Less is More

Melinda Smith and Carey Dietz of Expedia wound up the Summit with a great presentation on creating compelling subscriber experiences every week when most people take 2-3 trips each year. Melinda said, "How many of us are tasked with sending less email this year?" No one raised a hand. It's a great illustration of the lack of understanding among executives (and frankly, some email program managers) about the importance of subscriber experience. Sending more email generates more revenue. Our task as subscriber advocates and great marketers is to prove that sending more targeted email to segments of the file will actually result in more revenue. Testing gets you there. "Less is More" is not just a wise maxim for email contact strategy (cadence), but also a great way to think about data crunching and analysis. Expedia has a great CRM system and loads of data on each subscriber. Making sense of that data is more tricky, as is pulling out the right data elements that will help us make the right marketing decision. These "most right" data points that have been successful include origin city, last trip date and seasonal (and off-season deals) promotion times. Carey spoke about the lessons learned from trying to do "one size fits all" segmentation. Listening to the data and behavior of subscribers means accommodating multiple life stages and interests. Segmentation on geo-targeting and behavior work best for Expedia. Some good news for marketers: Carey and Melinda have actually gone through the pain of chopping some deadwood (non responding records) from their file and have lived to talk about it. It hurts to lose subscribers, but taking non-responders off your file helps with deliverability, makes your metrics real and saves money on sending and list management. Better, do a win-back at 90 days before subscribers get too far gone to save through email. At the end of the day - less really is more. Fewer messages (which are more relevant), less data (which are really actionable) and fewer subscribers (who are really active with your program). The right email message at the right time with an actionable compelling offer means more than lots of email messages that are not relevant to me.
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