As email volumes rise into the millions each month for many companies, new challenges in email marketing emerge, especially as it relates to the increasing demand for personalized, real-time messaging. Consumers have come to expect relevant communications in real-time, but the very infrastructure of email marketing is based on a series of time-consuming tasks, such as list creation, data synchronization, and batch delays. Each step introduces another delay, and that can quickly turn a real-time marketing opportunity into a missed opportunity. How can marketers keep up?
Here are three best practices as revealed by our Email Marketing Trends & Best Practices for Data-Centric Organizations to help your company communicate more effectively with customers.
1. Centralize customer data
Is your customer data scattered across various marketing platforms? If it is, you’re not alone. In fact, only 9% of marketers are able to access all of their customer data from a central data warehouse, according to a survey of more than 300 marketers of mid-market and enterprise companies. If you want the ability to meet buyers’ expectations and provide a consistent experience across all channels, including email, you need seamless access to updated, fresh data from a centralized database. Doing this will provide all teams and vendors with access, paving the way for your company to deliver better service and communications across the organization.
2. Map out real-time needs before implementing solutions
It’s key to map out real-time marketing needs before implementing marketing technology solutions. Unfortunately, this best practice is often woefully absent in marketing strategies. Success in email marketing starts with mapping out your needs and making sure all processes and vendors are properly aligned.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what information you’ll need to deliver real-time messages. Automated campaigns like confirmation emails, shipping notifications, flight statuses, event reminders, and nurture/on-boarding programs need specific information to be effective. Do you have immediate access to the right data or is it located in a database managed by another department or vendor? Multiple vendors and technology solutions must work together and be carefully managed to avoid an inconsistent and clunky experience for consumers. Mapping out your real-time needs first will help you find the best solutions for your team.
3. Involve I.T. in vendor evaluations
How closely do your marketing and I.T. teams work together? The closer marketing works with I.T. to set expectations and understand each department’s goals and needs, the more effective your marketing programs will be. Our survey shows that only 65% of marketers would describe their relationship with I.T. as at least “above average.” As many as 37% of enterprise marketers describe their relationship with I.T. as either “below average” or “poor.” This disconnect probably won’t result in a killer marketing program!
Instead of keeping I.T. at arm’s length and trying to find solutions to circumvent their involvement, get their input whenever you’re evaluating new marketing technology, especially if you’ll need access to customer data. Improving this relationship will help marketers understand potential challenges and limitations with integration and can make implementation easier because I.T. is able to weigh in on what will work best for the company.
The question now is – how well is your organization doing when it comes to implementing these three best practices? The sooner you get started, the sooner you can improve your customer’s experience with your brand.