Given the number of channels that email marketers must work with and the continued growth of mobile as a consumer viewport, I sat down with Christopher Nash, senior business optimization consultant at Sitecore, to get his perspective on strategies to build a successful campaign.
David Daniels: Tell me about how your clients utilize web analytics to improve email relevance.
Christopher Nash: Our clients are more and more thinking in terms of providing relevance for customer journeys instead of just email batches. The customer journey is about a variety of digital touches from multiple devices over time. What I hear our clients say is that they want as much visibility – from data – as they can get across these digital touches. I hear clients express frustration when they lose visibility for what an email recipient does when the recipient visits the website. Contrast that with the scenario where you have one analytics that captures data for customer journeys. Our customers get this ability. Suddenly there are new tools in the toolbox for email marketers. For example, in the early phase of the customer journey I see clients personalizing email content based on the digital behavior from the recipient’s recent website visits and conversions. I see clients increasingly seeing an email and website visit as a unified experience for the individual being targeted. The personalization – and increased relevance – used in the email continues to the website visit.
DD: Are you seeing more clients adapt their email deployments for consumption on mobile devices?
CN: The clients who use our system are thinking mobile when they walk in the door. This is because our web content management system has catered for mobile content for several years now. Our clients and our partners typically design web content layouts and email templates at the same time. This helps to get it right. Of course there are significant limitations in how an email in a mobile inbox can be rendered compared to a web page in a browser, and we educate for this. When it comes to being more effective with email on mobile devices, an interesting area is personalization. For every website visit that occurs, our system captures a variety of data including the device used. Our clients are able to use this implicit data for preferred device. Our clients can then personalize email content for the device type and even the layout of the email content. What we emphasize is to provide the best quality digital experiences – including the mobile content experience.
DD: What are your thoughts on utilizing real-time data in targeting marketing messages?
CN: Studies show that effective use of personalized communication is when the personalization is based on the recent digital behavior a website visitor or email recipient has exhibited. This means that if we can give our clients the ability to capture data based on website behavior and then use that data to personalize an email that is triggered, say, just after the visit or during the visit, then we are giving the optimal capability. We do this. The combination of unified email and automation together with a unified web system and analytics gives you the ability to get really creative when targeting marketing messages. Email marketers get to dip into data from web visits, search keywords, social connections, email responses, search marketing campaigns, and so on.
DD: How are your clients utilizing analytics to implement attribution to measure cross-channel marketing plans?
CN: I recently heard a client compare marketing measurement to the Whac-A-Mole game. Just when you hammer down one mole, another pops up. With so many channels being used in the customer journey, measuring effectiveness of marketing is not easy. If we are able to give marketers one metric they can use to compare the effectiveness of different channels and campaigns – including email – then we are making significant progress. This is what we aim to do with our analytics. First we provide a methodology for measuring marketing effectives. We call it engagement value. You can think of it as an engagement metric. You then measure your ability to get website visitors to engage – respond to calls-to-action. When you have this, you can look in your analytics and ask questions like: what is better at generating engagement, the email channel or the social channel? And for email marketers the key question is no longer: what was the click-through rate for my latest email campaign? Instead you ask: what was the engagement value of my latest email campaign? What’s great about this approach is that the email marketer is focused on email’s ability to generate website conversions and not just clicks.
If you are interested in hearing more about what Chris and I have to say about marketing analytics and optimization, please attend our upcoming webinar.
Until next time, all the best,
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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