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How a top class designer used DM to capture its audience

How a top class designer used DM to capture its audience

Designer fashion retailer Karen Millen had an impressive reputation on the high street but needed to develop an affective online strategy to ensure they were offering their customers the best possible service through the internet.

As part of this Karen Millen was looking to develop a fully profiled database, use that data intelligently and drive traffic to their recently re-launched website -

The updated website was designed to have better usability and enhanced functionality to improve conversions with customers. Karen Millen needed to concentrate on growing the number of users signed up to the newsletter (list growth) and increased email contact with those contacts, which intern would lead to improved traffic to the site.

The email marketing strategy employed targeted email campaigns to generate newsletter signups. This would then generate data that could be analysed and segmented for future campaigns.

eCircle’s relationship with Karen Millen began as a result of existing partnerships with other brands within the Mosaic group including Coast, Oasis, Principles, Shoe Studio and Warehouse.  eCircle replaced Karen Millen’s incumbent agency, Frontwire. 

“It was eCircle’s ability to both generate new leads and broadcast campaigns which really first attracted us to them,” says Emma Bott, eCommerce Manager at Karen Millen.

"Email marketing allows this high quality retailer to communicate directly with its target audience of wealthy professional women with a passion for fashion."

Operating in union

The main aim of the digital strategy was to increase the number of people on their database with fully profiled members for targeted campaigns.  In order to build up the database, Karen Millen undertook a list rental campaign to generate new subscribers to its newsletter with an offer to win a wardrobe worth £1,000.  Users who opted in to receive the newsletter were taken to a fully branded landing page hosted by eCircle, and automatically added to its database within eCircle’s email broadcast platform eC-messenger. 

An additional campaign promoting Karen Millen’s sale was subsequently sent out and both campaigns produced significant results.  “We were thrilled to generate over 8,000 brand new leads from these two campaigns alone” commented Emma.  

Database segmentation

Following these successful initial campaigns, Karen Millen was able to segment its database based on people who subscribed to the newsletter at the point of purchase and people who signed up as a result of a competition, and send them targeted personalised content. It identified people who were most responsive to discounting and a group was set up to target this section of the database with further offer-based emails.   

Lead Generation

As well as using eCircle’s technology eC-messenger to broadcast its emails and undertaking list rental campaigns, Karen Millen wanted to generate leads.  As an end-to-end digital direct marketing supplier, eCircle were able to provide Karen Millen with this service.   “We were really surprised that it wasn’t just women who subscribed! Men also signed up, which has enabled us to plan gifting campaigns.” Emma continues.  

A pan-European approach

Complementing the existing campaigns further, Karen Millen decided to implement a campaign in advance of its Christmas activity to generate 25,000 UK female subscribers (name, address and date of birth were captured), 10,000 French subscribers and 10,000 German subscribers.  The aim of this campaign was to capture additional leads which would form part of a group for Christmas promotional targeting.  “We exceeded our target number of leads in just 5 days, which we were thrilled with” says Emma.   


One of the main reasons Karen Millen chose eCircle to be its partner for its digital direct marketing strategy was because eCircle were able to deliver a range of services.  From the broadcast solution integrating with Karen Millen’s database to list rental and lead generation campaigns, we were able to cater for all its needs, delivering excellent results and cementing our relationship further.

Future exciting developments include integrating email with web analytics allowing Karen Millen to track online and email behaviour as well as event trigger campaigns, and taking advantage of the survey builder tool, a new feature of eCircle’s latest version of eC-messenger.

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