Email Marketing Growth in 2018 (and Beyond) Begins with 3 Imperatives

If you want to see customer growth in 2018, these email marketing tips will help you get off on the right foot

As email volumes rise into the tens of millions each month for many larger brands, new challenges in multi-channel marketing emerge. This is particularly as it relates to the increasing demand for personalized, real-time messaging. Consumers expect relevant communications in real time, but the very infrastructure of email marketing is based on a series of time-consuming tasks, such as data mapping, file transfers, synchronization, and batch delays. Each step introduces another delay, and that can quickly turn a real-time marketing opportunity into a missed opportunity. How can marketers keep up with growth and improve their ROI?

Here are three things major brands will need to start tackling in order to communicate more effectively with their customers.

1. Centralize customer data to improve access and foster growth

Is your customer data scattered across various marketing platforms? If it is, you’re not alone. In fact, only 9% of marketers are able to access all of their customer data from a central data warehouse, according to a recent survey of more than 300 marketers of mid-market and enterprise companies. If you want the ability to meet buyers’ expectations and provide a consistent experience across all channels, including email, you need seamless access to updated, fresh data from a centralized database. Doing this will provide all teams and vendors with access. And that will pave the way for your company to deliver better service and communications across the organization.

2. Map out real-time needs before implementing solutions

It’s key to map out real-time marketing needs before implementing marketing technology solutions. Unfortunately, this best practice is often woefully absent in marketing strategies. Success in marketing starts with mapping out your needs and making sure to align all processes and vendors.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what information you’ll need to deliver real-time messages. Automated campaigns like confirmation emails, shipping notifications, flight statuses, event reminders, and nurture/on-boarding programs need specific information to be effective. Do you have immediate access to the right data? Or is it located in a database managed by another department or vendor? Multiple vendors and technology solutions must work together and someone has to carefully manage them to avoid an inconsistent and clunky experience for consumers. Mapping out your real-time needs first will help you find the best solutions for your team.

3. Involve I.T. in vendor evaluations

How closely do your marketing and I.T. teams work together? The closer marketing works with I.T. to set expectations and understand each department’s goals and needs, the more effective your marketing programs will be. Our survey shows that only 65% of marketers would describe their relationship with I.T. as at least “above average.” As many as 37% of enterprise marketers describe their relationship with I.T. as either “below average” or “poor.” This disconnect probably won’t result in a killer marketing program!

It’s important not to keep I.T. at arm’s length. Their input will be valuable when you evaluate new marketing technology. This is especially key if you’ll need access to customer data. Improving this relationship will help marketers understand potential challenges and limitations with integration. It can also make implementation easier because I.T. is able to weigh in on what will work best for the company.

The question now is, how well is your organization doing when it comes to implementing these three best practices? The sooner you start, the sooner you can improve your customer’s experience with your brand and see the growth you’re looking for.