How Virgin Red Leverages Braze and Snowflake to Simplify Operations and Drive Acquisition
+7K Click-throughs during IP warmup


Virgin Red wanted to simplify their tech stack and ensure that their customer engagement platform is an efficient, data-driven engine for cross-channel personalization that drives engagement and member acquisition.


To achieve this, they needed an all-in-one, marketer-friendly, data-driven platform that could trigger and send messages across all relevant channels.


Adopting Braze enabled Virgin Red to streamline customer engagement operations, downsizing from three tools to one. Their IP warmup powered by Braze Cloud Data Ingestion drove an open rate of 45%, with 7K+ members clicking to learn more about their referral program, leading to a healthy new member signup rate.

Virgin Red brings delight in making every moment count for its members. Members can earn Virgin Points in hundreds of ways—they can boost their points balance by shopping online with brands they love, booking a flight for their next vacation, or going out to dinner. They can then spend points on rewards such as a case of rosé, a cinema ticket, or even a Caribbean cruise. Virgin Red doesn't require a mountain of points for a reward. For as little as 200 points for a sausage roll, with Virgin Red, every little win counts.

Channels Utilized

Alloys Partnerships

That same attention to detail is core to their customer engagement strategy. As a loyalty tech business, they take to heart that it can be 6 to 7X more cost-effective to retain your current customers than acquire new ones. Before Braze, Virgin Red used three different tools to send transactional emails, marketing emails, and push notifications.

The fact that the team relied on disparate tools for their comms created a few hurdles. Ensuring that member data is ingested into each of the tools to power engagement was time-consuming. Getting unified engagement analytics data out of the three tools into Snowflake was a challenge, too. On top of all this, the GDPR stipulates that all regulation processes be performed on each tool individually. Having different tools for different types of communication was acceptable when they were a startup, but now they needed a platform that matched the company’s maturity. Something that could scale with them and reduce those technical tailwinds.

How Cloud Data Ingestion Helps Virgin Red Reduce Complexity and Scale Without Fail

Originally, Virgin Red brought on Braze in 2022 to focus solely on acquisition. Soon enough, however, they realized they could leverage Braze to drive even more value from Snowflake.

Specifically, Braze Cloud Data Ingestion (CDI) enabled the team to finally leverage their Snowflake data to better personalize their messaging. Finally, the marketing team could easily get the data they needed to power comms without constant reliance on engineering resources.

With CDI, Virgin Red could ingest member attributes like where a member is from, their points balance, marketing consent preferences, favorite products, and others. While before, adding a new attribute was a significant undertaking, now the team could simply add an extra line in the SQL query for minor changes—a much more straightforward process.

One of their first campaigns was an IP warmup powered by CDI. In total, they sent 469k emails, generating a 45% open rate, with 7K+ members clicking to learn more about the Friend Referral Program, resulting in a healthy number of new member acquisitions. For Virgin Red, the ease of use was key. For the first time, the marketing team was able to structure and monitor the campaign with limited support from engineering. Finally, they felt empowered and could do their jobs end-to-end.

A laptop showing an email from Virgin Red with an offer for free coffee

Next, Virgin Red created a campaign to drive engagement when Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson's collection of unique retreats and luxury hotels, launched a brand-new Son Bunyola Hotel in Mallorca. To give Virgin Red members a chance to experience the extraordinary, they ran a competition where members could win a 4-night stay at the Son Bunyola Hotel for themselves and three others.

Virgin Red emailed their member base about the competition, using Braze Canvas Flow to build out a customer journey. For users that didn't open the email, a follow-up email was triggered two days later. This campaign drove 48% open rate and 20% clickthrough rate. In total, 8.6% of recipients entered the competition.

But the team didn’t stop at driving engagement only. They used Braze Audience Sync to identify and create lookalike audiences in Facebook and acquire new members through the Son Bunyola Hotel competition. This was a brand new capability for Virgin Red team.

Finally, the Snowflake Data Sharing feature allowed Virgin Red to unlock campaign performance insights with minimal data engineering. This is because the Braze engagement data on message opens, clicks, bounces, and more is available out of the box, ready for analysts. Virgin Red analysts were able to use that data to build a custom Tableau dashboard in order to track and report on campaign performance.

While it’s still early days for Virgin Red in terms of their Braze journey, the partnership has made it easier for the team to work at speed and scale than ever before.

We brought in Braze to level up our customer engagement game, and we’re extremely happy with the results so far. Braze has helped us leverage the data that we already have and drive both engagement and acquisition at the speed we couldn’t dream about before.

Oksana Kovalenko
Head of Data Product at Virgin Red

What’s Next for Virgin Red?

What’s next for Virgin Red? Like the friendly skies, there’s no limit to what they can do with Braze. The team is now hard at work to integrate in-app messages and push notifications across their mobile apps. They’re also eager to double down on segmentation and on making their customers’ day with personally-relevant offers that will appeal to them and their interests. Having a single tool for managing all of their messaging channels and using their existing Snowflake data has unlocked their ability to engage customers in a data-driven, personalized, and timely manner.

+7k Click-throughs during IP warmup
45% Open Rate during IP warmup

Key Takeaways

  1. Your time is money. When evaluating your tools' investment, don’t forget to add up how much time your team spends using them. If each one is eating into their precious hours separately, it may be time to streamline into one built-for-purpose platform.

  2. A vertical tech stack lets you mix and match solutions. Creating the right marketing tech stack for your brand might look different from others, but our hot tip is to seek solutions that can grow with you.

  3. Unify your data. If your data isn’t unified, it’s hard to create the kinds of personalized, cohesive experiences your customers expect. Look out for solutions that can accommodate data stream processing for up-to-the-minute accuracy.