Given the breadth of personalization, data anlaytics and content management tools represented on the panel this morning, it's surprising that most email marketing is still generic broadcast (batch and blast). Email is moving from a medium where we had to manually segment to find the valuable segments, to a world where automation technology and data management tools can quickly identify the most valuable or most active subscribers.
The responsible use of data is key to tranforming your marketing, and to connecting with subscribers. We have a lot of data on subscribers, and the trick is to use it intelligently an in service to customer satisfaction. Happy subscribers click, convert and purchase - which moves the needle on business objectives.
"As we are able to customize content into bite-sized, easily digestible tidbits, we can start to use the 99% of data that we are not using today," Robbie Allen of Automated Insights. "Personalization is still an immature space, although the technologies are emerging to help marketers identify the kinds of content that is relevant to each subscriber at a hyper-local level."
Big Data is only interesting for email marketers to the extent that it can help marketers customize experiences for subscribers. "It's a simple concept, but still a huge opportunity," says moderator Faisal Chughtai, of JP Morgan Chase. "Big data is not new, it's just moving faster now, and is more accessible for marketing."
Making decisions based on data gives marketers a chance to create a connection. Without it, there is no opportunity for optimization. "There is no magic number, but using data from loyalty programs, response behavior and purchase patterns can help guide you on how to set frequency and content strategy for each key segment," says Dan Quintera of AdStack.
"As the tools to manage data and behavioral targeting of content get better, subscribers are less likely to unsubscribe or tune out from your program," says Avi Levine, Philterit. "Generally, email was this open protocal, with so much coming into one inbox, but now it's a consumer controlled environment of curated content."
Avi talked about the great consumer "fear of missing out (FOMO)" - where 99% of messages are irrelevant, but subscribers are afraid of missing the one message they might care about. If we can enable consumers to curate their own inbox, they can be in control of that relationship. This puts an even higher burden on marketers to use the data well. Consistent relevancy is the only way to get into the top segments of the inbox.
At the end of the day, no technology can replace a great marketing strategy. The panel made it clear that a great content strategy is also pretty essential. However, having the right tools gives marketers more power over their ability to connect with subscribers in a meaningful way.