Value Comes When Insights and Engagement Combine

It’s common knowledge that data is required to send emails.  Without a basic database of information — at the minimum, an email address — it’s impossible to reach customers. Yet marketers continue to struggle to put data to good use. Sure, the basics are in place to power the sends, but the important pieces of data that could really personalize the experience aren’t being harnessed and leveraged.  Why is this?

The biggest challenge is that the industry is overwhelmed with the amount of data available and so easy to access. Marketers are collapsing under the weight of all that data, trying to make sense of it and move it to various systems that can absorb it.  

It’s imperative, though, to make it a priority to get past the barriers. According to Bain and Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. This is a staggering statistic that I firmly believe can be a reality for companies that harness their data and provide better experiences.  Let’s take a look at different types of data and how you should be thinking about it.



Insights should be the starting point for creating segmentation, making decisions about the customers you want to target, and determining messaging.  There are quite a few insights that can be valuable to you as an email marketer:

-- Customer segments: If your company has already gone through the exercise of creating formal customer segments and updates them regularly, this is a great starting point for email marketing decisions.  

-- Demographic data: Can be leveraged to understand life stage, household income, and various other details.

-- Transactions: Transactions can show where customers are on their journey with your brand and can provide a historical context over time of the types of products and services a customer has the propensity to purchase.

-- CRM/POS: Any data collected by front lines such as call center or store employees should be leveraged. Such data can help make a bad situation right if, for example, programs are set to run when a customer has a complaint.

Other points of insight can be psychographic, attitudinal, situational, opinion details, family details, career details, and so on.

Engagement is what is tracked as a result of interactions across various channels.  For email, it is easy to see what types of campaigns, programs, content, links, offers, segmentation, etc. resonate with your customers.  There are a couple of ways to think about engagement:

-- Engagement can be positively affected by leveraging insight data to drive campaigns and programs. The more insight you leverage for your email program, the better your engagement results will be.

-- Engagement can also become very powerful when results are applied to email marketing decisions. Think of the learnings from engagement data as a snowball effect that continues to build momentum as you apply engagement results to future decisions.

Insight + Engagement = Value for Your Customer
Insights that never get used and sit in a data warehouse inside the four walls of your company are just data that means nothing.  

Even worse, if you send email campaigns that aren’t leveraging insights that lead to engagement, customers will just see those emails as spam. You’ll end up leaving your customer feeling as if you know nothing about her, even if she’s been a loyal customer for years.  Don’t count on her staying that way.

The point is, a good data strategy will closely combine insight data to drive engagement.  Consider the relationship between the two intrinsically tied together, like a yin-yang. You can’t have one without the other.

What types of data do you use to power your email marketing program?  Let me know in the comments.

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