Photo: @lelia_milaya via Twenty20
By Bryan Wassel
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Newer personalization tools are allowing marketers to tailor emails — even those sent as part of a broadly-aimed “blast” — based on the recipient’s profile, affinities and past behaviors.
Yet emails can’t just be sent on a static schedule because today’s shoppers expect to be contacted on their own terms and their own timetable — not just every time a retailer runs a promotion.
“You have to really understand what the customer is interested in, and you have to have variations in how often you send mail,” said Lars Fiedler, partner and senior solution leader for Marketing Solutions at Periscope By McKinsey. “As an example, if you’re emailing fashion to me, I don’t want to have that in my inbox every day, but I’m okay seeing it every week or every month. My girlfriend, who loves seeing fashion every day, would be interested in a daily best pick or daily offer.”
Co-branding and partnerships for exclusive products, experiences and events are playing a larger role in email pushes, again tailored to the individual. Chris Ventry, VP in the consumer and retail practice at SSA & Company, said, “Campaigns like these will play out over multiple channels, but they tend to start with notification to a current highly engaged emails segment, or by having those most interested opt in to learn more.”
The shift to mobile media consumption also has changed how many shoppers read emails. Subject lines, delivery time and even the specific type of mobile device are all factors that should be taken into consideration, with different best practices for mobile and desktop versions.
The real challenge to perfecting an email marketing campaign is finding ways to stand out from the competition.
“When thinking about best practices in the email channel, you need to go beyond frequency, timing of send and developing engaging subject lines,” said Kristin Boswell, manager in the consumer practice of Kearney. “Those are a given. Retailers should think about how to develop the type of content that speaks to your brand voice, and whether you have an operating model to support that level of content development and deployment.”