Improve e-mail marketing with universal profile management

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A more modern, customer-friendly approach to e-mail marketing focused on message relevance is yielding great results. However, gathering and combining all of the useful bits of marketing data used to develop marketing segments and strategies is a difficult process. Direct digital marketing software has evolved rapidly, and marketers should demand their e-mail marketing platform contain a universal profile management system.

A universal profile management system is simple: It gathers and stores multiple data points vital for successful e-mail marketing. First, through a secure Web service API, it stores known customer information like past purchase history, enterprise customer data, and answers to forms or surveys.

Second, with a tracking snippet similar to Web analytics software, it captures essential behavioral data points like keyword search activity, online advertising interaction, and Web site, e-mail, and mobile marketing activity. Combining this data creates segmentation opportunities, along with two other primary benefits.

The first benefit is efficiency for direct digital marketing communications. Because the universal profile management system exists within the e-mail marketing platform, the two weeks it may take to set up a simple triggered e-mail program that requires a complex segmentation takes just minutes. Usually, the e-mail marketing manager must locate the different databases with the right data points, and then import it into one system to build the segment. That scenario also assumes each database owner readily complies with a data request. With a universal profile management system, that data is all stored and captured in one system, in real time. The closer the data and the e-mail content are to each other, the more efficient the e-mail marketing becomes.

The second benefit is greatly enhanced message relevance. Knowing a customer recently purchased a product means they could be suppressed from the next e-mail about that product or dynamically offered a complementary product. Relevance also goes beyond content to include timing. A universal profile management system provides insight into timing and your recipient.

Universal profile management does not exist to replace Web analytics. While analytics help decipher customer insights and forecast, a universal profile management system is necessary to build the tactical tools that meet and exceed e-mail metrics.

While it is easy to decide to add triggered, event based e-mail marketing into a direct digital marketing strategy, it is important to invest resources in the data environment and the e-mail environment. E-mail strategy must be shaken up to stay relevant.

Brian Deagan is CEO of Knotice. Reach him at

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