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Updating a Classic

How Mailchimp helps Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams combine commerce with storytelling.

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The newest collection of ice creams from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, American Licks, is another great example how the brand combines commerce with storytelling.

In the previous issues of this series, we’ve shared how Jeni’s has used email marketing to build its national fan base and tell authentic stories.

American Licks pays homage to classic flavors that other artisanal ice cream makers have left for dead — cherries jubilee, orange sherbet, and pralines and cream, just to name a few.

Jeni’s versions of these classic flavors are even better than the originals. This is partly due to Jeni’s culinary genius, but it doesn’t hurt that ice cream technology has come a long way since the 1950s.

Email marketing has also come a long way in the past decade, breathing new life into a medium that some said would be on life support by now. There are a few different email marketing software services on the market, but Jeni’s flavor of choice is Mailchimp.

“Fun can be the difference between an email getting opened or not.”

There are several reasons Jeni’s Experience Leader Ryan Morgan chose to partner with Mailchimp, but the big one was how it easy it is to use — especially its drag-and-drop design tool. “We don’t have any coders on staff,” he says. “The drag-and-drop tool lets us piece together great email templates that are optimized for mobile inboxes.”

Moreover, the platform provides plenty of opportunities for fun. From animated GIFs in the email body to emojis in the subject line, Jeni’s team can create email experiences that match the delightfulness of their products. For example, the subject line of the email announcing the American Licks release featured American flag and tongue emojis. “We are in the ice cream business, so what we do should be fun,” Morgan says. “Fun can be the difference between an email getting opened or not.”

Speaking of fun

If you’re a true-blue marketer, you probably actually enjoy A/B testing and data analysis. And you’re in good company with Ryan and his team. When they first partnered with Mailchimp a few years ago, the chance to A/B test content “had my team salivating,” he says.

Morgan and his team A/B test different messages to find out which approach to content gets the best responses. For example, they recently tested 2 different emails introducing a new PB&J sundae. One email was direct in its approach. The other was more playful. “Being able to test out different approaches and seeing the results in reports — that’s a powerful thing,” Morgan says.

Jeni’s also uses Mailchimp to segment their email lists by geography, sign-up date, and purchase behavior. They can monitor their list’s health to make sure email addresses are valid and active. They can create a new list of inactive users and create campaigns designed to re-engage them. And because Mailchimp integrates easily with Google Analytics, Morgan and his team gain important insights into customer acquisition trends, drilling down into the value of each individual click.

Morgan says the most important thing is to take email marketing seriously. “When everybody freaked out about social media a few years ago, email fell out of vogue with some marketers,” he says. “But today people are reading email more than ever, and it’s going to take something major to change that.”

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