Email has seen a rebirth due to the explosion of data and marketing technologies. The old playbook is increasingly obsolete and new ways of utilizing the channel are emerging. Are you still attached to an older way of thinking about email? Let’s find out…
If one of the 1960’s Mad Men had access to email as a marketing channel, it would likely end up as another promotion put into yet another “broadcast” channel. Mr. Draper didn’t have access to a CRM or triggered events. So, he’d probably slide email into the plan next to billboards or direct mail on a planning memo and move on with his debaucherous day.
“Ad Guys” from 50 years ago (and many of today’s marketers – too many) operated under the guidance of the all-powerful Four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.
Missing from the traditional marketing mix is a fifth P – which is People. It’s not just about what you’re selling, how much it costs and how and where you put it into market. The combination of data and technology make marketing more about about WHO you’re selling to, as defined by an unprecedented level of granularity. Understanding your audience at an individual level is absolutely critical to the success of any channel of the Marketing Mix. We can see it in ad targeting, dynamic web strategy and now in email.
As a communication channel rooted in data, email can observe, elicit and predict customer behaviors in near real-time providing the opportunity to develop a robust understanding of the customer. Beyond gaining a deep understanding of the customer, it’s email’s ability to react to this information that gives this channel the unique position of being able to develop a true 1:1 relationship. It’s a concept rooted in the fifth P. The individual data points that make up a person now define the message, not just the size of the billboard or TV budget.
Behavioral triggers, next logical product, transactional messages, and dynamically populated newsletters and promotional campaigns allow the email channel to capitalize on peak inflection points in the customer journey. None of these tactics could exist without an organizational emphasis on gathering, unifying and utilizing data that distinguishes one person from another in the database.
Let’s get tactical: Building an email program that’s all about People
Building a true 1:1 email program takes time and effort, but there are steps you can take now to apply the “People” element. Understanding who you’re talking to begins with identifying segments in your existing data. Today…right now, go see if you can identify and capture these common segmentation attributes as they are the most basic of basics:
- Opt-in Source: Did the subscriber come from a sign-up form on a website? During the purchase process? Via gated content?
- Gender: Particularly for retailers who offer gender-specific products.
- Customer Status: Is the subscriber a customer or prospect?
- Engagement: Has the subscriber engaged in the last 3-6 months or have they been dormant for a period of time?
- Behavior: Has the subscriber been active on your website or app? Have they browsed or converted lately?
This is a good start…but it’s just the beginning. Incorporating the above can have profound effects on overly broad email programs. However, the more data connected to email communication efforts, the more highly personalized messages can be. Follow the principle of the fifth Marketing “P” lets customers know you care about them, which is an important differentiator in today’s relationship marketing environment.