At its core, email is another message sending mechanism – and an extremely popular mechanism at that. Its design is simple: get a message from ‘A’ you the sender to ‘B’ the recipient. Historically, in the wild west days of email, when regulations were few and far between, you could purchase contact lists at the click of a button. There was an era of ‘spray and pray’ email, and a period of mass mailings launched at static lists.
As individuals started to become wiser to the power in the hands of those who owned their data, it wasn’t long until regulations such as GDPR were put in place. The focus of this was to bring some control to the world of mass email marketing and the way in which personal data is collected and processed.
As a result, marketers have had to assess the way they manage their subscribers’ data to ensure transparency, accountability, security, and improved consumer confidence the data they’re handling is done so correctly. That includes control over the type of emails they send. With GDPR introduced, long gone are the days of unsolicited marketing emails and inboxes bombarded with unwanted 50% off promotions for things we don’t want or need. It’s all about audiences receiving the information and content they genuinely want, and most importantly, have signed up for.
Saying goodbye to static lists
As customer lists have grown, targeting and segmentation at a granular level have become table stakes for marketers. And as the volume of data has increased, so too has the trend of consumers using multiple email addresses. It’s almost expected nowadays for individuals to have different email addresses for work and personal use.
In some cases, individuals will setup new email accounts for one-time use such as registering for a webinar they want to watch but not risk post-webinar sales conversations. This issue is likely to be compounded too with email services now also providing consumers the ability to create temporary email addresses at will. Apple’s iOS 15 Update in 2021 will be offering this for example.
The issue there is the consumer knows that email account will sit and collect dust, but in most cases the organization that holds the details do not, and their marketing teams are also none the wiser. So, when they launch their carefully crafted campaign in the hope that their email will hit their KPIs, the email is left unnoticed, and their metrics skewed. Marketers therefore need to be able to identify the individuals behind each email address through a unified view of their customer data.
Reduce manual data processes
Despite your efforts to apply email list management best practices, staying on top of your data while launching campaigns, reporting on key metrics, and suggesting next best actions on your findings for future campaigns, will leave even the most seasoned marketer overwhelmed and stuck for time. While having jaw-dropping HTML designs, and creative emails that stand out in your audience’s inbox play a big part in an email program, a significant percentage of your email success is reliant on the integrity of your data. How much can you rely on your data at this very moment being accurate and trustworthy?
Marketers are spending too much time manually moving data between systems to build email campaign audiences. Exporting data into spreadsheets and cross-checking with the CRM system to identify the last point of interaction with a customer or perhaps whether the data you hold is still valid. These activities eat into the time that could be spent creating control groups, A/B tests, personalized content blocks, or other ways to optimize email performance and deliver highly engaging email campaigns built on data that is trusted.
Build trustworthy data with a Customer Data Platform
A lack of accurate data effects multiple areas including relevance, timing, list building, and the overall customer experience. Organizations need to be sure that the audience they’re targeting is interested in the content they’re sending. For example, open rates will be negatively impacted if you’re sending retirement holiday deals to an audience of 18-24-year-olds. The timing of an email can play a huge part in the success of email campaigns too such as offering exclusive tickets to an event that’s just sold out.
If data is incorrect or incomplete, and the latest campaign is to an audience that is still fast asleep because the data states they’re UK-based and should be on their morning commute, the email campaign is likely to fall short of hitting key KPIs.
Most email marketing software products are not built to handle lots of customer data and therefore rely on manual processes to manipulate data outside of the software and then load it back as a list. For relevant and personalized email campaigns marketers need data points from other systems that they can then use to personalize the offer or content.
For example, knowing what a customer recently purchased is essential for providing the right up-sell or x-sell offer. If that purchase was in-store however, then that data may need to be pulled from a POS or ERP database. If that data doesn’t reside in the email marketing tool, then the only way to personalize the offer is to do some manual data lifting, or enlist the help of IT to automate an ongoing process.
Alternatively, some organizations will add people to specifically focus on the manual data lifting or even outsource to an agency. While this introduces the expertise needed to manage the resource intensive tasks of data management, list building, targeting and segmentation, it also adds to the overall costs of the service provided.
With the introduction of a Customer Data Platform (CDP), you begin to develop a cross-channel and trustworthy single view that isn’t resource intensive and brings the control into your organization. Better still, when tightly integrated to your email marketing software, it makes all data points available within your email creatives. This unified system enables better personalization and removes any data wrangling in the background.
The Benefits of CDP-Powered email marketing
The key benefits of using a CDP are dependent upon your business. That said, when applied to email marketing a CDP can provide the following benefits:
- Flexible and scalable data model
Due to the flexible data model of a CDP there are no limitations of only being able to leverage a subset or siloed set of data within your email marketing. It’s all about the ability for the CDP to manage that data foundation in a customer centric way, that underpins email as well as your other channels. This means cross-channel behavioral data can be more easily used to coordinate the customer’s email experience. Having data from mobile apps, the CRM, eCommerce, and an ERP, all unified into a Single Customer View and tightly integrated to your email technology, opens up huge possibilities for improving segmentation, personalized content, and a reduction in manual data management tasks.
- Identity behind the email address
With a unified data view, it becomes possible to have not only a more relevant conversation, but also allow the persona of each customer associated with a specific email address to inform you on how to engage and what message to use. For example, on a personal email address a contact may have a love of sports and dining out; therefore, the messages sent to that address can be tailored specifically to those interests. Whereas they may focus their business email address more on business travel and the latest industry updates. CDP-powered email, therefore, gives the ability to understand the customer persona and the preferences in relation to the channel and the different contact points for your company outreach plan.
- All in one platform
By centralizing your data into one platform, there is no need to work across multiple interfaces. With a unified view of your customer data, you can work efficiently without the manual effort of exporting and importing marketing lists. By removing the need for spreadsheets and being centralized into one platform, data remains up to date and trustworthy. A unified view means marketing teams have the same data insights across an organization.
Pulling data from different systems across the business allows you to build a clearer picture of each customer’s preferences and perform more granular segmentation based on their interests. These insights can be used in your email marketing to hyper-personalize the next point of contact. For example, you may have insight from your contact center that a customer was unhappy with the delivery service they received. With that information available on one central platform, you can ensure that they receive free next-day delivery and a discount code to apologize for the previously poor service as part of your next email campaign.
With granular segmentation achieved, a CDP allows you to put that segmentation to use. Long gone are the days where addressing a contact by their first name in an email can be considered as personalization. CDPs, and their data foundation, allow for highly personalized experiences you can deploy in a coordinated way, not only across email but other connected marketing channels.
Successful email programs sit on a foundation of transparent and trustworthy data that can be segmented with ease, allowing you to target your audience effectively. Combining a CDP with your email marketing helps build better relationships with customers by delivering content that shows their interests and preferences are understood. With a unified view of customer data, you can take your email marketing from mundane mail blasts to multi-touch nurtures that drive the next best action in a customer’s journey.
Here at Upland our integrated BlueVenn and Adestra products provide marketers with CDP-powered email marketing, and all the benefits listed in this blog. If you’d like to understand more about how you could be using our technology in this way, then Contact Us or Request a Demo, and let’s get started on improving your email marketing KPIs.