There are plenty of reasons why email is considered to be one of the strongest marketing channels, from its high penetration of users, to its engagement and flexibility, and solid performance. Additionally, studies point to email as a top channel for personalization, including Venturebeat, which ranked it #1 in 2015 and even more recent data from Boxever, which ranked it #2, right behind website personalization.
However, the reality is that many email strategies are more basic than others. And even though we continue to see the positive indicators of email as an effective channel, and read about the growth of personalization and data to improve relevancy, triggered emails and more sophisticated strategies are still fairly under-utilized.
Knowing to what degree you are using data and machine learning to deploy email strategies can help paint a more realistic picture of where you are in terms of email maturity and what your next step might to be.
Magnetic’s broken down email into five buckets, starting with the most simplistic utility. Where do you fall on the email maturity curve?
Batch and blast emails, such as weekly newsletters, are the most basic form of email marketing. Little to no data is used to improve various facets of these emails so that they resonate with people.
While the most basic form of emails may not fully go away, they will decrease. This blanketed approach leads to high unsubscribe rates and overall reductions in email deliverability, making it less likely for people to receive and respond to marketer’s email messages.
Data used and required: Email addresses is the only information needed to deploy basic email marketing.
Using consumer attributes is a bit more tactical in nature than basic email marketing. This approach includes augmenting existing, scheduled emails so that they are more relevant to a specific audience. You can segment by many different fixed categories including:
Basic segmentation allows you to market to various email lists (or groups) in different ways. For example, specific groups might receive an email or offer for their birthday. While this isn’t 1:1 personalization, since these groups tend to share specific attributes, this approach is more targeted than a basic batch email campaign.
Data Required: Data required includes email addresses, and “set and forget” attributes or customer information including age, birthday, first time shopper date, etc.
Behavioral emails go beyond emailing group A or B, and take advantage of recent consumer activity to trigger meaningful content based on “top of mind” consumer activities. Examples of these programs include:
Behavioral emails typically are more relevant than tactical emails in that they go beyond fixed/static attributes, optimize content and send based on live shopping behavior unique to that individual. These emails provide relevant and timely content that continues to engage and remind consumers about items they were recently interested in.
Data used and required: Product catalog information and recent on-site behavior is required to choose audience, personalized content, and send-times.
Programmatic emails are the most personal form of email marketing. They deliver 1:1 personalization by featuring products or information based on individual preferences in a recent shopping session AND past activity. These messages not only leverage recent behavior, but also past shopping behavior and other tendencies, such as price and purchase affinities, to encompass the entire profile of an individual consumer. Their programmatic and personalized nature help marketers build loyalty and inspire consumers to repeatedly engage, convert and purchase. Some examples are:
These emails use sophisticated machine learning to predict and determine with a certain level of accuracy what someone is most likely to be interested in. Many data points and information are used to programmatically decide what to send and when.
Data required: Product catalog information, real-time customer interactions and past purchase history are used to deliver 1:1 triggered emails. Algorithmic decision making needed to choose audience, personalized content, and send-times.
The more advanced form of email marketing is seen through a coordinated and synchronized multi-channel strategy, which provides enhanced cross-channel, path to purchase insights, and single view of their customer. This approach requires running cross channel strategies under one holistic platform that combines:
Through one platform, powered by one massive database of individuals, marketers can pull different levers across channels in real-time, and look at the attribution and performance holistically to better understand how these channels work together to drive results. This approach and level of insight informs what channels work best at different stages of the consumers’ path to purchase and can help to determine true ROI and where to allocate future marketing dollars.
Data required: One unified platform housing a combination of 1st and 3rd party data, inclusive of search intent from across the web, live product catalog feeds, real-time customer interactions and past purchase history used to deliver personalization across email, ads and site channels.