Marketers are deeply challenged with trying to meet the demands of today’s consumers. Why? Because consumer expectations are leaps and bounds ahead of the experiences that marketers are able to implement.
This article originally appeared in MediaPost on April 9, 2015.
Marketers are deeply challenged with trying to meet the demands of today’s consumers. Why? Because consumer expectations are leaps and bounds ahead of the experiences that marketers are able to implement. A shortage of IT resources, and the challenge of making sense of massive amounts of data and building a sophisticated, automated marketing ecosystem, have backed many marketers into a corner. Fear not, though. Here are quick wins that marketers can implement whether or not they have a lot of technical resources at the ready.
1. Open-Time Personalization. Using a third-party vendor, it’s easy to get up and running with live email content that automatically refreshes at the time of open. Use cases include:
- Dynamic events, offers and products based on availability at the time of open.
- Countdown clocks to drive urgency based on event timing or expiration of an offer.
- Device-specific call-to-action and links to specific apps based on the device used to read the email.
- Live social-media feeds that show real-time activity on popular social networks.
- Weather and geo-location at the time of open to show specific products or content based on preset circumstances.
2. Progressive or Indirect Profiling. Most ESPs have functionality that allows marketers to set an alias or tag on links that can be used to tailor subsequent messages or trigger entirely new ones. For example, if a recipient clicks on a link that you’ve tagged as “women’s shirts," then that customer’s record can be updated to show an interest in that product type. From there, a special message on new women’s spring shirts can be sent to the user, or the content of future messages can show women’s shirts.
3. Direct Profiling. Many ESPs give marketers the ability to set up web pages and forms on the fly at the same subdomain set up for email. This functionality gives marketers the ability to create preference pages, survey subscribers, or even create campaign-specific dynamic Web pages without ever asking for IT assistance. If it’s a page collecting information, it can feed into a contact record for subscribers that can be used to trigger additional campaigns and/or update the content of future planned campaigns.
4. Behavioral Tracking. ESPs have the ability track email behaviors and make it possible for the marketer to easily act on that information. For example, if customers open and click on a certain number of campaigns in a given period of time, you can surprise and delight those customers with coupons. You may not know purchase history or other information due to lack of a data integration, but that shouldn’t stop you from rewarding certain behaviors or working to preserve a relationship if there is a decline in desirable behaviors.
5. Dynamic Content. Judging by the many emails I receive each day, marketers are still sending a lot of one-size-fits-all messages. Most ESPs give marketers the ability to tailor content modules in emails based on information about a specific subscriber. Use information you’ve collected on your subscribers over time.
I applaud marketers on their long-term visions and efforts to build sophisticated ecosystems. Until those visions become reality, however, these quick and easy ideas can be implemented as a starting point to delight customers today.