My Take on Emarsys Revolution London 2018

This year Emarsys organized its annual European user conference “Revolution” in London. I already attended the previous year when it was hosted in Berlin and enjoyed it a lot.

I was looking forward to learning more in their interactive live sessions and training labs, listening to partner showcases and reconnecting with partners and colleagues.

Emarsys and Yieldr

So who is Emarsys? Emarsys is the largest independent marketing platform company in the world. Their software enables omnichannel interaction between marketers and customers.

And why did I go? Our Yieldr Air app is integrated with Emarsys. This means our clients can push their audience segments seamlessly from our platform to Emarsys and then set up their Emarsys campaigns.

Emarsys Partner Summit

Before the actual Revolution event, Emarsys held their first ever partner summit. I was thrilled to be invited as it was a great opportunity to meet other partners and catch up with “my” Emarsys contacts in a smaller venue. This made it easier to find people and network.

To put things into perspective: At the partners summit there were 50 of us, and at the actual Revolution event there were more than 1,000 attendees.  

The main purpose of the partner summit was to catch up with each other and see a few presentations about new products and use cases.

For me, it was very interesting to hear how other partners work with Emarsys. The key pieces of advice I got from them is to make sure to sell use cases and not your product, and to use all the training and networking opportunities offered by Emarsys.

All longtime partners were really satisfied with their Emarsys partnerships. This is a nice confirmation for partners like us who have only been working with Emarsys for the past year.

Revolution London

The actual Revolution event kicked off after lunch on Monday, with a bunch of very good keynotes spread over Monday to Wednesday. As expected, most of the content was retail-related. However, there was still some useful info for me.

Key takeaways:

  • Human-driven personalization doesn't scale, AI does.
  • Don’t be data-driven, be data-led.
  • Customers want you to personalize, but don’t be creepy. Be clever with the data you collect.

Ohad Hecht, CEO of Emarsys, reminded us that we are consumers first, marketers only second. He also linked dropping customer satisfaction to a lack of personalization.

The two keynotes that stood out the most for me were from Jo Malone and Brendan Witcher.

Jo Malone, CBE, Founder of Jo Malone, Author

Jo Malone did a very inspiring keynote. It focused on her story and how she built her brand without a lot of money or education but by knowing her clients. She was able to built a million dollar business, which in the end was snapped up by Estée Lauder for an undisclosed sum.

For me the main takeaways from her keynote were:

  • "Sorry" and "thank you" are important words in Sales. Say them!
  • She had no business qualifications whatsoever, but she knows her customers. This shows the value of personalization.
  • Stay true to who you are (the wrong color choice for her new brand Jo Loves haunted her for years).
  • Don’t be afraid to start small.
  • Innovation, integrity and inspiration go hand in hand. She had people walk around NY for 3 months with empty Jo Loves shopping bags and hit $1 million a few months after the shop opened.

Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst, Expert on E-commerce, Consumer Behavior, and Tech

This was one of my favourite keynotes! I recommend watching it.

Witcher emphasized that we need to understand our clients’ trigger points. He presented a survey result where 61% of people agreed with the statement "I am unlikely to return to a website that does not provide a satisfactory customer experience." The keyword is “satisfactory”– this is a very dangerous and subjective interpretation.

"We need to be customer obsessed... which requires us to be data-led."

Being customer obsessed and data-driven are not relevant anymore. We need to be data-led. For example, Amazon gives a 5% profit margin on groceries whereas the regular margin on groceries is only 3%. This is the value of your data to them.

Using only one touchpoint like in traditional segmentation (“major minority” ) is not beneficial in his view.

More from Revolution London

The second day consisted of breakout sessions with partners and clients sharing their success stories and experiences. There was lots of input and I learned a lot about email deliverability, dynamic content and the necessity of A/B testing.

I don’t want to go into too much detail as it would make this blog post an e-book, but the A/B testing content outlined again how important it is to know your clients.

Brandsal, a retailer from Norway, had very surprising results when they tested the same campaign in two different countries they thought were quite similar.

The different reactions of Norwegian and Swedish consumers to the same campaign.

What I also found interesting is that most marketers seem to focus only on traditional metrics such as open rates and click-through rates. But hidden metrics are important too, such as engagement, moving an email from the spam folder to the inbox and forwarding an email.

Beth Horn, Facebook’s Industry Head of UK Retail & Restaurants, reiterated on the closing day that the D2C – direct-to-consumer – disruption is mainly happening on mobile, by mundane products such as glasses, food and shaving products.

This disruption is happening by focusing on the end to end customer experience. And to provide this experience you need to know what your client wants, which circles back to being data-led.


Emarsys Revolution is obviously focused on retail, not on travel technology. But was it worth it? Yes!

This was the second time I went to Emarsys Revolution and I always find inspiring content that can be applied to our business and our clients. You need to look for inspiration from different angles, not just from the “confinements” of your exact industry.

Remember: the first drive-through was not invented by a fast food restaurant as you might think, but by a bank – so it’s important to keep an open mind.

And one final thing: Emarsys definitely know how to organize events. :)

Heike Neu

Heike Neu

Head of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development