Creating Purrfect High-Converting Campaigns with PrettyLitter
PrettyLitter, for any cats not in the know, is a direct-to-consumer, subscription-based retailer providing customers with innovative health monitoring cat litter delivered straight to their door.
In a vertical where all-too-many don’t know their customers, or how to get in front of them in the moments that matter, PrettyLitter is bucking the industry norms. With a helping paw from Cheetah Digital they are gathering preference and behavioural data, backed-up with a cross-channel messaging solution to build genuine, and meaningful direct-to-customer relationships.
In this live webinar you will learn how, powered by Cheetah Digital, PrettyLitter have rapidly iterated a variety of interactive experiences and cross-channel messaging journeys, across the entire customer lifecycle to own every customer journey and increase lifetime value.
Matthew SeifertSenior Director of Retention & Monetization, PrettyLitter
Julian : Well, today I'm in sunny Los Angeles to meet Matt Seifert from PrettyLitter. Matt is the Senior Director of Retention and Monetization. He is fully responsible for the health of PrettyLitter's customers and their continued growth. And PrettyLitter, for any cats not in the know, is a subscription- based retailer, providing customers with an odor controlled, health monitoring, cat litter delivered straight to your door. But before I speak with Matt, I thought I best get some cat experience under my belt.
Matt: Hey, are you my cat sitter?
Julian : I most certainly am.
Matt: Well, come on in. I'm running late. I'll show you around. And this is Walden. Okay? And there are a few scattered around the house, right?
Julian : Okay.
Matt: Okay. So, you know what you're doing?
Julian : Sure. They're furry babies, right?
Matt: Yeah. Well, I got to go. I'm in a rush. Okay? Bye- bye.
Julian : Have fun.
Matt: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Julian : Walden, how are you doing? PrettyLitter uses Cheetah Digital to power their omni- channel messaging. Being a direct to consumer brand, it is important they go directly to their consumers on the channel they own, such as email, SMS, and their own website. And every advertising dollar is crucial with them being direct to consumer. They use Cheetah experiences to collect that all important, zero- party data to learn the individual needs of their potential customers. And I'm very excited to hear about their personalization efforts, how they turn unknown consumers into known customers. Furthermore, they actually write really hilarious emails, which I'm going to ask Matt about. They're so good, I'm going to sign this guy up right now.
Matt: Hey. How's it going?
Julian : It's great. Your cats are perfect.
Julian : But I've got a problem.
Julian : I think I'm allergic to cats. I've got to go. Sorry, Matt, I'm late. I took a side job looking after some cats. Turns out I'm allergic.
Matt Seifert: Oh, that's a bummer.
Julian : But I'm here now, so let's jump into it.
Matt Seifert: Let's do it.
Julian : Matthew Seifert, Senior Director of Retention and Monetization at PrettyLitter.
Matt Seifert: Yes.
Julian : Could you tell us a little bit about PrettyLitter and the role you do for them?
Matt Seifert: Sure. So, PrettyLitter is a health monitoring cat litter delivered to your door, that helps detect abnormalities within the urine. And I've been with PrettyLitter for about two years now. So again, I run retention and monetization, which basically means that I'm focused on the customer. So, anything that happens post- purchase, I'm responsible for. So, from the customer itself, all the way through win- back and retention.
Julian : And PrettyLitter themselves, a little bit different because they're very much a subscription- based retailer.
Matt Seifert: Yes, no, absolutely. So, that is one of the benefits that we have as a business, that again, it's delivered to your door on a monthly basis. People do want to try out the litter, so that's something that is always interesting to people because it's such a different litter. It's not a traditional litter that you see, that's a clumping litter or clay litter. We get a lot of customers that come in that are really looking to really try it out. So, my goal is really to make sure that we get them more or less past the first month. So, I get them really engaged in the litter itself, get them engaged in the product and the company and help to retain them for as long as we can.
Julian : What we're going to do today obviously is talk a little bit about, well, a lot about what you do with Cheetah Digital and how we are helping.
Matt Seifert: Yes.
Julian : But one of the things that always comes up is, what's the actual day- to- day with our customers? It's all well and good us talking about our product and it's great, and it is. But your day- to- day, could you tell us a little bit about that and behind the scenes?
