Home  › Email › Email Marketing

To Segment or Not to Segment

  |  August 2, 2010   |  Comments

What is the best approach in e-mail marketing - the mass message or the segmented simple message?

To segment or not to segment?

I don't know the answer - do you?

I'm having this debate right now and would love your help. As a multi-product retailer, what is the role of e-mail? Is it to drive people to your website so they can choose what they like? Or, is it to give them such relevant e-mails (you always lead with what they have shown interest in) but open up the door to other options?

I'm on the fence on this one. What do you think?

Need more details? Let's try this example.

Pretend you're getting an e-mail from a multi-product retailer like Sears, Target, or even Walmart. At any point, your interest in these stores could vary wildly from shopping at them to get children's shoes, to a pack of gum, to a screwdriver to jewelry. And, just because you bought one genre of product this trip, doesn't mean that it's an indicator of what you'll buy from that location next time.

In the print world, these entities send you free standing inserts (FSIs) and print newspaper ads that blanket the best products and deals. Yet, in the social world, blogs and posts tend to be product specific - e.g., "Save $10 at Target on all Cosmetics This Weekend." So, here we have very different channel-specific approaches.

The question is, what is the right approach in e-mail? There are two schools of thought:

  1. The mass message: Since you don't know what these people will be inclined to buy, build the brand by creating messaging that shows a wide range of products and know that some will resonate and some won't. In fact, maybe it will make your reader aware of something they didn't even know they needed before seeing your e-mail.
  2. The segmented simple message: Stop trying to be all things to all people, and run the risk of seeing your message as irrelevant. Send messages that are targeted with products for "lookalike buyers" and keep the offering to a minimum. Allow the recipient to provide feedback through a preference center, which will give them the control to manage their relationship with you and make the most out of it.

Both of these options have merit. Both of them appear to have very valid points for and against the usage. If you had to put money on which one will move the monetary needle the most, and most effectively over time, which one would you choose?

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Technical Business Analyst
      Technical Business Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Technical Business Analyst to our expanding team...