When KISS Senior Account Executive Lacey Thornton was a teenager, she dreamed of a career in acting or singing. But a BTEC in Performing Arts soon put paid to that. “I lost the love for it,” Lacey admits. “I decided not to go to university after sixth form, because it wasn’t for me. So I looked around for something that was going to open doors for me”
Cambridge Regional College, Lacey’s nearest tertiary college, was offering apprenticeships in partnership with local companies – including KISS. An Admin Apprenticeship beckoned, which led to a Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration.
“The admin route provided lots of opportunities and it opens your eyes to what’s available within a company. I chose an agency because the variety of work appealed to me and I wanted something creative. The apprenticeship was the best way to get me into work and to be earning money at the same time.”
Rotations to different departments
On-the-job learning was supplemented by college assignments and various tasks that had to be signed off. KISS has had a number of interns and apprentices who have joined the agency, several of whom have gone on to become long-term members of staff. Lacey’s apprenticeship saw her do rotations to different parts of the business, working alongside web developers and the marketing and PR account service teams.
“You get to see different industries and you get to work with clients that are also in different industries. You naturally come to realise which bits you’re most interested in,” she says.
The apprenticeship led to a permanent job at KISS as an Account Executive with a specialism in email marketing. KISS provides a range of clients with support for their email marketing, helping them increase customer engagement. This is done on the Mapp platform, which integrates multiple data sources for personalisation of digital marketing campaigns. Lacey started out working on a major email campaign with Pizza Hut, then began managing accounts for new clients when KISS started working more closely with Mapp.
“Mapp seemed like a great opportunity when we partnered with them. Clients receive support with their email marketing strategies and are able to take advantage of our creative services. We’ve just completed some work to improve functionality on Virgin’s Limited Edition website, which came about because we worked with them on their email marketing.”
Improving click-through rates
One of KISS’s biggest email marketing clients, and one of Lacey’s key accounts, is banking payment services provider Bacs. KISS has sent more than two million emails on behalf of Bacs and continues to plan, manage and report on its email campaigns. The agency also works with clients in industries including aviation and education. Clients are often surprised what factors can influence click-through rates for their target audience.
“I think the most interesting thing, particularly on the analytics side, is understanding readers, because something that you think is going to make them open an email actually doesn’t. They don’t always click the obvious links, for example. And it’s interesting to look at customer reading journeys, because you can see who clicked on what link first. It’s fascinating to see how readers think and what makes them open an email and what makes good content. It’s different for all brands and all products.”
Lacey advises clients on many aspects of their email campaigns, from image placement to wording and the order of the links to segmenting audiences. One in three emails, sometimes completely legitimate ones, are counted as spam and go into customers’ junkmail folders, so there are strategies to try to avoid that happening too. And the time of day that an email is sent can be critical for open rates. For example, consumer emails that relate to hobbies can sometimes have more likelihood of being read if they are sent over the weekend, while emails aimed at mothers of young children stand most chance of being read if they arrive early evening, just after the kids have gone to bed.
She is such an advocate of email marketing, or e-comms, that she plans to continue specialising in it the future. And she won’t hear of other mediums eclipsing it – not for the time being anyway.
“You hear so much about ‘email is dying’. But you just have to remember how often people are looking at their emails. Just because there are other platforms, Facebook or messaging apps, most people still check their emails several times a day. And how many platforms let you hear about the things that you still hear about on email? Offers from brands, news – it’s absolutely not dead at all. It’s still massive!”
If you are interested in talking to KISS about apprenticeships then send us an email.