Matt Seifert: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So again, being focused on the customer, my role is very interesting. It's split a little, so majority of my time is actually spent with the customer, basically any type of onboarding and transactional messages, things like that, to newsletters and blog emails and SMS messaging, but I'm also responsible from a prospect perspective. So, email is a very rich channel for us when it comes to converting prospects into customers and so is our SMS channel. So, a lot of my day is really spent strategizing and figuring out ways that we can really turn these prospects into customers. And then, what do we do with them when they're onboarded finally? So, we have built out multiple channels within that strategy. So, thinking about onboarding, thinking about cross- selling and upselling, what can we do to keep them engaged and keep them on? So, a lot of it is really just thinking through how do we leverage the channels that we have right now, basically, how do we take it to the next level?
Julian : Would it be correct in saying it's very direct to consumer?
Matt Seifert: Correct. Yes.
Julian : And so, with that being the case, what are the main channels that you use? I mean, obviously email, that's why we're here, but we do omni- channel as well, but what are the main ones that you are focusing on each day, day-to- day?
Matt Seifert: Yeah, absolutely. So, email's huge for us. So, email's very, very big again from a prospect side and also from a customer side. SMS is really big for us. We launched that actually around the same time that we brought Cheetah on. So, that was great and we've worked very well together over the past several years with both those channels. And I'm also responsible for customer service, so customer support, and really any touch point we have with the customer is what I'm responsible for.
Julian : When thinking about the campaigns that you create, what's the process you go to? And just for the record, we love how you come up with them. They're very entertaining.
Matt Seifert: Thank you. Yeah. We have a great team that we work with internally. So, our creative director and we have a copywriter and designers that do a fantastic job on the emails themselves. We have a fun brand and we have a chance to work with the cats all the time, which is really cool. So, we get to be really playful with just the copy, the creative things like that. But when it comes to the actual strategy behind it and how do we market to our customers? How do we keep them engaged, especially within the first 30 days? We look a lot at the data. So, we look at when a customer comes on board, what was their first purchase. Was their first purchase for one cat per month? Was it multi- cat per month? So, once we take a look at that, we then look at their behavior and we know why people are coming on board. So, we know that they're interested in trying it, or they saw it through maybe a Facebook ad or something along those lines. So I know going into it, okay, I want to make sure that these people have the best experience that they can have when they first experience PrettyLitter. And that starts with, from a transactional message, which talks about the story from our founder, all the way through newsletters and blog articles that are related to their cats. So, we make sure that within that we know where we can strengthen the relationship and really, truly, truly engage with our customers. So, aside from that, we've created a full onboarding strategy. So, they're extremely successful with their PrettyLitter for the first time, especially if they've never used it before, there are directions that come with it. How you need to stir it, where the location needs to be, the depth of it. So, we make sure that they are successful right off the bat. And then, we do know the churn point. So, we've used a lot of the data to understand where people are actually churning through the process. And we want to make sure, obviously they stay past the first month, so we try to engage with them probably about three weeks into the relationship and say," Hey, would you like to get your PrettyLitter maybe a little early? Do you need a little more on hand? Can we change your frequency? What else can we basically do to help?" So, we've leveraged a lot of those channels to really hopefully engage them where we can.
Julian : Absolutely. And when you're setting up these journeys, these different communication journeys, will you have different sets for different branching off points, if you have noticed that one's more into pet health versus actually their concern about how often they get it?
Matt Seifert: Yeah. So, right now we focus a lot more on frequency, cadence, things like that, number of cats. So, if we know that you've purchased one bag, you said you have one cat, but you actually let us know through the checkout process both your cat's names and both their breeds, we know, well, you actually have two cats. So, what we've done, we've actually catered some messaging around people who may have purchased for one cat, but now they actually... We know that they have multi- cats, so we want to say," Do you want to make sure that you have enough litter for the entire family?"
Julian : SMS, another channel you said it's very important.
Matt Seifert: Yeah.
Julian : So, what are the key metrics behind that you're monitoring?
Matt Seifert: Yeah. So, we've been doing SMS for a couple of years now, and we are leveraging SMS for shipping early, updating frequency, rating how the process is going in terms of the first couple of weeks. So, it's actually been very successful for us. We've been using keywords. We've seen a very high response rate in terms of people wanting to ship early, people wanting to be able to pull up their orders, just from a longevity perspective it's actually been really, really great for us. And we've also been able to easily tie all of that SMS data into the Cheetah platform on the backend. So, we can holistically see, not even just from a channel perspective, but from a customer perspective, what channels are actually touching all of our customers.
