Case Study

With persona-based marketing and visibility into user engagement from their app, Rocketbook isn't just revolutionizing the notebook. They're creating a marketing engine that runs on data — and building stronger relationships with their customers in the process.

Since 2015, Rocketbook has been transforming how people think about notebooks. The Boston-based company got launched on Kickstarter and appeared on Shark Tank.

Today, they supply notetakers around the world with their popular reusable notebooks, some of which can even go in the microwave to be erased and revitalized. And customers can’t get enough.

This year, the company will sell nearly a million Rocketbooks.

You can buy a Rocketbook online on the company’s Shopify site or on Amazon, where they dominate the notebooks category.

You can also walk into a rapidly growing number of Target, Staples, or Walmart stores to pick one out in person. Custom bulk orders for events and organizations account for a substantial portion of sales as well.

Joe Lemay is Rocketbook’s founder and CEO. Andie Missert manages the company’s email marketing program.

Joe Lemay

Founder and CEO, Rocketbook

They (and the entire 25-person team) are committed to leveraging all of the data they have to build strong relationships with their customers — including the nearly endless abundance of data that comes from the Rocketbook app.

“Unlike a traditional notebook or a high-end notebook like Moleskine or anyone else in the stationery industry that we play in, when someone buys our product, they register for our app,” Joe says. “That means that whether they buy us off the shelf at Target or on our Shopify site, they use their email address to sign up and engage with the features. And when they use the app, we learn about how they’re engaging with our products. That’s a huge advantage for us.”

All they’ve had to do is figure out how to make the most of that competitive advantage. And they’re using Klaviyo to do it.

Andie Missert

Marketing Manager, Rocketbook

Before Klaviyo

Before switching to Klaviyo, Rocketbook was using Mailchimp. At the time, the emails they sent were straightforward sends to their entire list, along with some basic A/B testing.

As the company grew, however, they needed more advanced functionality.

“Back then, we had about half a million email addresses,” Joe says. “I knew we were under-investing and not doing enough with this strategic asset.”

“We spent a lot of time thinking, ‘How can we maximize this advantage and create a stationery company that has a high-tech bent — and, at the same time, is the most customer-connected stationery company — or office products company — to ever exist?’”

They needed a platform that was flexible enough to leverage data from their app, and powerful enough to send truly targeted messages.

“That’s why we started looking hard at how to build the right infrastructure to make the most of this,” he says. “When we looked at all the different email marketing tools, we saw that we needed a much more robust solution than what we were using. Our email platform didn’t have the rich segmentation or the visual tools we needed to unleash the power that we had and continue to build these crucial customer relationships.”

With its ability to handle that complexity — and an open API for pulling in data from the Rocketbook app — Klaviyo fit the bill.

To accelerate the process of getting up and running, the Rocketbook team connected with Austin Brawner of Brand Growth Experts. (Watch Austin’s Klaviyo:BOS talk on systematically growing your business with email.)

To keep the momentum going after getting a jumpstart from Austin, Joe knew that he wanted to have a full-time team member dedicated to Klaviyo. That’s when he recruited Andie.

“With the expertise Andie brings to the table, we knew she could drive our strategy to the next level,” he says. “That was what we needed to really bring the capability in-house and make it an integral competency for us.”

And Andie’s mission at Rocketbook is crystal clear.

“We want our email subscribers to engage with us. We want them to trust us more than anything,” she says. “Our long-term relationship with our subscribers is key. We think about that with every email we send.”
“Our long-term relationship with our subscribers is key. We think about that with every email we send.”

Putting it to work

Today, Rocketbook uses Klaviyo to strengthen their relationships with their customers over the long term, driving not only sales, but also engagement and brand loyalty. They do this by sending product-specific triggered emails, sending targeted messaging based on 5 target personas, and ensuring that their customers’ voices are heard.

Sending automatically triggered product-specific messages

“Ultimately, we’re driving sales of a product. But we have a much longer-term perspective than that. We believe that if we build a relationship with a customer, we help them understand how to use our product,” Joe says.

This focus on the long-term has led Rocketbook to develop automatically triggered messages that reach customers when they’re relevant.

“Because of the app, our system knows when someone has scanned in their 37th page of their Rocketbook Everlast, Executive size,” Joe says. “Since we have so much information about our users’ behavior and activity when they interact with our product, we now can turn that into meaningful messages to help them.”

These messages can take different forms, but they’re all informed by the same set of questions:

“What do they need to learn next to get the most out of the product?” Joe says. “What are some complementary products that we might have that would be suitable for them? And what type of brand messages can we drive to that customer to make us a beloved brand in their eyes that stands for innovation?”

Rocketbook has a wide array of triggered Klaviyo emails live and in the works. Most importantly, they’re driven by what the team has observed about real interactions and what information would be most useful to a customer at that point in time.

“If we see an uptick in people integrating with a certain platform or using a certain feature in the app, that helps us determine which triggers to set up,” Andie says.

“For instance, we have new optical character recognition features in our app that can take your handwriting and turn it into type,” she says. “That was a big request from our users. So, knowing that it’s so important for our customers, if some people don't have it turned on yet, that drives our strategy for how we message them.”

