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5 Reasons Marketing Leaders Are Excited About the Emarsys Summer Release 2020

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year for marketers is an understatement. Social distancing, store closures, and receding economies — all due to COVID-19 — likely put a huge dent in the planned marketing efforts and growth strategies that your company had in place.

Fortunately, we’ve passed the difficult peak of COVID-19. Now, your business can begin the recovery process.

During this time, your job as a marketer will be to draw from the lessons learned and insights gleaned over the past several months to ensure your brand is more resilient and better poised to accelerate business outcomes in the next phase of retail.

Here are 5 features from the Emarsys Summer Release 2020 that we know marketers will be excited about, especially as they aim to deliver business results for their brand post-lockdown (and beyond).

Feature #1 — Retail Tactics

Retail was hit especially hard during COVID-19. If you were one of the many retail brands impacted by coronavirus-related store closures, you may be under pressure to help recover lost in-store revenue.

But retail is a unique, dynamic vertical, one that in today’s world requires omnichannel marketing. So if you’re a retail brand looking to recover post-pandemic, shouldn’t you be using retail-specific strategies and tactics to help you accelerate your omnichannel efforts and create better business outcomes?

The new release comes with strategies and tactics designed specifically for retail, using offline data, and crowdsourced and proven by industry-leading retail brands.

 

first-time to repeat online automation chart

Use a retail-specific tactic like First-Time Store Buyer to Repeat Online to encourage customers who purchased in-store to make their first online purchase.

 

For example, online-to-offline tactics help you drive customers from researching products on your website into your stores to complete a purchase (which is imperative if you’ve seen a rapid increase in your base of online shoppers during COVID-19). Tactics like First-Time Store Buyer to Repeat Online continue the conversation with your customer even after they leave your store, increasing omnichannel engagement.

Why are marketers from leading brands so excited about the Emarsys Summer 2020 Release?

Feature #2 — Interactions

What’s the difference between a brand that builds genuine relationships with customers and a brand that simply sells to customers? Personalization.

You’re probably already using personalization in your marketing efforts to some degree. But sometimes, simply sending a personalized, weekly email — no matter how highly personalized it might be — isn’t enough to make your customer feel truly appreciated. During the time between a customer’s action and your response, your personalized message might arrive too late, or after the customer has already shopped elsewhere. In that case, your personalized message becomes impersonal.

That’s why marketers will be particularly excited about the Interactions feature included in our new release. This feature allows you to follow your customer’s every web page visit or mobile app activity and immediately provide the best personalized response, based on their actions.

Driven by customer behavior, you can trigger real-time responses like:

  • Delivery updates of a customer’s item
  • Follow up on an abandoned cart
  • Information about a premium subscription service

These messages will help shape your customer’s journey with your brand, and allow you to deliver the 1:1 personalization that your customers deserve.

Interactions feature image

With Interactions, you can provide immediate personalized responses to customer behaviors at scale across different channels.

Feature #3 — Silent Push Messages

The world can be a hectic place at times (thus far, 2020 has proved this). Your customers have a lot going on in their lives, and although you need to stay in touch with them, you must be respectful and non-intrusive.

This is especially true with your mobile communication efforts. A customer’s mobile device is one of their most personal possessions. Customers will be especially sensitive to mobile communications that feel overly intrusive or annoying.

One of the exciting features in the new release is the Silent Push Messages feature. This lets you send background notifications to customers through your app without disturbing them. That way, you deliver the information they need without coming across as… pushy.

Silent Push Messaging image

Keep your customers informed and happy — use Silent Push Messages to deliver messages to customers without disturbing them.

Feature #4 — Revenue Analytics

In a time when businesses must operate with tighter budgets, it’s important to prove marketing’s value and efficacy by tying it to revenue.

One reason marketers are excited about the Emarsys Summer Release 2020 is because it gives them better visibility of their impact on revenue. The Revenue Analytics page in the new release lets you quickly identify how your marketing efforts contribute to overall business results.

