10 Questions with Philip Storey on Customer Lifecycle Marketing

When it comes to marketing, there are so many articles and resources for what you search, but the chances of finding what might actually help you are quite rare. There is so much wisdom out there that it can be a little exhausting.

That’s why we came up with Freshmarketer 10. This is our humble attempt at fighting this marketing clutter and delivering a little value. We ask 10 questions each to marketing professionals who’ve been there, done that. So you can learn from the pros!

We’ve talked about different marketing topics with marketers who’ve had hands-on experience. We go over marketing campaigns that worked and didn’t. Also, there are great tips and advice in there as well. All of that in 10 questions. No more, no less.

10 Questions with Philip Storey on Customer Lifecycle Marketing 

Philip Storey is the Founder and CEO of the email marketing agency, Enchant. He is an email marketing specialist and has enabled over 500 brands to create a huge impact on the effectiveness of their email marketing, CRM, and paid social media marketing programs. 


1. Tell us about what inspired you to start Enchant and the journey so far.

I was working with a lot of email service providers who had their own culture around email marketing. It was more about share price, and that wasn’t something that resonated with me. I found that there was an incongruence between how I felt email should be, and how the company I was working with did it. I realized that my ideas wouldn’t really fit into another organization, so I decided to create my own. 

Source: enchant.com

It’s been an amazing journey. We’ve worked with hundreds of brands, and reimagined how email can be used as a marketing channel. I’ve spoken about this for many years, the potential to build relationships with people through email is enormous, and this is the Holy Grail of email. Email is a relationship channel. If you go on that journey and start looking at how you can use email to create incredible relationships with people, you can see your real potential. The truth is 90% of people don’t look that far. We just look at the goals of the business, and I think that just a shame. 

We are trying to help companies explore the culture and methodology of creating relationships in the inbox, and that’s why we exist

2. What is customer lifecycle marketing?

Customer lifecycle marketing is about understanding where people are in their relationship with you as a brand and creating a valuable experience at each stage. This will look different for different companies. I believe that lifecycle marketing is about moving with customers’ behavior, listening to their needs and desires, and being able to communicate with value. 

When a customer has purchased something, we treat them like we are running a small shop of our own and seeing them with our own eyes. We need to pay attention to how they see us. This is a concept that a lot of marketers find challenging in the beginning because they don’t see how this will meet their goals. But, if you focus on the customer lifecycle, this is where all the big wins are.

Source: enchant.com

If you can have an amazing automated email program across the whole customer lifecycle and you manage it well, this can make your life as an email marketer quite simple. Getting it set up is another matter. This takes time, and you need to get your company to invest in your ideas and the methodology you want to put around email. But I believe that this is the way forward, and I’ve seen it in the results and customer feedback. When our clients do this, they get great feedback and better results from their campaigns, as well. 

If you can have an amazing automated program across the whole customer lifecycle and you manage it well, this can make your life as an email marketer quite simple.

3. If you’re working on building an email marketing strategy for a fast-growing company, where would you start?

We all know we can do tons of different things, but where do we start is the biggest problem. This is why most companies choose inaction, choosing not to do anything is a choice, and it’s a convenient excuse. The three things that we need to do is, 

  1. know where people are, 
  2. Know what they need, and 
  3. Make what they need 

It’s not just knowing what they want, but knowing what they need. Whether it’s your content or your frequency of contact, you should be r curious about what people are doing, where are they going, what do they desire, and what they like.  Not just when you’re sending an email campaign. 

I think that’s the framework for exploring anything and then choosing what is most valuable. Which one do we believe will be most valuable to our customers rather than where are we going to make all our money. I think when you meet customers’ needs and desires, that’s when you’ll be most successful. 

4. How to determine the success of an email marketing strategy?  

I’m an intuitive marketer, I use my gut, and that scares some people because people love data. There’s definitely too much data, and often, we still ask for more. I believe that this is a big problem in our industry as a whole. You are good at what you do, and as a marketer, you will know what is working. People say that the open rate is a retired metric or that it’s useless, I don’t believe that’s true either. I don’t think any metric is useless. They all play a part. But if you are going to look at one metric, my favorite is revenue per email sent. 

This is a good benchmark to know if you are doing something that is actually creating value for your business. If you have a database of ten million people and you are just looking at conversion rates and engagement rates, it can be incredibly misleading. If you look at the revenue per email sent, and it’s super low, verses a campaign that you sent to a tiny segment of say 2,000 people and it’s very high, then there is great information in those numbers. 

5. Tell us about your favorite marketing campaign? Why is it your favorite?

That’s like asking what’s your favorite song There are so many. One thing I would say is that I don’t think that any of us has got this nailed, and I run an email marketing business. We are all students; we all need to work and learn something new. I’m a big fan of what Patagonia does. I like the way they present themselves in the inbox.their campaigns just feel right all the way through, no matter what. I feel cared for by that company, and I think if you can affect how people feel, then you are doing it right. I would never expect them to send me an email that didn’t feel right. They don’t have the most sophisticated email programs, but they probably don’t need it. They are doing things just as they should be, and I wish more companies would stick to their values and the needs of their subscribers. I think Patagonia does a great job.  

6. What kind of email newsletters do you subscribe to? Why do you like them?

Patagonia is a retailer brand I like. I also love Seth’s ‘Inaudible”, I did an alternative MBA with him two years ago, and it was amazing. I love his daily blog, and getting that in your inbox every day is just a reminder that there is time to be inspired. We should create time to learn, even if it’s for one minute. There’s one called Be More Pirate, which is based on a book that I love. I’m not going to say any more about the book. You need to read it. It’s really good. 

