Ever get an email from a brand you loved, and they spelled your name wrong? Or called you by someone else’s name? It kind of hurts, doesn’t it? You know they didn’t put the email through a proofreading process before they sent it. If it’s a brand you don’t even remember signing up to get emails from, you probably laugh and hit Unsubscribe. But if it’s a brand you like and want to hear from, it can be hard for them to undo the damage.
As consumers expect more personalization from the emails in their inbox, the pressure grows on marketers to deliver. But, especially at the enterprise level, it’s never been more difficult to consistently create the kind of experience customers expect. While the CRM marketing cloud does a lot well, it also requires chopping up data and syncing it with the cloud, costing precious time and resources. And that lost time damages the marketer’s ability to reach customers with relevant messaging. That means your messages are just like so many others’ — general and impersonal. It’s the same mediocre experience your subscribers can get anywhere. You haven’t earned their loyalty.
Talk about finding the right subject line or font type all day long. Fuss over the arrangement of content, the size of the box in the header, and whether or not that shade of red in the call-to-action is too bold. All of that can have an impact on click rates and conversions, thus affecting the success of a campaign. In the end, though, what we’re talking about is triggering emotion. Do it consistently — even, sometimes, negatively — and your email marketing is going to see significant results. Fail to do so, and it’s likely you’ll wonder why your email ROI isn’t matching your competitors.
For email marketers, email campaign metrics are essential to understanding the way customers are interacting with your brand, and having objective data to tell you if what you’re doing is effective. But many companies have failed to account for a significant portion of email’s true business impact, because they aren’t doing the hard work to connect email with conversions that occur in a less linear fashion than open/click/conversion.
That was the launching-off point for our February webinar, “Beyond Opens & Clicks: Measuring Email’s True Business Impact.” In it, we discussed the reasons email’s true impact is difficult to measure, and how you can better understand it.
As a marketer, how much insight do you have into the entire customer journey, from first touch to ongoing communications? Do you have a complete, global view of your loyal customers, or are data silos keeping you walled off?
Today’s consumers expect personalized, relevant, and immediate messaging coupled with a consistent experience, no matter how they’re interacting with your brand. Yet, most organizations have pieces of customer data being stored by various vendors and departments. This then makes it difficult to obtain that complete view of their customers and market to them effectively. Marketers need access to the freshest data from every touchpoint to create a seamless experience. And a lot of that starts with centralizing data internally.
It was because of you, the enterprise marketer, that we were inspired to push forward with our recent webinar, “How Legacy ESPs Have Failed Enterprise Marketers.” We’ve heard so many stories on the phone and the road over the past several years, talking to marketers who are endlessly frustrated as they find that not only does their ESP seem not to be built around how they need to reach their customers, but that they’re essentially stuck with that albatross around their neck. It’s too hard to change, and there’s no way they’ll get the buy-in they need from the key stakeholders to migrate to a new solution. And, furthermore, even if they did, everybody thinks they’re all the same anyway, so what would really change?
We know these frustrations well. It’s why we felt like it needed to be said that ESPs haven’t been as innovative or flexible as they should be, and that enterprise marketers — along with their often-beleaguered I.T. teams — have borne the brunt of that. If you didn’t get a chance to tune into the webinar, here’s a quick recap of the main topics we touched on:
As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in your own world when it comes to email marketing. After all, you’re writing the emails. You’re probably gathering the analytics. You’re crunching the data, building audiences, crafting the perfect subject line, determining the right day and time to send. It’s your baby you’re putting out there into the world, hoping that click-throughs and accolades will rain down upon you. Nothing against your I.T. team, but what do they have to do with it anyway?
The answer is “everything.”
The larger the company, the less enthusiastic their marketers are about the performance of their Email Service Provider, and — paradoxically — the less likely they are to change to a new ESP.
That was one of the chief findings of our 2018 ESP Satisfaction Report, for which we surveyed 101 marketing professionals, at companies that send at least 10 million emails per month, to research a wide range of their views toward their ESP.
It wasn’t surprising to us that we found plenty of mixed feelings across the board toward ESPs. The stark nature of this particular finding was striking, though. It was one of the clearest statistical trends our survey showed — company size is a significant factor both in lower ESP satisfaction and in lower openness to change.
As you look forward to taking your email marketing program to the next level in 2018, it’s also important to take stock of how the industry evolved in 2017 if you don’t want to get stuck with high expectations and an outdated strategy. If you don’t learn the lessons of last year, you’ll repeat the same mistakes others already learned from.
Like with all things marketing, nothing in email stays static. The industry is always evolving to incorporate new technology and customer preferences. Before rushing into your first 2018 campaigns, evaluate what might be different from a year ago. That will help you anticipate where your customers will expect you to excel. Because your email marketing standards need to be at least as high as theirs.
After spending years talking to enterprise organizations about their email marketing needs, the perception that changing email service providers is extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive has been difficult to avoid. It comes up in conversation after conversation. It can feel like an accepted fact for large B2C companies — if they’re going to make an ESP change, the problems with the current one better be debilitating enough to justify months of hard work and transition.
We wanted to explore this question further for our 2018 ESP Satisfaction Survey. So we decided to conduct a study of large organizations across the country to see if this anecdotal evidence would be reflected in the unfiltered opinions of marketing professionals who are impacted by an ESP change. We launched this survey to better understand how enterprise-level marketers use email. And how they view their relationship with their ESP.