 

revenue impact image

The ability to see Total Revenue, Total Attributable Revenue, and Revenue Impact from within your customer engagement platform gives you better visibility of marketing’s impact on revenue.

 

Your budget or bandwidth may not allow you to run every marketing campaign you desire. When lean operation is required, you’ll need to quickly decide which of your campaigns are generating positive business results. Revenue Analytics gives you a glimpse at which programs and campaigns, specifically, are actually bringing in revenue for your brand, and which should probably be nixed or retooled.

 

top performing campaign based on revenue

Revenue Analytics shows you which programs and campaigns are bringing in the most revenue.

Did you know there are 26+ new features in the Emarsys Summer 2020 Release designed to help your brand accelerate business outcomes?

Feature #5 — Customizable Home Page

Technology allows you to create, execute, and track your marketing efforts more efficiently and more quickly. But you need to be able to interface with your technology easily and intuitively so that you can maximize your time and deliver better business results… fast.

That’s why marketers are especially excited about the Customizable Home Page feature in the new release. This degree of customization in the platform will enable you to organize your home page by vertical (if your business operates in more than one), and add shortcuts for your most-used widgets or other business-critical widgets like Results or Database Growth.

Putting the right tools and information front and center in your workflow lets you work smarter and accelerate your marketing execution. This is even more crucial post-lockdown, where you’ll need to be completely agile and efficient with your marketing to drive customer growth and revenue.

Customizable Home Page allows you to put the right information front and center in the place you do your most important marketing work — your customer engagement platform.

 

What Else?

2020 will be a memorable year. Notably, the challenges presented by COVID-19 have already pushed marketers to think in new and innovative ways. No doubt you’ve already experienced this as you work to accelerate business results for your brand.

But we know that marketers will always have challenges to face — it doesn’t stop with 2020. And as we’ve written about before, we strive to make your life as a marketer easier. In fact, that was the goal we had in mind when we developed the 26+ new features included in the Emarsys Summer Release 2020.

We’ve only discussed a few of the new features in this post. To find out more about all the new features designed to help marketers like you accelerate business outcomes for your brand, click here.

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Summer release featured image

Emarsys Summer Release 2020 Helps Marketers Accelerate Time to Value

At Emarsys, we know how valuable every marketer’s contribution is. That’s why we gathered industry-specific knowledge over the last two decades to define strategies and tactics that work – and work quickly.

Now more than ever, businesses must be agile and rapidly adapt to changing trends. But that can be impossible if you don’t have the right technology and the right partners to bring together data, marketing, and… well, people. That’s where we can help. 

Accelerate Business Outcomes with Emarsys Summer Release 2020

It is with great excitement that we share our Summer Release 2020 today, the culmination of a lot of hard, strategic work that improves your customer engagement, accelerates your time to value, and generates results quickly.

Among the many new features that add measurable value, revenue impact and attribution are at the top. You can track performance in real time, optimize your automation strategically, and see exactly which programs and channels are driving profitable growth. 

Our release features require no additional IT support and allow you to track revenue impact throughout the entire platform. Let’s take a look at what you can do now using a unified CDP to scale automation and track revenue growth.

Marketers Doing More with Less

Brands and their marketing teams operate in a world that has irrevocably changed. Even before the pandemic began, marketers were arguing for consolidated technology, actionable data, and analytics to do their jobs well. 

Marketing Beyond Business As Usual

In many cases today, marketers are asked to do more than BAU. We’ve seen successful brands make an agile shift to digital, the lifeline that’s currently driving the most revenue and engaging customers. This means monitoring trends and executing on insights to engage new customers and retain existing ones in real time with personalized and contextual experiences across all channels. The brands who have already made the shift will come out stronger and better aligned for desired outcomes.

But what about the marketers who are struggling to keep pace?

