Experience Designer living in Brooklyn.

Establishing trust with a wholesale manufacturer

This case study shows how I generated a measurable return ($6,000+) on my client's investment in email marketing.


Wholesale manufacturer


Problem-Solving, Design Thinking, Marketing Strategy


Launch Improved Email Campaign


My role in this project was as a product designer and management consultant. My responsibility was to evaluate an existing email marketing strategy, recommend improvements, and measure the results of the next campaign we sent out together.

The client also mentioned a bigger vision outside the scope of this specific project. They want to figure out how to unlock retail distribution via e-commerce. This initial project would be a test run to see how we work together.

Problem Reframed

The client initially framed the problem as, “How might we increase the revenue generated from email marketing?”

I took off my consulting hat, and put on my coaching hat.

Through a collaborative conversation we landed on a reframing of the problem, “How might we make it easier for customers to make a purchase through our email marketing channel?”


A benchmark would be required so that I can measure the success of each modification to determine whether it was an effective modification or not. I would need to know how much revenue the client generated over the course of the last few campaigns. I would also need to see what the email marketing campaigns looked like.

I defined the following metrics as indicators of which specific improvements were effective in the client’s customer experience:

  • subject lines
  • visual design
  • date and time
  • click-through rates (CTR)
  • open rates (OR)
  • conversion rates


After reviewing the previous campaigns, I made the following recommendations:

  • Subject lines: the previous subject lines included phrases that sounded like spam such as “30% off!” and “Get your discount code now!”. Instead of phrases that trigger a person’s defense to being sold something they don’t want or need, I used subject lines like “We miss you. We want you to have this… “We are grateful for you! Here’s a gift…”
  • Text-based email: the previous emails included large HTML graphics that were difficult to read and understand how to take action. Instead, I wrote the email in plain-text. The purpose of this is to give the impression that the email was sent personally from my client to their customer. Plain-text emails seem less threatening.
  • “From” name: the previous emails would arrive to a customer’s inbox so that the email said it was from the name of the company. Instead, I changed the “From” name to be the first and last name of the Vice President. This encourages a person to open their email because they think it is from a real person rather than an automated email marketing platform.
  • Call-to-action: the previous emails included several calls-to-action which makes it difficult for a customer to decide what to click on. Instead, I removed all options for the customer and gave them one call-to-action.
  • Personalized signature: the previous emails did not include a signature from anyone in my client’s company. Instead, I included a personalized email signature that stated the email was being sent from the Vice President. Being that the email was written in plain-text as a message directly from the VP to the customer it helped me convince the recipient that this message was just for them.

After making a few tweaks, we sent out the next campaign.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Through implementing my actionable improvements I was able to achieve the following results:

METRICS Previous Campaign My Campaign Total Increase
Unique Opens 1281 2348 +83%
Unique Clicks 162 452 +179%
# of Sales 31 48 +55%
Total Revenue $3,524 $6,019 +71%

As you can see, simply changing the subject line of the email, coupled with a few other minor tweaks, and this email marketing campaign generated twice as much revenue as the previous.

This ten day project paved the way for a 2-month on-site engagement.

Within a few days following the success of the email improvements, I was offered an exciting role in building out a new in-house marketing department from the ground-up. I haven’t unpacked this larger case study yet. Until I do, here’s a quick rundown of what we did next:

I worked one-on-one with the CEO and VP, developed infrastructure for the department to run on its own without outsourcing a consultant to manage it, cross-trained existing employees, hired and developed new employees to take on emerging responsibilities, and setup a microsite builder for the marketing team to launch niche sites and landing pages for specialty products. I had a lot of fun on this engagement.