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Email Insider Summit: Real-Time Marketing

Submitted by Jeffrey R Miller on Wed, 12/21/2011 - 11:31

Tags: 
Data Measurement Marketers

When I was asked to speak and moderate a panel at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit, I was intrigued.  Email has been a pillar of online marketing from the start, along with Websites and Banner Ads.  (They weren’t even called Display Ads then.  And Search was in its infancy, who remembers Alta Vista).  So what’s new with Email?  Why are people congregating to focus on something that’s been a constant for over a decade?

The answer has to do with this infographic.  Email is still a central communication channel in an increasingly complex multi-platform and data-driven marketing mix.  It’s in the midst of a change – from sense and adapt preference centers – to application of real-time data to create scalable, personalized communications.  Clients and summit attendees said to me, they either have not enough data or too much data.  I say they need to have the right data.  This can be a complex challenge to solve, but nobody ever said an opportunity with measureable acquisition or retention improvements was easy.  You solve the challenge by tackling it in layers, applying Acceleration’s Process, Technology, and People methodology. 

You also solve it by gathering a panel of experts to share what they’ve done. The Sense and Adapt, Real-Time Email Marketing panel had it covered – including professionals in B2C and B2B marketing; product, service, and content businesses; marketers and technologists; representing FedEx, CA Technologies, Sitecore, and Lifescript.  We debated how email marketers can use their websites and audience behaviors to improve email (and social and mobile messaging) results.  And explored if web-analytics actually does more than provide historical data on traffic and conversions…

Process

How are you making use of web analytics data and email to determine real-time campaign effectiveness?  Case studies and best practices were shared to answer how you know what content to use for which audience -- by looking at real-time customer behavior through web analytics data. Email is not stand alone anymore, and campaigns sent to specific audiences should be integrated with the right message at the right time using the right channel. Best practices include:

  • Link all available transaction history for each individual, creating historical detail of customer interactions
  • Increase success with customer retention activities by assessing critical dimensions that describe and predict customer actions
  • Assess new customers that look like your best customers
  • Create and use integrated, closed-loop reporting
  • Apply feedback and program refinement

Technology

How are you using Web Analytics technology, and do you believe you should be using it differently?  There’s an evolution, and your organization can move increase value by moving up the following continuum:

1.     Monthly historical reporting

2.     Channel conversion attribution

3.     Real-time actionable insights for campaign optimization

4.     Automated, triggered remarketing

 People

How do you align your human resources with the process and technology?  Two prevailing models emerged.  One is to have a team that focuses on actionable insights from the Web Analytics data for the marketing group, supporting other departments such as Email, Social, Mobile, etc.  The other is to distribute access to the technology and have each department responsible for accessing and analyzing information.

Multi-channel marketing is increasingly a science as much as an art.  If you can identify segments, flowchart the desired user experiences, and create personalized messaging, the technology platforms today – integration between them – can deliver what you envision.  The Email Insider Summit panel encouraged the audience to move ahead and try; don’t be afraid of attempting something new, and failing.  Just don’t fail in massive flame-outs at the end of a campaign.  Do it quickly in smaller discreet phases, by sensing and adapting to real-time marketing data.

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