While email marketing is firmly entrenched in the marketing lexicon, it is still a case of untapped potential for many organisations. The email marketing strategies are stuck in a rut as they have not evolved along with the technology and not kept pace.
Bienalto’s white paper ‘Email marketing’s untapped potential’ stated that many marketers are still using mechanically operated outdated legacy email programs. “They know nothing about their customers, their list is not growing and response rates are low (typically, open rates are less than 20 per cent). The emails themselves are no better than printed flyers. Email programs in this category have not been strategically reviewed for many years. They have a low profile within the business – or none at all – and there is no knowledge about the impact of the program on the business. In short, if the emails were not sent, nobody would really notice,” the report stated.
Charlie Baker, Associate Director – Digital Marketing Strategy, Bienalto Consulting, said, “Email marketing is such a powerful tool, it baffles me that so many organisations aren’t focusing more effort on it. When it is done well, and most importantly measured properly, the business case to invest in email marketing becomes obvious. Getting the basics right is certainly important —however, moving from an unpersonalised ‘blast’ approach to sending emails with personalised first names, location-specific content and even segment-specific content isn’t going to ‘wow’ business stakeholders and executives. Nor will high open and click through rates. Email marketers need to start proving their worth. Integrating the program with the rest of the business and measuring its impact on the bottom line is the way forward. Money talks!”
Integrating email marketing
While the majority of marketers use a standalone email marketing programme which captures basic customer profiling. However, much customer profiling is still missing and there is limited or no consideration of the customer’s stage in the lifecycle. Recipients are sent emails in a one-to-many format and there is no opportunity of a meaningful dialogue. The list size is static with the possibility of slight growth.
Marketers should instead be striving towards integrated email programmes which are integrated with other systems such as content, website analytics, customer data and transactional data. This allows them to serve highly personalised offers to each individual customer. It also has layers which allow lifecycle emails, service emails, engagement emails and triggered emails.
“The result is a well-informed, engaged customer; and a business that knows the value of the email program. The organisations that have made it into this tier have invested time and money into building capabilities so that most personalisation is automated. In the retail space, this automation means that marketers still have the agility to respond to merchants’ incessant demands for pushing out content – but can do so in a far more meaningful and effective way,” the report stated.