At MediaPost's Email Insider Summit this week, a number of interesting conversations were held, presentations made, panels put together (as always), and tweets tweeted.
One of the conversations early on was focused on email marketing strategists’ liberal use of the phrase “it depends.” While some feel it is overused, others agree that it is a necessary evil, given there is no single solution for all email woes.
The debate got me thinking, as a consultant and someone who generally wants to help email marketers at-large: Are we doing them a great disservice by generically postulating our “dependent” statements to cover our own fannies? No one likes to be wrong, right?
Regardless of the reasoning, or our inability to commit, it holds true that email is not a one-size-fits-all channel for all brands in all verticals. That statement is largely true for any marketing vehicle. Marketers’ use of the tools they are provided to meet an end goal or objective varies greatly from one business to the next.
I believe that the biggest issue with the “it depends” statement is that it is often where the conversation ends -- and, quite frankly, it is where the conversation should begin.
As much of this post is influenced by the conversations I had during the Email Insider Summit, I am inspired to now translate “it depends” statements about email marketing, into “consider this” statements as told by the following hair and ‘80s glam rock bands (Jon, this is for you!):
To Be With You (Mr. Big)
As marketers, we tend to put our blinders on about the brands we work for or with. As such, we are convinced that our brand is as important to our customers as it is us. However, the mechanism by which we motivate and drive interest and subscription into our email programs can vary significantly based on the brand, the value proposition, the customer base and so many other factors. Consider this: Not everyone wants to be with you. Just because they like your brand or purchase your products does not mean they want your email every week.
I Remember You (Skid Row)
When asked about creating definition around dynamic content, targeting, segmentation and personas, in a mixed setting, the answer would invariably be “it depends.” But the one consistent point that every marketer needs to leverage is: Remember the customers. How do they interact with your website, when did they last purchase, what did they purchase, did they browse and abandon? Customers know you *can* do this, so let it show in your email. Say, “I remember you,” in how you present content -- without being creepy, of course!
I’ll Never Let You Go (Steelheart)
Ahhh, defining disengagement and knowing when to say goodbye. This doesn’t just vary from brand to brand, but by product type to product type within an organization as well. But consider this: If subscribers are making no contribution to the organization (no purchases, no log-ins, no site traffic, no open/click activity), are they really customers, or are they just weighing down your database? If they are weighing down the database, then consider the source of the subscription. If you decide to never let them go -- which isn’t totally taboo --consider messaging to them differently, and potentially less frequently than the rest of your subscriber base.
More Than Words
Your content really does matter. The age-old email marketing go-to word is “relevance.” And while I cannot provide you a one-size-fits-all answer to what your email content should be, I would ask that you consider this: Good content often comes down to “more than words.” Sometimes it is the logic driving the content being presented or even the timing of the content in conjunction with behavior -- and so many other factors. The one constant is that it is not just about what you say, it comes down to who you are saying it to, and when.
So while “It Depends” as a go-to email strategist phrase is not going anywhere any time soon, we do need to remember that it is the beginning of the conversation, not the answer to a question.
What musical genre should I cover next? We’ve done ‘80s and now Hair Bands, so… it depends.