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Email marketing on verge of big changes


Retailers that want to connect with their shoppers on a personal level are trading in mass marketing emails for those that highlight customer preferences and shopping behaviors, according to Tawnya Amdor, chief strategy officer for Listrak. Chain Store Age recently spoke with Amdor, who discussed how solutions, including predictive analytics, customer relationship marketing and artificial intelligence will bolster email marketing strategies and enable brands to personally connect with their customers.

How has email marketing changed in the past year?

At its core, email marketing has not changed much in a decade. However, we are on the verge of some very exciting changes.

First, the adoption of automated triggered campaigns has taken hold. This “set it and forget it” solution enhances traditional campaigns, and allows businesses to reach consumers even during non-traditional business hours, such as evenings and weekends.

The second (and more innovative) change centers on the content, product selection, timing and personalization within emails. These all are harnessed by predictive capabilities led by innovation in data access, processing and analytics.

What is the value of personalized campaigns versus blanket mass messages?

The value is in credibility. Consumers expect that a retailer they engage with is learning about them, just as they are learning about the retailer and what they have to offer. To think that the relationship is still one-sided is archaic.

Personalized campaigns let the consumer know you understand them, and you’re trying to build a reciprocal relationship. Mass blast messages are still effective when you have limited knowledge about the consumers, if you are trying to re-engage them or if there has been a history of seasonality purchasing or browsing behaviors. You can be more effective with your marketing dollars by targeting your communications and maintaining your relationship with your consumers.

Why is it important to unify, interpret and personalize data when prepping email messages?

It is best if you can understand which of your list subscribers are prime for the particular message you are planning to send. This would be the “unify” portion of the data — gathering all that you know about your email list base and then interpreting data to compile the best possible target list.

Then, retailers must leverage the knowledge gained through analysis to personalize messages, predict actions and drive further engagement. The importance is not in the execution of the messages, but in the informed data on your consumers to drive a personalized message, ultimately increasing engagement, which lifts revenue results.

How are AI and predictive analytics empowering retail marketers?

AI and predictive analytics enable marketers to dive deeper than ever before. These tools allow retailers to aggregate across many data points and derive key actions that result in predictive behaviors that allow them to be one step ahead of the consumer in their desired needs.

For example, knowing that the consumer is looking to remodel their home based on previous browsing behaviors and the amount of money spent in certain product categories, marketers can determine the next purchases needed. This is a value add. As a consumer, I may not even know what I need next until those recommendations hit my inbox.

What roles do CRM solutions and marketing automation tools play?

Going forward, CRM will finally change the mindset of “I will just blast the same message to everyone.” I can now create more focused, personal messages in a triggered manner, and I can also segment my subscriber list in more ways than I could imagine. And this won’t take more time, just more thought.

Strategy will become a greater need, and analytical skills will drive all marketing in the future. Data is truly king.

How can Listrak help retailers meet their new email marketing goals?

Our CRM offers powerful data exploration and visualization tools that provide answers to their most important questions. It’s a window into your entire customer’s story, not just subscribers. Then, direct integration inside the Listrak platform goes beyond reporting to make insights actionable.

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