Connecting Marketers with a Vast Knowledge Base

The biggest challenge right now is to feel connected and know for sure what the best was to engage customers is. The Emarsys platform helps greatly there. Proven industry-specific use cases are already inside the platform, and this knowledge layer helps marketers answer two difficult questions: Which strategy or tactic should you use to meet an objective like revenue or customer growth? And how should you execute the strategy? 

People lie at the heart of every business. Your teams are stronger when they are connected to industry-specific knowledge that’s been crowdsourced from their community. They are more successful when they’re empowered with marketer-friendly technology and supported by a partner that is passionate about working together toward a common, critical goal: to accelerate business outcomes and drive revenue.

F.E.A.R. can stand for two opposing mindsets: Forget Everything And Run vs. Face Everything And Rise. The Emarsys customer engagement platform was built to make the latter possible.

Accelerate Time to Value with a Fully Integrated CDP

Over the last few years, the Customer Data Platform has become the ideal model for any business that needs to store a lot of data. A unified CDP sits at the center of the Emarsys customer engagement platform and solves the data silo problem by being accessible across the platform by all your team members.

When you adopt a CDP, all your data is stored centrally to fuel personalization across all channels. In the Summer Release 2020, we’ve updated the personalization engine to make it even easier for you to build a complete customer profile out of your first-party data and launch targeted campaigns faster.

One hot new feature is Interactions, which gives marketers the unparalleled ability to use and process contextual data in real time. This allows you to truly be able to react to consumer actions online and optimize your automations, target customers in the moment with real-time decisions and content all served in seconds, and elevate the way interactions and experiences are personalized across key channels. 

“Emarsys Interactions offers Tipico a platform that matches the customer-centric nature of our sports betting business. Being able to use real-time event data in combination with historical data points to calibrate our decision making in customer journeys is of great benefit to us. This allows the operational teams to react quickly to results and to set up A/B tests with ease. At the end of the day it brings us a big step closer to target our customers at the right time and on the right channel in a highly segmented approach.”
Thomas Allendoerfer
Product Manager, Tipico

Everything you want to do as a marketer relies on the quality of data, and you are more likely to succeed when all your customer and product data are united in one platform. Having a real-time view of customers allows you to deliver true 1:1 personalized omnichannel experiences… and faster than you might have thought possible.

Did you know the Emarsys Summer Release 2020 has 26+ new features designed to help brands like yours drive revenue and growth?

Proven Omnichannel Automation Strategies and Use Cases

We all know how hard it is to shift to digital without machine learning and automation. A true omnichannel platform is the fastest way for a brand to grow quickly, and automation lets you scale in a cost-effective way, with a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Instead of making the wrong guesses on what would engage the widest sub-segment, you can use AI to determine the best option for each individual customer. With measurable KPIs and predictive segments reporting, you can see the impact AI has on your campaigns at a glance.

In the Summer Release 2020, the user interface has been redesigned to be more intuitive, but what’s more, is that our platform comes with knowledge already inside the platform made up of two decades of e-commerce and retail use cases that brands have leveraged to grow. 

We’ve also added customer loyalty strategies and use cases, and with the built-in crowdsourced knowledge, it is now easier for you to quickly seize new opportunities as they arise and take effective action. 

“Tactics allow us to get tested and proven automations up and running very quickly. After deciding on a goal and a customer incentive, the only thing left to do is for our designer to create a few graphics, and we can go live.”
Roumen Staykov
Founder/CEO, Slashsport

Creating Loyalty Experiences

A happy and engaged fan base is the goal of every brand, and now based on relevant use cases, Emarsys Loyalty makes it easier for marketers to engage the customers who buy the most and strengthen maximum customer lifetime value. With proven loyalty strategies built into the platform — like Member Acquisition, Increase Premium Customer Revenue, and Drive Purchase Frequency —  brands execute and deliver an exceptional omnichannel experience faster than ever before. 

And you don’t need to do a bunch of research to find the right use case. Emarsys Loyalty is ready to use once implementation is complete and will help you accelerate your time to market.

