What's In A Name?

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, July 16, 2015

Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows that I’m a huge fan of focusing on the objective, whether it’s focusing on an email programme, a newsletter or an individual email. That’s what will set you on the path to conversion.

I alluded to this in a previous post, “Let’s Put The Marketing Back Into Email Marketing,” when I wrote that “many email marketers are not actually focused on marketing at all, but instead simply emphasize creating and sending.”

I like to think of an objective as being two sides of the same coin: We want to sell to our prospects, and they want to buy from us.

On that basis, I’m going to take this one step further now and propose that for every email programme we set up, we focus on the objective of this programme and name it accordingly. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how often something like this is overlooked.

For example, let’s take two very common programmes we’re all familiar with: the Subscriber Welcome Programme and Customer Welcome Programme.

Being welcomed is a wonderful thing, especially when it is done well. However. is this actually the main objective of these programmes? I agree that it most definitely is a sub-objective, but I don’t think it’s the main one. More often than not with a Subscriber Welcome Programme, our main goal is to get subscribers to make their first purchase, converting them into customers. For this reason I prefer to call this the 1st Purchase Programme. Aligning the name of the programme to your objective not only helps you to stay focused, but also enables you to become the director of accomplishing your objective.

Using the same logic,we can see that the Welcome Customer Programme could more appropriately be named the 2nd Purchase Programme. Ask any online retailer and they will tell you that the majority of their customer database is made up of SOCs (single-order customers) rather than MOCs (multiple-order customers). So let’s get back to basics and review why we have implemented this programme. Is it simply because we think we should create a Welcome Customer Programme because all the experts say we should? Or is it because there's a real need to convert SOCs into MOCs? If it’s the latter, then you may want to consider renaming your programme so it aligns with your objective.

Names determine how we look at things as well as what we focus on. Lera Boroditsky, one of the world’s experts on the relationship between language and cognition, wrote “If you change how people talk, that changes how they think." A programme name that focuses on the objective rather than just being descriptive can encourage action-driven thoughts This can also change a person’s behaviour to focus on the positive outcome.

We can take this a little further and look at another name that many ecommerce marketers are familiar with: Cart Abandonment Programme. The abandonment of a cart is actually the touch point that triggers the series of emails aimed at recovering revenue. The name given to this programme is actually a negative name, as it’s focusing on the cause of the problem rather than on the objective of the programme.

So why do we call it a Cart Abandonment Programme? We should be calling it a Cart Recovery Programme. This is our objective -- so why don’t we name the programme to align with our objective?

So, to answer my original question: “What’s in a name?” I believe that a name is powerful, helping us to focus on achieving our objective with the programmes we’re implementing.

This post was first published in an edition of Email Insider Europe earlier this year.

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