Brands Discuss The Email Outlook For 2021

Thankfully for many, the year 2020 is almost over. What’s next for email marketers?

The outlook for 2021 was discussed by two very different brands on Monday during MediaPost’s Email Marketing Summit.

Purple, the mattress retailer, expects to email more, “but we’re getting smarter about the cadence and frequency,” said Scott Cohen, senior email marketing manager for Purple.

The PGA Tour is taking a similar approach. 

“We’re definitely going to up our sends this year, but we’re looking at the cadence more, and at more personalization,” said Kristie Doak, senior manager, database marketing, for the PGA Tour. 

But challenges remain, and both firms see things they could have done better in 2020. 

In the case of Purple, the “pretty young” email program isn’t automated yet. And while the brand is an avid tester, the approach has been “a little bit shooting from the hip — we’re going to plan a whole lot better,” Cohen said. 

That’s no small thing in a time when store openings may be delayed and the email team has to pivot. But the organization is developing more muscle.

For its part, the PGA Tour has had to stay in touch with fans during the hiatus of live golf, and is now becoming more sophisticated about looking at the fan’s journey over the course of the lifetime and tour.

However, both brands have had to operate at least a little bit leaner. For Purple, that has entailed MVP (minimum viable product) planning, Cohen said.  

The PGA Tour team has been dealing with serious budget constraints, but is also moving toward that more sophisticated system.

True 1-to-1 marketing remains elusive for many brands. 

But entities like the PGA Tour can tailor when to send an email, based on testing.  

What about that perhaps overused term “empathy?”

For Purple, that means offering relevant products — like seat cushions for people working at home — in a subtle way. “It’s not so much empathy but relevance,” Cohen said. 

The panel was moderated by Erin Everhart, Director digital marketing for Arby's.



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