Email Is A Strong Tool to Socialize the Enterprise

Every relationship worth anything at all is built on trust.

Brands - which are trying to be cool and really want to be perceived as human - must earn trust, just the same as any relationship. For consumers, relationships with brands are about getting something in return, and for brands, they are about enabling the touch points that build trust.

"Brands want to be people, too," says Evan Shumeyko of the Ogilvy & Mather South CRM & Engagement group (follow @ogilvydigital) in the opening keynote of today's Email Insider Summit. "The opportunity is real, as 72% of US consumers will share data in exchange for value," he says, opening the door for marketers to engage and build that essential trust.
While much is made of the billion Facebook accounts, there are also 2.9 B email addresses in use today. Email is still a very important channel in socializing the enterprise, Evan says, because although social, search and web microsites are great ways for customers to be introduced to a branded experience, it's email marketing that is doing the work of follow up with well timed, data-driven, customized content. Evan reports that Ogilvy experience shows that of all the consumer touchpoints launched as part of a multi-channel campaign, the ones that led to a trusted, engaged relationship were enhanced and enabled by email marketing.

That's good news for all of us here at the Email Insider Summit, email marketers everywhere, and frankly, also for all online marketers. It's silly to pitch channels against each other. It's not about which channel is "better" - it's about using each channel for what it does best. Evan kept going back and forth between benefits of the different channels - social, online, call centers and email. The point is that each has benefits. The power is in using them well together.

In addition to way that email can connect social sentiment results back to individuals, Evan gave some examples of how email marketing campaigns (both B2B and B2C) were optimized with data and content keywords gleaned from social communities and search terms. This allows the email marketing to speak in the same language that the customer speaks.

What a wonderful, happy, integrated multi-channel environment that will be! Where marketers can actually provide value across channels and use the data that we have to improve the customer experience. "The difference between consumer expectations and the reality of what is being provided creates stress in the relationship," Evan says. Stress is never good for building trust.

"It's not integrated if you have a website and an email campaign," Evan says. Better, integrate information from social and online activity and customer feedback into the email marketing program. "It's about active listening across channels, which allows marketers to being what is often called the Holy Grail of marketing: A dialogue."

A dialogue is only successful when it uses data responsibly across channels to create something unique and human about the touchpoints in a program, Evan says. This requires capturing data - both from consumers directly and through behavior -- and using it to customize the experience. Evan reflects that capturing and using data over time becomes true SocialCRM. To make all that work, you must have big ideas, big data and big technology. This allows marketers to use social and email and other clicksteam data in a structured what that opens opportunity.

Evan challenges us to remember that We all have the ability to do. Email provides a touch point where consumers hand over information, and that allows us to provide value. Email marketing uses data, not just social inference. It's a strong combination for improving engagement across both channels.

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