As you know, the amount of data gathered now is staggering, and grows at a rate that speeds up daily. For marketers, this data can be a goldmine…if they can put that data to use. Sadly, many can’t because they don’t use an ESP with relational data. That means precious information about their customers sits unused and their email marketing falls short as a result.
Data has made possible actual personalization, but making it possible and making it real are two different things.
The evolution of personalization
It used to be “personalization” meant using a recipient’s name in the subject line, or starting an email with Dear _______. Email marketing has evolved, however, and personalization today means consumers get email messages targeted to their preferences. We’ve gone from all you need is a first name to you need to master right time, right message email marketing.
Personalization now means relevance. What is relevance? Relevance is giving consumers what they want. And they want customized product recommendations. They want information that is relevant to them at that time.
Relevance delivers content based on both a consumer’s stated preferences as well as their past buying behaviors. Put another way, consumers want relevant recommendations based on what they say they’re interested in (preferences), but also on what they show they’re interested in (behavior).
Using data to know your customer
In order to deliver relevant email marketing messages to your customers, you have to know your customers as individuals, not categories, and that takes a lot more relational data to accomplish.
Before you could use an ESP with relational data, knowing someone was a female between 18 and 35 years old was enough…and really all you could know. Now, however, you need to know her actual age, where she lives, if she’s a mom, what she buys from you and how often, how much she typically spends, if she follows your brand on social media, if she shops via her smartphone, and more. And you need to not only collect that data, but use it when you send emails to her inbox.
In other words, your email segmentation needs to be much more granular than before.
It sounds like an almost impossible task, but you can know your customers on an individual level when your ESP lets you collect, access and put to use all of your behavioral and transactional data—meaning when you use an ESP with relational data.
Accessing all your data
Marketers need to be able to capture it and act on it, but for many, that bridge between having and using has not yet been crossed because of the disconnect with their email service provider. That disconnect offers only limited data access.
Oh the other hand, an ESP with relational data can give you enormous insight into what your customers buy and what they don’t buy, when they browse vs. when they shop, and more—and then let you put all that insight into action with personalized, relevant and timely email marketing messages. With the right ESP, marketers can speak directly to their customers and deliver exactly what they want, when they want it.
When you have a complex business with multiple customer interactions and touch points, you have an opportunity…but also a need. The more complex your business and your email marketing, the more complex your technology applications will have to be, and the more likely it is that you’ll need an email service provider that makes your data usable, meaning an ESP with relational data.