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How Dotdash Meredith Tackled a Large-Scale Migration to Iterable

Dotdash Meredith itself may not be a household name, but no other media company has brought so many leading titles under one roof. With 42 brands and counting, including PEOPLE Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Travel + Leisure, and Investopedia, Dotdash Meredith is America’s largest digital and print publisher.

Brooke Phillips, VP, Growth Marketing, Audience Relationships, at Dotdash Meredith knows just how big their audience really is. At Iterable’s Activate Summit this year, she shared that overall, Dotdash Meredith sends 2 billion emails per month across 200 newsletters and 40 million user profiles.

So when your customer communications outgrow the legacy technology used to send them, where do you even start with platform migration?

It’s You, Hi, You’re the Problem, It’s You

Brooke was crystal clear about the source of Dotdash Meredith’s customer engagement issues: it was their previous email service provider (ESP). She explained the ESP was built on outdated technology, primarily cobbled together through large mergers and acquisitions.

The lack of seamless integration caused the company’s data to be out of sync, which led to frustrated employees who were responsible for managing the ESP. Contacting the vendor did nothing to assuage their frustration, as the partnership they had was dwindling and the level of support they received was described by Brooke as poor.

With the problem explicitly defined and the team united to find a solution, Brooke and her colleagues set out to compare alternative platforms.

Thank You, Next

When evaluating leading customer engagement solutions, the Dotdash Meredith team was aligned on their core goals:

  • A quick platform that didn’t take hours to send millions of messages
  • Modern import and export for data speed and flexibility
  • Personalized messaging that’s easy for marketers to build on their own
  • A true partnership with high-quality customer success and technical support teams

With such a large company, it can be challenging to meet the expectations of all internal stakeholders—from senior management and finance to the consumer revenue and registration teams. But Dotdash Meredith’s key objectives were shared by the most involved functions:

  • Marketing prioritized ease of use and one-to-one personalization
  • Operations evaluated data structure and integration
  • Engineering tested for scalability and reliability

After piloting a sandbox environment in which Iterable sent 1 million messages in 12 minutes—a feat that took over five hours for half the volume with the previous ESP—Dotdash Meredith had found their winner.

Putting Iterable to Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Not only did Iterable pass the sandbox speed test, but it also achieved the company’s goals and objectives. Specifically, Brooke explained the factors that led her team to Iterable were the platform’s features, functionality, and data efficiencies, as well as the high level of service and strategy provided by its customer service and technical support. The fact that Iterable offered cost-effective pricing was just icing on the customer engagement cake.

After the pilot with Iterable, Dotdash Meredith was positioned to support growth through personalized customer experiences, but now the real work was about to begin. And did we mention they only had eight weeks to fully migrate?

Once the contract was signed on Halloween, it was off to the races. Dotdash Meredith deployed a rigorous IP warming schedule to send 80 million emails within 40 days. The team coordinated timing for specific brand cadences and monitored their performance metrics after each send.

Their dedication and attention to detail paid off. Iterable worked tirelessly over the holidays to ensure their first deployment was completed in December and up-to-speed at full volume in January. By the time February rolled around, Iterable was sending all Dotdash Meredith emails across 40 domains—improving deliverability as a result!

Cue That Large-Scale Migration Victory Song

Dotdash Meredith had their eyes on the prize throughout the entire large-scale migration, owing their success to the organized effort they shared with Iterable’s onboarding team, which joined their planning meetings, daily standups, weekly deliverability calls, and a shared Slack channel for real-time collaboration.

Brooke’s team also became platform experts in record time, with 22 members enrolled in Iterable Academy, completing 161 courses. Together they created hundreds of contact lists, automated customer journeys, email snippets, and more key elements for world-class campaigns.

Now that such a large-scale migration is complete, Dotdash Meredith is excited to leverage Iterable for even bigger and better things.

Don’t forget, you can watch Brooke’s full Activate session on-demand now. And, to learn how to ensure a smooth transition for your company’s communication strategy, grab a copy of Iterable’s Growth Marketing Platform Migration Guide or schedule a demo today.

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