What You Can Learn from Your Email Marketing

November 30, 2017 Vijay Sankar, Product Marketing Manager

Email as a marketing channel is an established tool used to drive awareness, conversion and retention. Despite the fact that this channel has evolved with improved capabilities and advances; email budgets have continued to be minimal, relative to other channels.

Email Ad Spend 2013-2017

This could be due to accelerated improvements happening in other digital channels; but it can also be attributed to the lack of focused efforts to showcase email’s ROI and its contribution to the holistic measurement of a brand’s media mix.

In this blog post, I consider four reasons why the email channel should be considered holistically along with other digital media.

1. Delivering a cohesive digital commerce experience

Though the email channel acts as the foundation of a digital organization, marketing leaders face a significant challenge in delivering a cohesive experience and congruent messaging across the customer buying cycle.

An attribution platform that offers a holistic view of all marketing channels provides an opportunity to streamline workflows and achieve better communications between teams handling marketing and transactional campaigns. Adopting attribution metrics as the source of truth opens up avenues to move away from a fragmented approach and instead optimize not only promotional campaigns, but also triggered, targeted and even transactional emails.

2. Tackling the question of relevancy

Sending relevant content to a prospective customer is one of most frequently cited best practices of email marketing. Yet, a recent survey from DMA indicates 42 percent of marketers agree that some or none of the email they send is relevant to recipients. This is an alarming finding.

Using multi-touch attribution can improve relevance. When all data from across channels is available under one umbrella; marketers can make use of it creatively and implement successful tactics in other channels.

For example, knowing the best-converting paid search keywords not only helps identify what customers are looking for from the brand; but also the right creative themes for the right audience at the right stage in the funnel.

These analyses help marketers gain insights including:

  • Which product category is resonating well for the time period? Does it align with the email campaigns we run?
  • Is there a particular display re-targeting criteria, creative or audience that is performing better? Can it be mimicked for email re-targeting?
  • How is the channel performing when various conversion KPIs are compared (visits vs. leads vs. purchases)?
  • Is a particular retention offer driving more attributed credit?

3. Embracing attribution as the new source of truth

With the availability of sophisticated Email Service Providers, email marketers gained the ability to get key metrics measured accurately. However, since these metrics are siloed, KPIs are measured only within the email channel.

In this omni-channel world, prospective customers have access to a plethora of touchpoints. That means every marketer must embrace a method of building a holistic customer journey. That includes centralized data collection.

Many channel managers -- including email -- resist embracing an attributed world for fear of having to change metrics and budget allocation. But the expanded possibilities for analysis that incorporates the impact of other channels' touchpoints gives email marketers an opportunity to fine-tune campaigns and develop focused, personalized messages for the right audience.

Giving the email channel its due will not only help channel managers optimize campaigns, but also derive insights for fine-tuning other channels' tactics as well.

4. Including the right set of campaigns

Including the right set of campaigns in your marketing attribution model is a key requirement for getting the most accurate insights for optimization. Often transactional and marketing campaigns are executed by two different teams and may require coordination to understand what should be included.

For example, including transactional emails with in-mail promotions of other products helps give proper credit to these emails in cases of cross-sold products. This also reduces the risk of credit skewing if you include only transactional emails.

Including your email channel as one of the key components in your marketing attribution approach is just the start. Make sure you include the right granularity of information, required campaigns and attributes to get the most accurate attribution results.

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