From P&G To BabytoBee, Consumer Engagement Rules The Day

LAST WEEK, Bill Kaplan employed a "Snakes on the Plane" analogy to explain how inadequate email bounce management can impair campaign performance. This week we shift focus slightly to introduce consumer engagement in the context of a real-world case study. Special thanks to BabytoBee for their openness in sharing the brand's email marketing success story.

When communicating with customers via email, it is critical to work with the interactive nature of email marketing rather than against it. Instead of telling your customers what they want and when they want it, let your customers tell you. Marketers must listen to the real-time, measurable indicators offered by their customers and respond with information, products and services tailored to their needs.

If consumer engagement concept champions like Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley and the folks at MySpace and YouTube are correct, the more you listen and respond to your customers, the more they will reward you with their loyalty. The intelligent data email marketing campaigns provide to you on the fly will also help you to increase the relevance of future campaigns. Over time, your value to your customer, and your customer's value to you, will both increase. You will also become more and more attractive to advertising partners who recognize your brand's leadership and your customers' loyalty.

Fortunately, with over 200 million consumers online in North America alone, every company, large or small, can take advantage of the brand-building benefits the email channel provides. Here's a real-world example provided by BabytoBee, a leading online retailer focused on catering to the needs of expectant parents and their families.

Each day, BabytoBee interacts personally with hundreds of thousands of prenatal moms. Specifically, BabytoBee employs triggered email messages to engage moms-to-be during meaningful times of their pregnancy and beyond. Understanding that pregnancy and childbearing is experienced differently by each and every expectant mother, BabytoBee delivers a wide range of targeted communications, ranging from information-rich newsletters and timely updates to personalized introductions to leading infant care brands. Frequency and message type are automated and dictated by the preferences and needs of each BabytoBee customer.

BabytoBee CEO Robert Moore says that since adding email to his company's multichannel marketing mix, revenue from the channel has increased tenfold on a monthly basis, and email is now his company's leading revenue channel by a significant margin.

Moore has a few ideas why. "Employing email marketing provides BabytoBee with a plethora of real-time performance indicators that are more relevant than the key performance indicators that we previously relied on when our company was solely off-line direct," he notes. "Getting moms-to-be increasingly relevant content, products and service for their bundles of joy is what we're good at. Email marketing has made this much easier, more efficient and profitable for us."

BabytoBee tracks click-throughs, conversions, sales, viral referrals and a myriad of other business growth indicators in real time. Detailed reporting helps BabytoBee strategically execute the most relevant campaigns to the right people, at the right time. With the most up-to-date authentication standards and CAN-SPAM compliance built right into the email marketing technology, BabytoBee doesn't have to worry about its reputation as a trusted sender.

BabytoBee has recognized the importance of relevant, triggered email campaigns and is reaping the benefits of a more loyal and brand-aware customer base. In a world of social networking and blogs, where every man, woman and child can have a voice on the Internet, consumers want to play an active role in what is being advertised or marketed to them. To keep up, and to achieve results like BabytoBee's, marketers must now let their customers take control of the steering wheel, and simply sit back and enjoy the ride.