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Am I right in seeing behavioural email and segmentation as the future for targeting customers online? 

I cannot escape the feeling that behavioural is something of a panacea for the current issues facing email marketers, while also taking direct marketing another step towards individual level, one to one marketing.

Behavioural segmentation and email marketing reacts to a customer’s or prospect’s on-site activity and tailors future email marketing to that activity. This approach to email is based on a tried and tested premise: that the best variable for predicting future activity is the most recent activity. So if a prospect or customer visits your site and browses holidays in the West Indies, there is a strong likelihood this individual is interested in holidays to the West Indies and indeed maybe in the window to purchase.

On this basis, in the future the vast majority of communication is going to be driven from behavioural data and segmentation and to facilitate this it will be automated and supported by extensive dynamic content. Traditional segmentation, using RFM information (ie recency, frequency and monetary) will play a supporting role driving lapsed or inactive customers to the site.

The benefits? Well, sending emails targeted by information that an individual has shown interest achieves relevance. The results: increased ROI, increased brand equity and an end to deliverability issues.

Am I right?

Matthew Kelleher

Published 6 August, 2009 by Matthew Kelleher

Matthew Kelleher is commercial director as RedEye and a contributor to Econsultancy.

27 more posts from this author

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Adi @ The Management Blog

I certainly think that email should be as segmented as possible.  Wondering how viable segmenting emails based on a persons viewing habits is at the moment though?  I can understand people subscribing to particular topic areas but wasn't aware of any tools that allowed such browser segmentation on the market?

almost 7 years ago

Matthew Kelleher

Matthew Kelleher, Commercial Director at RedEyeEnterprise

The process is straight forward but very few organisation are doing it. Web Analytics data is your on-line customer database, a history of each customer's activity with your online presence. Merge that with you email database and start considering your 'visitors' and 'browsers' as individuals and then you can drive relevant messages.

almost 7 years ago

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Glen Conybeare @ Cognitive Match

I think you are right Mathew.  In tests we have done it's clear that what someone just did is highly predictive of what they will do next.  Targeting, whether email or site based, needs to be highly reactive and I think marketers are becoming more interested in this reaction being real time.

Given this traditional segmentation models may not work, what's required are dynamic segmentations that constantly adapt based on what users just did. 

almost 7 years ago

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Bulk Email


I will recommend using Email Charger for all bulk email marketing needs. Its the best <a href="http://www.EmailCharger.com/">email marketing software</a> I have used so far.

almost 7 years ago

Marc Munier

Marc Munier, Commercial Director at Pure360

Completely agree with Mathew, watching as opposed to asking will always illicit more information on recipient  preferences. However I would say that it doesn’t have to be all encompassing - just retargeting clickers based on what they clicked on will deliver healthy returns. The big benefit here is that this can be achieved with standalone technonlgy - as much as technology providers like us would like you to fully integrate your webiste, CRM, data mining tools etc, the reality is that this can be a lengthy process.

Integrate by all means but while you wait for IT to get on with it bag some quick wins.

almost 7 years ago

Martin Ryan

Martin Ryan, Technology Consulting Manager at Javelin GroupEnterprise

Targeting has always been the future of email, the problem has been the army of marketers required to develop the segmentation strategy and the tools to capture that knowledge, implement, maintain and report on it.

The fact is, manual segmentation of customers / visitors is dead or at least terminally ill. It is not a scalable solution.

Instead the emerging class of software, typically billed as product recommendations or personalisation, is starting to take hold among the larger retailers. It is used both to deliver targeted content to email recipients and to drive product recommendations on the eCommerce website.

There is a wealth of vendors in this space (Javelin Group tracks 15 of them), some of which will no doubt not be around in five years time. Every one of them will deliver an ROI compared to doing nothing. However their headline sales pitches - "we can increase your sales" - are not useful to differentiate between them since they all do that. It is the variety that is most interesting in these tools - the methods they use, the data they consume, the outputs they produce and the business user tools that they offer.

almost 7 years ago

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Sara Kmiecik

I agree with Martin that the future of email has always been targeting and segmentation. I think, as email marketing becomes more and more popular, we will see more and more organizations using segmentations for their campaigns.

almost 7 years ago

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