Julian : On that very important point, so the team, yourself, and the team that you work with, it is accessible data that you can see and you can start making decisions on that?
Matt Seifert: Correct. Yeah. So, everything we have... We always, and I've done this historically from even prior to PrettyLitter, that I always make Cheetah our database of record when it comes to a lot of our data, as simple as unsubscribes, but all the way up through information from prospects and SMS responses, things like that. So, we've actually centralized everything into Cheetah. This time we actually mirrored it internally at PrettyLitter. So, we have some redundancies, but we're able to easily access any of that data at any time through segmentations, filters, exports, whatever we need.
Julian : And the people your side accessing Cheetah Messaging, they're like you and I, they're not data scientists or rocket scientists.
Matt Seifert: Yeah. Correct. It's actually super easy within the platform for us to be able to leverage the relational database. So, our team is, we have a very smart marketing team, but again, we're not data scientists. We just are able to easily access this data so we can create the filters and everything that we need for our campaigns.
Julian : It's there, it's actionable, and you can use it, which is all we ask for really.
Matt Seifert: Correct. Yeah, it's great.
Julian : Before PrettyLitter, you were working with us at Evite as well. So, could you tell us a little about your experience there and why it carried over so nicely?
Matt Seifert: So, I brought Cheetah over to Evite when we had a prior vendor that just was not working out for us. And I've worked with Cheetah in the past prior to that. And I just knew Cheetah, known for service and technology and that's extremely important to me. Anytime I'm looking at a partner, service and technology are actually the top two criterias that I look for. So, I had no question when I brought the team in to Evite, because we had a behemoth of a database. We had a lot, a lot of data that we needed someone to be able to handle and create multiple table structures for us, which we never had before. So, it was great. There was no question in my mind, we brought on Cheetah and for the five years that I was there, it was fantastic. And then, when I came over to PrettyLitter and we were looking for another partner to work with, again, Cheetah was top of mind. It was, I knew that we could absolutely grow into the tool, which is really important to us because while we didn't come on as an enterprise client or because we'd be considered maybe a little smaller, just from a data perspective, that wasn't even a question in Cheetah's mind, they were like," Absolutely, come on board, we can do it." And it's been fantastic ever since.
Julian : When you started with PrettyLitter, were you establishing this program and getting it off the ground, or were you inheriting something that you were asked to evolve?
Matt Seifert: Interesting question. We had another partner that we were working with when I started and we were very minimal when it came to the marketing side, at least from the email perspective from customer. We only did abandoned cart. We did welcome series and we did a blog, a weekly blog. We did a few prospect emails, which would be like sale emails, things like that throughout the year. Usually, it was focused around holidays, but that was it. We did nothing else. So, when I started and we started working on the emails and figuring out like, how can we develop this program? How can we make a better experience, not only from our prospect perspective, but from a customer perspective? It was necessary for us to bring on Cheetah. So, we brought on Cheetah and then I thought," Okay, now I have what we need from a data perspective. Now, how do I develop it from a strategic perspective and a messaging perspective?" What I did is then I started building our onboarding strategy, our transactional messages, our newsletters, blog emails, all of our prospect emails. So, we went from probably launching, I don't know, maybe four or five ad hoc a month to, we're probably doing about upward of 20. And we probably have, I would say 15 or 20 different triggers going right now, which is just unheard of from where we were to where we are now. So, it's been really great.
Julian : You mentioned our technology and our services. So, how have you been using the latter, our services?
Matt Seifert: The services have been great on the Cheetah side. So, we work closely with JP who does a lot of our tech work. So, he knows our database inside and out. He's actually the one who onboarded us initially. And I begged not to let him go, so he's been with us since day one. So, it's been a couple of years now. He's, anytime we need anything, we give him a call and he helps us and if we have to build something, exports, whatever it is. And then, we've also used the creative team. The creative team has been fantastic from a design perspective and some cool campaigns that we've been able to work with you on.
Julian : This is unique at this point, because we're several years down the road with PrettyLitter, but the onboarding process, often overlooked but what was that like?
Matt Seifert: Easy. It's easy. It was easy with Evite and it was also easy with PrettyLitter. Evite, I vividly remember saying that they had to do it in less than three months and they got it done in two. So, I thought that was amazing. And then, from a PrettyLitter perspective, again, a lot of it we're building from the ground up. We never had a relational database. Everything was pretty much flat when it came to the data side of our email. So, they were able to build everything without a question, they didn't skip a beat and it only took a couple of months to get it up and running and it's been seamless ever since.
