Going For Email Marketing Gold

Those of you who attended the recent Email Insider Summit on Captiva Island, Fla., had the opportunity to see Hayle Chun, director of digital media for NBC Sports & Olympics, discuss how NBC successfully choreographed email, social and mobile messaging to reach and engage 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games enthusiasts. The NBC case study got me thinking about how marketing, in general, has become like an Olympic sport.

One unique aspect of the NBC story was the challenge of engaging audiences leading up to, during, and after the Olympic Games, which take place for only 17 days every two years. This compressed lifecycle necessitated that NBC transform how it organized teams and resources to serve audiences and stakeholders, in real time.  One could argue that compressed lifecycles are becoming the norm for email and online marketers too, as communications become more like conversations taking place in real time, 24/7. In fact, this new survey for a white paper to be released at TWTRCON NY on June 14 is all about the challenges -- real or perceived -- to integrating social media with other marketing channels like email. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Email With an Olympic Perspective

Like elite athletes, today's marketers face many obstacles standing in the way of  their goals. First, the shifting nature of today's Web environment means that people expect and demand access to breaking news, updates and offers in real time. Second, the proliferation and mass adoption of social and mobile channels means marketers now need an integrated approach to reach target audiences. Third, target audiences are more diverse than ever before -- and marketers need to be savvy about segmenting audiences to reach them with the right content, at the right time.

For many email marketers, these challenges may seem outside of their game plan. But in order to win as an online marketing team, email marketing should lead the way in integrating messaging channels to help achieve goals, serve target audiences, and increase ROI.  Here are some simple yet effective ways you can create winning marketing results:

#1. Create a "we," not "me" strategy. The best way to get your marketing program off to the right start is to map out an integrated strategy. The strategy should carefully look at the end goal, and then map back how to get there, what staff is needed and what resources are necessary. This requires breaking down traditional silos and integrating cohesive campaigns from creation through to delivery. For NBC, this meant ensuring that the team responsible for TV programming was integrated with the email team, who was integrated with the social team... and so on, and so on.

#2. Listen to the roar of the crowd. Reaching your audiences where they want to be reached is no longer a "nice to have"; it's an imperative. You need to determine where your target audiences are interacting, and where it makes sense to reach them. However, this does not mean abandoning email in favor of other channels. It means extending email's lifecycle with new and creative cross-channel elements.  By integrating teams and ideas, any email campaign can be turned into a social and mobile marketing opportunity to further reach and engage target audiences anytime, anywhere.

#3. Win over your audience. Winning over your audience may seem simple, but if you are hitting them with irrelevant messages, you risk being disqualified from the race. By ensuring your messages and touchpoints are relevant, and received across your audience's preferred channels, you increase overall content consumption -- which increases your chance of success.

To take the first steps toward improving your email marketing program to include real-time communications using social media and mobile channels, work to create a winning team.  It isn't a matter of adding a few social sharing buttons to a campaign, but rather integrating people, ideas, tactics, and accountability to leverage and maximize the right messages at the right time.

Integrating content across multiple marketing channels may seem like an Olympics-sized challenge, but with a winning-team strategy, education and the follow-through to cross the finish line, you should be well on your way to marketing gold -- time and again.

Tags: email
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1 comment about "Going For Email Marketing Gold".
  1. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International , May 24, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.

    This is one of the most insightful posts I have read in a while. Email marketing is about the List, The Relationship and The Offer. It's about STRATEGY not just pushing an email out. Well done Erick you have delivered exactly what email marketing is about. Cheers Kurt - Australia's Email Marketing Strategist - http://www.kurtjohansen.com