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Case Study: Runkeeper Employs MessageGears’ Solution to Improve Customer Experience

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The Challenge

Leading fitness tracking app, Runkeeper, depends heavily on marketing and transactional emails to maintain communications with its users. Campaigns around fitness events and marathons, and automated communications such as welcome emails and achievement notifications, have affirmed email as a vital tool for the well-known smartphone app.

Runkeeper was facing many frustrating challenges with their existing email platform: complex integrations, long list-building and content processing cycles, and the inability to utilize their extensive internal user data. As an example, if a campaign was delayed, Runkeeper would have to re-pull and upload their email list, a process that took several hours.

Having dedicated a lot of resources to their existing data warehouse, Runkeeper wished to have a deeper understanding of their email marketing efforts through real-time access to more granular data. Furthermore, with 70% of their 30 million users located outside of the U.S., they were looking for ways to effectively communicate with their users in their language in an automated fashion.

“Our email campaigns are so highly customized and micro-targeted, they often involved building lists days ahead of time to upload into our old ESP, which then required last minute engineering resources, frequently causing delays in emails being sent out,” says Erin Glabets, Director of Marketing at Runkeeper. “For example, when we created a campaign in which users who tracked themselves running a holiday 5k were awarded a t-shirt, our engineers had to set-up a trigger and the marketing team had to manually pull data days in advance. This situation wasn’t unique – sending out any form of personalized emails was a very manual process for us. Finally we came to the conclusion that we must streamline the process of gathering and utilizing data for our campaigns, while also ensuring that messages were being delivered on time and to the right users.”

 

The Solution

Since partnering with MessageGears and implementing the hybrid email marketing solution, efficiency has increased ten-fold at Runkeeper. Team members are now able to create campaigns and access customer data faster and easier than ever before because they have direct access to their data warehouse.  Coding processes that originally required several hours of manpower have been reduced to 45 minutes, which also includes the capability to create and edit content templates. “MessageGears has helped us take back valuable engineering time and enabled our marketing team to work independently, reducing the need for technical resources for email campaigns,” said Glabets.

“With this solution, we are now able to use data more effectively in our emails, and view email results in real-time, allowing us to dramatically improve campaign performance. The ability to better understand our users and provide the communication they require helps us to improve our relationships with them,” said Glabets.

Sustaining these relationships requires relevant and personal content. “As we looked at other email marketing providers, we had difficulties finding a solution that could streamline timely personalization and critical scheduling processes” said Glabets. “MessageGears has been very proactive in making constant improvements to their solution based on our feedback, and as such has been able to make quick updates that meet our automation and content needs.”

 

The Benefits

Runkeeper has seen tremendous benefits on many fronts since partnering with MessageGears, including:

    • Elimination of Complex Integrations Since MessageGears’ software connects directly to Runkeeper’s internal data warehouse, there’s no longer a need for replication and constant syncing of customer data. Now, if the marketing team decides a campaign needs to be delayed, they don’t have to go back and manually pull the latest data. Their customer data is queried as campaigns go out the door, ensuring the latest and freshest information is used.
    • Tremendous Efficiency Gains Automated processes and content queues have dramatically reduced the time associated with creating email campaigns. Runkeeper’s marketing team is now able to manage and enhance their email programs themselves without ongoing I.T. involvement.
    • Ability to Send Relevant and Timely Communications A key initiative for Runkeeper was to create emails that incorporated content that users wanted based on their demographics, unique performance, and user attributes. With MessageGears, Runkeeper can quickly access even the most granular pieces of customer data and use it to send timely communications. For a recent holiday 5k campaign, they set up one query and used it to send a follow-up message the next day automatically. “With our previous system, we wouldn’t have been able to do that,” said Glabets.
    • Deeper Understanding of Email Programs Because MessageGears provides a unified view of their marketing and transactional messages, Runkeeper has comprehensive insight into their entire email program. Real-time, actionable analytics now allow their teams to optimize campaigns quickly and effectively.

“We have found a valuable email partner with MessageGears,” said Glabets. “They have helped us fully automate our transactional and marketing email processes to become more efficient, saving us a lot of time and money. We collect a lot of data from our users and now we are able to better serve them based on their individual needs.”

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