SMS and CRM Ads

The Emarsys customer engagement platform has been built to be channel-agnostic, but we have also improved channel-specific features. 

Now you can track SMS links and make your SMS campaigns interactive and measurable. You can also leverage shortened URLs to personalize the customer journey all the way through to conversion, without increasing the cost for each SMS campaign.

CRM Ads allows you to optimize acquisition budgets and increase lead to first-time buyer conversion by creating profitable audiences based on product affinity and lifecycle or predictive segments.

But the big improvement in CRM Ads is the new Google Lead Ads feature, which allows you to capture leads from paid ads without having to export CSV files and manually import them into the Emarsys platform. Now data capture is automated, allowing you to instantly see lifecycle segments. You can also build lookalike audiences and tap into the leads closest to your high-value customers. 

Mobile

Emarsys has added more sophisticated features to the Mobile channel, giving marketers more accuracy in targeting the right customer and more freedom in crafting the right customer experience within mobile apps and other rich media, 

Actionable messages can positively impact revenue for customers who prefer mobile shopping. Besides new Silent push and Contact Preview features, you can now combine push messages with Action buttons. This simplifies the customer journey and increases click-through rates.

Revenue Attribution Brings Marketing Execution and Growth Strategies Together

Attribution of sales in omnichannel automations is often the missing link between performance reporting and strategic business reporting. But what if you could do this without complicated, manual reports?

The Summer Release 2020 delivers one of our most powerful features: Revenue Impact makes tracking revenue clear and measurable. You can see which campaigns are growing your revenue, the growth rate of your contributions, and how your marketing team can improve the impact ratio over time. This kind of certainty fuels optimization and is the quickest way to know for sure where you should invest your marketing budget.

Revenue Attribution has been improved as well to cover omnichannel online and offline revenue. This feature goes beyond what you’ll see in Google Analytics and provides online and offline revenue impact through Emarsys channels.  

And as our customers know, the Emarsys platform allows you to see results within days, not weeks, of launching a campaign, improving your ability to drive profitability by seeing which channel or campaign is delivering the results your brand wants.

Marketers can track revenue in the Revenue Analytics dashboard. Here you’ll see revenue and the number of purchases for each of your automations. You can also leverage the Revenue Attribution Digest Email that summarizes which campaigns brought in revenue and delivers a report straight to your inbox.

“The [Revenue Attribution Digest] email is nice to keep executives informed — I think you are on the right track.”
Brandon Maskell
Manager Digital Optimization, TaylorMade Golf

Discover how the Emarsys Summer 2020 Release can help your brand accelerate business outcomes through revenue attribution.

Final Thoughts

Emarsys remains dedicated to solving the challenges today’s marketers face. Manual segmentation was never going to scale, leaving automation as the best alternative. But not all automation platforms are created equal. Our customer engagement platform brings together marketers, Emarsys developers, and over 2,000 brands and their first-party data.

With budgets being tightened, revenue impact and attribution also gives you a tremendous tool in deciding where you should spend your marketing dollars – and because you’re tracking everything at a glance, you have the power to make changes and monitor revenue growth in real time.

We’re all in this together, and by relying on consolidated technology and each other’s expertise, we are equipping you with the tools to strengthen your business today and for the months and years to come.

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White face mask with a map of the world is lying on a blue background.

COVID-19 Commerce for the Week of May 4, 2020

This week several countries have begun to relax COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in a drop in online purchasing for both pure players and retailers. With stores open, many consumers would rather shop the way they used to before the pandemic. But there is an underlying factor: the economic fallout has left many without jobs, and some consumers simply can’t afford to purchase anything beyond staples.

Here are some of the top e-commerce trends we’ve spotted over the past seven days.

