Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Author and Speaker at SmartInsights.com
01 September 2003 16:51pm
It seems that for all the talk of eCRM and the power of targeted e-mail marketing, many marketers are still in the early phases of e-mail marketing and are blasting out the same message to all list members.
My evidence for this is anecdotal - I deliver the Chartered Institute of Marketing Workshops on E-mail Marketing - and when I ask about personalisation it is the minority of attendees who are working at this.
I have developed this checklist of the options for e-mail marketing targeting which we discussed as part of the recent e-consultancy roundtable on e-marketing. I hope it showcases all the options there are for e-mail targeting.
Please reply with any good examples of targeting that fit into the categories below, or any other options I've missed.
Options for e-mail targeting / mass customisation / personalization. Dave Chaffey, www.marketing-insights.co.uk.
It seems useful to break the options down into 3 - 1 are traditional direct marekting targeting options, 2 and 3 are mostly new to online / eCRM.
1. List member characteristics
These are characteristics of the list members typically asked for when building profiled for segmentation.
E-mail personalization options:
1. No targeting.
3. Main web site audiences.
4. Major customer groupings - strategic segmentation. Examples:
Standard segmentation by geo-demographics, lifestyle group, company size/type/industry and DMU member (B2B)
6. Stage in buying process / buying status / sales pipeline. Customers vs Prospects.
7. Customer value (lifetime value)
8. See behaviour.
2. List member preferences
These are customers online preferences, also asked for during profiling:
- E-mail Format preference (HTML vs Text)
- Channel preferences (e-mail, direct mail, phone)
- Frequency preferences (weekly, monthly, quarterly, major events)
- Content preferences (particularly topics, news stories, market reports, alerts, or offers)
3. List member behaviours
1. E-mail response or click behaviour:
- Don't Open
- Open. Don't Click.
- Click. Don't act.
This has been around for years - was showcased by e2communications (now Bluestreak), but is not used much and is a real 'lightbulb / aha!' moment in the training workshops.
E-mail response behaviour can be either:
- Use for a follow-up e-mail in multi-message campaign
- Use over long-period for categorising responders.
Requires identification of individual behaviours using a unique link id for each recipient.
2. Click content preferences.
Recipients in C. and D. can be targeted by their content or offer preferences - what do they tend to click on - e.g. lastminute.com can tailor content to customers who click on Euro city breaks. They have 125 different versions of newsletter, I believe delivered by e.piphany.
3. Post-click content preferences
Which content on site/microsite do the recipients in C and D visit. E.g. particular product pages, offer pages, main transaction path
4. Post-click purchase or transaction behaviour.
Place customers into RFM Recency, Frequency, Monetary value category buckets. This can be for online purchases or offline purchases.
Traditional lifetime value analysis - most valued customers, below-zero customers, most vulnerable customers. Next-best product.
Doesn't have to be sophisticated RFM - may be effective simply to target customers who have previously bought online or customers have registered / logged in / transacted within last 3 to 6 months.
5. Time-based behaviour (events)
- Target those one year from last purchase (travel).
- Follow-up e-mails during a trial, or before renewal or those who drop out of registration / sales channel
6. Customer initiated events on web site
Customer enters main transaction path, but drop-off occurs before purchase. E-mail used to encourage customer to complete transaction, e.g. Tesco.com, William Hill. RedEye.com have some great cases of how William Hill are targeting in this way.
Please let me know of anything obvious I have missed, or any other innovative examples of targeting using customer preferences or behaviour.
Director, Marketing Insights
CEO at Econsultancy
02 September 2003 10:23am
Thanks for this. Very interesting. Useful categories to help build segments around and interesting to think through your comments about how online and offline are similar and where they differ.
A few ideas to add which probably sit in your category 6 (Customer initiated events on web site) although might be called "on_customer_experience_events"...
1. Errors. Obviously we don't deliberately try and create errors on our site but they do happen occasionally. Where the user is registered we capture what error they experienced, when, their details etc. so that we can send them a personalised apoology and tell them what was wrong and how we've fixed it. This can be a very powerful CRM tool - it exceeds customers' expectations and we've even experienced a viral benefit as a result of people telling their friends about this positive experience that actually started as a negative one.
I've never forgotten how well Virgin Wines dealt with a late delivery I once received from them and have recommeded the service as a result to friends of mine.
Errors could include all sorts of negative experiences from 404 page not founds to application errors to searches producing no results to late delivery to an overly slow site etc.
2. Search. I think we've all come to recognise the importance and power of good search mechanisms (cf. Google...). I think there are e-mail targeting options based on_search_experience_events that might be worth investigating. e.g. no results on search terms? Capture the search string and send them an e-mail when you do have something relevant. Too many search results? How about e-mailing them your editorially-selected top few? MIssing data in the search results (e.g. pictures)? Perhaps e-mail them the data when you do have it separately?
3. Automated e-mails. By far the highest number of e-mails that we send out each day are automated ones e.g. alerts, reminders, registration confirmation e-mails, password reminders, forum digests etc. I think a lot of us forget about using these as a targeted marketing opportunitiy (ourselves included...). The e-mails may be automated but you know the user is in a particular frame of mind and often they'll be expecting the e-mail. With a bit of clever thinking I'm sure there are many more opportunities to use these e-mails to develop a dialogue and relationship with the user that goes beyond the basic information that needs to be conveyed?
Director at Chinwag
02 September 2003 12:43pm
I'd add to Ashley's comments about automated events. We've started looking at triggered events as a major route to build relationships, actions and ultimately sales.
Triggers are particularly interesting when you can assign them to automatically follow up on some of the behavioural elements that Dave brings up.
From my experience the technological capabilities are far ahead of most companies' usage of them. I'm sure this will change particularly as rates of response to more generic email marketing start to reduce.
Fndr at Majestic12.co.uk
03 September 2003 15:25pm
> From my experience the technological capabilities are far
> ahead of most companies' usage of them.
I'd like to acknowledge comprehensive post by Dave and extend somewhat Sam's response: in my experience targeting technology per se is not the end of problems but only the beginning due to necessity to change internal business processes that can "touch" more than one string.
For example it is not uncommon for vendors to have serious influence on retailers by the virtue of offered margins so there is always a temptation to market products that vendors want rather than users. I've witnessed it more than once and it took a while to develop techniques to disarm this often harmful influence of vendors.
Having said that its vital to follow roadmap that would enable internal users of that technology to accustom themselves to various features, starting from simple stuff (purchasing history) and moving up the chain to complex multi-email campaigns and automated triggers.
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