Matthew Kenyon Q&A: Hale Groves’ Powerful Digital Strategy for Acquisition

Hale Groves is a food-gift mailer that largely relies on catalogs to reach new customers. Yet, it has achieved impressive results for the last couple holiday seasons by using a powerful digital strategy for acquisition: Running single-product ads in email newsletters across LiveIntent’s platform of 2,500 publishers and targeting users who are not already customers.

This success story was the focus of a session at the 2019 spring summit of NEMOA in Boston titled “Mixing traditional and new marketing techniques to drive customer growth.” LiveIntent senior Sales Director Matthew Kenyon presented with Eileen White, Vice President of Marketing at Indrio Brands, which operates Hale Groves. We asked Matthew to revisit the insights he shared with the room of catalogers, retailers, emarketers and suppliers.

You’ve been attending NEMOA, which stands for National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America, since 2000. What do you like so much about the event?

The content is terrific, and the conference is very intimate. It started in 1947 with a group of traditional catalog mailers and has evolved. NEMOA clients need new acquisition channels, and that’s why they go there – to share with each other and learn what’s working.

Why is featuring an offer for a single product such a smart acquisition strategy for Hale Groves?

Hale Groves has learned to drive a lot more traffic just showing a crate of oranges versus showing an offer like “Come shop our gift collection.”

If a single product is going to appeal to a person, they go to the site and just buy it rather than being dumped on a homepage and clicking around. That’s where you lose people. One product becomes a very easy path of purchase.

You can then send nurturing emails to customers, and personalize to them, and send them catalogs. You can track the backend and the lifetime value. You can determine if you acquire them in Q4 of 2018, and then when you send them a catalog in 2019, if their average order goes up.

Of course, advertising a single product will not work for everyone. For example, if an apparel company shows someone a dress they don’t like, they might be turned off by the ad—it really depends on the brand’s goals.

Did you highlight other ways companies can make it easy for customers to make a purchase?

Yes. I said clients must be mobile-optimized in 2019. When you are, performance goes up because people are ordering on their phone on a bus or in a conference room under the table. Also, you need to have a strategy to allow users to check out with a thumb, so someone can sign into PayPal or Apple Pay and all the shipping information is there and they don’t have to fill it out. It’s shortening the checkout process because it’s like, “I’m on a subway, I have 17 apps open, and I need to do this quickly.”

Brands can use LiveIntent’s email platform to feature single-product ads. What makes email and your solution so powerful for these messages?

Email is a logged-in environment and deterministic, just like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It’s very personal because consumers go out of their way to sign up for a newsletter.

So we’re putting a message in front of engaged consumers, and there’s not a lot of clutter in email like there is on the web so it really stands out.

Also, the way LiveIntent works is that the ad renders only when someone opens an email, and we’re cross-device without even trying. Wherever a user opens email – on desktop, mobile, laptop or tablet – that’s where we are. Importantly, unlike other platforms, we share customer data with clients.

Can you disclose some of the statistics you presented at NEMOA that show how LiveIntent has helped Hale Groves grow?

We helped them gain hundreds of net-new customers in holiday 2017 and then thousands of net-new customers in holiday 2018. The effectiveness didn’t decrease year-over-year. In addition, the cost-per-action (CPA) was 57% lower than the average CPA.

Hale Groves will increase spend for holiday 2019, which is terrific. During the holidays, everyone is in buying mode, and as a performance platform we can really help drive incremental reach across an audience that is 100% logged in.


How will your brand stand out this holiday season? Download the 2019 Etail Holiday Report.