The Digital Balloon: Brands Work To Integrate Email And Other Tools

The Digital Balloon: Brands Work To Integrate Email And Other Tools

by , Columnist, July 2, 2018

Email ranks near the top of the digital tech stack, judging by the 2018 Widen Connectivity Report. Asked to name three things they can’t do without in their daily work, 35.08% cite email marketing. Yet file-sharing is first — with 42.48% listing it — and CRM is second with 41.61%. Third is content management, at 32.03%.

And email doesn’t stand alone — the report argues that these tools work better when used together.

Email also figures in analytics, with 56.82% saying they track it. In comparison, 70.46% track website performance and 44.09% content analytics.  

Widen surveyed 508 professionals to find out the state of their digital integration. It found that 76% are integrating at least two of their digital work tools.

In addition, Widen found that 39% have undergone a digital transformation — i.e., the integration of digital technology into all areas of their business — and 41% are now going through it. Another 9% are planning to start next year.

But the big play appears to be in personalization, in whatever form it is delivered. Among those polled, 93% feel that personalization at scale is attainable, although 58% are not sure of how to go about it. And only 13.53% are using artificial intelligence or machine learning. Worse, almost 20% are apprehensive about the prospect. 

Asked for their goals, 28 .04% say they are focusing on personalizing the customer experience. Running a distant second is digital transformation to reach new customer segments or improve revenue streams, at 13.15%.

What drives personalization? For 72.72%, it is the use of data and analytics for smarter targeting. In addition, 66.67% say it takes a dedicated team and 57.58% marketing automation campaigns.

The most popular personalization technique is location-based marketing, used by 40.28%. Second is account-based marketing, deployed by 38.39%. And 31.75% use personas for personalization.  

Not that personalization ranks at the top of  the list for the end users. The first requirement of a good customer experience, 21.78% say, is that it’s relevant. In addition, 18.56% want it to be easy, and 17.57% that it should be personalized. Finally, 16.58% expect it to be memorable.

It’s not clear that consumers would agree with those priorities. But they probably would.  

Meanwhile, the most effective content formats are blog posts (35.08%), articles (29.33%) and white papers (19.47%).

Overall, 53.13% use personas to represent their end users’ goals, needs and interests, with 65.47% relying on customer personas. 

What are the biggest challenges when managing customer data?

  • Telling the right story with the data — 21.46%
  • Managing data across platforms for a single view — 13.70%

And what do companies need when attempting a digital transformation?

  • Technologies that support business solutions — 67.32%
  • System security —64.94%
  • Easy-to-use technologies — 61.90% Search Marketing Daily