This Is What Happened When vineyard vines Got Serious About Personalized Email Marketing


vineyard vines, a company best known for its whimsical neckties and smiling pink whale logo, was founded in 1998 on Martha’s Vineyard when brothers Shep and Ian Murray cut their ties with corporate America to start making ties that represented the “good life.” In addition to signature neckwear, vineyard vines offers a variety of clothing and accessories for men, women and children. The retailer has grown tremendously since its 1998 launch, expanding to over 90 retail locations and building a successful e-commerce business.

In an effort to better connect with customers and capitalize on the growing e-commerce market, vineyard vines began to explore opportunities to give its online marketing activities a boost. Along the way, the retailer quickly realized the power of personalization and decided to overhaul its existing batch and blast approach to email marketing in order to engage with customers at a 1:1 level.

“With the batch and blast campaigns, we were sending the exact same message and static images to millions of people, and that just isn’t the best way to communicate with customers. We began to see a lift in metrics as we got more focused, and that let us know we were on the right track. Now, we aim to have relevant conversations with our customers based on how they shop to demonstrate that we care about what they want and can curate their experiences based on that,” explains Steve Sommers, vineyard vines CMO.

vineyard vines started out using Bluecore for triggered emails for abandoned carts, abandoned searches and abandoned browses. After seeing high ROI on those initial campaigns, the retailer decided to expand its use of the decisioning platform. Since then, vineyard vines’ ROI has only increased, with some of the most powerful results coming from campaigns built around Bluecore’s Predictive Audiences. “We knew Bluecore is good at what they do, and they made it easy for us to jumpstart our efforts to send more relevant, personalized emails to customers. Today, every email we send with Bluecore is based on a customer’s personal engagement with our brand,” Sommers says.

The marketing team points to three efforts in particular that have really moved the needle for vineyard vines.

1) Expanding email reach without sacrificing relevance. Bluecore’s Predictive Audiences have helped the vineyard vines team increase the volume of recipients for email campaigns while maintaining a very personalized approach. Specifically, the team has launched featured product campaigns to a combination of two audiences:

  • Customers who viewed the product
  • Customers with a high affinity toward the product

Layering in the affinity audience has proven extremely successful for vineyard vines, with campaigns that take this approach seeing stronger engagement and higher revenue than both batch and blast campaigns (which hit a large number of customers but are not targeted) and abandoned browse campaigns (which are targeted but hit a significantly smaller subset of customers).

For example, vineyard vines used this approach to promote holiday-themed products for both St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Initially, the marketing team planned to email customers who had browsed these products, but with Bluecore’s Predictive Audiences they were able to expand the list of recipients to include customers who had a high affinity toward the products.


  • St. Patrick’s Day campaign: Audience increased from 3K to 239K with addition of affinity predictions, while there was a 68 percent higher open rate and 572 percent higher revenue per email (RPE) than regular batch and blast campaigns

  • Easter: Audience increased from 5K to 150K with addition of affinity predictions; and there was a 77 percent higher open rate and 759 percent higher RPE than regular batch and blast campaigns

“With Bluecore, we can build a campaign and get it out the door and making money for us in a matter of minutes,” says Elise Sondheim, CRM Specialist at vineyard vines.

2) Going cross-channel with a strategic purpose. vineyard vines has also tapped Bluecore’s Predictive Audiences to improve its cross-channel marketing efforts in a very strategic manner. For instance, the retailer’s social team has used Predictive Audiences to determine which customers are unlikely to open or click emails and then target those customers on Facebook instead. vineyard vines has seen positive results from these campaigns, including a 182 percent lift in ROI.

Based on its initial success, vineyard vines plans to extend this approach to even more channels. First up is an anti-churn campaign that targets at-risk customers through direct mail. The team believes this campaign will offer a powerful opportunity to re-engage with these customers in a new (or old, as the case may be) way.

3) Understanding customers in new ways with Audience Insights. While Predictive Audiences has proven extremely effective for vineyard vines, the team is excited to take its efforts to the next level with Bluecore’s new Audience Insights, a dashboard that surfaces retail-focused insights for specific groups of customers.

The team found that Audience Insights made it easy to decide what to do next based on both customer needs and engagement with products. In terms of customer needs, the ability to map customers to different lifecycle stages helped the vineyard vines team home in on which customers to target first, such as those who are at-risk. Looking at engagement with products, the team found significant value in Bluecore’s designation of “hidden gems,” or products with low traffic but high conversion rates. This designation clued the team in on the products to which they should drive more traffic through targeted campaigns.

When vineyard vines combined the intelligence from Audience Insights with predictive filters, the results were impressive. For instance, after finding that several kid’s products landed in the “hidden gems” category, the team decided to create a “Kid’s Weekly Best Sellers” campaign to drive more traffic to those products. They targeted customers who previously browsed kid’s products, have a high-to-medium likelihood to open emails and are unlikely to unsubscribe. Within the first 24 hours, the campaign brought in an 81 percent higher RPE than the batch and blast kid’s email campaigns.

“Bluecore gives us the opportunity to speak on a 1:1 basis with our customers and allows us to get more nitty gritty with the campaigns that we run. Having data about our customers’ activities as well as their likelihood to take certain actions and then being able to make quick marketing decisions and launch campaigns o of that data is really working for us,” according to the vineyard vines CRM team.

Going forward, vineyard vines will be using the insights from Bluecore to extend personalization to more marketing channels, including offline via direct mail and online via onsite personalization.


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