Ask the Expert: “Customers Don’t Experience Data, They Experience Content”

  • September 9, 2020
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They say that “actions speak louder than words.”

Well, so do images, says Movable Ink, the NYC-headquartered company that helps digital marketers “create unique, relevant and compelling visual experiences across email, web and display.”

The Movable Ink ethos is that visual creative moves people. And move people it does. The company, which marks its 10-year anniversary in October, recently announced that it has raised $30m in Series C funding.

Movable Ink works with more than 700 of the “world’s most innovative brands” and, through its Movable Ink Exchange, alongside Phrasee, it also partners with Oracle Commerce Cloud, Trustpilot and the like.

Phrasee connected with Adam Stambleck, the Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Client Officer at Movable Ink.

Adam talked about the core brand value that has helped Movable Ink to weather the COVID-19 storm, the company’s increased levels of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty during the coronavirus crisis and its unique role in mobilizing voters, volunteers and donors in the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

“Customers don’t experience data, they experience content. Marketers have real-time data, but their content is static.”
Adam Stambleck – Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Client Officer, Movable Ink

Phrasee: For the benefit of some of our readers who may not necessarily be familiar with Movable Ink, please provide a thumbnail sketch of how brands can use the technology platform to improve their day-to-day marketing operations. 

Adam: Customers don’t experience data, they experience content. Marketers have real-time data, but their content is static. Their production process can’t deliver personalized creative at scale to support all of these one-to-one interactions.

Movable Ink helps digital marketers take data and activate it into real-time, personalized creative. Our content easily connects to relevant data (no matter where it lives), updates based on a recipient’s most recent interactions and is generated by the platform at the moment of engagement. It works anywhere there are pixels in front of a consumer’s eyes and it’s a powerful extension of existing technologies that marketers use today.

Phrasee: Most companies believe they are customer-centric. However, various studies – including a 2014 SAP survey – show that the reality is the polar opposite. How does Movable Ink stand out as a genuinely customer-centric company?  

Adam: Most technology companies and marketing clouds give you technology and then have you work with an agency to use it.

We wanted to make our platform low-code and as easy as possible to use. We also wanted to surround our customers with strategists and platform experts – otherwise known as our Client Experience team – to help them meet their objectives.

Ten years later, we have some of the highest Net Promoter Scores in the industry and these scores have gone up even higher during COVID-19. Every CMO I speak to is focused on customer experience and delivering a more personalized experience to their customers. This is exactly what Movable Ink makes it possible for them to achieve across channels and we are excited about helping them get there.

Phrasee: Explain how Movable Ink’s experience of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 helped to prepare it for COVID-19, both in terms of supporting clients in an adverse business climate and facilitating staff working from home.  

Adam: Movable Ink has three core values that the company was founded on and which guide our decision-making – from new hires to client interactions – namely: curiosity, empathy and grit. Because these values are baked into our company’s DNA and are actually practiced every day, we were (and are) well-prepared to navigate through challenging times of all kinds.

Grit had us well-prepared to deal with Sandy eight years ago as well as to continue supporting clients during the current COVID-19 crisis. However, empathy has guided the team’s efforts both internally (with everyone working from home and the challenges they face) and externally (with clients in hard-hit sectors, like travel and retail). We focus on long-term client partnerships. So, we have tried to be flexible with clients going through challenging times and know this will pay off in the long run.

Phrasee: Despite being in the early stages of lockdown due to COVID-19, Dixons Carphone saw its online sales increase by 166%. This was, in part, due to the company’s use of the Movable Ink platform. What can you tell us about the Dixons Carphone-Movable Ink model that other brands can replicate?

Adam: Dixons Carphone’s success during COVID-19 reinforces the need for brands to never fear or resist adapting to new business models as consumer behaviors and preferences shift. The pandemic accelerated everything, but this ethos holds true regardless of what is causing change. You either invest in impactful technology or you won’t be around.

There are two interrelated aspects of the strategy that Dixons Carphone employed with Movable Ink that all brands can look to and replicate. One is about internal resources and productivity and the other is about the consumer experience. Both are optimized through automation.

Automating personalized content creation enabled the Dixons Carphone team to double its campaign output. By freeing up internal creative resources, the team could focus more on higher-level strategy and planning around the customer experience.

Likewise, automation enables marketers to harness data to create compelling experiences tailored for every customer. For Dixons Carphone, this included pulling information directly from its website including pricing, product recommendations, stock and even hero messaging.

“Automation enables marketers to harness data to create compelling experiences tailored for every customer.”
Adam Stambleck – Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Client Officer, Movable Ink

Phrasee: Movable Ink works with more than 700 brands – many of them household names, including the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The organization believes that visual, personalized emails can win the day in the forthcoming US Presidential Election. This is where Movable Ink comes in. Describe the personalization element involved in this process.

Adam: During this Presidential Election cycle, the DNC has really embraced personalization in its campaigns. A few examples of the different kinds of data sources the DNC is using to power its emails to mobilize voters, volunteers and donors include:

  1. API Data Source: Movable Ink integrated directly with the DNC’s Mobilize API to bring virtual and in-person event information into email. Upon opening an email for a Debate Watch Party, recipients would see the closest event to their ZIP code and a map showing where the event was taking place (pre-COVID-19). However, post-COVID-19, recipients could RSVP to a Virtual Watch Party for the June 2, 2020 Democratic Party primary results.
  2. CSV Data Source: For state ballot personalization, Movable Ink hosted a CSV file with copy for each state. Based on the state – passed via a variable field from the email service provider – users saw creative that was relevant to their community.
  3. CRM Data Personalization: Movable Ink enabled the DNC to personalize and bring to life supporter data such as name, city of residence, donor status, donation ask and supporter goal – all in a visually compelling way.

Phrasee: You once said that you “believe in mastering new digital technologies to help clients reach, engage and deliver value to their customers while generating ROI for their company.” Detail the role that digital technology has played in Movable Ink achieving these four objectives.

Adam: This is a great place to spotlight the Movable Ink Exchange – a marketplace of innovative digital technologies for marketers (including Phrasee!) and many other partner solutions and integrations.

With Movable Ink Exchange, clients can explore and discover an extensive offering of solutions for subject line optimization, next-best actions, loyalty, reviews, recommendations, user-generated content and more.

By enabling partner solutions in the exchange, marketers can use Movable Ink to maximize the ROI of their existing Martech stack investments.

Phrasee: We appreciate that Movable Ink’s AI investment plans are in their embryonic stages and are therefore under wraps, but what can you tell us about the recent appointment of Ashutosh Malaviya, the Vice President of AI at Movable Ink?

Adam: With our new product release next year, 2021 is going to be a transformational year for us, our clients and the industry.

Ash joined us in August, having successfully co-founded several startups and held senior AI and engineering leadership positions at digital analytics and e-commerce companies. He and the Movable Ink leadership team share a common vision for AI’s tremendous long-term potential to drive marketing innovation.

Looking for more industry expertise?

Check out the rest of our Ask the Expert series.

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