Behind Bloom & Wild's 'thoughtful marketing' – using tech to give online a human touch

Online florist Bloom & Wild is behind the ‘Thoughtful Marketing Movement’ which is gaining traction in the UK, and is arguably growing in relevance as brands reconsider customer communications during the coronavirus crisis.

Launched last year, the initiative aims to bring together likeminded businesses and develop a cohort of “thoughtful marketers”. To join, brands must commit to offering opt-outs to potentially sensitive content, and provide more tailored messaging to customers.

More than 100 brands have already signed up, including stationery and greetings card chain Paperchase, The Telegraph newspaper, and salon appointment platform Treatwell. Bloom & Wild’s head of brand, Marisa Thomas, tells Essential Retail how the movement began.

“We know that certain occasions can be really difficult for some people,” she explains.

“So, last February, we asked everyone on our email database if they’d like to opt-out of receiving Mother’s Day emails.”

Technology for tailored marketing

Thomas says customer engagement platform, Braze, has been central to the success of the initiative, enabling the retailer to tailor communications to customers around the occasion.

“Using the platform, our customers were emailed a link to a simple opt-out landing page,” she notes.

“Those who opted out from receiving Mother’s Day messaging were all added to the same segment so they didn’t receive messages about the occasion, but instead other messages.”

According to the brand boss, close to 18,000 customers were able to opt-out of Bloom & Wild’s 2019 Mother’s Day campaign. She also suggests, as the opt-out campaign launched, customer interaction with Bloom & Wild on Twitter more than quadrupled and positive customer feedback multiplied.

“And this year, for those opted out, there was no mention of Mother’s Day on the website either,” Thomas adds.

“This includes on the homepage, the navigation menus and even the products when logged into their account. Bloom & Wild has also launched a new preferences section, which makes it easier for people to opt-out of reminders to sensitive occasions at any time, without having to wait to be asked.”

Changing attitudes

This publication has detailed several new marketing approaches adopted by businesses as the Covid-19 pandemic escalated across the world – organisations are concerned about hitting the right tone with their messaging at a stressful time for many people.

Thomas argues that it could be the ideal time to get behind Bloom & Wild’s marketing movement.

“With the current Covid-19 crisis ongoing, there’s uncertainty across all industries,” she acknowledges.

“But what we can be certain of is the fact that customers are craving for brands to be ‘human’ and thoughtful in their communications. We hope to see more and more brands sign up to the movement and commit to putting customers first by using technology that allows them to do this.”

She hopes companies can broaden the scope of opt-out from its origins in email communications to include what customers see on websites and in advertising on social media platforms. 

Describing Bloom & Wild’s marketing strategy during the recent coronavirus-prompted lockdown period, Thomas says there are various ways the retailer has adapted to the wider environment.

From offering free flower arranging classes online to customers for light relief, to avoiding mentioning payday on email communication, the plan has been to be useful and sensitive in its messaging. Bloom & Wild has also joined a long list of retailers offering discounts to frontline workers.

Retail may experience many negative consequences as a result of Covid-19, but more thoughtful marketing might represent a rare positive long-term change.