Consumers Take Control: Email Marketing in an Empowered Environment

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Thanks to the emails that flood my inbox during the wee hours of the morning, I no longer need to set an alarm. The vibrations coming from my desk drawer across the room are enough to make me emerge from my cocoon. But when I whip out my smartphone to find nothing but bothersome advertisements, the swipe and delete feature clears the clutter and allows me to proceed with my day. For marketers, however, their "jump the gun" attitude has just done them a disservice.

Thanks to the emails that flood my inbox during the wee hours of the morning, I no longer need to set an alarm. The vibrations coming from my desk drawer across the room are enough to make me emerge from my cocoon. But when I whip out my smartphone to find nothing but bothersome advertisements, the swipe and delete feature clears the clutter and allows me to proceed with my day. For marketers, however, their "jump the gun" attitude has just done them a disservice.Today's consumer has much more control over what they see and hear on a daily basis. DVR allows TV viewers to record their favorite shows so they can skip the commercials later, and email allows users to delete or mark messages as spam without ever reading a word. Yet, while marketers are making an effort to boost relevance, consumers are opting out on numerous levels.

Jeff Nicholson, vice president of global marketing for customer analytics and interaction at Pitney Bowes Software, breaks down consumer email opt-outs into three categories: Explicit, Junk, and Mental. Explicit opt-outs come when consumers take the time to open the message and click the unsubscribe button because, for one reason or another, they have no desire to receive those messages any longer. Junk opt-outs occur when messaging becomes rerouted to the consumers' spam box and go unseen. Mental opt-outs happen when consumers have disengaged after a large volume of irrelevant messaging, deleting messages the moment they appear in their inbox.

Yet, while these opt-out obstacles continue to plague marketers across industries, many are attempting to reconnect with those who've waned through re-engagement campaigns. For Vanity, Inc., "We Miss You" emails are just the beginning.

According to Amber Jackson, marketing coordinator, Vanity, Inc. will stop sending emails to those who haven't opened 20 or more emails in a row. Instead, they reduce their campaigns to every quarter in an effort to re-engage inactive customers without overflowing their inbox with excessive emails. Those who haven't opened 10 or more emails in a row will receive a series of "We Miss You" messages. The first email encourages inactive customers to check out new merchandise, while the second in the series offers a 20 percent off coupon. The final email in the series asks customers if this is goodbye, suggesting they update their preferences or unsubscribe. After running this series for the first time in January, Vanity, Inc. saw 2.84 percent of their inactive members re-engage, while only .26 percent unsubscribed.

But Vanity, Inc. is just one retail example of how to re-evaluate email marketing strategy. Has your company implemented a new, successful email marketing campaign? Share your story with us in the comments below!

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION