Unify your data, improve your e-mail, boost your conversions

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In the online marketing space, it's survival of the fittest. You have to stay on top of trends while correctly forecasting the likelihood of their staying power. Online marketing is fraught with inefficiencies, especially in what has become the de facto marketing database model. The current online marketing database model is fragmented and clunky. Different databases gather different data about the same customer independently of each other, and then house their precious customer data in a variety of unconnected places. It's a model that has limited impact and limited opportunity for success.

As an example, consider a retailer with what has become a common approach to their online marketing. Our retailer has an e-mail service provider (ESP) that sends all of its e-mail and records data about how customers interact with that e-mail. It has another platform that measures site traffic and manages the content a browser sees. This snapshot of a common online marketing ecosystem records different data about the same customer.

It is possible to address this issue in two ways. One, interconnect the disparate systems no matter how many there are or how long it will take, or how many people it takes to understand and maintain it. Two, streamline the online marketing operation by finding a solution that combines as many channel capabilities as are needed with an ability to make the valuable data actionable.

A unified data model has many possible applications and can dramatically improve online marketing. Right now, let's focus on how this approach impacts the tried and true staple of online marketing — e-mail. For example, let's say a customer subscribes to the retailer's e-mail. They receive a new product offer, click on the image and are taken to the landing page. They decide the offer isn't compelling enough, they click off the landing page to the homepage and, because the customer never logged in, the retailer becomes disconnected from the customer. If the goal is to get the customer from e-mail to purchase, then our retailer's online marketing suffers a systemic failure. They've lost track of that customer.

A unified data model opens up a world of opportunities to our retailer. In the example, the customer finds another product on the Web site they heavily browse. They ultimately become distracted, fail to convert and leave the Web site. However, a unified data approach records the visit and browsing of this customer — whether they authenticated or not — and is able to comprehend that the customer is also an e-mail subscriber. As a result, the retailer can automate a dynamic e-mail send specific the browser and the product(s) they looked at, improving the likelihood of conversion.

The moral of this modern-day data story is that it's possible to remake e-mail and unlock myriad new e-mail marketing strategies and tactics when the data is collected in one place. A unified data model eliminates redundant systems and empowers email marketing. Unified data is efficient and leads directly to actionable online marketing tactics. Given the economic conditions we're in now, it's an approach that's fit for survival.

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