Friday, August 1, 2008

Email Personalization

Just as in direct mail, email marketers are finding that sophisticated personalization boosts results.

Yep, we like to see our names in print; we like to know that the companies we buy from know us and have taken the time to address us personally; we wait for the day that each and every mailing is so relevant that the words SPAM or Junk Mail is no longer in our vocabulary (Suzanne being optimistic, here...).

This BtoB Online article, Personalizing your e-mail efforts, provides a recap of a research report recently released by the Aberdeen Group.
"Companies that engaged in more advanced personalization strategies are more likely to see a higher return on that investment. Ian Michiels, a senior research analyst in the digital marketing department of the Boston-based research firm and author of the report, said customers are beginning to expect a higher level of relevancy in the e-mails they receive."
The article then provides 4 pointers on how to take personalization to the next level. I'll summarize the 4 tips.
  1. Database accuracy is key. Getting the personalization wrong (with wrong info) is worse than not doing it at all.
  2. Verify and segment your data. Consider appending data from an external source to round out what you've collected. Then, use that complete view of your customer and identify unique customer segments. Tailor your creative and your offer so that they resonate with each segment. (A side note: segmentation is a subject near and dear to my heart. I'd love to send you more info on our approach and share some case studies, if you're interested.)
  3. Use Web analytics to track behavioral data and improve personalization. Track and monitor how individuals in the database move around on your company’s Web site. Know what people are clicking on, what they're most responsive to, and use that data to improve future campaigns.
  4. Understand the buying cycle. Take information from the Web analytics efforts and figure out where individuals are in the buying cycle. "The next message a company sends to people on the e-mail list should help them progress to the next step so they ultimately make a purchase."
Oh, just reading this research makes me excited! Direct Marketing experts who understand data and analytics can really impact e-marketing, and improve the customer experience at the same time.


Ted Grigg said...

What you have just described is database marketing. This strategy applies to all direct marketing strategies.

In fact, without an accurate relational database, such things are relevancy, customer relationship marketing, tracking, and analytics cannot happen.

Both new media and traditional media suffer in many US companies because they have not devoted the resource or priority on the indispensable tool we call the database.

Thanks for your clear post on what personalization entails.


Suzanne Obermire said...

As always, Ted, you're right on the money. The database (and clean data) is key. Thanks for the visit and the kind words.