Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Taking email data up a notch in marketing campaigns

Smaller companies are fleet of foot and larger organisations move like oil tankers. That’s always been the way of the world. The advent of social media and the complexity those multi-channel engagements bring to the party could be an opportunity for larger companies to get more nimble. All they need to do is think small and clever with data capture and develop campaigns that engage customers in the right way through multiple channels.

It’s hard for companies to cope with cleaning their data. Email addresses decay at a rapid rate – it’s about 40% a year. People tend to have more than one email address too, so for companies verifying addresses they have the added challenge of not only verifying whether an address is clean, but also whether it is real. That’s not easy when email addresses are used as a primary look-up in a database. How many email addresses does Jane Doe have? Is that the same J D living at 1021 Harper Drive, or is that John Doe?

Smaller companies can make a note in the file, they tend to know their customers’ preferences and with a personal touch they can get email addresses on file that are real. Not those addresses we all use to direct our junk mail into oblivion.

If you’re running the marketing for a larger company you need to start thinking about how to capture multiple email addresses and assign them to different contact preferences. For example, online at check-out, ask whether there is an alternate address to send product information to delivery updates. Have customers state their preference for different contact types. You’ll need to be crystal clear on your privacy policy but if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? Your system will need to be able to cope with extra fields and this approach will bring you more email addresses, more lists that need verifying. It’s not a one shot solution to the challenge of the tumbleweed email address, but it will help you speak to your customers about the things they want to hear about. It’s no use measuring how many emails you send each month. You need to measure the upsell growth for mailing customers on secondary addresses.

And it’s not just email. Sure, that’s easy to measure and cheap and flexible and it all links in at a click and it’s just great. But ask your customers how they want to be contacted and you might find that a lot of them will really value a postal connection. This gives you the opportunity to get close to them, send them what they ask for in the mail and the quick product updates they need by email. This sounds like a no-brainer but it’s surprising how companies push to get email contacts at the expense of listening to what their customers’ preferences are. And that’s just back to basic marketing – right?

Data used wisely is an opportunity to show you are listening and the savvy marketer will use the post-recession opportunity to broaden contact methods for customers. They won’t just chase down an email address because it’s quick and easy to get hold of. Think personal, get close and use all the data opportunities available.

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