The Sea of Change in Data-Driven Email Practices

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In this whitepaper, Chris Marriott, VP of Services & Principal Consultant at The Relevancy Group, explains how brands can nurture relationships with customers along the lifecycleall while keeping email as the glue that holds marketing channels together. Download the paper to gain actionable insights, such as: -How to plan for stages in the customer lifecycle that dont end in buy right now -The primary challenges marketing executives face that are related to department silos -Using data to recognize smoke signals that indicate consumers are ready to buy


1. Research Sponsored by Tactics for Data-Driven Lifecycle Marketing May, 2013 THE SEA OF CHANGE IN DATA-DRIVEN EMAIL PRACTICES Written by Christopher Marriott The Relevancy Group, LLC 2. Page | 1 Research Sponsored by Copyright 2014 The Relevancy Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Sea of Change in Data-Driven Email Practices Tactics for Data-Driven Lifecycle Marketing Written by Christopher Marriott, The Relevancy Group, LLC Research Sponsored by Yesmail Interactive Introduction Email is the most dynamic and powerful marketing channel in the universe. Its accepted in marketing circles that email keeps customers engaged and informed and can be a great tool for generating sales and acquiring new customers. This mindset about the channel has represented the status quo for years. A review of email marketing articles from five years ago will show you how little things have changed. Email marketing has matured to the point where further evolution of the channel is not possible. Or is it possible? How do we continue to evolve email marketing? It starts with the most important question in email marketing today: "What do you do when you get them to do what you want them to do? Why is this question so important? The obvious answer is that you want them to pay you money. But that is never going be the outcome of every email interaction you have with customers and prospects. In todays growing multichannel world, an email might not even be the next interaction you have with that person. The real reason this question is so important is that it forces you to focus on how email can be the connective tissue between all of the channels. At this point, you can begin see the tremendous benefits that can be achieved through lifecycle marketing. For the purposes of this paper it should be understood that lifecycle marketing refers to automated and triggered multichannel communications that are data-driven and responsive to changing consumer states over time. They can be both single- touch and multi-touch in nature. Once a marketer adopts a lifecycle marketing approach to digital marketing, he quickly realizes that it means that consumer engagement with his brand must not be the only goal; it must also be planned for. What do you do next after you have their attention? The ultimate goal might be to drive a purchase, but you need to plan for the steps along the way that dont end in buy right now. If you dont plan these steps, youre likely to hit a marketing dead end, where your customer stops engaging. Sending another email cant be the only option you have. For more information on The Relevancy Groups services, visit, call (877) 972-6886, email or on twitter @emaildaniels, @csmarriott or @relevancygroup Reproduction by any method or unauthorized circulation is strictly prohibited. The Relevancy Groups reports are intended for the sole use of clients. For press citations, please adhere to The Relevancy Group citation policy at All opinions and projects are based on The Relevancy Groups judgment at the time of the publication and are subject to change. 3. Page | 2 Research Sponsored by Copyright 2014 The Relevancy Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Permanent Campaign The Clinton presidency was often referred to as The Permanent Campaign. What they meant was that he never stopped running for office, even after being elected because he knew there would be another election down the road. Its the same thing with marketing. If a customer transacts with you, theres a good chance they will do so again in the future. The time between transactions can vary greatly, but in all cases it is critical to recognize that successful email marketing goes beyond selling great products at a great price. Hammering your customers with buy now messaging quickly turns to noise. This is a marketing dead end. Savvy email marketers will use lifecycle campaigns to engage customers between purchasesthe permanent campaign! Todays leading email marketers are doing things like creating the content that gives context for their products (how-tos, case studies). They are creating entire conversations surrounding their content such as reviews, blogs, videos to watch and share, customer forums, and Twitter. However many marketers struggle with this approach because it goes beyond just email marketing. Oftentimes a companys organization gets in the way of doing this successfully resulting in marketing silos. Silos are good for farmers but they are terrible for marketers. They get in the way of planning the multichannel actions you need to take with your customers and prospects. Silos keep you from leveraging the connection between display, social, search and email (it's not the single exposure alone that gets consumers to act, but rather the context of all the marketing that preceded it). All of these channels are places you may encounter your customers and prospects and can be leveraged as tools as you plan what you are going to do when you get someone to do what you want them to do. The chart on the next page from our recent research is a good indication of the existence of marketing silos. Less than half of marketing departments share common goals, less than a third have central ownership across marketing channels and only a quarter do any coordination between marketing channels. Most organizations find it impossible to develop multichannel lifecycle campaigns under these conditions. Indeed, marketing silos are like a hangover: they are really hard to get rid of and everything else hurts! 4. Page | 3 Research Sponsored by Copyright 2014 The Relevancy Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Figure 1 Marketing Department Organizational Structure Question: Please select the statement or statements that best represent how your marketing organization operates? (select all) Source: The Relevancy Group, LLC Executive Survey, n=419 11/13, US Only, all market segments The pain caused by the silos becomes readily apparent when we asked the same marketing executives to list their top ten challenges when developing email marketing campaigns. As the chart below indicates, 4 of the top 10 challenges email marketers face are directly related to problems caused by siloed marketing departments. Even breaking down some of your silos email and mobile for examplewill drive better results and allow you to create better lifecycle campaigns. Figure 2 Top 10 Challenges When Developing Email Campaigns Question: What are your greatest challenges when developing email marketing campaigns? (select all) Source: The Relevancy Group, LLC Executive Survey, n=374 11/13, US Only, Mid-Market & Enterprise Respondents 5. Page | 4 Research Sponsored by Copyright 2014 The Relevancy Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The ability to automate and trigger communications in response to events along the consumer purchase path is the other key to a permanent campaign strategy. These triggers can be things they door dont do. They can be triggered by the passage of time, a visit to your web site and any number of other ways. They are powered by the most precious commodity you have Data! The various sources of data you have and collect on your customers form the foundation of your entire lifecycle program. The next chart shows all the types of data that can be used to drive your multichannel lifecycle marketing efforts. Figure 3 Connecting Customer Data to the Customer Lifecycle Source: The Relevancy Group, LLC The key to running permanent campaigns is to notice the smoke signals consumers send up when they are once again ready to buy. These come in the form ofyesdata. Whether its higher engagement with your email or time spent browsing on your website, the data guides you and allows you to react with buy now messaging again. The Power of Data-Driven Lifecycle Marketing It seems like everywhere you look these days people are talking about lifecycle marketing. It has been anointed as the next big thing and marketers are dreaming big! But for all the buzz and hype, theres still not much activity on the part of marketers. When we asked marketers in 6. Page | 5 Research Sponsored by Copyright 2014 The Relevancy Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. a recent Relevancy Group survey what percentage of the messages they send are automated, as in triggered messages based upon customer behavior, the numbers came back very low as the next chart illustrates. In fact, only slightly more than 20 percent of them utilized data-driven automated and triggered messages in more than 30 percent of their total messages sent. Figure 4 Percentage of Automated/Triggered Messages Utilized by Email Marketers Question: What percentage of the messages that you send are automated, as in triggered messages based upon customer behavior? (select one) Source: The Relevancy Group, LLC/Executive Marketer Survey n=374 11/13, US Only, Mid-Market & Enterprise Respondents When we followed up that question by asking marketers what were the most important considerations when selecting an email marketing service provider (ESP) application, triggered automated campaigns came in at No. 18 behind such features as social marketing features and responsive design. The Relevancy Group suspects one of the reasons for this is that marketers get a little overwhelmed by the sheer scale of lifecycle marketing through the use of triggered and automated campaigns. It all sounds great in theory but then you get back t


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