Who Is Better Placed Than Email To Deliver Personalisation?

It's enough to drive you to distraction, and often does. Email marketing is a central conduit with customers. It should be smart, right? But ask yourself this. How often do you click on something specific in an email only to end up on a generic home page?

Ask yourself the same question for your customers. How often do your links not go through to the specific item or deal being offered but to your home page or a generic section page?

It's not that unusual. Research out today shows that nine in ten marketers feel they are unable to offer a personalised Web experience when people navigate toward them. The main reason, for nearly half, is that they don't believe they have a way to recognise people and then match this with a data record on them. Not having the tech, the budget to get the tech and lacking buy-in from the board were the other main reasons provided in the Acquia research carried today in Netimperative

In smart hands, however, email has to be the best-placed channel to act on data and offer consumers personalised offers that lead to -- at the very least -- appropriate landing pages. It has to be a virtuous circle, doesn't it? Someone agrees to be contacted after buying a particular product which puts them firmly in a segment. Then, they hopefully use that email address for future purchases that show you what else they are into -- or at least what makes great gifts for the people in their lives. 

Why wouldn't a brand act on this data? Why would a click on an offer for money off a new range of shoes take them to a home page where they then need to drill down through menus to get to the right page? Why would a brand not offer a bunch of similar products placed around this and a "people who bought this liked this also" Amazon-style recommendation?

If you want to know how badly this can be done, and how annoying that can be, just click on an Adidas sale email. Most of the time you'll end up a generic sale page that takes an age to drill down by sport type, club, age, size and so on. Alternatively -- and this goes for nearly any brand -- click on any email link and see if they make it easy to change the colour or type of item you have selected to see an alternative if say, you don't think the colour or sizing looks quite right. No, it's usually back to a generic page and you have to start cutting through a bunch of menus.

The point is that email should be the enabler -- the facilitator in all this. It's the digital ID we all take around the net with us, it's how we sign in to buy goods and services, so it really should be the leading light in personalising messages and getting people to the right page at a single click. 

There is a huge opportunity for email marketers here to be the central pillar that can personalise Web experiences, even if someone isn't arriving via email but either reveals their email address through a social log-in or by logging in to the site direct.

While the rest of marketing is trying to figure out how to be more personal, surely there is no better time for email stepping up to the plate. The first stride is ensuring, at the very least, that offers go direct to a dedicated landing page. The next is being the eyes and ears of the organisation whenever a person, identified by their email, pays a visit.

There is a gaping hole in marketing, and nobody is better placed to fill it than the email team.

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