Although the growth of social media and mobile marketing has caused some to question whether email marketing is still relevant, in fact email marketing remains an incredibly powerful and trusted communication vehicle.
The growing popularity of social media and mobile marketing has caused many industry leaders to question whether email marketing is still a relevant consumer marketing channel. In fact, email remains an incredibly powerful and trusted communication vehicle that enables marketers to build long-term relationships with the most loyal and engaged customers.
While the vast majority of subscribers – some estimate as high as 80 percent – admittedly subscribe to email lists purely to receive coupons, discounts, and deals, email is emerging as a powerful tool for gathering, analyzing, and applying customer data.
You see, despite the promise of "Big Data" to revolutionize the way we segment and target audiences, marketers are still having a hard time putting the wealth of information to good use. In a recent Monetate survey, 39 percent of marketers said they can't turn their data into actionable insight, and one-fourth said they still don't use real-time site data to personalize the Web experience. Thus, it seems the promise of Big Data remains an enigma.
Instead of more data, what we really need is better data — and, that's where email can help. The goal of email marketing is shifting away from data quantity (growing subscriber lists) toward maximizing data quality — expanding the depth and breadth of data about existing subscribers and leveraging that to maximize customer engagement and lifetime value. Email is an excellent vehicle for gathering better, richer data and applying that data to create a stronger, more personal connection with customers. Here's how:
Without a doubt, email remains a valuable marketing channel that enables brands to gain useful knowledge to help strengthen customer relationships, boost loyalty, and ultimately drive more sales. But the reality is, the inbox is a battlefield. Your email messages must contend not only with those of your competitors, but also vie against all other messages in subscribers' inboxes.
Cutting through the clutter requires devising a strategic plan to start and continue the conversation, gather and leverage subscriber data, and maximize its value for both you and your customers. Remember that it's not just about the quantity of subscribers; the value of email marketing lies in the quality of the data and what you do with the data. And, most importantly, designing email campaigns that are meaningful for all involved — subscribers, your brand, stakeholders, and partners — is the most effective way to drive desired behavior and deliver maximum results.
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As an email marketing veteran dating back to 1999, Kara Trivunovic has been actively involved in programmatic email development, execution, and strategy in a variety of senior positions on the client, agency, and provider side. She was founder and principal of The Email Advisor, a respected email marketing consultancy focusing on email strategy and channel optimization that was subsequently acquired by an enterprise email service provider in 2009. Over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of brands and global organizations structuring a variety of custom email education programs, conceptualizing and implementing new and innovative email programs, optimizing contact strategies, and developing staffing and budget plans. Kara currently serves as the vice president of digital solutions at Epsilon.
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