Email Has Leading Role In Multichannel Engagement

Marketers are slowly catching up to their multichannel customers by ramping up usage of multichannel marketing tactics -- and email is at the core of many of those efforts. That's the key finding of the "Retail Email Guide to Multichannel Engagement," which Smith-Harmon created in partnership with ExactTarget. We'll be releasing the guide next week, but here are some of the key points.

According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting for ExactTarget, 84% of respondents agree that multichannel marketing is more successful than single-channel efforts. Email's ability to play well with other channels is one of the key reasons that 81% of respondents said email would be as effective or more effective two years from now. Among those respondents believing that email will retain or increase its effectiveness, 58% say email is a key part of their multichannel initiatives, and 37% say that email boosts the ROI of other channels.

But in addition to supporting marketing messages in other channels, email benefits from pulling in content from other channels to boost relevance and subscriber engagement. Seventy-four percent of those respondents believing that email will retain or increase its effectiveness say that the relevance of their emails is increasing; 36% say that including more social features in their emails will make them more effective.



In the retail industry, there are great examples of email being used to drive traffic to and interest in...

Stores, as in this Mar. 11, 2008 Urban Outfitters email, which announces a new store opening.

Social networks, as in this Sept. 23 Dick's Sporting Goods email, which asks subscribers to follow the company on Twitter.

Mobile sites and apps, as in this Oct. 3 Ralph Lauren email, which includes a promotion for an iPhone app for the company's latest collection.

Direct mail, as in this June 27, 2008 Norm Thompson email, which asks subscribers to vote for their favorite catalog cover.

Online, as in this Sept. 27 HSN email, which promotes the top-searched items and departments from the company's Web site.

TV, as in this Dec. 3 Victoria's Secret email, which tells subscribers when the company's fashion show is being televised.

As promising as these multichannel efforts are, the survey also revealed several barriers to taking a more multichannel approach to marketing. For instance, 62% of respondents couldn't measure customer engagement. Also, only 37% of respondents knew which channel their customers prefer to use, and only 27% of respondents could measure whether efforts in one channel boost results in another.

These findings speak volumes about the need for better customer engagement visibility tools and more time spent unlocking channel synergies. What's clear is that marketers who can best coordinate their channels and play to channel strengths will have a significant advantage over competitors who can't. We hope the statistics and examples in the "Retail Email Guide to Multichannel Engagement" inspire you to take a leading position.

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