Financial Times


Effective design for customer retention

A bold communication approach to deliver greater creative impact across all email communications targeted at the preferences of each subscriber.


Creating a new approach

In a drive to improve renewal sales and reduce the impact of ‘bill shock’ cancellations, the FT approached 999 to redesign their ‘Renewals and Step Up’ communications. Our brief was to create a new approach across both email and direct mail channels that would: increase customer retention and subscription loyalty; maintain the’s customer base by reinforcing the value of a subscription; and reduce the ‘bill-shock’ effect: high volumes of cancellations after renewal payment has been taken.


The Big number

£26k+ saving

We achieved an incredible £26k+ saving in subscription revenue and a 17% reduction in cancellation rates, exceeding all project objectives. There was also a 12% increase in online engagement and an 18% reduction in revenue loss through cancellations.



Focusing on the benefits

We tackled the brief knowing that ease of use and clarity of information would be paramount. FT subscribers are busy people who want to access information quickly.

With mobile driving over 50% of’s traffic, a responsive UX-centred email design was critical to help build a relationship with the customer and give a great user experience on every device. With this in mind, we designed a new communications framework in order to:

• Present pricing information clearly to reduce ‘bill-shock’

• Focus design around the ‘5 key benefits’ most likely to retain loyalty

• Create a more personal experience



Using customer insights

By drawing on key customer insights we devised a bold communication approach that demonstrates real value to the FT’s target audience. We positioned the key subscription benefits messages as ‘5 Advantages’ in short, bite-sized statements to show that the FT understands the audience needs. The email format was redesigned with distinct content ‘blocks’ making it easier to scan the content. We also developed a bold illustrative style to complement the overall approach. The principal components of the new theme were applied across all communications in a distinctive new design solution.


Big Numbers

Award winning work

Overall, the project led to a 12% increase in online engagement, with a 17% reduction in cancellation rate and 18% reduction in revenue loss through cancellations.

It wasn't just our client who was impressed with the results - the project was awarded a Gold DBA Award for design effectiveness.