From email drip campaign to omnichannel marketing
Especially in B2B, but also in B2C, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels. Still, if you really want to grow in data-driven and customer-centricity, you'll need to look beyond your email marketing software. Putting customers first at all times and for each channel is more than sending a personal e-mail to confirm an order or request. Customers are omnichannel, so should you.
In the corona years, organizations that lagged behind in online developments have accelerated by setting up webshops and apps, and improved their digital communication. Hybrid models emerged like ordering online, collecting the good physically and receiving the invoice by e-mail. A lot of customer data has been collected. However, this data is often fragmented. It is in the webshop, in the CRM, in the app, in the e-mail software, in the checkout. Multichannel yes, omnichannel no.
Between wishes and possibilities
In single or multichannel marketing, customer communication is still often focused on limited data from independent channels with (therefore) limited customer insight. That is why I often hear the desire and need to be able to combine that data and to manage channels in an integrated manner. However, before you throw your (organization) into a large data (warehouse) project or purchase a Customer Data Platform, you want to know how and which data and channels will provide your organization more conversion or efficiency, right? Before you know it years have gone by with a lot of investments and not much progress. Not every organization has the capacity to do that on the side. Growing organizations with ambition, but not (yet) the capacity or internal knowledge, experience this discrepancy between wishes and possibilities.
What do you need?
Next to sending a newsletter, you can already upload lists and set up automated drip campaigns quite well with email software, but more and more work is involved containing error sensitivity and limitations. Not just because customers are using more channels interchangeably; data, privacy and segmentation (restrictions) are also at stake when relying too much on a single channel. However, scaling up to a central Customer Data Platform is a big investment, and even then you still do not have the certainty that your communication is properly arranged in all channels.
Let’s take a look at what you need to solve:
Data integration. You want to be able to combine customer data. Transaction data, audience segments, website visits. Preferably real-time. However, that does not mean that you always need all customer data 100% integrated. You will likely get 80% profit from 20% data integration.
Channel integration. You can send relevant messages to customers that appear in your offline store via SMS. As soon as that person searches the website or your webshop, you prefer to send a relevant web push message, while at work or in the evening behind his or her laptop you can send a personalized e-mail. The actual conversion on all these triggers and channels needs to be proven by testing. After that, you can optimize each communication channel per customer.
Scalability. Dragging content and data to and from multiple sources and tools is simply unsustainable. Certainly if you wish to personalize messages real time.
How do you avoid a lengthy and expensive IT data process to solve these issues, where half of your data turns out to be superfluous or incorrectly set up for marketing purposes? How do you first find out which data, automations and channels will yield the most?
Especially if you don’t have huge budgets, collaboration between marketing and IT is crucial in this area. Make sure you burden your IT and Operations as little as possible, while still being able to activate your customer data flexibly. First determine which data is needed. What marketers need in the first place is a use case. Do not assume the IT department should provide a data model. Use your use case and data to find a suitable partner to test activations. The result determines which steps you take internally. So act outside in.
Software and support
A lot of software in the market is Plug-and-Play. Standard integrations are available, it’s a childs play. Well, it is not. Marketing is a profession, data marketing a specialization. Moreover, your sector and the challenges that come with it are specific. All-in-one solution simply are not available for organizations that have outgrown the early stages. You will soon encounter restrictions. Support is crucial in this phase, both technically and in terms of marketing. 20% of the effort will bring 80% of the result. But which 20%?
Start building internally
You do not need all (data) specializations from the very first moment. Many organizations think they can only start after a dedicated project leader is available. But key is the dedication itself. It is necessary for everyone in the organization to make it a success. Managers, marketers or data specialists with a drive to learn. It requires flexible software. Then you practically learn the fastest way to deal with data in your organization and create the omnichannel customer approach that fits well in your specific sector and environment.