by Amanda Hinkle, Oct 23, 2014
Ready or not, here it comes. A wave of marketing that has been growing for years — contextual marketing — will reach new heights in 2015. If your organization does not have the ability to capture and leverage a significant amount of data for personalizing and “right-timing” your customer communications — including data relevant to the current state of the customer (location, device, environment, past behaviors, etc.) — you risk fatiguing your customers with non-relevant messaging and falling behind competitors who are doing it right.
Industry research groups agree. MarketingSherpa’s latest Email Marketing Benchmark Survey reports that relevance was one of the top email marketing goals for 2014.
And eMarketer reports that over half of all B2B marketers have completely adopted marketing automation into their sales and marketing tactics to increase the relevance of their customer engagements.
So how can you keep up? Forrester’s Q2 2014 Global Email Marketing Customer Reference Online Survey highlights several up-and-coming tactics that currently have low (but growing) industry adoption, and huge potential for return, including: microsegment targeting, email-enabled video, open-time personalization, and in-email transactions.
Leading brands are already using many of these tactics to wow their customers with extremely contextual email and cross-channel messaging. Below are a few specific suggestions on where to start and examples of companies that are leading the charge.
If you’re not already, you should be looking into open-time personalization and experimenting with delivering contextually relevant content based on real-time data at the moment an email is opened. Hoteliers have been doing this for a while now, most commonly with real-time weather bugs in their reservation confirmation emails. This tactic drives real results. As just one example, a fitness company used personalized video to drive a 50% click-to-open rate, as explained in this MarketingSherpa post. With companies like Kick Dynamic, Movable Ink and Live Intent, you have a myriad of options to start exploring ways to incorporate this tactic into your marketing mix.
As mentioned in the Forrester survey, leveraging in-email transactions is a big opportunity for marketers. And so are a myriad of other in-email interactions, such as watching videos, filling out forms, interacting on social networks and playing games — all inside the email itself. While adoption of this tactic will not reach a critical mass in 2015, some technology companies are already making it possible for marketers to experiment with in-email purchases. For instance, one nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness uses in-email payment technology to solicit and collect donations. The results? The company received nearly 50% of repeat donations through in-email payments.
These industry trends are leading indicators of what is to come. In 2015, consumer demand and market forces will drive more and more marketers to adopt automation technologies and innovative tactics that let them deliver contextually relevant messages at the right time. Don’t get left behind! Now is the time for your organization to look at optimizing your access to data, heightening segmentation and personalization, and delivering contextually relevant messages across channels in new, innovative ways.