Achieving Email Marketing Success in 2017

As we move into 2017, marketing departments are busy making plans for success in the coming year. Their email marketing efforts are likely front and center as studies continue to show that email is the most dependable way to reach customers and has the highest return on investment.

Still, the level of personalization and timeliness marketers can achieve determines much of email marketing’s success. The companies moving closer to a 1-to-1 experience for their customers are seeing the highest returns. Successfully personalized email campaigns get the responses, clicks, and conversions companies want. And they quickly boost numerous other goals such as customer retention, engagement, new customer acquisition, and brand awareness.

This past November, MessageGears partnered with Ascend2 and surveyed top leadership from marketing departments (view methodology) about their biggest concerns, goals, and challenges for the next year (full report: “Breaking Down the Barriers for Successful Enterprise Email Marketing”). They found that 54% of enterprise email companies identified “improving email personalization” as a top priority for 2017. For those meeting this goal, they discussed their approach for success. Based on those responses, here are three “musts” for achieving success in enterprise email marketing this year.

Success is all about the data

It’s probably no surprise that having access to the most current and timely data is key to email marketing success. In our study, 50% of the leaders polled said enriching contact data quality was an important component but was the most significant barrier to email marketing success.

The marketing team must have access to quality data to do their jobs well. To date, many large companies rely on multiple vendors and platforms to collect data on their customers. This creates problems when they need to access multiple profiles quickly. However, companies that centralize more of their data are able to respond faster and more accurately. The more data marketers can access, the better they can tailor responses and offers to the customer.

Timing is everything

When it comes to personalized emails, enterprise email marketers had the most success with campaigns that were triggered by subscriber behavior and provided targeted messaging. We found that 44% of marketers said behavior-triggered emails were the most effective personalization tactic. That was followed by 42% for individualized email messaging, and 41% for email list segmentation.

Other tactics that successfully achieved personalization, although at a lower rate, were responsive email design, self-managed preference centers, social media integration and a personalized landing page. “Enterprise organizations that stand out leverage real-time customer data to personalize even the most basic triggered messages,” the study found.

Outsource wisely

It is no surprise that most enterprise companies rely on multiple vendors, platforms, and companies to reach their marketing goals. We found that only 17% of companies relied on in-house resources alone. Meanwhile, 37% outsourced to a specialist, and 46% relied on a combination of outsourced and in-house resources.

However, the more vendors and technology platforms at play, the more complicated processes become. “Multiple vendors and technology solutions need to be carefully orchestrated to avoid an inconsistent and clunky experience for prospects and customer,” the study found. (By the way, marketers, you’re going to need I.T.’s help in that orchestration, so get along with them!) Meanwhile, companies who prioritized streamlining their processes and consolidating and/or combining existing technology for something new had greater success at making more data available to marketers and creating more personalized campaigns.