The way marketers work has been shaped by constraints – in terms of bandwidth to analyze data, communicate personally, or the time available to craft a response. But with the power of marketing automation, marketers now have more bandwidth and an increased ability to analyze their customers on a personal – not just personalized – basis. Through this, a well-established campaign tool email, can be energized and used much more effectively Research shows that email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. (The Radicati Group, 2016)
There are three leading trends that will allow you to improve efficiency through email.
1. Get to Truly Know Your Customers
Marketing automation allows you to get to know each customer as an individual. Depending on your business requirements, you may not need to classify them by demography or psychography and address them as an aggregate but address them entirely as individuals.
54 percent of marketers say increasing the engagement rate is their top email marketing priority. (Ascend2, 2016)
Relevance ensures higher engagement rates across the most appropriate channels. Marketers should ask themselves the following: Should we address our customers through Facebook or email? What day of the week is best to communicate my offer? Does my customer eat out because he is socializing or is he on business? Does my customer respond well to special offers? My customer has a small child – do I know the child’s age and am I tailoring my offers accordingly? Or am I sending diaper coupons to an eight year-old?
During the weekends, your customer wants to be known as Savi who hosts Carnatic music jamborees while she is Mrs Savita Ramanna, the business manager, during the week. Would knowing this, help communicating the most relevant offers to the customer?
Every snippet you can collate, will add to the big picture. And that will help you understand who your customer is and how they want to be communicated to. This was just not possible previously to anyone ploughing through customer databases or filing purchase histories.
The customer journey is much more than A to B
Needless to say, the customer journey is far from linear. There isn’t an A-to-B route from suspect to sale anymore. It’s more like A-to- J to -M – to F to- Z. And the way your customer navigates the route matters. It’s not about waypoints and milestones, but scenery and sunsets.
Marketers need to ‘listen’ on multiple frequencies and connect up disparate data points such as:
- Has the customer ‘liked’ your brand on Facebook?
- Have they signed up to your loyalty card?
- Did they make their purchase online or offline?
- How did they pay? Cash-on-delivery or did they use a credit card?
- Did they use a coupon or cash-back offer?
- Did they use or buy a gift voucher?
- Have they updated their Linkedin profile with a new position, maybe moved to a new city?
The list goes on. But unlike a manual approach to gather and understand the causality of each of these behaviours – which was time-consuming, expensive, tedious and prohibitively painful – marketing automation enables connections, often in real-time.
This will become increasingly important as the customer journey becomes more complex as we move into 2018 and beyond.
With the right approach, marketing automation can help you to understand customers as individuals in all their wonderful diversity. This opens up enormous opportunities to talk to them in a way that resonates.
As we move forward, both in terms of technology and expectation, speaking to your customers in a ‘language’ that resonates will become even more critical. In countries like India where the growth of the non-English speaking population is ahead of those that speak English, we will see an increased use of vernacular communication, enabled by technology, and we need to be prepared for this.
2. The Customer Lifecycle – Taking Email Marketing to the Next Level
Today, the customer lifecycle is key to our marketing efforts. We need to think and act beyond the next sale. Marketers need to build trust and comfort across all aspects of a customer’s interactions with the brand. From informing them that a product they previously ordered is back in stock, to remembering their birthdays and when they last changed jobs.
It is possible that your core offer might never change, but the way you communicate it should be relevant and timely. Does a customer consider your brand as the solution to a specific need? Is your brand on his shortlist for consideration?
Fortunately, there’s a single channel that allows you to do it all... email – the one channel that just keeps on giving.
Today’s email marketing – driven by insights and triggers from your marketing automation infrastructure – can connect every touchpoint of the customer journey – past and present. And its future is increasingly important through predictive analytics that will forecast what a customer wants next.
3. An Integrated Approach Can Catapult Your Email Marketing Into 2018
Are your email marketing capabilities integrated with your marketing automation infrastructure? If not, your email campaigns are operating in a silo, and not performing to potential. Consider the quality of information in your database – is the information you have – and continue to collect – actionable, monetizable? It appears that for most businesses it is not the case. Information contained in databases are quickly outdated – if you don’t update the information within six months of creating the records, the contacts are likely to be of very little to no value to you.
For email marketing to be really effective, you need:
1. Accurate targeting
2. Detailed customization
3. Personalized communication that addresses customer specific needs and offer the product that best fit the requirements
If your email campaigns are more ‘spray-and-pray’ than ‘listen-and-learn’, you’ve got some catching up to do.
To learn more, read “Understand Customers and Their Lifecycle with Marketing Automation”published on the Oracle Marketing Cloud Blog