in the world. My name is Chester Bullock. I’m director of marketing technology rentpath. And I’m here to talk to you about how long it actually takes to see results from changes that you make in your various programmes. So you’re probably wondering why I’m qualified to say these things. Let’s get to that. So, as I said, Director marketing technology for company called rentpath right now, but I’ve been in this space for a while, I’ve been digital marketing now for 25 years, built my first website in 1995. And I also have been an email for about 12 years now. Some of you already know me, and from work I’ve done in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud space, formerly exact target. And then, you know, you got some logos here places I’ve either worked, or places that I have done some consulting work for, primarily when I was VP of solutions, consulting, at trend line interactive. So I’ve been around for a while, all of this is just a complicated way of saying I’m old. So take that for what it is. What I want to get into today, though, is what I’m doing at ramp path. And this has been quite an interesting experience for me, sensually, you know, rentpath is a lead generation company for property management companies, or lead generation service, we spend about 2.3 million messages a month for consumers, we also send a substantially less amount of messages per month to b2b clients, and b2b, it’s not really my focus there, I work for the performance marketing team. And I’m supposed to kind of focus on a consumer, although it’s kind of my nature to sprawl out a bit, if you will. And so I also am starting to get involved in the b2b stuff in the organisation. One key thing about rentpath, though, this is easily and this goes for clients that I’ve worked with in a consulting capacity in the past, or the places I’ve worked rentpath is probably one of the most data rich environments I have ever been in. And I feel very, very fortunate to work here. Because of that, the amount of data that we have, that we’re collecting on different activities people take either on our website, or through our emails is just astounding. And it has made a lot of things that we do easier. You know, one one thing that people used to ask me when I left trend line when I left the consulting world was what was the hardest thing for you? Like, what was the easiest thing? What was the hardest thing? What do you like most would you like the least, I think one of the things that was most challenging for me there, which is kind of why I decided to do this topic for this presentation. One of the most challenging things was depending on who the client was, and what they brought you in to engage you for, you had a very limited engagement, you’d go in, you do some discovery work, you do some exploration, figure out what’s going on in their environment, make some recommendations, and then move on, you know, some business we had, there was just one time engagements, do this migration, implement this programme, whatever the case might be, didn’t really kind of build a long term relationship. So we would build something and then move on. And oftentimes, we would never hear what actually happened with the programmes that we built out. I was fortunate to have some really good partners in that space before. So when I say a partner, I mean, some of my clients who, you know, we had that ongoing relationship, we can see the changes that were made, and the impacts that we had on the business. Banfield comes to mine, the Pet Hospital company here in the US, they were outstanding, just absolutely outstanding in terms of giving us feedback, and helping us to fine tune our recommendations based on data that they got back and all that sort of thing. So getting off topic a little bit, but there we go. So anyway, this is that’s all really important stuff to know about rentpath though we do, we’re a high volume sender, not as high as some retail, not as high as some of the people that are bombarding my inbox every day. But we do send quite a bit of email and we’re projected to go even higher this year, thanks to some changes we’re making. So what I inherited apologies to everyone in Europe. I don’t, I’ve never been to a Formula One race. So this is actually an old Indy 500 race car that I’m sitting in. It took part In the inaugural Indy 519 11, I was fortunate to be able to go out to the event in 2012. So some of the pictures can be wrapped around that. But if you look at this car on the surface, you see, oh my god that’s old.

