Digital Marketing Manager at Thorntons

Accountable for the strategy, development and delivery of all digital marketing activity to deliver annual revenue targets and help drive an ambitious digital growth programme.

Following two and a half years of success in my role as Digital Search & Affiliates Manager at Thorntons and the continued integration of Ferrero (parent company), the opportunity arose to manage the full digital marketing strategy as the company’s Digital Marketing Manager. This position saw me accountable for the strategy, development and delivery of all digital marketing activity including Search, eCRM and Affiliates channels to deliver annual revenue targets and help drive an ambitious digital growth programme.

Total revenue was in excess of £7m per year, and budgets across all channels, agencies and reports exceeded £700k – Thus an ROI expectation of approximately 1000%. To deliver this required a holistic digital marketing strategy, solid attribution modelling and an understanding of the customer journey to produce a seamless multi-channel experience across both online and offline.

thorntons logo


  • Leading a digital marketing team (4x reports) to ensure online commercial success
  • Producing a digital strategy to provide a seamless multi-channel customer experience
  • Managing the digital P&L with an annual budget of £650k and net sales target of £7m
  • Supporting the retail stores’ transformation with several digital innovation projects
  • Ensuring efficient spend through attribution modelling at a total business level

Key Achievements

  • Delivering net sales and cash margin ahead of target for the 16/17 financial year
  • Spending in line with forecast to deliver ROI in excess of 1000% for the full year
  • Continuously improving a customer journey to outperform competitors
  • Transforming our customer acquisition strategy to produce a single customer view
  • Leading a fantastic team to win numerous digital awards for various marketing channels

Multi-channel strategy

A number of different digital channels were used in order to produce an overarching digital strategy which took shoppers on a personalised journey at the right time and via the right mediums. This approach was based on Google’s Micro-moments approach and used channels including paid search, organic search, affiliate partnerships, email marketing, social media and direct mail to drive customer engagement, revenue and Return on Investment.


Single customer view

With over 200 retail stores across the UK, ensuring a single customer view was important in measuring true ROI. Initiatives included geotargeting through affiliate marketing, promotion of experiential events through CRM and measuring offline conversions through pay-per-click advertising. Additionally, a project between the digital and retail teams took place to capture data at point of purchase in store via eReceipts, with follow-up retention programmes.

Single customer view

Attribution modelling

With a variety of channels both online and offline, attribution modelling was essential in identifying true Return on Investment for both online marketing and offline efforts. Exploring models compared against Google Analytic’s default last-click model helped produce actionable insight and identified several channels which over/under-indexed in terms of ROI. This was particularly true of social media and owned media.

Attribution modelling

Test & trial approach

Using both A/B and multivariate testing across all channels and web pages helped to remove subjectivity and prove/disprove best practice hypothesis. This led to a data-centric digital strategy which underwent continuous improvement to drive incremental revenue throughout the year. The results of this strategy improved traffic, CVR, AOV and engagement – With insights being shared to the wider retail team.


John Alexander Rowley

An enthusiastic digital marketing professional passionately dedicated to increasing the online presence of businesses and individuals in order to improve engagement and ROI.

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