Email Marketing Insights
April 16, 2008 | By Ryan Deutsch
Recently, I participated in a discussion about event-based email marketing campaigns, and the best way to manage them. The question came down to whether it made sense to leverage enterprise marketing management systems (EMM) or technology from an on-premise or hosted email service provider.
First, based on what we are seeing in the market, there is certainly a healthy trend towards leveraging event-based email streams for marketing purposes. Not surprisingly, companies are working to improve the customer experience and the related value of their event-based email streams. When choosing the best solution to deliver these critical communications, the deciding factors usually boil down to these three:
Integration: Email solutions need to connect to core data sources in order to fully leverage significant investments in EMM and CRM systems. Email solutions also need to be able to write data back to these systems. While most leading ESP solutions have web services API’s that enable data transfer, the integration options are typically not flexible enough for an enterprise's IT department. This is the leading reason enterprises look to email modules within EMM solutions to handle email deployment.
Delivery Management and Transparency: If integration is the reason companies look to leverage an EMM or CRM solution for email campaign deployment, delivery management and transparency is the reason they look elsewhere. Most EMM solutions lack strong deliverability management solutions. Reporting of failed deliveries is often weak, and that information is critical, particularly with event-based messaging. I have seen some scary cost modules that outline how expensive it can be in the call center when 10% of an enterprise's purchase confirmations are blocked or end up in the junk folder. Furthermore, reputation is becoming the key driver for inbox penetration. EMM and CRM solutions simply have little depth in this area.
Features: Finally, companies that look to enhance event emails are typically already using the email channel for promotional and email campaign messaging. They require a level of features that enable flexible dynamic content, web-analytics integration and other advanced capabilities. Most EMM and CRM solutions have email “modules,” and these modules are not core parts of their applications, which can leave their capabilities “lacking” in a marketer's eyes. The result, EMM and CRM may be OK for some email streams, but will rarely meet an enterprise's broader requirements. Feature requirements are also the reason that enterprises are trashing their own home-grown applications and turning to technology providers for help.
The bottom line is that you want to verify that the solution you choose justifies the cost, meets your integration requirements and has the features you need. Regardless of how you decide to manage your event-based marketing streams, you'll also want to make sure you do it in a way that meets the recipient's expectations. Obviously, the email campaign needs to arrive at the right time and contain pertinent information about the event at hand. Any promotional messages should be seen as relevant and adding value. If you start overstepping your marketing bounds, you'll pay the price in customer dissatisfaction and attrition.