How email drives opportunities through influence and innovation

This post is contributed by Mara Crisafulli, senior director, digital solutions at Epsilon where she drives the execution of business objectives for clients.   

In college, I never fully understood why psychology was a minor recommended to students majoring in marketing and business. Throughout my 12 plus years of working in digital marketing, now, the lens is crystal clear. Understanding consumers through data insights and behavioral modeling is fundamental to marketing success. The digital landscape has opened the door to new opportunities for marketers to better understand their customers and as a result create new opportunities to market to them.

Email marketing strategy in particular allows marketers to create new moments with a large subset of their customer base through innovative tactics – gauging interest, guiding the conversation and moving the needle towards increased sales. For example, think about how email helped to create and drive the success of Amazon’s recent Prime Day holiday. As a result of the holiday, Amazon reported that orders increased 18% from the 2014 Black Friday and customers ordered 34.4 million items equating to 398 items every second. Email was a critical component to the communication and promotion strategy for this event and its ultimate success.

Marketers can learn from the success of Amazon Prime Day – one of the key takeaways being that email is a powerful strategy and when approached with an innovative mindset it can create positive atomic moments of truth for brands.

When thinking about how email can help with your marketing efforts whether you’re creating a new holiday or developing a new campaign, here are some tips to consider:

Innovate through technology: Email has evolved to a point where there are quick ways for marketers to innovate through technology to help their messages stand out – yet I still see brand-side marketers struggling to make this leap. Consider leveraging tactics like adaptive content to create more engaging messages. Geo-targeting based on weather or including maps to stores based on a customer’s location at the time of open are great ways to make your message stand out. Incorporating real-time content will make your messages more meaningful to the customers you are trying to reach at the time they decide to engage.

Rise above the noise:  Be different and be bold.  Take a look at what Ebates did during the 2014 holiday season. To expand on the traditional mass ecommerce holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ebates created two new shopping days: Mobile Monday offering higher Cash Back through their mobile app and Luxury Sunday featuring special Cash Back offers from high-end retailers. Further, their calendar of promotions sent via email and within the social channels helped to keep customers’ informed of the holiday promotions while yielding positive financial results.

Create chatter everywhere:  Spread the word through your social channels. Creating buzz within social media makes the event (holiday, campaign, etc.) seem like a big deal.  Amazon combined the email and social channels for the creation and execution of Prime Day and was very successful. Social media yields followers and in marketing, followers eventually equate to customers. Together, email and social are good partners.

Seize the moment:  A day late and a dollar short with your email strategies is not acceptable. Capture on the moment and send communications, offers and promotions in real-time. Humans have an attention span of less than 4 seconds. If you’re not sending meaningful and relevant content for their preferences, the attention span is cut in half.

Think beyond holidays & campaigns: Brands like Amazon and Ebates have been leaders in thinking outside of the box with their email marketing strategy to create holidays and campaigns outside the norm. Think about what you can develop within your marketing plans. Can you create an annual day in which you celebrate something meaningful to your brand? Maybe it’s an anniversary, a product launch, a community giveback, etc. Email can support this effort and take your marketing effectiveness to the next level. 

Email drives opportunities through influence and innovation. Seizing the moment and thinking beyond campaigns will allow you to take your email program to the next level.  How do you innovate through email? Leave your thoughts in the comments.