Big Logic: Putting Logic to Work In Your Email Programs

Over the course of the last few weeks, my posts have been focused on the concept of Big Logic, versus Big Data, for email marketing. We have identified salient data points that can be used, and discussed opportunities to map the data to desired outcomes. In this final post on the topic of Big Logic, we are going to discuss examples of the types of logic you can use, why you should apply it and the resulting outcomes.

I do want to forewarn you that email logic can quickly become very complicated. I have worked with brands that manage programs with more than 600 business rule statements and 1,400+ assets, all to drive the content for one (yes, just ONE) email campaign, twice a month. That is a lot of work -- and quite honestly, a lot of potential for things to go horribly wrong.

Email is a marketing channel that should be executed in a personalized way, efficiently and effectively. And for some brands, the above scenario, with the 1,400+ assets, may leave you saying, “That’s what we do.” But while the task of sending efficient, effective, personalized emails may sound daunting, it doesn’t need to be. Here’s three different types of logic you can apply to your email programs to ease the way.

Lifecycle Logic
Even though understanding and leveraging lifecycle logic is not a new concept, many email marketers are just now beginning to apply it and appreciate the value it delivers. Lifecycle messages typically account for only 15% of the overall messaging volume, yet reportedly generate 35% of program revenue, give or take.

There are many ways you can look at lifecycle logic, with two of the most common from the customer and product viewpoint. Some brands have achieved great success in applying product lifecycle logic to their top two to five SKUs by simply sending replenishment messages that “remind” their customers to refill. Many brands want to apply this type of logic to all of their SKUs, but it isn’t really necessary right out of the gate.

There have been other brands that insist they don’t have a product that requires “refill” messages. On the contrary, I believe there usually is room for messages of this sort: active runners need to replace their running shoes at a regular frequency, and car owners buy cars every so many years. Every product has a lifecycle, be it long, short or something in between.

Situational Logic
As I am sure many of you are aware, @facebook.com email addresses are going away in March. You all must be very distraught, since the uptake was so widespread (said with a hint of sarcasm). As a result, Facebook users can set their account so that any email sent to the @facebook.com address will be forwarded. So this is an opportunity to apply situational logic: logic that isn’t consistently required, but rather is specific only to certain events or time frames.

Leveraging situational logic here allows brands to email just their @facebook.com subscribers and encourage them to update their email address with you to ensure they continue receiving your email messages.

Behavioral Logic
Tailoring your messages based on your subscribers’ behaviors is also not a new concept, and can become very complex, especially if you apply predictive measures to forecast likely next purchases or engagements. There are some behaviors that are a little easier to address, however: browse-and-abandon-cart behaviors, for example. While browse/abandon programs are becoming pretty common for typical retailers, other verticals also can use this same kind of behavioral logic to inform their email programs. Travel brands can leverage information about destination searches or fare/rate/availability to direct the copy for the next email they plan to send. Be sure to be subtle, though. If you know that a site visitor (and email subscriber) searched on hotel availability at a property in Bora Bora, consider including a feature on Bora Bora in your next email communication.

Be careful with browse/abandon programs, though, as managing them can quickly get complicated. So again, limit your messages and the parameters of the logic you base your program on to help curtail some of the complexity. For example, in the above scenario, opt to focus on your top five to 10 most frequently searched destinations.

I hope my last three posts you have brought you actionable advice about driving logic through your programs in a manageable and meaningful way. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section -- your feedback is always welcomed!

Tags: email
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