Chopping Boards and Tripods Among the Fastest-Growing Product Sales in the Last Three Weeks

For some odd reason, the products showing the fastest growth in online sales over the past three weeks include chopping boards, tripods, and laundry baskets. The top-five list, which compares sales in the last three weeks with sales in the three weeks prior, are:

  1. Chopping boards (+75%)
  2. Food processors (+61%)
  3. Barbecues (+51%)
  4. Tripods (+51%)
  5. Laundry baskets (+49%)

The top three are understandable as they all relate to one category — food — but the others are a little harder to explain. Perhaps the lockdown is driving the demand for tripods for those making TikTok videos?

Conversely, the products showing the sharpest decline in consumer interest over the past three weeks include yoga mats (-74%), weights (-71%), treadmills (-64%), and exercise bikes (-62%) as the health market returns to normal after the initial lockdown spike.

Is Physical Retail Recovering in Countries Lifting Lockdown Restrictions?

As European countries re-open shops after lockdowns, are consumers exchanging online shopping for the high street once more?

Since Germany began to open shops again on the 20th of April, online sales revenue growth has decreased from 67% (in the week leading up to April 19) to 46% (in the week leading up to May 3rd) compared with the same time last year.

Italy has also seen a large decrease in online retail sales as people return to physical stores. At the time of shops reopening on the 20th of April, Italian online retail growth decreased from 159% to 105% year over year.

Spain began to re-open shops on May the 4th, and it remains to be seen whether online growth will shrink from the current 15% during the week leading up to May 3. And in the UK, where restrictions remain, online sales growth continues to rise — increasing from 99% to 128% between April 19 and May 3.

Pure E-Commerce Revenue Continues to Climb in the US Across All Categories

In the US, almost every vertical exceeded last year’s online revenue numbers as the country enters its seventh week in lockdown.

These trends are showing no sign of slowing down, either. Pure e-commerce brands look like they’re going to continue to see an uplift in sales and revenue online, simply based on the fact that consumers are growing accustomed to the ease of shopping online and pick-up-in-store options.

These no-contact shopping options are convenient in our time of lockdown, and Digital Commerce 360 is saying that the pandemic has accelerated the shift of in-store to online shopping. The big question is whether or not consumers will stick to these modes of buying as their primary way of shopping, even once lockdown restrictions are raised.

Data Insights for the Week

The Americas

In the US, the online spending spree of the last six weeks is winding down, dramatically in some industries. The growth’s been a surprise to some, but the reality of just how deep the economic impact will be is setting in — nearly a quarter of the American working population is unemployed. Millions of consumers have started tightening their belts over the last week. And this is happening even as some countries allow business to partially reopen.

Order Increase Leaders at a Glance

Europe

Omnichannel retailers in the UK are devoting a lot to e-commerce, and one of the trends of the last week was that certain industries like food and beverages, home gym equipment, home office equipment, and pets are seeing a ton of new customers. People who traditionally stopped by the pet store on the way home for food are now ordering online and having a whole new experience.

With businesses being allowed to reopen in Germany, two things happened this week.

As we’ve seen in other regions, online revenue and orders plummeted 50% throughout the DACH region.

The second thing will bear more watching: Consumers went shopping in-store and waited in long checkout lines with little regard for social distancing. This conflict will play out around the world. Do we open for business? Or do we continue to limit the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic?

Order Increase Leaders at a Glance

Asia Pacific

With e-commerce sales spiking, Australian retailers are rethinking their physical store model. Some brands will undoubtedly close stores, some may go bankrupt (Neiman Marcus in the US), but with the shift to digital bringing in revenue increases, many retailers will reevaluate stores as a channel. Ideally, a smaller number of brick-and-mortars complimented by a strong online presence would allow brands to focus more on how their customers like to shop.

Top Product Trends of the Week

Key Product Trend Insights: Weights are down this week, but other athletic wear and equipment are still being purchased (Swiss Ball is a top performer again this week with a +5,443% uplift). Beauty accessories are the fastest growers this past week.

Growth Rate of Online Transactions

E-commerce is growing the most in Europe, followed by the Americas, with APAC having markedly lower growth rates than the rest of the world this week.

