Opinion: Email Marketing Lessons from the Very First Home Run

The following is an exclusive guest contributed post from Adobe Campaign’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Patrick Tripp. The first known email campaign generated more than $13 million in sales as the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) established a need for the computer in every office (source ORBTR). We don’t know if DEC, pointed to the outfield …   Read More

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Opinion Email Marketing Lessons from the Very First Home RunThe following is an exclusive guest contributed post from Adobe Campaign’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Patrick Tripp.

The first known email campaign generated more than $13 million in sales as the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) established a need for the computer in every office (source ORBTR). We don’t know if DEC, pointed to the outfield like Babe Ruth before cracking the ball farther than anyone had seen, but we do know the game’s never been the same since.

While it may not be readily apparent, the modern email marketing game is very similar to the game of baseball: Both require teams function like well-oiled machines, executing “plays” with pinpoint precision; both require evolving strategies and tactics to stay ahead of the competition; and perhaps most importantly, both require a thorough understanding of the other team (or in this case customers) to achieve victory.

This article looks at some of the top takeaways around understanding the “known customer” and will show how America’s favorite pastime can guide the way we think of the modern email marketing game.

Triggering the Right Pitch

Baseball today is a statistician’s dream, and Big Data has helped marketing follow the same course. Pitchers know the best pitch to deliver to each batter for the desired result, much the same way today’s 360-degree view of the customer allows marketers to build a truly personalized experience.

With today’s digital marketing platform’s ability to collect and store large amounts of data for each known customer, you should treat these platforms like your catcher and follow the signals they provide. The right marketing pitch depends on a lot of information, but you can gather it in your digital marketing playbook with the right content strategy. Here’s some of the best data to collect to help you figure out your best pitch:

  • Demographic information
  • Past interactions
  • Preferred devices
  • Adoption of new technology or services

Just like baseball, the fastball doesn’t work every time, so rely on your platform to help by creating data-relevant triggers that take into account customer behavior. This can even mean automatically setting up the second toss. A leading global hotel operator was able to see a 60 percent increase in email open rates and 15 percent better click-through rates when they sent relevant weather and local event information to customers who had already made a reservation.

Understanding Batting Order

Baseball would be a very tiring game if, like in the sport Cricket, the same player was frequently at bat. Your customer may feel worn out in much the same way if you are sending too many emails to their inbox.

Customers receive a lot of unwanted email each and every day, so if they’re not swinging at your pitches, you may want to adjust your channel and frequency. Even your fans can get overwhelmed, so be sure to build in a waiting period and move through the rest of the rotation before returning to a customer who has gone quiet.

Customers want seamless conversations, not marketing overload, so be sure they maintain some power.

Using the Batter’s Box

One important thing about baseball is that the batter has the ability to step out of the batter’s box and pause the game for just a moment. Customers need to have this same kind of control in any marketing experience. To do this, manage a preference center that shows your customer what’s being collected and how they can expect to be engaged with your emails.

Preference centers shouldn’t be just an opt-out space. They should give the customer the chance to adjust contact frequency or provide more information so that your campaigns can become more relevant. Making these options clear also prevents your email from being sent to the spam folder.

Giving customers the ability to provide more information makes them better leads, and you’ll know just what to pitch when they step back into the box.

Encouraging Grand Slams

Deepening customer knowledge improves every email marketing campaign that a company can deliver. In the same light, every stat available on a batter can help the pitcher and catcher know exactly what to throw for each batter.

A key difference between baseball and marketing is that marketers are trying to serve up the perfect pitch for customers instead of strike them out. With cross-channel campaign management, you’re focused on getting all of the information possible to deliver this pitch, delivered via email, or across any digital and traditional channel, so your end customer can perform well even if they just close their eyes and swing. For those of us that think of email like marketing’s pastime and strive to play it right, it continues to have a very high batting average for customers, leading to grand slams and big wins for the team.

To learn more about Adobe’s approach to Next-Gen email marketing, click here.

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