Customers who receive relevant emails based on in-the-moment circumstances will respond with higher clickthrough rates, conversions, and revenue. Currently in beta and receiving rave reviews from retailers such as True Religion Brand Jeans, Monetate Engage allows marketers to build relationships and improve customer retention with the help of smarter, more relevant emails.

Senior product manager, Nicole Kerr, who is joined by engineers Patrick O’Brien and Chris Conley to form this small, but nimble, group, leads the Engage development team. I recently sat down with all three, joined by Tom Janofsky, Monetate’s senior vice president of delivery and engineering, to get a behind-the-scenes look at what went into the creation of Monetate Engage.

Monetate Engage Engineers

Monetate Engineers Patrick O’Brien and Chris Conley.

Q: Who will benefit the most from Engage?

NK: The email marketer who understands the benefits of personalization on the website, but never really thought doing the same thing at open time in their emails was possible, will love Engage. Also, Engage benefits email marketers who always wanted to have a consistent customer experience on their website and in their email marketing program.

Then there’s triggered messaging, which is really what makes Engage so powerful. Once a specific event occurs on a website, marketers can trigger an email that is extremely relevant to that specific visitor in the moment, offering a one-to-one experience between them and the customer.

PO: Up until now, performance of certain technographics like browser, OS, and device information was not readily available to the email marketer to do some simple campaign targeting. Being able to provide this, and other customer information to email marketers, will provide a level of personalization in emails that they never thought was possible.

Q: What was the biggest aha moment during product development?

TJ: I think moving some of the content and experiences from the website into email is a really natural business extension for us. It’s giving the marketer the same kinds of capabilities they have on-site, but in their email interactions. Collectively, we were pretty surprised how straightforward that was to do. When you look at some of the Engage product requirements compared to what we do on websites, we’re not even close to where we can be.

CC: I agree with Tom. Being able to use a lot of what we’ve done on the web and applying it to email was probably the biggest surprise. We’ve definitely learned a lot from developing for websites over the years that readily translates to email.

PO: Another interesting moment came early in development when we tested location or store targeting and realized that mobile geolocation detection is severely inaccurate, sometimes hundreds of miles from the correct location. Accuracy improves when the mobile device is connected via Wi-Fi, so we had to give marketers the option to show default content based on how the user was connected.

Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to the potential of Monetate Engage?

NK: I love the idea that you can take on-site behavior and analytics from your website, and apply it to messaging in your emails. While the concept of “open-time personalization” might not be new to everyone, combining the knowledge about a website visitor with the ability to take action in email is pretty powerful.

PO: Building off of what Nicole said, to be able to combine high-performing or high-potential customer segments revealed using LivePredict, and message to those groups in email based on the date and time they open an email, weather where they are located, or what they’ve done on the websites since they email was sent is really a new way to do email marketing. Before Engage, marketers were limited to getting new creative for different versions of an email and sending them.

TJ: While we’re in beta, and even after our early January public release, we’ll continue to strive to understand how the email marketer works and how we can help. We have a pretty good understanding of the technical part, so we want to focus on how marketers are actually using Engage and fill in the gaps.

Click here for more information about Monetate Engage.