I think it's safe to say that most people who purchase and recommend products, services and brand experiences like yours are fairly capable when it comes to using computers, Web applications and mobile phones. Wouldn't you agree? Yet many marketers are way behind the times when it comes to integrating email with other complementary messaging channels.
Earlier this month, more than 400 marketers responded to a webinar poll, with close to 49% of them noting that they still mainly use email by itself, or without integrating social and mobile messaging. When it came to obstacles, nearly 27% noted that they had insufficient staff, while 12% stated that a lack of collaboration in the marketing organization prevented email, social and mobile channels and messages from being integrated. Finally, almost 27% said that they were not clear on the business case for integrating email with social and mobile.
Here's a dose of reality. Marketing organizations that collaborate to align channels and teams can actually reduce labor costs and increase marketing performance and ROI. How? By improving the reach and relevance of key messages, promoting content re-use, and creating better relationships and results by serving audiences in a unified, clear manner.
How can marketers refine their email marketing practices to better serve today's audiences? Here are three ideas to consider:
1) Align and fine-tune strategies - from idea conception, through delivery and measurement. Make sure you come together with your team members early on in the program development process to evaluate how all the pieces, such as email, social, mobile, direct mail, search, etc., can integrate together to maximize results. In simple terms -- make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.
Each part of the marketing mix may impact the success of your email message, and vice versa. This is especially true when you add real-time online marketing dynamics to the mix. For example, communications from social sites or mobile applications can be extremely beneficial in helping to trigger desired actions and stimulate increased results from email marketing campaigns.
2) Optimize email marketing content and offers for other uses. The beauty of leveraging content and messages across channels and teams is that it will aid true message fluency and time efficiencies and will help your organization establish best practices for higher performance. For example, your email marketing messages can be optimized with keywords by the SEO team to help fuel organic search. That same email message can be adapted and shortened for the purpose of Facebook, Twitter or SMS, which may also help to reinforce and remind audiences of important information or special offers. This concept of message orchestration is one I refer to as tri-messaging, and it plays a useful role in helping to work across various marketing functions.
As an email marketer, this means you should no longer think in terms of "blasting" out email messages to your database, especially without collaborating with peers in your organization. It is increasingly important to be aware of how, when and where other marketing functions are touching the same audience, how the audience prefers to engage with your brand, and what is triggering conversions and conversations.
3) Rethink your performance measurement structure. Now is a good time to decide how to redefine and measure performance across messaging-based programs in today's real-time Web environment. This is somewhat of a big-picture view and will certainly help you and your management answer key questions about marketing effectiveness: how much to spend where; what's working and what's not in your changing marketing environment; and how to best allocate spend across tactics based on articulated soft and hard metrics.
Your success depends on taking advantage of expertise and programs across all marketing functions - especially when messaging is core to execution. When your marketing channels and teams are aligned, you can maximize marketing efficiencies via email marketing and much more. Remember, your target audiences are not living in silos. They expect your business to work in a unified manner to serve them when, where and how they want.