Marketing leaders discussed how email automation is a key component of personalized email marketing campaigns, customer engagement and data acquisition today at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit.
Karen Talavera, president of Synchonicity Marketing, moderated an animated panel discussion Tuesday about the merits and trade-offs of email automation. Email executives from Maropost, Barnes & Noble, Alchemy Worx, and Telecharge also participated in the discussion.
Automated messaging, triggered by data-driven customer insights, is an increasingly popular email marketing strategy. In fact, 96% of marketers saw open rates improve with email personalization strategies, according to a recent Venture Beat Insights report.
Yet less than a handful of Email Insider Summit attendees expressed that they were currently happy with their email automation programs. A majority even agreed with Talavera’s question, “Who feels like they’re walking but would like to run? Or crawling when they would like to walk?”
The problem isn’t just a mind-shift in the industry, panelists agreed, but the volume of good customer data and acquisition strategies.
“If you don’t have the data, you’re wasting your time” says Dela Quist, CEO at Alchemy Worx.
Quist says there are easy email personalization and automation strategies, such as abandoned shopping cart notifications and welcome emails, that don’t need to be too complex. The more difficult individualized personalization, however, requires in-depth customer profiles -- especially if every email, including weekly email newsletter blasts, will be personalized.
Many companies currently don’t have that level of details in data. A common problem is that the number of customers profiles with enough information to conduct one-to-one email personalization with is few and far between, says Bob Frady, chief marketing officer of Maropost.
“A smaller percentage of customer will deliver the majority of your KPIs,” agrees Matt Kassan, director of CRM marketing at Barnes & Noble.
“Even if we have 100% opt-in rates, we still don’t know who two-thirds of the people sitting in our seats are,” admits Elizabeth Rutter, email marketing manager, Telecharge. Knowledge acquired through email automation, however, helped the Broadway theater company learn about its customers and pinpoint who is most likely to become a future buyer.
Rutter says the company has also invested in additional offers, such as free wifi in-theatre and beacon technology, to encourage customers to engage online before, during, and after the show.