Life Beyond The Click: Email In 2015

  • Columnist Dela Quist contends that email’s potential to impact brand awareness and favorability is getting short shift — but says that will change in 2015.


    Since the inception of email as a marketing medium, it’s been thought of as a bottom-of-the-funnel marketing tool – driving conversions and purchases using data gathered from previous emails and other channels.

    As a result, email marketers have been laser-focused on sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

    However, this has created a dominant way of thinking that views email marketing as a staccato series of singular events. It’s not wrong, but that approach doesn’t allow email marketers to fully realize email’s potential through the rest of the customer journey.

    Used in the right way, email can raise brand awareness and shape consumer behavior at the top of the funnel.

    In 2015, brands will need to consider the power of email at both ends of the marketing funnel, particularly if they want to exploit the dominance of mobile devices in the lives of consumers.

    In this 24/7 world, the smartest marketers will look beyond the narrow confines of open rates and click-through rates. To do this, marketers will need to start delivering highly personalized content, which in turn will allow them to increase the number of brand impressions generated.

    Personalization Is Paramount In 2015

    Until very recently, delivering a high degree of personalization – we’re talking twenty or thirty thousand message variants, not five segments, ten segments or even twenty – has been too labor intensive to be cost effective. Now that technology has finally caught up with the needs of marketers, it’s time to exploit how these highly-personalized messages influence the top of the funnel activity.

    To build actual brand awareness, marketers must rethink some of the outdated mindsets they have been stuck in – especially the idea that they should try to minimize the number of emails sent to their customers.

    Marketers concerned with inbox overload need to understand that when it comes to the average person’s inbox, it’s just a myth.

    How Many Messages Consumers Receive

    Data from Return Path’s State of the Inbox report (PDF), Q4 2014

    In order to truly affect customers at the top of the funnel, email has to influence customers much sooner and more often than the right message at the right time approach. In effect, email is acting much in the same way as a TV commercial or billboard.

    Customers want to see emails from a brand; it’s why they subscribe in the first place. And I’d contend they are not averse to receiving three, four or even five messages a week — so long as they deliver value.

    Personalization helps ensure customers will want to continue receiving and engaging with your messages.

    The Impact Of Mobile

    Consumer interaction with their mobile devices is perhaps one of the most personal and consistent experiences they have every day and email has automatically been made more personal as a result. Never being more than an arm’s length away from their device also means never being more than an arm’s length away from their email.

    The immediacy and frequency at which email is being accessed boosts the potential for marketers to send more often and impact consumers at all stages of their purchase process.

    Email is already a good bottom-of-the-funnel channel. What will separate the smart marketers from the stodgy ones will be how they use personalization to create a more impactful experience that works throughout the entire customer journey.

    The companies that will be most successful in this new environment are those that send personalized messages to every list member every time; those that can take advantage of automation tools to deliver personal and powerful campaigns; and those that can exploit the potential of email on mobile devices. Will this be you?

    Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    About The Author

    Dela Quist is the CEO of Alchemy Worx, an email marketing agency. He has pioneered the development of email as a mainstream marketing channel since his work at Excite beginning in 1997.

    (Some images used under license from


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