Converting subscribers into customers with personalized nurturing 

smart EV brand image

In 2022, smart broke into the electric vehicle market and unveiled its smart #1 model. 

Leveraging Adobe Journey Optimizer, DEPT®’s marketing automation team was able to convert 11% of their database into pre-orders. 

Smart is going fully electric & e-commerce 

In 2022, smart went fully electric, rebranding as a leader in the EV market. To kick off this new era, they needed to create excitement around the unveiling, generate leads and then ultimately convert those leads into pre-orders.

At the same time, they invested heavily in e-commerce. While select dealers would remain, they wanted to sell most of the cars online. This big shift in architecture added extra complexities across their tech stack. 

With two monumental changes happening at once, smart needed a sophisticated digital marketing strategy and robust technology to support it. 

smart car marketing automation

A hype campaign for smart 

To promote the release of the new “smart #1”, smart first unveiled the car at their World Premiere event in Berlin on 7th April 2022. 

This coincided with the launch of their new website, which included registration for early access to pre-orders. 

Therefore, our marketing automation strategy leading up to the unveiling was a hype campaign, to create intrigue around the new car, while teasing its unveiling at the World Premiere.

After the World Premiere and the unveiling of the car, the focus of the communications shifted to a holistic customer experience campaign, driving users to “reserve their seat.”

Within less than a month of the World Premiere event, smart hit its sign-up target. This included 10,000 sign-ups for early access to pre-orders as well as 10,000 new newsletter sign-ups.

smart marketing automation welcome journey

Creating a customer experience 

We set up the foundation of a completely new customer relationship management (CRM and marketing automation) program. This included creating customer journeys for new and returning users, driving brand loyalty, and nurturing through to conversion. 

As our first campaign, we created emails to tease the unveiling, announce the registration for early access to pre-order, and also welcome new subscribers. The goal was to convert as many subscribers as possible to pre-order a new smart car.

All in all, we implemented eleven journeys and delivered 8 extra campaign emails within Adobe Journey Optimizer. 

We implemented multiple journeys for each phase of the customer journey. 


  • Journeys: DOI, contact preference, lead classification, welcome
  • Activities: Onboard new leads and introduce to them smart’s brand and benefits. This also helped us find their preferred channels (email vs SMS), share the brand story, and help them find their ultimate smart.

Nurture phase

  • Journeys: nurture, pre-order countdown, pre-order conversion, pre-order churn
  • Activities: Nurture users with the car’s exceptional design, functionalities, and sustainability. In the pre-order countdown journey, we guided leads to the pre-order phase. 

Pre-order phase

  • Activities: During the pre-order phase, leads could purchase a voucher which gave them an advantage over the regular order window. They were informed that orders were open before non-voucher holders.  

Besides these journeys, we also sent a variety of single-send messages to further nurture leads. Some examples include information about test drives, specific carlines, events, and seasonal content. 

smart car marketing automation campaign


of the database converted into pre-order


above conversion rate benchmark automotive

5 months

earlier than expected

What’s next

The campaign strategy and implementation were done in less than nine months. The focus now is on the next phases of the customer journey and optimizing current journeys. We’re adding new channels to the journeys and creating new journeys related to the after-sales phase. We’re also focusing on data enrichment so we can offer customers/leads a more personalized experience.

  • The smart app: The app will be a new channel, and will help us learn about user behavior. 
  • The car: Discovering how we can integrate the car itself into journeys 
  • Care: Educating customers about after-purchase products and services 

To make each initiative as effective as possible, we will integrate all Adobe products to create a 360° customer view. Our team’s marketing automation expertise and Adobe’s technology allow us to be flexible, future-ready, and fully integrated. 


VP Global Strategic Alliances at DEPT®

Anthony van de Veen

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