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In our latest State of Email Live webinar, we were joined by Craig Hood, Email & SMS Lead, Global Channel Excellence at AstraZeneca. Poor email engagement is one of the biggest challenges marketers face, and Craig’s experience managing the challenges of a global email program operating in 20 countries made him well worth listening to.

Rafael Viana set the scene with Validity’s latest email analytics, showing global email volumes are already setting new records as we approach this year’s peak sales season. A recent dip in global deliverability is creating downward pressure on open rates (although click rates are holding steady).

This puts the importance of engagement segmentation firmly in the spotlight, especially with recent DMA research showing only two-thirds of email senders have an “active vs. inactive” strategy in place. This has been front-of-mind for AstraZeneca, and Craig shared his top tips:

  • Even when you are achieving great email deliverability, you cannot rest on your laurels. While AstraZeneca achieves near-100% inbox placement rates (IPRs), new deliverability challenges are continually emerging.
  • For Craig, these challenges are made more complex by a multi-market, multi-segment audience that is both B2C and B2B. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen communications with health care professionals (HCP) become more business-critical than ever.
  • To address this, Craig’s team has carried out comprehensive data analysis to build a new engagement segmentation strategy. It specifically targets low-risk, inactive segments for re-engagement and ongoing communication.
  • Specific tactics include detailed bounce log analysis to identify false positive records that would otherwise be flagged for suppression, and extensive use of PowerBI (a Microsoft business analytics service) to identify the low-risk elements of their “Non-Responders” segment.
  • These initiatives have seen HCP engagement increase by 10-15%, while consumer engagement has shown an initial uplift of 14-20%. AstraZeneca is also generally benefitting from improved IPRs and reduced complaint rates.
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As Craig summarized: “You can’t just set it and forget it – we’ll keep on improving our analysis to find increased ways to send more emails to low-risk segments.” We highly recommend listening to the full webinar (below) to learn more about his plans.



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