When CMOs started focusing their marketing strategies on better understanding their customers and deepening relationships with them to drive loyalty and overall lifetime value, marketers turned to email.Email Inbox

But traditional email is no longer meeting those CMO objectives.

Marketers are finding it difficult to leverage all of the data they have on their customers, meaning they’re forced to send “batch and blast emails” or spend hours upon hours segmenting lists to deliver relevant messages. Consumers, meanwhile, are being inundated with emails as sending frequencies go up, leaving them to either opt-out of email campaigns or “emotionally unsubscribe” from emails that don’t deliver relevant and valuable messages.

To help marketers understand how they can better engage customers and achieve those above stated goals, Monetate held a webinar with Gary Penn, Director of Ecommerce at True Religion, and Nicole Kerr, Senior Product Manager at Monetate, to discuss tactics to improve email marketing.

According to Kerr, marketers looking to improve email ROI need to think more about relevance than upping the frequency of their sends.

In this case, that means employing a few crucial practices:

  • Emails shouldn’t just be designed to be responsive to a particular device. They should also contain messaging that is responsive to a particular customer.

  • Don’t confuse real-time and right-time marketing. The most relevant emails are those that are sent at the right time (through triggers or automated based on other behavioral data), but personalized in real time (i.e., at the time the email is opened).

  • An optimized email also includes an optimized site experience, since most conversions don’t take place inside an email, and customers are likely to best remember the last touchpoint they had with your brand.

True Religion’s Penn presented two case studies to illustrate how those practices deliver winning customer experiences and positive business outcome.

In one, he said, True Religion was interested in learning how its mobile-optimized emails performed on desktop. The result was surprising: a 10% increase in click-through rate from desktop users. Now, said Penn, True Religion is able to design one email for all users, knowing they are seeing better results while spending less time designing.

“I think a lot of us are trying too hard to develop two sets of emails,” he said. “The consumer just wants an easy to read message that’s quick and either applies to their life or not. At the end of the day, it’s what’s in the message. If it’s well presented, it might get clicked on. If it’s not well presented, it probably won’t.”

In a second test, Penn and his team ran a geo-targeted campaign to determine if regionalized offers could drive in-store traffic.

Normally, such a test would be difficult, Penn said, because True Religion hadn’t historically collected demographic information such as postal codes. But by using open-time geo-targeting, Penn and his team were able to send 65,000 geo-targeted messages to specific markets, promoting a discount for those individuals who visited select stores and tried on a pair of jeans. The result was a 1 percent lift in in-store conversion rate, a figure Penn called “really, really amazing.”

Now, True Religion is looking at several different ways to learn from these successes and spin its strategy forward, including more regionalized offers without saturating its entire email list, Penn said.

“There’s nothing spectacular in email that you’re going to magically solve with one strategy versus another,” Penn said. “But it’s understanding how to approach that strategy that’s important.”