Overall for pure players, orders are taking a bit of a dip this week, which may be due to some nations relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. Retail e-commerce is still doing quite well, especially in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Following are the growth trends we saw this week, but you can explore Regional and Countriestrends in more depth.

Trends by Region

Pure e-commerce: APAC pureplay is steadily rising (nearly 50% revenue growth this week), while revenue for most of the rest of the world either fell or flattened out.

Retail online: Here too, APAC has been on the upswing and caught up to North America, where revenue has begun to drop a bit, though retailers are still seeing 100% growth over the previous year.

Trends by Country

Pure e-commerce: Chile is crushing it and doubling its growth rate. Next closest is Canada with just under 150% revenue growth, then Mexico (124% revenue growth), with the United States falling to 88% revenue growth. Overall, Canada, the US, and Mexico are on a downward turn this week.

Ireland’s pureplay is up over 200%, with Belarus and the United Kingdom on an upward swing.

Australia (130%) and Thailand (46%) are both on an upward arc. New Zealand, which has been very strong over the last few weeks flattened out and fell this week (106%).

Retail online: Mexico and Canada are at the top with over 200% growth, while the United States ended the week back down at a flat 100% (still though, 100% growth YoY isn’t so bad).

Retailers in Turkey are seeing a huge amount of online activity, resulting in well over 200% revenue growth YoY. By comparison, the United Kingdom and Ireland ended the week over 125% growth, and Germany continues to be flat with just under 50% growth.

As for Asia Pacific, New Zealand finished the week up over 200% in revenue growth. Indonesia was just behind New Zealand, dipping to 175%. Another bright spot is Thailand shooting up from just under 100% to 178% in the last week.

More to Come…

Check our blog next week to see the latest e-commerce trends from ccinsight. Or, if you work for a company that has access to data that would improve and expand ccinsight, we’d love to talk to you and get you involved. Never before has open collaboration been more important.

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Son and father with surgical masks packing groceries from supermarket in car trunk at parking lot

COVID-19 Commerce for the Week of April 27, 2020

As countries around the world remain in lockdown or consider easing COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to see a big shift to e-commerce, in part because consumers have been shopping from home more and more since mid-March.

Here are some of the top e-commerce trends we’ve spotted this week.

Nearly Half of Worldwide Online Sales for Brands Are from “New Customers”

A huge 43% of sales over the past month were made by first-time buyers, while the remainder of sales were made up of second-time buyers (5%), active repeat customers (23%), defecting customers (14%), and inactive customers (8%).

The data shows that it’s more important than ever to be able to quickly distinguish new customers from loyal ones, so you can target them with campaigns in the right way and do so quickly. Artificial intelligence can be a huge asset here because it can analyze your entire customer base quickly to determine who’s new and who’s loyal. Then, you can set up separate automated digital campaigns for each type of customer.

Video-Conferencing Is Driving Demand for Beauty Products

Many of us are working from home these days, and we still need to look good for all those Zoom meetings. This demand is driving considerable sales of beauty products across the world. Many products over the past month have seen triple-digit growth online compared with the same time last year. Online sales of lipstick are up 287%, as are sales for mascara (+275%), eyelash extensions (+195%), make-up brushes (+188%), and nail polish (+128%).

We can, perhaps, put some of this demand down to the “lipstick effect,” where in times of hardship and crisis, consumers purchase low-value luxury items to help them get through the situation — and the only way they can buy at the moment is online — but there are also brands (Adore Beauty and MECCA) who have done well with higher price beauty items especially when they’re able to provide the in-person beauty experience online.

American Fashion Retailers Are Seeing a Boost in Revenue

As the US slowly starts reopening non-essential businesses, there seems to be a correlation between announced re-openings and an uptick in revenue for fashion and accessories retailers.

