Spending a few days in lovely Palm Springs @ eTail conjured up thoughts that took me back 10 or so years ago. I kept asking myself, are we doing anything really that different from 2001? I dug up an archive from 2001 with the following guidelines. Can you tell if it's 2011 or 2001?
1. Think strategically, leverage the marketing mix.
2. Integrate and cross-promote. Use email to alert customers of mailings, shipments, and offline communications. Consider implementing offline efforts in email.
3. Include "email" promotional codes in email messages tied to special offers.
4. Develop Preference pages and online surveys
5. Consider time-triggered or event triggered messaging.
6. Segment and personalize.
7. Test, track and measure.
8. Be creative and test new ideas - email is cost efficient
9. Schedule and be persistent - drive sales right up to the last minute
10. Bridge the "Database Gap". Build an email database, email collection mechanisms and append permissioned email addresses if possible
That's from 2001. The thing that has changed in these guidelines is the depth of the activities involved to manage these guidelines in today's world. Some of the guidelines have become standard operating procedures that have evolved, some are business rules, and some are practices. These are very simple concepts to talk about, yet can be daunting to pull off. If I were rewriting these for today, I might give them a different spin:
- Personalization, Content and Data are used by everyone involved in the online experience. Combine your efforts with Online Advertising, Search and the eCommerce groups, it's the only way you'll have achieve scale in any form.
- Think Globally, Act Locally and Promote mobile -- it will be your future. Mobile apps, Mobile Advertising, Mobile messaging and the emerging device will redefine real-time interaction management and how the database is built, managed and leveraged in marketing.
- Adaptive Preferences. If you are still relying on self-profiling through preference centers, you are living in the past. Recommendations engines and collaborative filtering has come a long way in adapting data mining abilities that can derive personalization and recommendations that are more accurate and sustained than a user preference that fatigues over time.
- Consider "Context-Based" optimization, rather than Timing or Event Based views. How is this different from Time and Event driven? Context is assuming optimization and a portfolio value. We know that email does more than just inform and promote as it was designed to do in 2001. Email has a portfolio value to brand engagement, brand involvement, brand advocacy and brand promotion/evangelism.