Ask the expert: How sophisticated marketers should use their data

An interview with MessageGears' Taylor Jones

There’s more data about our audiences than ever before, but how can marketers use it all in a smart way? We had a chat with Taylor Jones, Co-Founder and VP of Customer Success at MessageGears, and he had several ideas that you might want to jot down as you head into the peak retail season.

Here’s what Taylor had to say…

Phrasee: What do you recommend your clients do to stand out in the inbox during this busy time?

Taylor: Our first thing we recommend to all our clients when planning their campaigns is to wear party hats. We can’t explain why it works but we’ve seen significant lift in ROI when marketers wear party hats during planning.

Just like party hats make people feel special, so does being addressed with their name or maybe their favorite items curated in a message from their favorite brand.

With more access to their live data, brands have more options for customer interaction and relevance at scale. Why send an email with an online offer code to a customer who lives next door to a store? Why send a push notification for an in-store coupon for a customer who lives out of state? Utilizing what customer data is available enhances the availability of true-moments based marketing. This is groundbreaking in a world where the modern customer is constantly evolving with technology and needs.

Phrasee: What’s your advice for marketers who want to make the most of their data?

Taylor: OK follow this recipe extremely carefully: sautée the data in maple syrup for at least 15 minutes on high, or until you reach your one-to-one personalization goals. In all seriousness though, brands are collecting more data on their customers than ever before, and MessageGears lets them dream + do whatever they want with that customer data, even if it’s covered in syrup.

Consistent brand messaging is now a customer expectation, and personalized emails are the new normal. Customers have higher expectations when it comes to brand interaction and user experience; not to mention, more privacy concerns. Which is particularly pertinent for MessageGears, because we do not hold any PII, security teams and marketing teams can check off all their boxes.

"Excellent personalization isn’t noticeable, it’s natural."

Taylor Jones, MessageGears

Phrasee: What do you think should be email’s role in the overall customer journey?

Taylor: Email is traditional, email is safe, and when done correctly it is extremely effective. Email is also the most used channel for both triggered and automated marketing messages. The advantage email presents for marketers is that, an email is there in the inbox for customers to come back to later, and with MessageGears Engage in particular, content can dynamically update based on email render and customer data. Push notifications and SMS are more invasive but don’t keep customers’ attention spans for long periods of time.

The key for us at MessageGears is that all messages should come in a consistent manner, with one single view of the customer so our clients can effectively market to each person uniquely.

Phrasee: What do you think good personalization & targeting looks like?

Taylor: At MessageGears, we don’t have good personalization and targeting, we have exceptional personalization and targeting capabilities.

Have you ever gotten an email with the wrong name? Worse yet, the [insert name here] text? We all have, and we all have been annoyed by it.

Excellent personalization isn’t noticeable, it’s natural. Say you get an email from Starbucks with your favorite order. You may go grab a coffee on Monday. By Wednesday they send you a push notification for another coffee, perhaps more points on their app, or a happy hour deal. By then, you’ve purchased three or four coffees that week all due to positive brand interactions, relevance, and natural habits.

Phrasee: What problem(s) were you trying to solve when founding MessageGears?

Taylor: At the time, we asked ourselves, what are the needs of the sophisticated marketer? How can we help them get the most out of their customer data? All the while keeping in mind the needs of their customer.

Reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message is everything in a world that is constantly changing. Outbound marketing channels; email, push, SMS, and social media are the outlets now, but it is our responsibility to prepare for the future, so building a solution that would be flexible and adaptable was paramount.

We used a data-first hybrid approach that lives directly alongside our client’s data in their modern data warehouse, so there is no need for copying and syncing data or paying extra for services. We built our platform with the client in mind, providing them with everything they need to market intelligently to their customers without the back and forth between IT/data teams and marketing teams. Both teams then have more time to do what they do best and not worry about moving data around and how to keep it up-to-date or safe.


As you head into the peak retail season, we’ll keep bringing you tips, strategies, and advice from the smartest people we can find. Luckily, we know a lot of smart people (psst, you’re one of them). Here’s to making this peak season the best yet!

Looking for more industry expertise?

Check out the rest of our Ask the Expert series.