Integrate e-mail into a multichannel mix

With all the media channels available to communicate with your audience, it's no wonder that the various media — online, offline, mobile, Web site, content management, etc. — seem on a collision course for integration.

So the time has come to address and assess the opportunities for your brand strategy as it pertains to a multichannel marketing mix. But where do you start? What do you need to know, so you can implement your game plan? Any strategic and complex program must include the following.

The “notice” you provide your customers from the inception of the relationship will establish your commitment to their engagement. As a marketing organization, you have to provide the correct amount of notice as it relates to the criteria of data you collect and your intentions for using it.

Don't assume you know what your customers want. You need to ask them. Allow them to establish their relationship with you. By receiving their consent, you can target very specific communications and offers. It's advisable to reestablish consent on a regular basis, as it will also allow customers to see you operating according to their interests.

Probably one of the quickest ways to alienate your client is to not honor their preferences. Communicate with them in the way they prefer, and not the other way around.

Again, if your customers set their preferences from inception, you'll have crystal clear indicators of how they want you to interact.

Don't send any communication in violation of your customer's preference settings. It sounds easy enough, but communication can often slip through the cracks due to inattentiveness. Before you know it, your customer feels out of touch — which, of course, is absolutely reflected in your relationship.

For years now, we have been obsessed with e-mail deliverability. The market has embraced best practices for senders of e-mail and will continue to do so. Any respective channel that originates a client communication must be considered for the successful delivery of that message. Online or offline, the issues pertaining to successful deliverability will evolve as we begin to understand the various issues pertaining to the respective channels.

Respect for customer wishes
Follow the golden rule of marketing: Communicate with your client in the way that you prefer people to communicate with you. I can't think of a better way to keep your customers engaged with your communications.

Vision execution
Remember that your brand management, along with many other factors, will influence the overall direction your plan might take. You are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the strategy, so it's crucial you execute it well.

A successful, integrated marketing strategy will set the standard for your organization and its campaigns. Remember, it may start with e-mail, but as we begin to communicate with different media, our challenges will be reflective of these multiple channels. By following the above principles, your campaigns stand an excellent chance of success.

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