A Customer-Obsessed Approach To Email Marketing

More brands are recognizing the critical role email marketing plays in customer experience. It’s the center of every digital relationship, and can help foster personal connections, while also driving sales..

“Two-thirds of companies know that customer expectations are higher and think that their businesses are doing something to accommodate those changes,” Shar VanBoskirk, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester told DMN on the topic. 

However, Forrester research suggests only 13% of companies have taken proactive steps towards improving the customer journey. For VanBoskirk, this signals a disconnect in perception vs. reality of how brands view their email marketing programs.

So, what can companies do to improve? VanBoskirk offers her tips on how to rethink email, and find the right vendor to help achieve your goals:

Be customer obsessed

VanBoskirk says there are several things great companies do to drive their marketing strategy. But above all, brands need to be “customer obsessed” to start.

“A customer-obsessed business puts the customer at the center of every single business decision,” VanBoskirk said.

In a customer-obsessed mindset, email is viewed as a way to connect and build relationships with consumers. There are several ways to use email to do this:

As more than just another medium: Email is more than “just a way to deliver coupons,” VanBoskirk says. Use segmentation to determine which audiences would be most interested in certain promotions to make sure your messages are getting to customers who will appreciate it most.

Email as a cross-platform connector: Email can be a portal to your company website, social media, or as a starting point for your referral or loyalty programs. Make sure you make it as easy as possible for consumers to share, click and move across channels as you introduce them to new ways to engage with your brand.

As a customer profile builder: Measuring user behavior can help gauge how audiences are responding to different messaging. It will also help determine what type of content resonates best as you build ideal customer profiles.

“This is the idea of understanding through email behavior how a profile is evolving,” VanBoskirk said.

As a lab experiment: Email can be a great medium to test out new techniques. VanBoskirk encourages marketers to try out different product placements or offering different items together. Engagement insights from these email campaigns can help your team update the layout of your website, or advertise similar promotions across social channels.

Choosing the right email partner

When adding an email marketing platform to your stack, VanBoskirk says you should be looking for a vendor that offers a wealth of expertise and innovative ideas.

Look for a partner who can hack your email program,” VanBoskirk said. “You don’t want a partner who will continue ‘business as usual.’”

VanBoskirk suggests evaluating vendors based on these core principles:

– How they think, or how they view the future of marketing 

– How well they can solve a real business problem

– How well they improve the creative email medium 

– How they will measure value beyond opens and clicks. This means they must have the ability to measure success that looks at true revenue and not just vanity metrics.

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