It probably isn’t very fast. This car was built in 1909. Of all places to build it. It wasn’t made by the American locomotive company out of new or, actually, this one was built in Delaware. But, you know, it’s an old thing. It’s elegant, though, you know, it’s there’s a, there’s a grace to it. It’s vintage, it’s kind of cool. It was actually really cool to be able to sit down and see how well it’s been maintained and everything else. But it’s not what you would call a world class car these days. So what I inherited, or what was desired was something more like this. And this is Dan Weldon’s Indy 500 winning race car from Andretti Autosport. This is what was wanted. You know, when I was hired on a rant path, my boss told me very specifically, he said, I want a world class email programme. And he asked me honestly, do we have one? And I had to be straight up with him and said, No, we don’t, but we can get there. And it’s really an interesting story of how I came to rentpath. Because at the time, I was working at trend line, and privately I had been thinking about making some changes, professionally. And we started this engagement with rentpath. And at the same time that we were working with them, they were wanting someone like me to come on board, and they’re having quite a difficult time, trying to find somebody with a variety of experience that I have. And so we came to terms and I was able to leave trendline, garbage rentpath. And we still use trend line for a number of services today, which I’m very thankful for. But that’s really when the relationship started. So that would have been, you know, December ish of 2018, is when I started working with rentpath, to start building this world class email programme, and then I finally came over full time in. Gosh, want to say it was June, June or July? Well, it’s been a year and nine months. So yeah, June ish, or of 2019. So I’ve been working with rentpath, we’re for rent path now for almost two years, trying to get to this level of what we, what we what our boss desired, and what we really need to be as a company. So in order to do that we had to do in order to get us to where we need to be today and keep us positioned well, for the future. There was a lot of fundamental things that had to be done. We had to make the foundation of the platform, solid, data was all over the place. So there was data cleanup. A lot of emails were kind of, I wouldn’t say ad hoc in nature, but reactive in nature. So we need to get more programmatic, more deliberate with our emails, we need to map out actual journeys and things and do more with the platform that we had, just in case because people always ask, we are Salesforce Marketing Cloud client. And the whole reason we got engaged there was Salesforce had done some review work, and said, This is what we think your platform ought to look like. So then they hired trend line to implement that we came in, we made some tweaks to the plan. But that was really the whole process of solidifying The foundation is what trend line was brought in to do that also need to do is get help. I inherited a team of two other people. But a lot of the work that needed to be done, required a bit more, especially since I came in at a director level and I’m managing two people plus I’m doing these things and just trying to figure out where everything is at. If anybody, and I wish we could have some interaction here, but if anyone’s ever gone into a new job situation, or new consulting engagement, and ask where’s the documentation? I can probably hear pretty laughing around the world right now. documentation is such a rarity to come across in these things. And we didn’t have it. So I’m in to this day, I’m still digging into new programmes that exist in there. I mean, they’re old programmes that exist in there, but they’re new to me and trying to figure out, what do they hook into what purpose do they serve, who’s the business owner because oftentimes, those people left, I mean, this instance, a Marketing Cloud I’m dealing with is banner ads released 2012. And some of those people aren’t there anymore. So we also had to get the analytic side of things cleaned up, we had to establish test plans and test policies and all these kinds of things so that we could move forward, be smarter, work harder, do things like that. Alright, so

