Turn Your Digital Focus on Consumers

Written by Mark Weinstein, President

Our TWO Sense: Turn your digital focus on consumers

A lot of marketers are using email today much like postal direct mail 40 years ago when Standard Class postage (aka third class) was 3.3 cents.

Back then it made sense to mail large quantities with little or no targeting because a marketer could achieve excellent response volume and very positive return on investment mailing broadly.  The data available by today’s standards was limited, and the concept of sending direct mail based upon specific behaviors and previous purchases was not needed since mailing costs were about ¼ of today’s direct mail.

Likewise today’s approach to digital marketing has focused on generating results from isolated email broadcasts to a large numbers of individuals. You develop an email campaign – for instance, sending an email about SUV tires or back-to-school supplies– then, track how much revenue it generates and determine your results from that information.

The logic is simple – The more emails that are broadcast, the more money that is made: If you send out 100,000 emails and $10,000 was made, it stands to reason that if you send a second email later that day or week to same 100,000, you could gain close to another $10,000. Just “blast” the emails and the revenues and positive returns will surely come.  It’s so inexpensive!

The problem with this approach is that it neglects to recognize that there are real human beings on the receiving end of these messages. And those individuals aren’t just receiving your emails; they’re also getting social, mobile, display ads and direct mail messages from your organization. And if that wasn’t enough, there are dozens of companies bombarding your customers with similar messages every day. Your customers are feeling under siege.

Over time, your customers now have built walls to protect themselves from the constant barrage of marketing messages. A direct marketer found that sending just one additional email per week to its most loyal customers cut its email subscriber retention rate in half — half of its best customers unsubscribed.  That may be drastic, but point is bombarding your customers is not going to increase your effectiveness.

According to Wall Street Journal, email open rates have dropped 34% since 2007, while clickthrough rates have dropped 28%.

Unlike the past, what we’re seeing now is that as marketing volume increases, retention declines – along with customer loyalty.

Yet, a recent study from Forrester Consulting found that nearly 60% of marketers plan to boost funding for untargeted email marketing and display advertisements this year.

Digital marketers need to focus on individual consumers, not untargeted email blasts.

Start by building a thorough understanding of each individual through the development of customer profiles that allow you to customize messages and be more relevant.  You need to segment customers based on past purchases and behaviors, not just simple demographic information (which doesn’t tell you if I drive an SUV or a coupe)

Then tailor messages based on each customer’s behavior and purchases. Customize email content based on rich customer profile data and then trigger messages at the right moment.

You’ve probably heard this before: Consumers now run the show — about when they shop, how they shop and what messages or content they choose to engage with. The marketers that realize this and adapt to the changing times will thrive, while those that don’t will continue to find themselves trapped in “blasting” emails and loosing once-loyal customers.

Mark Weinstein

Originally Posted: April 22, 2014