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5 distinct personas for email marketing (and more)

While product engagement emails are based around, well, product engagement, other types of emails that Rocketbook sends are based on which of the 5 key personas subscribers fall into.

“As soon as you register for the app, we ask you an important question: Are you an educator, a student, a working professional, a creative type, or something else?” Joe says. We don’t ask them too many other questions because that can be fatiguing. But that’s a really important one.”

So what about subscribers who haven’t signed up for the app — or who signed up before the persona question was added a few months back?

The answer: an email survey sent through Klaviyo, of course, with a few bonus questions thrown into the mix.

“The engagement rate for that email has been very good,” Andie says. “We were actually able to sneak in a few fun holiday shopping questions into that survey too, so it’s very timely and topical.”

And what they learned will come in handy for holiday marketing.

“Along with our subscribers’ occupation, we also know if they like to shop for themselves during the holiday,” Andie says. “We know if they’re last-minute shoppers in December so we can send them a targeted message about deadlines for holiday shipping. We know if they love cyber weekend deals, and we know if they don’t shop at all during the holiday so we can exclude them from sends.”

All told, more than 50% of Rocketbook’s active email subscribers have already self-identified into one of their personas. While Rocketbook continues their efforts to drive that number up, the data they have is already proving useful.

For example, over a period of just a few months, Rocketbook grew their educator persona email list by 10x. This includes both new signups as well as existing subscribers self-identifying as educators.

Rocketbook now sends members of this group content targeted to their interests. Emails focus on classroom applications for Rocketbook, along with information and resources from Rocketbook’s own education expert.

“We’ve done some testing for each of the groups, and we found that there are certain keywords that resonate more with each persona,” Andie says.

Through testing in Klaviyo, Rocketbook has identified terms to include in subject lines that drive up open rates for specific customer groups, including educators and app users. With distinct differences between the groups, they can leverage this knowledge to keep open rates high.

5 key personas that Rocketbook targets

2X increase in email-attributed revenue from Q2 to Q3

130% lift in CTR for educators opening targeted emails

Driving product development and staying connected

Rocketbook messages users based on the actions they take and the personas they select. But it doesn’t stop there: they also want to hear back from them.

Once a user has been using the app for a week, they automatically receive a Klaviyo email with an NPS survey.

“They rate us on a scale of 0 to 10, and give us a little information about why they rated us high or low,” Joe says. “Then we use Zapier to send that information into our dashboard.”

The team categorizes that feedback by persona for big-picture insights. They also scrutinize it for immediate issues they can resolve for their customers.

“We’ll see people say, ‘I don’t think I got a pen in the package.’ Then we say, ‘Darn it! We need to fix that problem right now. We can fix that,” Joe says.

The opportunities extend from the retail experience all the way through the app usability.

“The connectivity advantage that we have with our customer drives everything from marketing to products and new inventions,” Joe says. “We continuously use customer feedback to drive product and operational improvements. The engagement we get from our Klaviyo emails gives us a whole stream of input that we’ve structured our company around.”

One example of this feedback driven by a specific Rocketbook user persona: educators. They asked for a special classroom-friendly feature, and the company listened.

“We have a new lined version of our Rocketbook pages coming out before the end of the year,” Andie adds, “This was specifically requested by an overwhelming number of our educators They asked and they shall receive!”

“As soon as those new Rocketbooks are live on our website, we’ll be sending a targeted message to educators. We’ll say, ‘Your wish came true. Here it is!’”

Their feedback drove the product decision, and they’ll be among the first to know. “As soon as those new Rocketbooks are live on our website, we'll be sending a targeted message to educators,” she says. “We’ll say, ‘Your wish came true. Here it is!’”

Results and looking ahead

Since doubling down on email marketing in Klaviyo, Rocketbook has seen a substantial shift. “We’re blowing it out of the water with email-generated revenue,” Joe says. “So it’s night and day.”

“For Q3 versus Q2, our email-attributed revenue was up 2X,” Andie says.

“But the harder stuff is actually making sure that we’re driving retention where we’re having an impact,” Joe says. “We really want to see customers engage and continue to open our emails so that we can continue to educate them about the product.”

In the coming months, even more of the default email automation will be updated to match the 5 personas. And there’s another big plan in store to support innovation.

“We’re due for a new product — and with it, a new Kickstarter campaign,” Andie says. “So we’re very careful about how we message our email subscribers because they play such a huge part in crowdfunding. We don’t want anyone to unsubscribe leading up to the big news.”

The key to keeping subscribers from leaving? Targeted email messaging, based on their persona and actions.

“As long as we provide them with relevant content, our hope is that they’ll be less likely to unsubscribe,” she says. “We want to have super-engaged customers for when we launch new products.”

At the end of the day, strong relationships with customers are an integral part of Rocketbook’s business model, and Klaviyo is there to support that.

“We’re investing very deeply in connecting with our customers,” Joe says. “And we’re doing it in a way that we believe no other company in our industry is doing it.”

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