The Insight Series: Understanding your customers with Ernest Capbert

Posted by: Tommy Tonkins


We’ve got some great friends.

Not only are they great friends, they’re friends full of knowledge, insight and expertise. And throughout this year we’re going to be sharing them with you.

They’ll be joining us for coffee on the couch at Jarrang HQ to talk with us about how their specialism ties into the bigger picture of business and marketing as well as providing you with advice on how you can make your business better.

First up to come and see us was our friend and entrepreneur, Ernest Capbert. Ernie cofounded iconic surf brand Finisterre and subsequently went on to form the market research company Who Buys Your Stuff?, helping many different online retail businesses grow and succeed along the way.

A whirlwind of creative energy, intense drive and fierce intelligence, Ernie is a force of nature. When he speaks, people listen. Top on our list of questions for him was this: ‘Why is data profiling so important for improving your communications?’

“In terms of identifying who the customer is, we have great examples of businesses who did it well, implemented it across their content strategy and then they went rockets,” he said. And by ‘rockets’ he means their sales took off.

“One business was using the wrong kind of models for their imagery and pitching the wrong message. By helping them identify their lead persona, we showed them who they had to build their business around and who they had to speak to with all their content.

“On average, the lead personas for any business are the customers who are in the top 20% based on frequency of purchase and how much they are spending. This 20% usually account for 60% of the revenue. Speak to these customers and create content for them to maximise your sales, profit and marketing ROI.”

Identify the top 20%

We’re big advocates of this approach at Jarrang. We analyse our clients’ primary data to identify their lead persona. By identifying who the top 20% of spenders are, we’re then able to craft and execute email marketing campaigns specifically designed with this focussed persona in mind.

Furthermore, when we look at purchasing history, past behaviours and the secondary data of how a customer has interacted with a brand, we’re able to serve up dynamic emails to customers with relevant cross-sell opportunities. And typically these emails boast a far higher conversion rate than a static sales email. The more relevant an email is, the happier the customer is and the more likely they are to engage with that email and, in turn, convert to a sale.

We asked Ernie, a big fan of email marketing, when he had his ‘light-bulb’ moment in terms of taking communication with customers to the next level. He told us it was a meeting at Finisterre ten years earlier with Stafford Sumner, our Founder and Managing Director, where the spark was lit.

V7Z-k4khHtmoUF7xzH0k6h66_meC6XSzGBhX8wGAo5g (1)

“How you grow a business boils down to how are you going to get new customers or sell more to your existing customers,” he said.

“One of the big things at Finisterre was the fact we were really struggling to get in front of more people and it was very exclusive. We had a problem, we couldn’t grow the business.

“Outdoor shops weren’t taking the product, surf shops weren’t taking the product, and everyone was saying you can’t grow it online. Then Stafford comes in, fire comes out of his mouth, and he says: ‘You guys need to start communicating with the people who are buying your stuff. You should get a signup on your website and you should start tailoring your communications to those who have bought and those who haven’t bought.’

“So we started creating content that we knew people would want to sign up for and it was this incredible way of growing the business. In an indirect way, and a way we didn’t know at the time, Stafford coming into the business and telling us ‘this is how you need to be communicating with people’ ended up creating a large part of the business’s revenue.”

Simple, effective communication

Clothing retailers are a great example of where dynamic content can be used to maximise the cross-sell opportunities in email. If a customer has previously bought a jacket, they would then receive a ‘you might also like’ email promoting other lines of clothing like shirts or beanies.

You should never underestimate the importance of communicating well with your customers. They’ve already bought something from you so if your product or your service or your experience is a good one, there’s a great chance they’ll want to buy again.

Too often it’s easy to overlook the customers we already have as we chase new ones. It’s one of the biggest mistakes any business can make. Set yourself the goal of identifying who your top 20% of customers are. Make yourself a list of questions, asking what their age is, where they live, what products they buy, how often they buy and, most importantly, what they aspire to.

Then establish how you are going to communicate with them, how you are going to tap into their aspirations and how you’re going to make their desires a reality. If you’d like help, guidance or advice on the best way of doing this, we’d love to hear from you. And we’ll show you how simple, yet effective communication can drive your sales and boost profit.

Ernie has recently joined Oxford Innovation as a business coach. You can find him on LinkedIn here.

Next up in The Insight Series we’ll be exploring the importance of having a strong brand with ‘brand guru’ Thad Cox.

Let's Talk

Find out how we can turn your data into sales


Get in touch

About the author

Tommy Tonkins

Tommy is our former Head of Content and now a freelance content creator working with businesses around the world to help them tell their stories. He guest blogs for Jarrang from time to time.