To be global, locally
Founded in San Francisco more than 40 years ago, DHL Express is the global market leader in the international express courier business, with a parcel delivery network spanning more than 220 countries and territories.
Lori Folts, DHL’s Head of Marketing Communications for the Americas, acknowledges that working in a ‘Globally Local’ way presents a complex challenge. Lori’s region covers more than 40 countries in which five main languages are spoken (American-English, Caribbean-English, Portuguese, Spanish and Caribbean-French). Furthermore, in a typical sales cycle, which can last from three to nine months, DHL can send out up to 400,000 emails.
dotMailer provides a fully managed campaign service to DHL, including an email template translation service into six languages.“The template translation process dotMailer implemented is highly effective. The service saves us a great deal of time in copy proofing and makes the turnaround a great deal faster,” says Lori.
Along with the multiple language translations required by DHL, they also needed an email service provider that could react fluidly to the cultural differences of the countries they are dealing with. “I know that agencies who work from a US central office are often challenged by multi-country programmes. They simply adopt a one-size fits all approach,” says Lori. “However, not all country cultures, government laws and operating practices allow for the same approach. You have to be flexible.”
The bespoke email template designs dotMailer created for DHL globally were driven by DHL’s brand guidelines and style, ensuring brand consistency. “The templates offer such quick replication with customisation, we gain huge economies of scale – saving time and money – and reducing rework for countries with very few resources,” comments Lori.
“We have noticed that operating smoothly across cultural boundaries comes very easily to the people on the dotMailer team,” observes Lori. “This is very valuable to us because the people on the dotMailer team take multi-country needs and requests in stride. They understand the need to be continually aware of how different cultures operate and make adjustments and changes accordingly.”
dotMailer provides DHL Americas with a complete, centrally managed email service, which includes providing analytics detailing the results of all campaigns.
Lori believes having this kind of centralised intelligence has been a key factor in helping to determine the effectiveness of direct e-marketing to new accounts. “dotMailer provides a performance report, so DHL can monitor open and click through rates, bounce-back rates and tag each e-DM to new accounts and incremental revenue associated with each e-mail contact. It is a business driver.”
The relationship today
“With dotMailer we have a system that runs like clockwork” says Lori. Any challenges raised by the differences in time zones between dotMailer HQ and the DHL territories were dealt with by an e-direct marketing management process that delivers efficient, streamlined communication.
“Much of the execution is completed by dotMailer at night. When we wake up our inboxes are full of answers and completed work to start our day. We have an excellent relationship, and enjoy outstanding service from the people on our account team. It is comparable to having a guaranteed ‘next day’ delivery.”
Going the extra mile
To highlight the way the dotMailer team consistently ‘goes the extra mile’ Lori quotes one small, but cogent, example. “During a promotion, the material for dotMailer had been cleared by all the right people in the chain, when Tom, our Service Delivery Manager at dotMailer, noticed that the photo did not correlate well with the copy text we made the change. Tom paid attention and cared about the business aspect of the campaign, beyond his duties to technically uploading and sending the email. It’s this kind of care and attention to detail – giving the mail a final proof and alerting us to something not being quite right, that underpins our confidence in working with dotMailer. They care,” she continues.
Driving ROI through subject line and content testing
By utilising split testing, dotMailer gives DHL the ability to target different subject lines and content, and compare their results and effectiveness. This successful on-going split testing programme has highlighted, amongst other things, that using pictures of culturally relevant people significantly improves response rates, compared to using generic shots.
Skip Fidura believes that one reason for the relationship’s success is that the two companies have worked together to develop a service that is totally tailored to DHL. “We’ve learnt from them, and it has been very much a mutual exchange of best practice,” said Skip.
Talking to Lori Folts, there is no doubt that she is satisfied with the relationship that dotMailer and DHL have built. “We’ve worked hard to learn from each other and build an efficient, effective and successful approach to direct email campaigns. We couldn’t have done that without the dedication, skill and knowledge of dotMailer’s people. I don’t think of dotMailer as a separate organisation, I see them as an integral part of my communications team, delivering a quality service that goes far beyond just taking in content and sending out emails.”