In celebration of the high caliber speakers coming to the Email Evolution Conference later this month (January 23-25, 2014), this guest blog post from enterprise email service provider Blue Hornet’s Vice President of Strategic Services, Kara Trivunovic discusses some of the concepts she will be presenting in a panel at the event.

Data and information is pretty easy to come by these days. As we spend more time online and connected, we are creating more and more information about ourselves. And while there are some very specific applications where you can leverage all of this connected information in one, big, meaningful way – it is the exception, not the rule.

In the email channel, many brands and marketers have been striving to achieve this idea of 1:1 email communication. And while we do this really well with transactional email and even some lifecycle driven programs, for the everyday marketing communication, less may not be more. It is possible to over-target  and over-segment a message and the more data we have available driving those decisions, the more likely it is to happen. Not because the data isn’t accurate or won’t tell a good story, but in order to accomplish that validity, proper analysis of the data needs to occur – and the cost of doing so (especially if you are only using it in the email channel) will likely outweigh the return.

Identifying the right data for your organization to leverage is important: if you use nothing, the message may be too impersonal; if you use too much, you may minimize exposure of a message to an audience that may have been interested. So how do you identify the right data?

Here are a few points to consider when deciding what data elements are key to your program’s success:

  • Define the Goal of the Program
    What is it you are trying to accomplish? The data that you may need to drive a successful reengagement campaign is going to vary greatly from the data you would leverage for an engaging replenishment message or promotional offer. One size does not fit all when it comes to messaging or data identification.
  • Identify Opportunities for Personalization
    If you do not know what you want to personalize about the communication, or how you want to go about accomplishing it – how can you possibly know what data you need to meet the end goal? You can’t. Yet too many marketers jump in feet first without taking this step. There are a number of ways you can achieve relevance inside your communication such as: recipient list definition, offer crafting, image rendering and content presentation to name a few. Some or all of these elements (and more) can be used in concert or separately to speak to you customer, but you need to identify the approaches first – the data comes later.
  • Define Your Tactics
    Once you have identified the opportunities for personalization, you need to define them. If you plan to only send to a subset of your audience, then you need to establish the appropriate business rules and definition of that target. While you are working through the definition of the tactics, you also need to consider “why” you are doing this. How do these tactics increase your ability to achieve your goals? If they don’t – then maybe you should consider removing the tactic from the playbook.

Once you have worked through this exercise, the data you need should be pretty obvious. The challenge for various brands is that the data necessary does not only vary from vertical to vertical and brand to brand – the variations can swing from message to message and offer to offer.

There are some pretty consistent go-to metrics that many marketers leverage – 10 or 15 that can really accomplish a majority of what you are trying to achieve. Join Dan Cronyn , Jordan Cohen and myself at the Email Evolution Conference 2014 on January 23 at 11:40AM to see what those data points are for the brands and the organizations we work with. Hope to see you there.



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