Why you should take a leaf out of HSBC’s book and remember your email system is ‘not an island’

February 25, 2020

There’s a lot of hype these days about omnichannel marketing and the importance of crafting a consistent customer experience across every platform. The fact is, though, that all channels are NOT equal when it comes to customer engagement. According to industry analysts Gartner, an Adobe 2018 Consumer Email Survey found that 50% of consumers named email marketing as their preferred brand communications platform, compared with a maximum of 20% who said they preferred any other channel.

So, to maximize sales it is important to get your email targeting right – especially since Gartner’s own 2018 State of Personalization report found that, while 86% of consumers surveyed were fans of personalized communications, 48% said that they would unsubscribe from irrelevant or annoying emails. Meanwhile, the same survey found that brands saw a 20% increase in commercial benefits when customers perceived their communications to be helpful.

In other words, just addressing your marketing email to ‘Mary Smith’ won’t cut it anymore. These days, Mary will expect you to send her personalized and relevant content, carefully tailored to match her interests and speed up her path along your brand journey.

The challenges of personalization

However, that’s not as easy as Mary might think. Why? Because Email Marketing Systems are, by nature, siloed. Everything they know about the customer comes from the one platform, and remains within that one platform. This means that marketers are able to determine which emails a customer has opened, what time they tend to read their communications and which links they have interacted with, but won’t be able to share that information with their other platforms to help enrich the engagement with that customer across the journey.

Nor will they be able to tell that the customer has just bought the advertised product, which might suggest that further email communications should be either suppressed, to stop the customer receiving ads or offers for the item they have just bought, or changed to promote different products.

As well, a lot of information might be held about the customer on other platforms, such as their last purchase, what they’ve looked at on the website, products they’ve liked or commented on in your social media, and what they’ve swiped their loyalty card for in store. However, if you’re to use that information to help you select an audience for an email campaign or personalize your email creatives, you’ll need to leave the email platform, collect together the necessary insights, and then manually insert them into your emails on re-entering the platform. If interesting results come in from your email campaign, you’ll have to perform the same process in reverse to share them with other platforms.

What you need is an email marketing channel powered by a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that integrates your email marketing with your other channels, and is therefore able to utilize all the customer data, transactions and interactions from across the organization – not just the data residing in the email platform itself.

The benefits of CDP-powered email marketing

A shared databank

Being able to see everything your company knows about the customer – their demographics, location, preferences and past transactions/interaction history – in a CDP will make it much easier to understand what your customer actually wants from your brand and how you can give it to them. Having every byte of data about your customers available for the segmentation and personalization of an email ensures that your communications will stand a better chance of reaching the right person with the right information, whilst also bypassing the arduous or expensive process of data wrangling to move data between systems.

Actioning your insights

With CDP-powered Email Marketing you’ll be able to better segment your customers into suitable audiences to receive bespoke campaigns. Emails designed to engage women aged 30-50, who are residents of Portland, Oregon and have a propensity to respond to discount offers by email, for example, will be sent only to people within that niche bracket, resulting in incredible open and conversion rates. Better still, that same email can be highly personalized en masse, using dynamic content driven by all the data variables from across your business, to ensure that each recipient gets content relevant to them or will be sent their promotion via an alternative channel if they have repeatedly ignored your past emails.

Boosting sales with real-time interactions

It’s not just about how you sell the right product, it’s about when you sell it too. If a customer is on your website looking at perfumes, then providing them with a website pop-up or nudge to use an exclusive discount code is proven to be a great real-time personalization tactic. However, if they ignore the pop-up, or perhaps don’t see if for whatever reason, now might be the time to send them a discount code by email. After all, the margin on such products is huge and a bottle can last for several months, perhaps even a year, so it pays to strike before they have a chance to browse for competing products and retailers. And, if someone has just bought a new bike in your store, they might genuinely appreciate an email containing advice on how to maintain the bike, along with recommendations of associated products they can purchase to help them do so.

Similarly, if an online customer abandons the items in their cart, knowing that immediately will give you a chance to trigger an email to jog their memory, or send them a small survey to determine what their concerns might be (such as price, slow checkout or a lack of product information), so that you can attempt to allay these or identify issues with your website.

Continually improving your omnichannel approach

With CDP-powered email marketing, data can be utilized from any system and shared with any system too. That means you’re not only able to glean information from your CMS, SMS or social media channels to enrich your emails, but have the freedom to feed back the insights gained through your email marketing campaigns. As a result, it won’t just be your emails that will hit the spot with your target audience more consistently, all your marketing efforts will become more refined.

Together, your marketing efforts will thrive

Just as HSBC argues that Britain’s international character makes it stronger, so achieving a two-way flow of information between all of your Martech systems and platforms will enrich every campaign you run.

A CDP-powered email marketing channel will overcome all of the challenges of personalization by ensuring that your email campaigns are powered by data insights gleaned from a 360 degree Single Customer View, so that customers will only receive emails that are relevant to them. It will enable an offline purchase to trigger an online action, it will mean a complaint or call center interaction can suppress the request for a product review, and it will ensure that the 80% of your audience who don’t interact with your email are automatically selected be marketed to via another channel next time, to maximize the impact of a multi-channel campaign.

To find out more about how better data insights will help you to get more opens, clicks and conversions than ever before, read about what our new email module has to offer now.

Discover how a CDP could be your route to real-time, cross-channel marketing with our live demonstration.

Join us at 10am EST / 3pm GMT on February 27, 2020 when we will cover:

  • Using predictive analytics to make real-time decisions that positively affect the customer journey
  • Improving the targeting of campaigns using customer segmentation and RFV analysis
  • Using real-time personalization to better engage customers
  • Integrating online and offline channels into the BlueVenn Customer Data Platform to create a true Single Customer View