Customer Retention Begins with Context: Guest Interview with Bryan Finke of YesMail Interactive

by: Kathleen Martin

Outlier got a recent opportunity to interview Bryan Finke, Vice President Communications and Customer Experience Strategies at YesMail Interactive. An award-winning Enterprise Email and Marketing Solutions provider, YesMail is headquartered in Portland with additional offices located in nearly every major city in the U.S. and internationally.

YesMail may have been dubbed an Email Marketing provider, but the company’s capabilities involve a much more intricate combination of multi-channel communications and intelligence (integrating campaigns across email, mobile, web and social media) plus the creative and strategic resources to provide top-notch design and content creation.

Bryan’s entrepreneurial beginnings, however, came several years earlier while he was a student at the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Entrepreneurship in the mid-90s. It was in these years that the worldwide web was just starting to really fire up:

“I started my first agency while I was in graduate school at University of Oregon,” says Finke. “It was mainly for small marketers who hadn’t yet discovered the web and were still firmly embedded in direct mail as their main marketing tool. Our goal was simply to help bring them up to speed with the modern marketing tools that were rapidly becoming available to them.”

This experience led Finke to Nike, where he would act as a consultant during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics games (the first real internet campaign for the mega-brand) followed by another decade driving Nike’s digital strategy as head of the U.S. digital team.

After additional stints launching sustainable outdoor apparel brand NAU and recrafting the Danner and LaCrosse brands for LaCrosse Footwear, Bryan moved on to his current role as VP of Strategies at YesMail, where he helps guide YesMail clients towards better customer retention and higher customer acquisition rates.

“There are two basic reasons our engagements begin,” he says. “Either a client doesn’t really know who their customers are, or they have not yet identified where the best new opportunities reside. They want to understand their customer segments so they can identify what their best customer looks like."

"We help them with powerful data analytics that can effectively analyze data across multiple channels for both psychographic and demographic information. This helps them understand their user behavior more clearly. Once we get there, we can begin to build out a road map for engagement.”

Additional opportunities--and challenges--are also where YesMail assists their clients, as access to Big Data improves and the increase of mobile access to email shifts the relevance and context of email communications.

“The mobile impact on email is huge,” Bryan tells us. “Consumers increasingly prefer mobile to manage their emails, but that brings with it all-new challenges when it comes to messaging and Calls to Action.”

YesMail’s ability to capture, analyze and then act on this data is what makes the platform so powerful. That being said, Bryan notes, getting started is still a fairly straightforward process.

“The best steps you can take to get started are simply to define your objectives. Once you’re clear on those, it will make it easier to understand what data you already have and how you can be relevant to your audience.”

Finally Finke advises, “Find a good partner that does know the space. Let them help you build a strategic plan and phased implementation that promises the most benefits.”

“Our job is really to find creative ways to solve problems for people. What we do at YesMail is half art and half science, working together to find a solution or new experience for our clients that gets great results and leaves a lasting impression.”

-Interviewed by Kathleen Martin.

Outlier

Video, Web, and Design Agency