The 2013 DMA tracking study will be launched on October 17th. I don’t think I’m giving enough away here to merit spoiler warnings, but I was surprised again this year by the number of consumers who still feel that they are not getting enough relevant emails. Of course, there are many jolly happy punters, but still around one third of the respondents felt that 20% or less of the emails they received were relevant or interesting. The positive news is that this represents a massive improvement vs 2012, but clearly there is still a way to go.
The truth is that targeted communications can deliver significantly better results than batch and blast communications, and with all the advances in CRM and segmentation tools, there is really no excuse for not showing your customers that you do at least know a little bit about them.
If you’re not doing any segmentation at all, well, what are you waiting for! – If you need some help, the blog in last week’s DMA infobox on segmentation would not be a bad place to start. I also like the Homebase / Ecircle segmentation study on Smart Insights, which explains how using categorised link tracking helped Homebase to zone in on selected customers in the ‘consideration phase’ for a kitchen purchase – ie those who had clicked on “kitchen links” in previous emails.
The other reason why I like this case study, is that it shows not just how using data can help improve the effectiveness of email, it also highlights how email can enhance CRM profiles and improve our customer knowledge. So if you reckon you are already doing what you need to do in terms of segmentation with your email marketing, then stand back for a moment and think about how email can help you further optimise your data.
Email can help you to see who is sharing information, who is engaging with what, what elements create a response. The more that you use the data that email gives you, the more of a complete picture you will have. And an email address is really the foundation for any CRM profile. It is unique, mobile (works cross-device) and as the basis for most log-ins gives us genuine attribution possibilities to measure transactions.
So, are you making the most of the data that your emails are generating? And outside of your normal newsletters and trigger campaigns, how many additional email opportunities are you leaving on the table, where the behavioural data and email address capture could be contributing more to your CRM process? Shopping cart abandonment emails? Transactional emails? Email media? A recent Gleanster whitepaper on email media, for example, suggested that 50-60% of the email addresses in communications sent by employees were not associated to an existing customer record. So here there is an opportunity both for learning more about your customers, and also list growth. There are so many email touchpoints that could be supporting your CRM, where you can benefit from engagement analytics and data capture, and help improve your segmentation.
Segmentation tools in email platforms have increased significantly over the last few years. We are no longer limited to creating static segments, based on gender and geography, but can do really cool things, based on purchase history, web visits, interactions, downloads, non-engagement, or a combination of all of the above. Whilst the challenge for some is to get started with their segmentation, the challenge for all marketers is to know more about their customers, and to improve their segmentation to engage the “outliers”, – and emails (of all shapes and sizes) should be at the heart of this strategy.