Could there also be a link between this increased revenue and masks? According to a recent article in The New York Times, experts are estimating that we may be required to wear masks in public places for up to a year. With many fashion brands pivoting their manufacturing to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), there is significant press and marketing surrounding these efforts — Forbes and Today are just a few examples.

But masks alone do not equal revenue. The feeling of safety, social responsibility with “buy one/give one” initiatives, and empathy radiating from the retailers who have embraced this new normal are the main factors driving engagement and customer loyalty.

Australians Are Getting Used to Online Shopping

Compared to the rest of the world, Australians haven’t taken as much to online shopping, but the lockdown is set to permanently reshape consumer behavior within the country. According to Matt Wade of the Sydney Morning Herald: “This crisis has forced many people to get a login, open an account and work out how things work. And I don’t think they’ll ever go back.”

As a sign of the rapid shift to digital, e-commerce sales in Australia have greatly increased since the start of the pandemic, although overall consumer spending is down.

Data Insights (Week of April 27, 2020)

The Americas

North, Central, and South America continue to see YoY growth in e-commerce sales. US fashion retailers report online revenue is up 88% YoY, and online orders are up 105% over the previous year. Even better, pure-play brands in Mexico are seeing orders up 200%.

This week we’ve heard that the US is planning to reopen businesses slowly, and as a result, fashion and accessories retailers are seeing an online revenue lift of +84% YoY.

Revenue Growth Leaders at a Glance

Europe

Austria was one of the earliest countries to go on lockdown. As a result, the Austrian shift to e-commerce has delivered incredible growth (+159% in mid-April), even beating out Germany.

Now with some businesses reopening in Austria, the trend is that e-commerce will take a dip at first — all the more reason to onboard new customers now and plan a long-term retention strategy. The bigger issue will be how Austrian e-commerce performs after stores are open again.

Revenue Growth Leaders at a Glance

Asia Pacific

Australian fashion and accessories retailers who have shifted sales online have seen over 70% increases in revenue YoY.

With e-commerce sales in New Zealand up 115% YoY — they were as high as 189% in mid-April — it will be interesting to see what happens in the wake of the government lifting COVID-19 restrictions this week.

Revenue Growth Leaders at a Glance

Top Product Trends

Key Product Trend Insights: Appliances are the top-selling products, with washing machines up 18X YoY and dishwashers (even though they’re slowing down this week) up 35X YoY. Athletic wear and equipment are also popular at the moment, with Swiss Ball seeing over 87X growth YoY this week. Meal prep and home improvement purchases are growing, too.

Growth Trends in Online Transactions

In the US, UK, Mexico, Australia, and parts of Europe, growth (in revenue and the number of orders) is good for brands who have shifted the most seamlessly to e-commerce-only. Of note, China’s economy is still making it hard for brands to grow revenue, perhaps due to the difficulties in reopening businesses.

Following are the growth trends we see this week, but you can explore Regional and Countries trends in more depth.

Trends by Region

Pure e-commerce: North American e-tailers are outperforming Europe and APAC in both revenue and orders.

Retail online: North American retailers have been the most successful in shifting to digital, and have the highest revenue in the last week, but orders in Europe are not far behind the U.S.

Trends by Country

Pure e-commerce: The United States and Australia have seen a downturn in revenue over the last few days, though US pure-play orders have stayed high throughout the month.

Retail online: The United States has remained strong in terms of revenue, but Australia recently beat out everyone else. Also of note, UK online retail has ended April above both the US and Australia in revenue.

How Brands Are Adapting This Week

Prior to the pandemic, it was predicted that 80% of US sales would still happen in a store. Now with the shift to digital, consumers of all ages are shifting to e-com.

The shift to digital is going to have long-lasting effects for retailers, in some cases permanently altering the way they do business. However, the brands who have adapted a digital-first strategy the fastest are seeing big boosts in food (Sur La Table) and grocery, household essentials (A.S. Watson), and beauty products (Adore Beauty and MECCA). Success here depends on either offering a convenient service or product not available before, OR delivering an engaging customer experience through digital channels.

