Earlier, emails were one of the only digital means of communication. Today, consumers interact with marketers on social media, web chat, and a host of other digital tools. It remains a challenge for the marketer to ensure a seamless experience across all the channels.
The key word is “communication”. A few years ago, the “batch and blast” method of email marketing was popular, where consumers received mass mail from marketers, which was barely personalized. Today, it’s all about personalization. Data regarding a consumer’s buying habits and preferences, likes and dislikes, is easily available from their use of social media. Marketers can get hold of this data and use it to customize mails. Consumers are more likely to open and read mails that seem tailored to them and which talk “to” them rather than “at” them.
Segmenting consumers according to common parameters and then targeting them with email messages is a far better method than sending untargeted mails to a large consumer base. The message has to be relevant to the consumer and answer the question “What’s in it for me”. To ensure a consistent experience across all channels, your emails must be coordinated with interactions that your consumer might have on other channels. This multi-channel challenge is a key differentiator between email marketing then and now.
Today, automated marketing platforms are designed to engage and convert your subscribers into buyers.
- There are currently 3.3 billion email accounts in the world. (Source: Mashable)
- Email generates nearly a 2X return compared to other channels. For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2011, there was a $40.56 return. Compared to other channels, search engine marketing is the next closest at $22.44. (Source: Direct Marketing Association and Smart Data Collective)
- Email is the consumer preference. In a recent survey, a staggering 77% of consumers reported that they preferred to receive permission-based marketing communications through email —and email was the number source for all age groups including 15-24. (Source: Waldow Social).
These figures speak for themselves. Email marketing still holds an important place in communicating with the consumer.
Claims that email marketing is dead are not reflective of the current scenario. With the proliferation of tablets, mobile devices, and social media, the role of email marketing remains crucial. The need of the hour is an integrated multi-channel platform that can manage online marketing and optimize, track, and aggregate ongoing cross-channel consumer engagement. What’s needed is marketing automation. It’s time to think in terms of engagement marketing rather than email marketing.