actually, I’m going to step back for a sec talking about results. So this is everything that had to be done. And this is not something that’s going to happen in six months, this isn’t something it’s gonna even happen in nine or 12. One of the things and one of the reasons why I wanted to speak on this topic is, you know, I’ve been to many different email conferences around the world, some of them happen on a six month basis, some of them happen on an annual basis. And there’s a group of people, and I’m not going to name names. But there’s a group of people who I come across that these things, who, every time you go to one of these, they’re working for somebody else. And if you go to LinkedIn, and you check out my resume, you can see that I’ve made brief stops at different places. There’s a consulting agency that I was at for nine months, it just wasn’t a fit. But when I see people who are constantly job hopping, I wonder a How are they able to do that? Because they’re somewhere long enough to make things happen. But be how have they learned anything when they haven’t been there long enough to implement a good solid plan, and then see where it goes and see where it takes them? It’s just it boggles my mind, I don’t understand. So that was one of the things that really kind of stood out to me from the consulting side, too, is when clients would just engage us for one engagement. They’re like, Okay, great, you did this thing for us. And we’re going to move on our way. Well, if you if you really want to move your programme forward, you need to be patient, you need to take time, you need to invest time into this, just like you do money. Because if you’re thrilled by, you know, a two to 5% increase in results or something, and that sort of thing. You know, you’re never going to really hit those big numbers. That’s probably a bad analogy. But, you know, when I go to Vegas, my favourite game to play is craps, I only go to Vegas, like once every five years, it’s overwhelming, I can’t handle it. But I do like to throw the dice once in a while. And my wife was standing there with me at a casino in Vegas. And you know, out of pocket, I think we’re maybe 100 bucks, it was no big deal. It’s a cheap date night, thrown some dice, having some fun. If you’ve never played craps, it’s a fun game, people are all generally pulling for the same result. So it’s an interesting experience. And you get free drinks at the same time, not really free, it cost 600 bucks. But you know, that’s, that’s just part of the price of admission. So when we’re there, you know, I might get up like the seven $800. And I don’t walk away. And my wife’s frustrated by that. She’s like, I want to see that I want to let’s, let’s go do something else constructive with that money. Okay. But I want to keep playing, I want to keep going for the bigger win. And, you know, unfortunately, in the gambling world, it doesn’t usually work out that way. The house always wins. In the end, I think that night I ended up probably even didn’t, but it was fun night had a good time. And that was the mindset I went into it with. But at work, I’m not happy with 5% I want more I’m I want to make sure that the email channel because it’s been beat on for so long, I don’t see what’s the new social channel, there’s some new social channel I’ve been invited to, that’s probably going to be the next email killer according to The Wall Street Journal or somebody else. So I’m tired of that. I want everybody in the companies I work with or work for, to understand emails, serious business, we do a lot of good things with it. And so I want to go for a bigger, bigger kind of net result. To that end. And if anybody has questions, please just set this up for my bad. If anybody’s got questions, please just put them in, put them out there in the chat room, and I’ll address them at the end. I definitely allow time in my sessions for questions, because they go better when we do this live. I try to let that kind of guide the conversation. But it’s harder to do in this remote environment. But please bring the questions and I’d love to answer questions. Anyhow. So I’ve been hearing from Patrick, two years swinging for the fence, what has actually come about them? Well, we’ve had a 25% increase in lead contribution. Now some people would ask, Well, how many more leads are you delivering? Or what’s your lead to email ratio questions like that. The lead to email ratio is an important one to me, we don’t have a very even now after two years, we don’t have a very way very easy way for us to get that number. I should have it in about the next month or so. And I’ll get into why on the next slide where I talk about things I’ve learned in during this process. But in our business, lead contribution is important because we are since we’re a lead generation service, we spend a lot of money on display ads, social ads, all the different paid media that’s out there. We do spend a lot of money on that. And that’s why just overall lead increases don’t matter because there are there’s a direct correlation between how much money we spent and how many leads come in. It’s just a simple cause and effect. Anybody who plays this game understands that.

