In the fast paced, ever changing world of marketing, keeping abreast of the latest trends is essential. Understanding how to maximise the opportunities that these new developments present can be the difference between success and failure.
This week we have teamed up with industry expert Jenna Tiffany, Founder & Strategy Director at Let's Talk Strategy, to look at some key developments that have implications for email marketers everywhere. Jenna is a Chartered Marketer and elected Fellow of the IDM with over ten years' marketing experience across both B2B and B2C. As a recognised expert, Jenna is an elected member of the prestigious DMA UK Email Marketing Council, the Chair of the Email Best Practice hub shaping the industry’s best practice and involved in developing the latest research. Jenna is also a marketing tutor teaching CIM courses as well as a competent public speaker and publisher, speaking regularly at hundreds of marketing events across Europe. Let’s see what she identified as her top 5 trends.
It is no longer of a case of sending an email campaign and hoping for the best. Email marketing is a difficult art to master which requires a sophisticated strategy. So it’s no surprise to see that the time spent on strategy and planning of email campaigns is rising every year (Econsultancy Email Census 2018). Historically email has come from a very tactical place where little time was spent on strategising and planning campaigns as it was typically used as a push channel. However, now email has a vital role to play in the customer journey and a strategy is key to keeping up with ever-changing consumer demands. The sophistication in email technology also enables marketers to spend more time planning and fewer hours spent manually creating email campaigns that are now automated.
Automation has now become a necessary tool for an email marketer who has many plates to spin. I have worked with many brands over the past year who have added automation to the very top of their technology requirement list, and I only see that trend growing and growing. There will become a point where marketing automation is no longer a requirement; it is a given necessity to be able to provide the timely and personalised email experience that all brands are striving to achieve. The critical element here is defining a robust strategy to fully utilise automation to its full potential – something which only a handful of brands have genuinely started to achieve. As the approach to email marketing becomes more sophisticated so, in turn, do the requirements of the technology, and in the future, this is likely to advance the need for automated AI. However, there are mistakes to avoid making when using marketing automation.
Personalisation provides a vast and exciting opportunity to email marketers to bring to life the optimal right time, right message, right person journey. The technology has been available for some time, but it is currently underutilised with emails still being sent without any personalisation or acknowledgement of the surrounding context to a customer’s journey which demonstrates it's underused. The ability to personalise email based on a customer's activities and preferences at scale remains a massive opportunity to email marketers and one that continues to be a trend. Personalisation puts the sexy back in email marketing!
However, it is vital that the technology doesn't come first and a clear strategy is defined to ensure that the journey created is of value to the consumer as well as the brand.
Many consider AI as the future of email marketing, but that would be describing it as something that's on its way. AI isn't the future because it is already here. I've worked with several brands that have developed email strategies and used incorporated AI to test improving their reach by optimising the subject line. In doing so, they have achieved outstanding results, in some cases delivering an ROI of 5 to 1 in the space of 3 months. The investment in some instances may appear to be a big step to take, but the rewards are even more significant! For brands that are innovative, aim to use email to develop customer relationships and want to provide value in their marketing AI is the solution. I'm incredibly excited on how far email can go when AI is implemented because this is only the beginning. Brands that incorporate AI into the content of the email start to take email on a journey to being sophisticatedly machine optimised at scale.
The main areas of opportunities here are to be able to measure the earnings per email to arm an email marketer when approaching the problematic conversations for an increased budget for email activity. This means measuring email beyond opens and clicks. The focus needs to be on demonstrating the value that is important to the business, which could be more visits to the website or revenue. Being able to show the value that we all know email provides the number revenue-generating digital marketing channel, will ensure that email gets the budget it deserves to optimise the channel. As a result the spotlight will be back on email marketing, and it will be allocated the budget it deserves to drive even more return.
Many thanks to Jenna for her fantastic insights. If you are interested in discussing these more or have your own insights that you would like to bring into your email marketing campaigns our expert account managers will be more than happy to talk to you about next steps and how to maximise the effectiveness of your campaigns. Not an e-shot customer, no problem simply give us a call on 020 3320 8777 to discuss your requirements.
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