Leading up to this year’s DMA Email Evolution Conference, I was excited for the opportunity to “geek out” with other like minds from the direct marketing industry. It’s opportunities like these that allow us to take a step back and develop a fresh perspective on programs for our clients. At this year’s event, we heard from both marketers and agencies — and across all of the sessions I attended, two topics seemed to bubble to the top as commonalities:
- Personalized, one-to-one communications are the new normal when brands speak with their consumers.
- Breaking down internal silos to focus programs around the consumer is worth the blood, sweat, and tears.
Sure, we’ve all heard that more personalized communication is the future of email — it’s what consumers expect. However, what was refreshing to hear at #EEC2016 was marketers’ commitment to breaking down their own internal silos to get there. From an agency perspective, this was music to my ears. So often we collaborate with our clients to implement an idea only to hear from their internal business partners that it’s not possible due to the way they are organized. But at the conference, I learned that the key to success comes through a simple approach: test an idea on a small scale, build a business case with the results, and sell the broad scale plan to internal stakeholders. The old adage “the proof is in the pudding” is holding true in this case. The advice that came with this approach resonated with me:
- Leverage technology currently in place that may be underutilized to do the things you need to do.
- Find a few key partners across various internal groups committed to your goal.
- Selling isn’t just for salespeople.
After email programs have been rolled out, the need for new ideas to reach consumers doesn’t stop. Marketers are leveraging the in-roads they’ve made internally to test new technology, such as personalized video, and communicate with consumers in new ways.
More and more marketers are buying into this approach, and they are seeing big benefits — one marketer saw an 80% increase in email engagement, leading to increased revenue during a typically quiet month (Clark R. Cummings, Email Evolution Conference 2016).
This is a win for both marketers and consumers — marketers can communicate more efficiently and achieve higher ROI, and consumers get the information they want, whenever and however they want it.
Bottom line — 1:1 communication is the new normal, and finding a way to make that happen is becoming routine, both on the brand side as well as the agency side. So if you’re still of the mind set that these tactics are the “future of email,” prepare yourself — because the future is now.