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Q&A: Emailing With the Customer in Mind

When it comes to fostering customer loyalty, email marketing can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. While targeting customers based on their needs can strengthen the relationship, failing to deliver relevance or speak to customers as individuals can cause that bond to break.

Kerry Reilly, director of product marketing for Adobe Campaign, sat down with Direct Marketing News at the 2015 Adobe Summit and discussed how marketers can better address customers’ needs through data and email, as well as the top email practice she can’t stand to see in her inbox.

What kind of data can marketers look at to ensure that they’re aligned with consumers’ needs and not just their own?

What’s important is the timing of [the data]. [Adobe] gets analytics data all in real-time. We know what kind of content [consumers are] looking at, [and] we know mobile analytics, too. We know what devices they use, if they use multiple devices, where they are if their geolocator service is turned on. I think those are key.

Certainly, your profile [and the] type of customer you are—if you’re a loyal customer [or] you’re not a loyal customer—[are important, too] because that often dictates the entire strategy. If you’re a brand new customer, we’re going to talk to you differently than if we’re talking to [another customer] and she’s a loyal, frequent shopper. So [it’s] understanding the recency, frequency, monetary [value]. It’s very traditional. But the new stuff is bringing in context-aware information.

How does email help foster loyalty and retention?

Email is still the number one channel when it comes to ROI. When you’re reaching a loyal customer, you’re offering something of value in exchange for the conversion. It’s paying attention to their needs. If I’m a retailer and I know that you come into my shop all of the time, I’m going to give you early-bird specials or things that treat you like a loyalty customer. I keep you coming back and [dissuade] switching [to competitors].

Are there common email marketing practices that make your blood boil or make you want to tear your hair out?

It really makes me cranky when I can’t unsubscribe from something…. What I really like to do is see [the unsubscribe button] on top. And I want a one-click unsubscribe. I don’t want to go to two or three pages and then have to type my email address in again.

Why does that get you so upset?

My inbox is already full. The reason I unsubscribe is because I want to tell [a brand that] I’m not interested in you…. Make it easy for me to tell you that. I already have too many emails.

So unsubscribing really benefits the brand and the consumer?

Absolutely. The brand benefits because they get a cleaner, tighter list and they can get more ROI on those people. The feelings are that email is a lower cost channel. Not to dismiss the value of it, but because it is [less expensive], it may not get the strategic attention it needs from the organization. They pay attention to where the big bucks are.

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