Sandra and her team initiated the use of permission based email marketing at TELUS Business Solutions.  They knew that email marketing was not as effective as it could be both for their customers and their sales teams. A full Marketing Automation system was really the answer – but we were getting push back because the adoption rates of these systems were typically low. The team decided to start with a point solution as a proof of concept to build support for a full Marketing Automation system.

We did a thorough review of numerous email marketing software providers and decided on one vendor. For us, it is imperative that the software enabled clients to create profiles so that we could deliver personalized content to them.

profile centerWe worked collaborative across the organization to get alignment on the details of the profile selections. This ensure that we had input from a customer, sales, marketing and product management.

The profile center had a minimal number of “required field” to avoid overwhelming the clients. Our guiding principal on the personal information we gathered was that the only mandatory fields where fields that were needed to make the content personalized.

The second section of the profile page was company information. Again our philosophy was only to make mandatory information like company size and industry that would allow content tailoring.


indusry selection for pbm

The third area of the profile page was where clients could select their areas of interest. We provided subjects that were aligned with what TBS sold as  you would expect. However, we also included non-solution specific topics like best practices, trends, research, etc.

Most organizations would start developing content as a next step. Instead our team decided not to develop any content except for a preliminary newsletter introducing the communication program and asking them to opt-in and to build a profile if they wanted customized content. Don’t worry we had completed a content audit and had existing content that we could re-purpose quickly if the program took off. As well, since we engaged broadly on the building out the profile page, many teams knew that they would be asked for content and so the work in many subject areas was underway.

The results were beyond our expectations.

We quickly got 98 thousand prospects and customers to opt-in our contact database. Almost 2000 of those completed detailed profiles which provided us with the ability to provide them with content, insights and event information on topics they cared about.

Below is an example of a small business email that would be sent to only customers that identified themselves as a small business.

small business email









For a customer that indicated they were interested in Unified Communications – we were able to let them (and only them) know about an upcoming event. They could choose to share it with a colleague if the wanted to. They were in control.

uc subject email









I have seen many organizations jump on the email marketing bandwagon – for most it is all about the database and they forget about the profile and the customization. Sure they get big databases – but what are their open rates and click thru rates? How effective is their email marketing program?

For us – it was all about the profiles and our sales organization rallying around the program.

Without Profiles

17% open rate

3.5% click-thru

20.7% click-to-open ratio

0.76% opt-out rate

With Profiles

40.75% open rate

20.4% click-thru

50.07% click-to-open ratio

0.67% opt-out


Our proof of concept did exactly what we had hoped. Because of the demand that it generated, as a management team we were able to get alignment on a full marketing automation program so that we could more effectively manage and nurture the demand that we created. See that case study here.