INside Performance Marketing
How Marketo Ramped Up the Impact of Email Personalisation for Firefly Friends

How Marketo Ramped Up the Impact of Email Personalisation for Firefly Friends

Firefly Friends seeks to make a difference to the lives of children with special needs and their parents. Its innovative and practical posturally supportive products celebrate the versatility of life and enhance the child’s perspective by giving them the tools to ‘join in’ and be at the heart of the fun. Firefly Friends needed a solution that allowed them to build awareness of the products at scale, with the sensitivity and understanding that the audience requires. 


With a small marketing team of just five, Firefly Friends began using Marketo’s engagement marketing platform to overcome the following: 

  • Transform marketing from batch and blast emails to highly targeted campaigns to drive awareness.
  • Empower a small marketing team with the right tools to help drive revenue and increase marketing’s contribution to revenue.
  • Deliver personalised, one-to-one communications to drive engagement with parents and therapists.

“Our products are so specific to the needs of each child that we need to ensure we are communicating this effectively to each parent with the sensitivity and understanding it requires. We currently have a growing customer base across 100 different countries and needed a platform that would easily facilitate our multilingual marketing programs,” said Conor McKernan, marketing manager, Firefly Friends.


Leveraging Marketo’s ability to track buyer actions, Firefly Friends changed the way it engages with parents, families and therapists to deliver a better experience. With Marketo it has insight into the buying patterns and online behaviour of its customers and prospects and can frame conversations in a much more focused and targeted way.

Firefly Friends has integrated Marketo with Magento, a Marketo LaunchPoint partner, to run its global e-commerce platform. This not only allows them to handle online sales, which make up 90% of the business, but also build up a detailed knowledge of existing customers and visitors to the site, based on past purchases and behaviours. As Firefly’s products are very specific, based on the individual needs of a child, communications need to be targeted, relevant and sensitive in order to ensure they are presenting customers with products that will benefit their child’s life.

To further drive awareness among its target audience, segment its customer database and deepen its knowledge of the buyer profile, Firefly Friends has created a content marketing strategy with both gated and un-gated content. This includes content from bloggers within the special needs community. Social is an increasingly important channel for content marketing and Firefly Friends run dedicated retargeting campaigns on Facebook to further drive inbound traffic to its website. 

With this multi-channel strategy in place, Firefly Friends learns more about the parents, their children and their individual needs, to ensure they are engaging with them in the right way. Functionality within Marketo such as split testing, has enabled Firefly to optimise its content distribution campaigns, resulting in a 24% open rate of its newsletter.


With a database of 29,000 contacts all at different stages, Firefly needed dedicated campaigns to send its customers the right message at the right time. Marketo has enabled them to build welcome campaigns for new customers and nurture streams for existing customers, all of which can be easily and quickly modified by its small team. The volume of marketing campaigns has grown by 30% to over 20 various campaigns per month without any increase in marketing headcount. 
For example, less than one month after implementing Marketo, Firefly Friends ran a “Black Friday” promotion, offering a 10% discount on their products. This campaign resulted in the busiest day in the history of the company with over £45,000 in sales.

The company is also using Marketo for a high volume of offline, in-person events such as expositions and roadshows which are hugely important for building relationships with one of its target audiences, therapists and clinicians who work with special needs children. Firefly Friends take part in 50 of these expositions between October and December alone and Marketo allows the team to create standard templates for these events which can then be quickly and easily replicated.


Since implementing Marketo, Firefly Friends has seen the impact of its personalised email programmes increase and these now contribute to 10% of overall turnover, a growth of 7% in less than a year. Significantly, marketing’s overall contribution to turnover has grown to £1.2m.

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