So the lead contribution part is more important that to me That means that of the people that are generally are what we consider leads in the organisation. What percent comes from the email channel, what percent comes from paid media, what percent comes from organic search and all that sort of thing. And like I say, Here, we’ve increased our contribution by 25%. The way we’ve done that is by things you see on the screen, and that’s a journey builder Canvas for one of the many trainings that we have running, that also shows the different lead sources and some tests that we’re doing. And I believe there’s a typo in there, too. It says email decor. But, you know, we’re human, we make mistakes, which is topic for a different presentation. But by coming in and doing all the work that we did, were able to make these more complex programmes that focus on consumer retention, there was not a lot of thought given to consumer retention, because in our business, when somebody finds property to live in, they’re out of the market for like 12, or not, 12 months at that point be like 11 1011 months before they start thinking about signing a new lease. So we just want to make sure that other people are coming in right now, we’re able to increase the number of leads that are coming from people who are your email programmes. We’ve also been able to really improve consumer recommendations, part of one of our emails, you might see if anybody here has in the US has search for an apartment, you might have gone through apartment, or rent calm, those are two feature properties. If you’ve gone through that process, and you get the confirmation email back from us, you actually see on there, we say Alright, great, we’ve sent your lead off to this property. And we’re going to recommend these other four for you to look at. Well, thanks to some changes we made in the in the underlying programme. The additional help that I added was an actual Salesforce Marketing Cloud architect, she has done some tremendous things in terms of adding functionality and features to our programmes. So now we have better recommendations for the consumer, if you’ve looked at a property over here, and the elected property over here, and now we’re gonna serve recommendations based on that last one, we’re trying to get down to your actual behaviour on the site. But that’s actually quite expensive to do. Also, thanks to the architecture and the platform that she put into place, but the overlay on top of Marketing Cloud that she put in place, we’ve been able to reduce the time to implement new features from our website by 50%. So as we went through the pandemic last year, I hate to say it, I’m always probably talking about it, but I don’t want to go there anymore. But as we started to deal with the pandemic, last year, our product team started adding a whole bunch of things to the site. virtual tours, were real time tours, 3d tours, this, that and the other thing. So we were able to reduce the time it takes us to get those features, from our website into our emails by a dramatic amount doesn’t sound like much. But when you start figuring out all the dynamic nature of URLs that we build, and how we overlay little bits into the emails and stuff, it was time consuming. So we were able to reduce that time, huge win for us. As a result, it’s allowed us to get to a point where we can now start implementing the next phase of our big plan, which is to focus on consumer retention. Now we’re building out a content journey that’s going to take people from the very end to or the end of their first search process throughout that course that next year, so that we can still be top of mind. If they’re unhappy with their property, and they need they want to find somewhere else to live at the end of the year. I’ve been there, then we’re still Top of Mind, we’re still in their inbox. They’re like, Oh, yeah, I found this place to rent, I’m gonna find another place to rent calm. So there’s that, start to see some questions flow. And I’ll be happy to answer those at the end. But keep them coming, everyone, I really appreciate it. So what am I learned from this?

title of the presentation, be patient, these things take time and you if you want meaningful change, it takes time to see happen. And a lot of people get pressured from up top, you’ve got to have a good manager who’s going to understand that my boss is the CMO for the organisation, and he’s outstanding. He knows that it takes time to do these things, right. And so I’m hugely fortunate. They’re absolutely love my boss. You can’t over communicate in this type of a wall. When I came in, we had some our department had some kind of challenges with the IT team, we had perceptions there, our team didn’t listen and it was very just reactive and did our own thing. So I’ve had to bridge some gaps there. In doing so, you know, you have to rely on other people. I commented that we’re finally getting to a point soon where I can start actually telling you how many leads per email or emails per lead, whatever the metric is. We’re going to establish that I’m going to finally be able to get that, well, we have a data and analytics team that is totally slammed with work. And we haven’t always been the biggest priority for them, I finally got a slice of their time. And now we’re going to be able to get some of these really good reports out that we want to have. But it just takes time. That’s why I have to be patient, they’ve got other priorities too. But I have to rely on them, I can’t go off and build my own stuff in a vacuum, because that’s not scalable. It’s just not going to work. During the process of this too, don’t lose sight of the big picture. Now you’re doing things for reason, stick with your gut instinct, beware of shiny