Julian : Being in a unique position of actually creating a brand new program with many different triggers, from the ground up, any interesting lessons you would take for anyone who's thinking of doing something similar or trying to tackle it?
Matt Seifert: Yeah, no, absolutely. We didn't roll everything out at once. I mean, it's just because we're a small but mighty team, but we really just took the most impactful campaigns that were really going to help step change and really move the business first. So for us, I mean, the best advice I always have is just take trigger by trigger. And that's what we did. And it only took us probably a month or two to get everything set up. To be honest, I mean, Cheetah Messaging itself is just really easy to be able to set up campaigns. Most of our campaigns are actually done not coded, they're actually drag and drop. We use the WYSIWYG tool. So, we get everything probably done within 30 minutes for each campaign that we need to get set up. Yeah, but once they're set up, it's really easy to do testing and things like that. So, that's been huge for us, that we don't have to reset up campaigns and for subject line testing, creative testing, things like that.
Julian : And what's the test and learn timeframe? Is it a week or do you set it and forget and hope for the best?
Matt Seifert: Yeah. Neither. We do it pretty quickly. We do it usually within 24 hours, if not shorter, just because we do a lot of our testing with our prospect side. So, subject line testing, creative testing, timing testing, that is really just done in a short timeframe, just because we have such a frequent cadence of our campaigns going out the door. We want to make sure there's no overlap. So, we usually do between four to eight hours for our tests. So, we're relatively quick, maybe not 100% best practice, but relatively quick. And it's worked for us really, really well because been able to really turn out tests very quickly.
Julian : Yeah. Learn fast.
Matt Seifert: Yeah, exactly. Yep.
Julian : To have a highly successful customer engagement strategy, you always need to be innovating. So, what have you been doing, Matt?
Matt Seifert: Aside from our standard testing that we do, we actually tested with an AMP email. So, we actually worked with the Cheetah Creative Services to design and truly code and set up a fun interactive game for mobile users. So, it was scoop the poop and it was really focused more on our prospect side of the business. But what you had to do is you have to literally click and drag the floating emojis into the bottom of the frame. And then, once you completed it, after five, it actually had a great pop- up that was a 20% discount. And it was actually one of our most successful prospect campaigns that we've done to date in terms of interaction. And it actually beat out our Cyber Monday email in terms of conversion. So, it was a extremely successful campaign that we actually ended up rolling into one of our prospect triggers. So, it still lives on. It's been an amazing test for us.
Julian : You just said, it's one of the best campaigns you've run to date. So, please scoop the poop, give us some results.
Matt Seifert: What I can say is from an engagement perspective, we definitely saw a 3X engagement. So, we saw three times the amount of click throughs that we usually see from our prospect campaigns. And we saw about a 1. 5% return on conversions.
Julian : Brilliant results there, Matt. Can't wait to see a sequel on that one. Let's look at data for a second. The sort of data that you have on your consumers and how you're weaving that into your marketing messaging. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Matt Seifert: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, aside from the standard demographic that we obviously collect at the time of purchase, we also collect cat information. So, we collect our customers cat's name, the birthday or the adoption date, and then also the breed. So, we try to leverage that information into a personalization. So, some of our campaigns actually address the cat as opposed to addressing the pet parent. And so, it's a little more fun and tongue- in- cheek with that. From the breed perspective, we tried to leverage that in our blog emails to have more specific blog campaigns that are relative or related to the breed. So, it means they're more relevant articles to our customers. We are working to collect more information, more data. So, we want to start collecting, and this is actually happening very soon, we're going to start collecting, location of the litter box, which is extremely important, the number of cats that you actually have, uploading pictures, things like that. So, we can be a little more interactive and even more personalized than we already are with our campaigns.
Julian : Personalization. You just mentioned it, a huge topic this year and something that a lot of marketers are struggling with and trying to get their heads around. You're doing it well, what could you tell them?
Matt Seifert: Well, we actually do it in two ways. So, obviously we leverage the cat data for personalization within the email. We use it for the birthday and the anniversary and the adoption date. We also use it from a filter perspective or a targeting perspective. So, I mentioned that we have the shipping early and then updating your frequency, things like that. We actually leverage a lot of the shopping behavior that we have about our customers. Instead of fulfilling it every four weeks, we're noticing they're fulfilling it every three weeks. Maybe we should actually nudge them to say," You really should actually move this forward to three weeks," as we're noticing. So, we've done that actually through our email campaigns and our SMS campaigns.
