For many marketing and I.T. teams, there are few things they’d less readily volunteer to do than switch from their current email service provider. We hear it all the time. Even when they acknowledge the problems they have that seem insurmountable, their last switch was so difficult and time consuming — even after they were told it’d be easy — that the devil they know can seem like a better bet than the one they don’t.
You don’t need us to tell you the world is different right now — every government agency, news source, social media feed, and even beer commercial reminds us of the current pandemic situation almost constantly. Unsurprisingly, email marketing has seen its share of impact from these changes, challenging senders to get their messaging right in the midst of widespread uncertainty. Through the MessageGears blog, we’ve done our best to help navigate this new landscape — Jeff Haws recently shared some of the hard lessons we’ve learned in trying times, and Nick Ziech-Lopez has been furiously crunching numbers to share as much data as possible about the trends we’re seeing during this particular crisis. They’ve both done a great job at presenting useful information; so well, in fact, that I don’t have much to add to their analyses.
When it comes to email marketing, consumer expectations have never been higher for personalization, or for data privacy. If you think this seems like a paradox, you may be right. The very customer data that enables you to send the types of highly tailored content your customers crave can also make your brand seem creepy if you cross the line for any individual on your list. It can seem like a losing battle, though, for some, to the point that some brands almost give up entirely, sending bulk mailings that don’t stand out in today’s crowded inbox. So what’s the solution?
In our recent webinar, email industry veteran Angela Vega (Senior Marketing Manager, Vrbo) revealed five key guidelines that can help you deliver content your customers will love (and that will lead them to buy) while respecting the security of their data at the same time. Here’s a look at those guidelines and how each can contribute to managing the tricky personalization vs. privacy balance.
Every marketer has faced challenges when creating what they hope to be successful, personalized cross-channel messaging campaigns. For those working in highly regulated industries like banks and other financial institutions, those challenges can often seem impossible to overcome, especially when data access is a primary factor.
The many and changing regulations that govern banks apply fully to their marketing departments. And while marketers have been able to work around those regulations to create amazing cross-channel campaigns, many still struggle with getting access to the data they need and using it to send highly personalized marketing and transactional messages.
But banks have a lot going for them when it comes to marketing. Not only do they have a lot of first-party data on their customers, but the right addition to their martech stack could give banks the data connection they seek, while maintaining the highest level of security.
When it comes to sending sophisticated, personalized messaging campaigns, the quality and depth of your customer data is going to drive everything. If your data is comprehensive and organized in a way that’s accessible to your marketing team when they need it, your cross-channel messaging results will likely reflect the work and resources you put into that. If not, though, the likelihood is high that you’re lagging behind your competition when it comes to delivering campaigns that your customers look forward to seeing in their inboxes and on their phones.
So what if you have a good deal of customer data, but there are gaps that are preventing you from executing the level of strategy that you want? Our recent webinar with AnalyticsIQ looked at how their data asset can help you fill in those critical gaps, allowing you to know your customers better than you ever have in the past. And the better you understand who your customers are, their desires and motivations, the more targeted you can be with the messages you send them.
Imagine a “hottest martech gift” list for marketers. With more than 7,000 marketing technologies to choose from, which ones would rise to the top? Which martech vendors deliver best on their promise to give marketers that coveted, almost magical, ability to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time?
As the martech landscape continues to expand, one category has grown particularly fast. In the first half of this year alone, 19 new vendors entered the customer data platform (CDP) space, including Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce. In fact, the growing popularity of this category — and growing market confusion over what specific vendors mean by “CDP” — prompted the CDP Institute to create clarity with the RealCDP Certification.
In the early days of email, spam filters were all about the content. Including specific combinations of words and phrases would often make your message more likely to be flagged as spam or blocked outright. As mailbox providers and their spam filters evolved, sender reputation became more important as a factor: instead of a single message, providers evaluate a sender’s “body of work.” Senders whose messages often generate spam complaints or are ignored by recipients are now the most likely to end up in the dreaded spam folder. Message content still factors into many spam filters, but is almost always outweighed by IP or domain reputation.
Even so, many in the industry remain convinced certain words or phrases are the kiss of death for an email. You can find recent articles advising marketers to avoid including words like “free” in the subject line, along with symbols like dollar signs or exclamation points. It’s not hard for senders to get confused with the seemingly conflicting information out there, so we wanted to investigate how it all might tie together.
Social media can seem like an ever-present part of our culture today, going far beyond our personal lives to become a vital part of the marketing strategy for most companies. Because of their large amounts of data on the individuals that use the platforms, social channels can provide an enticing way to reach the types of people who will buy your product, and enterprise companies devote significant resources to doing so. Some businesses even surrender their own websites in favor of using Facebook as their primary channel for providing information and interaction to their customers.
In today’s environment, there’s probably little risk or danger in doing this. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (and Instagram, by extension) are all publicly traded companies with massive users bases, and they’re entrenched as advertising platforms with access to troves of data voluntarily surrendered by the people you want to market to. It makes sense to be directing at least some percentage of your marketing efforts toward social media.
Enterprise B2C marketers understand better than most the importance of having a clean and organized customer database. And with the massive amounts of data they’re dealing with, getting it to a point where it’s consolidated and easily accessible for marketing purposes can be a heavy, expensive lift.
Once your company has invested in the tools that can make that happen, though — whether that’s partnering with a modern data warehouse (like Snowflake, BigQuery or Redshift) or building out your own solution internally — how does your ESP fit into the data conversation? If you put all the time, money, and effort into organizing all your data, will your ESP be ready to help you take advantage of that? Or will it just stand as another obstacle that continues to make it difficult to fully utilize the tools you now have?