In 2009, Cooking.com looked into several different solutions, but one stood out among the rest. StrongMail fit the bill for not only its size and strong level of service, but also offering a kind of solution many others did not.
"We were looking to have an onsite solution so we actually manage the servers here on site rather than having the host as a kind of cloud based solution," says Bunn.
StrongMail is one of the few providers Cooking.com found that offer just that.
"Having StrongMail as an in-house solution gives marketers the comfort of knowing that their data is secure and easily accessible internally only to them. It also makes it easy to integrate with internal systems and customer databases," says Kara Trivunovic, global director of strategy and market innovation at StrongMail.
Cooking.com can now reach customers more easily and more effectively through StrongMail's right-time email deployment system. It offers email marketing solutions as well, with different campaigns and ways of creating specific targets for email groups.
"If we knew someone was interested in Calphalon cookware, we can actually more easily target that group through the StrongMail utility so they're getting more relevant communication instead of sending a broadcast message to the entire file about Calphalon," says Bunn.
Based on what customers have bought from Cooking.com properties in the past, items they've looked at on the sites, as well as brand associations, the company can choose exactly which emails to send to which customers.
While the new solution was being implemented, Bunn says the StrongMail team was extremely helpful in the training and in the efforts to make the transition, which consisted mostly of transferring data as smoothly as possible.
"We just felt like the team was very engaged, and we continue to feel that way," says Bunn.
Cooking.com was so pleased with the service from StrongMail that it renewed its contract in October 2011.
"StrongMail has provided Cooking.com with a combination of technology and services to meet their end goals of database growth, automation, and driving site traffic to various web properties. Our organizations have developed a strategic partnership that leverages their knowledge of their business and our knowledge of the channel to drive the success they are looking for," says Trivunovic.
Cooking.com has seen improvements in the efficiency of its internal productivity, but more than that, it has seen measurable success from StrongMail's Lifecycle Marketing (LCM) in terms of revenue.
"Our Lifecycle Marketing Module allows our customers to build and automate multi-stage, continually optimized programs that can run 24/7 to deliver timely and relevant messages to their audience via an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface," says Trivunovic.
With LCM, Cooking.com generated revenue 241% greater than the medium revenue of a nonevent broadcast mailing with its thank-you campaign. Through the reengagement campaign, sent to members who haven't been active in a year or more, Cooking.com generated revenue 180% greater than from a standard broadcast mailing.
After 3 years, the partnership between Cooking.com and StrongMail continues to not only run smoothly but also to grow and evolve.
"The relationship and the level of engagement is at its all time strongest right now," says Bunn. "We're engaged with them on a regular basis."
As Cooking.com continues to grow in size and needs, StrongMail grows with it to provide new tools and upgrades over time as necessary.
"Our partnership continues to evolve as we look for new opportunities to continue driving optimization and innovation with [Cooking.com's] use of the channel and the platform to deliver their customers the best possible online email product," says Trivunovic. "Achieving the delivery of the right message, to the right person, at the right time is the ultimate goal."
This year Cooking.com's new initiative with StrongMail is launching the new Lifecycle messaging tool. "[The tool] enables you to do right time delivery and right communication through different streams," says Bunn.
A welcome stream, for example, allows Cooking.com to send a welcome email on a specific day when a new member joins and then to follow up 24 or 48 hours later, or whatever increment it chooses, with the next message.
Through upgrades, new campaigns, and implementation of the latest tools, Cooking.com continues to be happy with the service it gets from StrongMail.
Business is about increasing revenue and efficiency, both of which Cooking.com received from its partnership with StrongMail.
"It improved our productivity internally, dramatically by [giving us] more of a self-service tool that the marketing team could use," says Bunn.