The online marketing landscape is changing, again. The proliferation of mobile is providing consumers with access to your brand across multiple channels, the perpetual advancement in personal technology has created a culture of multiple device adoption, and the constant bombardment of digital engagements has increased the challenge of creating meaningful connections with consumers. The Relevancy Ring’s 2017 ESP Buyer’s Guide highlighted this evolution when it updated the criteria of what constitutes a leading Email Service Provider (ESP) to move beyond stand-alone email into more channels and to address newer technologies.
Marketers need Everychannel Service Providers rather than the aging, clumsy, channel-by-channel solution still in use today. Brands will achieve success by creating a personal, valuable, and seamless experience with each consumer, across all their channels and devices. Three areas are critical to an effective Everychannel strategy: technology, data, and services.
Technology underpins efficiency
Marketing continues to increase in complexity. Staying ahead of the curve now means marketers strive to centralize their data, optimize engagements, and improve message relevancy. Most marketers are now working with multiple vendors to keep up with the constant industry transformation, and the introduction of new communication channels. The result: your data lives in different systems, channel execution happens on separate platforms, and insights and reporting must be bolted together, often in ad hoc and sub-optimal ways. Finding a partner with the technology to centralize and manage multiple sources of data, and simultaneously employ that data for campaign orchestration is essential to improving campaign effectiveness, insights, and operational efficiencies that drive ROI.
Big data generates big ROI
Wrestling critical insights out of data and creating a personalized cross-channel engagement strategy to improve return on investment may seem difficult with the massive advancements in our industry. Data is the keystone to getting personalization, true cross-channel marketing and actionable insights right.
Personalization via big data is quickly becoming the driver of the standard user experience. If marketers haven’t already adopted personalization and/or behaviorally triggered email it’s the next major change they are preparing to implement. Personalization will soon dominate digital marketing, and data is its nexus. That makes it critical for brands to centralize their diverse forms of data, so that they can in turn centralize their messaging and engagement triggers for continuous engagement across all marketing touch points.
Centralizing your data with an Everychannel service provider will give you a more informed view of your customer’s behavior. This ensures that customers have positive brand experiences by controlling the frequency of touch-points across channels, providing valuable and relevant messaging, and triggering behavior-based engagement — such as discontinuing a product-specific ad once that item has been purchased. Consumers loathe redundancy and demand a tailored experience: data delivers the solution.
Consumers don’t distinguish between channels – they expect a seamless experience wherever they interact with your brand. Their activity in one channel should be reflected in another. If a customer abandons a shopping cart on their laptop, the same items should be in-cart ready for purchase when they open their shopping cart on their phone, whether it’s via app or browser. It’s virtually impossible to execute this seamless cross-channel and cross-device experience without access to and use of your data in real time.
Marketers lose precious time and opportunities when valuable data is held by different vendors or in multiple databases where it’s not easily accessible. Marketers must have the critical information they need to tailor their messaging to each customer and set up real-time triggers to engage with consumers based on the consumer intent and relevant contextual signals. A cross-channel marketing platform that has data management at its core can enable marketers to make use of the all customer data to execute highly personalized and relevant campaigns.
Actionable insights are central to campaign deployment and performance. If marketers know how, where, and when their customers are interacting with their brand they can use that data to optimize engagements and deliver experiences that drive loyalty and revenue. Does an email campaign persuade a customer to open a brand’s website and then ultimately purchase through the brand’s app where they feel most comfortable buying? Is the customer more likely to research products on their tablet during the commute into work and then purchase those products late at night from their home? If the marketer knows this then they’ll be sure to remind the customer of their product at the right time. Actionable insights improve customer experiences and enable campaign optimization to get the highest return on investment.
Services will amplify your efforts
There is a lot to get right in the new era of marketing: getting the most out of your data, combining data sources, executing Everychannel campaigns, getting actionable insights, staying on top of trends and compliance issues and much more. Working with a technology partner that has its own advanced strategic services team will help marketers navigate these challenges and create strategies that deliver the desired results with data-driven, cross-channel marketing. A good strategic services team can, for example, reduce risk as marketers test new email strategies, ensuring brands stay on the good side of the inbox. They can also help marketers manage their data for better insights and campaign execution, utilize the data across more channels, set up APIs, create advanced triggers, improve execution strategies, provide advanced analytics, and foster more visually exciting creative that will help marketers target, convert, and retain more customers. Good customer service is invaluable as marketers navigate emerging trends and technologies
With the proliferation of data, and technology for marketers to put that data to use for them, the new Everychannel world provides endless opportunities for marketers to engage with their customers to deliver remarkable customer experiences and increase brand engagement. By choosing a partner with the right technology, data management capabilities, and services, marketers can stay on the leading edge of the ever-evolving future of marketing.
Learn more about the Email/Everychannel landscape and outlook in the full 2017 ESP Buyer’s Guide from The Relevancy Group.