Julian : As you're rolling out, have you started to see a difference?
Matt Seifert: We have. So, it really is tied into more of our retention strategy. So, being able to get, for example, the shipping early or changing your frequency or updating your frequency has been really impactful for us from a longevity perspective. So, if we're getting the litter in customer's hands earlier, when they actually need it, as opposed to the standard schedule they originally were on, like the four weeks, for example, we're noticing that they are staying longer because we are actually getting it into their hands earlier. So, it's been really helpful. We have seen a lift there.
Julian : And Matt, with the personalization journeys you're taking them on, you've mentioned the first 30 days and if it's all gone well, they've retained and subscribed again. What's the next journey they get put onto?
Matt Seifert: So, then we move them into more of our cross- sell, upsell journey, which we do have additional other products, aside from litter. We have food is the next thing that we move them into. If they're on a monthly cadence, so if they're getting, for example, one bag per cat per month, we'll actually give them an incentive to move into a multi- month. So, they would actually get multiple bags every quarter. We do have accessories and toys and things like that. So, the focus really is on more of the expansion of the customer, the growth of the customer. So, how else can we help provide additional benefits for them and for their cat household?
Julian : Advertising, email, SMS, owned channel, paid channels, what's working best for you?
Matt Seifert: Across the board we do have a lot of paid channels that we're working on. So, Facebook, Instagram, we do have TV commercials out there. From an owned channel perspective, so email and SMS, that's actually been over the past couple of years, both successful channels for us. Email specifically. I mean, we've worked really hard to build up our prospect side of that program. Again, I mentioned when we started with it, we were only doing a couple emails probably a year when it came to advertising, in terms of percentages off and things like that. So, we have a great email database that we wanted to leverage. So, what we did was we leaned very heavily into it and started creating these trigger prospect campaigns and saw what offers were working on our paid channels. What was really working through Facebook? What was really working through Instagram? So, we replicated that through an email perspective. There's very minimal CPA when it comes to email and SMS. So, it's really just a channel that has a great upside. We've also from a paid perspective, we just introduced direct mail. So, we easily can tie back those conversions to the people that we mailed and that's data that was provided to us. We've worked heavily in podcasts too. So, those two have also been really successful channels for us.
Julian : What's next for PrettyLitter and yourself?
Matt Seifert: From a company perspective we're always looking to bring innovative products to our growing cat households out there. So, there's always some great stuff on the horizon, so I'll leave it at that.
Julian : Tease.
Matt Seifert: Yes, tease. And then, from just a marketing perspective, I mean, obviously we talked a lot about personalization. That's extremely important for us. We're looking to collect more data from, or at least zero- party data from our customers to really understand who they are and who their pets are. And making sure that we will be able to start leveraging that even further in our marketing campaigns. So, we're just trying to get as strategic as possible and as smart as possible with our marketing. So, more to come there.
Julian : You've be on the journey of Cheetah Digital over the past few years, seen a lot of changes with us, Matt, more than just an ESP?
Matt Seifert: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. For us, I mean, email obviously is a huge piece of our business. We've been able to take what Cheetah has provided us in terms of a database structure, a campaign setup, and be able to tie everything together, just outside of email, SMS, prospect emails, order confirmation data, all of that information is now able to be tied into Cheetah and we're able to leverage that for really anything that we need. So, it's been amazing and definitely more than just an email service provider.
Julian : I've got a question for you.
Matt Seifert: Yeah?
Julian : Personalization, must have, nice to have?
Matt Seifert: Must have, absolutely. For us, it's definitely within our top three things that we need. It's extremely important. We want to make sure that we create and provide an amazing, personalized experience for our customers, so they keep coming back. So, it's extremely, extremely important for us to be able to have personalization.
Julian : Data silos suck, single source of truth, how important is that for the modern marketer?
Matt Seifert: Very important. Absolutely. I mean, it's important to have everything in one location, so you're able to see that 360 view of the customer. I think that's something that we all strive to have and we all work towards having.
Julian : And you guys are North America only?
Matt Seifert: So, we're in US and Canada and we ship directly to our customer's door.