objects. The only dynamic thing that we have used in our emails in the last three years was rebel mails, implementation of forms, and email, those were outstanding are fabulous, we were getting such good responses from it. And then Salesforce bought it and changed how that whole system works, and doesn’t work with our workflow. So we’ve taken it out. But we don’t use a lot of the shiny objects from other people, because I think they’re distracting to what we’re trying to do. So don’t lose sight of the big picture. It’s really easy when you’re in the middle of this and you’re like, I’m so frustrated. Because there’s no analytics coming through or I can’t get data from the DNA, TN whatever the case is, it’s easy to get frustrated. But you have to remember the big picture, this is where we’re going to be we’re going to be world class, we’re going to have all the analytics to support it, we’re going to be able to make decisions faster on the fly, we’re going to be able to do all the testing that we want to do all those sorts of things. And so to help you stay focused on that big picture, keep planning for what’s next. You know, we’re we’re now getting to the stage where we’re implementing our consumer retention journey, we’ve been talking about that journey now for six months. Now we’re here, now we can start doing the implementation work. So keep planning for the next part of that big picture. And then you know what, your picture gets bigger and bigger, bigger. And that’s pretty much it for my presentation right now. Wow, that 120 minutes, I was afraid I was going to go through that in 10. Sometimes I talk too fast. So before we get to the questions, just want to say, contact me, one of the things I tell everyone at the end of every one of my presentations is I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the grace, and help and just the kind of people who’ve been in this business for so long. I saw him in the room earlier, but Andrew coretec was one of them. Andrew used to answer all my questions. And then he started asking me questions. Same with Alex Williams job book, a lot of names, some of you may or may not know, but just people who enabled me to get to where I’m at. So please take me up on this, I put this in here for a reason, it will be on the next slide too. But reach out to me by email, that’s my Twitter handle. I don’t do Facebook anymore. So happy about that. And then you just got my LinkedIn, please feel free to connect with me. And you know, this is my notch. so shameless plug all the pictures in here, I actually took I try not to use any stock photography and in presentations, I like to use pictures are taken. So the symbolism here are a bridge to nowhere being a bridge to somewhere you can’t tell where you’re at, obviously, it’s golden gate. But that’s where I think these networking connections are, you never know where they’re going to take you. I had no idea 12 years ago, that I was going to be where I am now in the email business. But again, thanks to the kindness of so many people. This is where I’m at. So please take advantage that now time for your questions. So if anybody has any, put them up there in the chat room, and they will come in and start and look at the feedback now. Keisha? Yeah, the struggle is real. That’s absolutely true. Russell couldn’t agree more. And then Jennifer, I apologise, I’m gonna hack your last name. So I am not even going to try because my Eastern European is not that good.

But asked if it’s a 25% increase in through just email or overall now that’s just through email. So again, it’s a contribution. So you’re always going to have a maximum 100% contribution from all the channels. So we increased our percent our portion of that by 25%. And so yeah, we’re I’m just, you know, basically to me, I look at me a little bit of competitive person. You ask me who skied with me. And I, I look at it as a competition between me the paid media guys, the organic search guys, all that stuff, the SEO teams, all that sort of stuff. If we can drive more value out of email, then that’s good for me. That’s good for my team. And regardless what happens with me I want my team to be solid and be in a good place so the more credit we can give them for what we’re doing the better off we’re all going to be. Keyshia would love to hear about your the middle and I hope the same. I’m saying your name right. But we’d love to hear about the huge change that you’re in. You know, when I was a trend line, I was running RFPs for different organisations. watch them go through massive change during the discovery process upfront to figure out where all the bodies are buried, super challenging and interesting stuff. And it’s always fascinating to watch an organisation go through a huge change. I wouldn’t say that we’re doing that right now. If it were, you know, on top of all that, in the last year, we’ve started going through an acquisition as well, we’re being acquired by somebody else. So you know, there’s no stress there. Kidding. So all right, not see any more questions come in. But I’ll hang out here for another minute or two and see if there are any, but thank you to everyone. I hope you guys enjoyed this presentation. Again, please, there’s my contact info, please reach out. And I know they’ll make recordings of this available down the road. And I just appreciate you guys taking the time out of your day to listen to me blather on. So thank you and have a great week. And as you can see over my right side here it looks white outside that’s because it’s last night we got 10 centimetres of snow. And it looks like it finally went up. So now I get to go shovel.

Right? not seen any more questions come in. So just want to say again, thank you to everyone and have a wonderful week.