It’s my belief that integration in all its incarnations, brings us one step further to humanizing the conversation. Yesterday, I attended the Integrated Data and Email Marketing Event at the Ivey ING Leadership Centre in Toronto.
The three hour session was entirely applicable in its nature and was most definitely not a pitch for Exact Target, Omniture or Architech Solutions the three vendors of focus. Instead, the panelists, all industry leaders in their own right, offered a fresh perspective on the changing nature of Email communications. What I found the most compelling was the idea that Email should not be considered simply as a channel, but rather, should be recognized as part of an overall integrated business strategy. This means more than ever, that as the online presence in businesses and the lives of consumers grows exponentially, we are living in the era of a multi-faceted, mult-channel approach to communication.
Keynote Joel Book, the Director of Education at Exact Target came to the table with a breadth of experience. Perhaps his most simple statement is the one that remains top of mind: If we bottom line it, marketing is fast evolving. The one thing we do know, is that it’s about the conversation. Create brand fans – they’ll become your best advocates.
So how do we action this vision? Joel’s comprehensive guidance suggests that Email in tandem with CRM is the wave of now. He encourages the idea of creating emails that serve customers within their specific needs. If 83% of consumers want more control over the given email content that arrives in their inbox, then this means that a 1:1 attitude towards cultivating lasting relationships, matters profoundly.
Email combined with Social media activities equals amplified action. With online social interactions, we’re at the tip of the iceberg with the possibilities that lie ahead of us. Essentially, we should be focusing on empowering the customer base like never before, and an integrated approach is another way to do so.
David MacKay of Omniture was highly refreshing as a panelist. A self-described “curmudgeon of marketing,” MacKay encourages re-visiting the grass roots of this business. It struck me when he stated that there are not many more grand visions to realize; it’s now about executing well. Really well.
During an informed open panel discussion moderated by Stefan Eyram of Exact Target, there were a number of important takeaways to consider: Provide content that’s of value, become your own aggregator and syndicate other people’s content. Become a go-to resource by being an informed publisher. This will be the differentiator between you and a competitor, today and tomorrow.
So, prior to embarking on an email campaign, ask yourself this: What’s my email communication philosophy? According to the group of educators yesterday evening, we should be looking to serve the customer, not sell to them. Think about your audience, community and customers and ask yourself what strategies you can employ to best serve them. In the meantime, Attract, Engage, Convert, Empower, Support and use email as a means to educate and connect your audience with your vision.