There is an alternative news service called The Outline that sends out amazing newsletters twice a week. The design of it is gorgeous, and the content is great. It blows my mind every time I read it. They are probably my favorites. Anyone that sends me some with value in it. 

There is one called Weekly Fish Food by the company Only Dead Fish, which is run by a guy named Neal Perkin, he is really in the know. You learn something every time. It’s a source of inspiration, and they send it every Friday. If you are looking for inspiration, that’s the place to go.

7. How should businesses hire their marketing agencies? Especially email marketing agencies?

I love this question. I would say that the biggest mistake people make when they try to hire an email marketer in-house is that they try to find someone with experience with the email platform that they use. You can teach anyone how to use an email platform, it might seem important, but it is the least important thing. We can all learn PhotoShop in a few hours to the point where we can edit something. We can all learn how to use a new application, and an email service provider is just another application. It’s like getting out of a Ford car and getting into an Audi car, it’s a bit different, but it’s still a car. 

The best thing to do is to hire a person based on their aptitude and not their technical ability. You can teach people things, but the culture and the character that they have, their personality. We are looking for people to be truly authentic. If they come into the business and they are authentic, that means we are going to get the best out of them, and they are likely to stay and be happy, and everyone is happy. When we start trying to hire people based on their skills and wedge them into the culture of our organization, things begin to go wrong. 

I would say, hire people that have the same values as you, and you feel they will come and share your culture. Don’t be hung up on the skills because you can teach them stuff. If they are a good fit in all those other areas, then you can teach them stuff quite quickly. 

That’s the first half of the question answered. The second half, how to hire an email marketing agency, my answer to this will be the same as for any agency really. Don’t pick an agency based on the fact that you are going to use them as a supplier. It’s not a transactional relationship. You aren’t buying this chair for this money, you are investing in a relationship with a company and that relationship has to be respected. It should be a relationship of equals. We have a charter that we share with our clients, where the accountability of your marketing stays your responsibility. The agency is not responsible for your results. You are going to work in a coalition to do some amazing work. Do they feel like the kind of business that you can trust, that you can share your work with, and that you are going to collaborate with? 

It’s not a company where you call and get something, you will get things like plans and automations, they may help you choose a new email platform, but its a partnership. You are investing in a relationship. Hire your email marketing agency in the same way that you would look for someone to come and join your business. It’s not a transaction. It’s a relationship you are investing in, and that’s my advice.  

8. Do you think email marketing is still as vital a channel of marketing as it was before?

You can’t use email like you used to. You can do email marketing badly and still get a decent return on investment, and this is the problem with email. You can’t really do that with paid social, for example. If you do paid social poorly, you are going to get bad results. If you do email marketing badly, the results are going to mislead you. As someone who owns an email marketing agency, some people can’t see through that. People talk about email being dead, but it’s not going anywhere. 

If things change, that’s fine, I can change with the times. But, I think the reality of it is that for most types of organizations, email has a place.It’s all about how they use it. We can still get away with sending bad campaigns to everybody, and you’ll still make money, but is that how you want people to perceive your business. That’s the real answer to the question, how do you want to be perceived. How do you want to behave? I think email is here to stay, and it is the best direct marketing channel that people should continue to invest in. People are changing how they use AI, but it’s not going anywhere.

9. Every business strives to build a solid email marketing strategy. Where do you think they usually go wrong?         

Most companies get caught up in what I describe as the chase. Chasing people around in the inbox, sending more emails than they should be because they are scared about the results dropping. There will always be someone in a business who says, how many people can we send this email campaign to. I think we know that that is not the right discussion you should be having. In a nutshell, the biggest problem is that businesses put the needs of the company before the needs and desires of the customer, and that’s the mistake. In any relationship, people can tolerate a certain amount of mess, and then all of a sudden, there is a tipping point. When that tipping point is met, everything changes and the marketer wonders why the results have dropped. They wonder whether they should be more aggressive. 

The real question is, how can we really provide value to people through email. Then you don’t have to be so worried about one campaign. How hard are we on ourselves as marketers then, putting all this pressure on ourselves over the performance of one campaign? It’s when we lose sight of the customer; it’s not all about the goals. We are all here to make money and I understand that. I just know that there is a better way.    

10. What would be your advice to marketers who are just starting their careers?

I’m thinking back on my career, there have been some bumps on the road, but I’ve had a fantastic career. There, of course, have been moments when I’ve wanted to stop or thought  that I couldn’t work with this person or for that company. But what I’d say is, establish what are your values in marketing, write it out. Write out ten values on a piece of paper and take them off one by one based on what’s most important to you until there is only one left. If you are going to go to work in this industry, your values are what are going to look out for you. They are what is going to keep you safe. They will hopefully be the reason why someone hires you. 

If you lose sight of your values, you are probably going to make bad decisions and end up working for people that don’t feel the way that you do about marketing. That’s when its no fun. Have more conversations. It’s really important that you work with people that you feel you can collaborate with. Trust your gut, don’t ignore it, it’s the greatest tool that you’ve got> Most of us are taught that it’s all about the data, but we all know that’s not true. Don’t worry about not knowing how to use a tool. You can learn that in a day. Establish and learn your values, that the best advice I can give someone going into marketing.