There's a lot of pressure on email marketers to send more email. More email drives more site visits and more revenue. More is better, right? Of course, it's not that simple.
Deliverability issues, unsubscribes, typos, formatting mistakes are all fears we face as email marketers. As a result, we adapt our creative process to take these fears into account. Instead of practicing creativity as it applies to email, we've become programmed to practice best practices and try to avoid failure by focusing on our fears. But as artist and consultant Erik Wahl explained, "The art of excellence is couched in the science of reprogramming our mind for new and different ideas." So how do we "unthink" email and get back to beginners' mind? Consider these three ways:
We've been taught to think about marketing in terms of achieving goals in the customer buying cycle: awareness, interest, trial, purchase, support, loyalty, referral/advocacy or some variation of these. Achieving these goals is like tying your shoes. You just do it, without thinking strategically about the process. We add a popover to our home page to acquire more subscribers. We test copy in subject lines and landing pages to drive higher conversion rates. But I'm talking about something different: email marketing as a companywide problem-solver.
I bet you've had "mobile first" come up at your strategy table in the last year. It's one of the most popular CMO strategic imperatives of 2016.
Managing an email program inevitably requires figuring out what to do with those pesky, emotionally opted-out customers. What are emotional opt-outs, you ask? These are customers in your email database that have not opened or clicked any email you have sent in a long period of time. It's the idea that these customers are disinterested in your brand's emails, but aren't taking the time to unsubscribe. Industry experts often disagree on how to handle these customers. One side says you should purge them, while others state you should keep them.
"To celebrate Prince we've marked down a collection of items just as striking as he was." Really? The retailer that used Prince's death to promote a discounted purple handbag clearly didn't think through that approach. Or, it lacked a process to deal with such events, or both.
Like the teen generations that came before them, today's teens are concerned about appearances, image and their place in the social caste system of their particular worlds. At the same time, the world these digital natives live in changes rapidly, shaping them into a new generation. This shifting mentality raises questions about how and where to reach the lucrative teenage consumer market in a highly fragmented mobile social universe. Tactics that worked with the MTV generation won't resonate today. The sooner companies get to know this generation, the better.
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