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 Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!

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

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...