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ccinsight

ccinsight: Monitoring the Daily Impact of COVID-19 on Online Consumer Spending by Region and Sector

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 is changing the world in front of our very eyes. No one could’ve predicted how big an impact this was going to have on our lives.

The pandemic has already resulted in huge unemployment and stock market fluctuations affecting savings and share prices, with businesses finding it difficult to trade and operate in just a matter of weeks.

With nearly a quarter of the world’s population now on some kind of lockdown, consumer spending behavior has already changed. Offline sales have decreased because of non-essential shop shutdowns — and economists, governments, and business owners are rightly worried about the effect the pandemic is having on overall consumer confidence.

And there is nothing worse for consumer confidence than fear and uncertainty. Fear and uncertainty can often be self-perpetuating — especially when there’s no real information outlining the truth.

At Emarsys, we want to help our customers, partners, and the business community during these challenging times and provide accurate, up-to-date, and detailed information on consumer spending to help navigate the economic impact of this pandemic. So, in partnership with GoodData, we’re launching ccinsight today. 

ccinsight — A Daily COVID-19 Insights Tracker for E-Commerce

Many organizations and universities have launched platforms that help people track the medical aspect of the virus, but very few have launched useful trackers monitoring the economic impact.

ccinsight is the first tool of its kind that gives economists, policy makers, and businesses an insight into how COVID-19 is affecting consumer spending on a daily basis in different industry sectors and geographical locations across the world.

E-commerce is a useful indicator of overall economic performance, and so ccinsight paints a picture of consumer purchasing behavior through Emarsys’ analysis of aggregated and anonymous e-commerce revenue, number of orders by customers, average order values, types of items purchased, and more. You can compare trends and snapshots of behavior with “normal” activity from before COVID-19 and compare how online sales are changing on a daily basis.

A few other companies have launched similar tools over the past few days. All of them are obviously designed to shed light on the ever-changing situation, so ours is purposefully different:

  • It’s always up to date: The situation is changing so quickly that anything that gives you data from even a week ago is already out of date. Ours updates using daily data so you can understand what the situation is now.
  • We focus on accuracy: ccinsight draws on anonymous data from more than a billion engagements and 400 million transactions across 120 countries to ensure that the information you’re getting is solid.
  • It’s interactive and easy to use: We want to ensure that you get the most relevant information as quickly as possible — and so have made the tool interactive and intuitive (rather than simply displaying charts and graphs on a static landing page).

The site goes further than just data. It’s also a crowdsourcing community hub, and we’re encouraging all users — whether you’re an economist, government worker, business owner, or digital marketer — to publish your own advice and insights to help others.

Making Decisions Based on Certain Data in Uncertain Times

Together, the world will beat this crisis. It’ll be tough, but we will come out the other side. What’s key now, though, is the action we all take. Economic, governmental, and business decisions have always been stronger when they’re based on data, and now we need data more than ever to navigate tough times and to make the toughest of decisions.

We understand how important getting the right information to the right person is. Therefore, if you work for a company that has access to data that would improve and expand this tool, we’d love to talk to you to get you involved. Never before has open collaboration been more important.

To learn out more about ccinsight, or to work directly with the project, please contact us at: community@ccinsight.org

Coronavirus

How Emarsys Can Support You in This Time of Turmoil

For many of us, this is a time of unprecedented turmoil, and while we may worry about things beyond our control, I want to assure you that Emarsys is ready to help you manage the things you and your business can control.

Emarsys is proud to be a core partner for thousands of brands around the world. We know that you rely on us for many of your key customer communication channels and that maintaining your ability to stay in touch with your customers is of the utmost importance during a time of uncertainty. Rest assured that we remain just as focused on your success today, and will throughout this period of turmoil, as we have at any other time. Your trust in us remains our greatest privilege.

No Down Time

The careful thought and effort we’ve invested over the years into building a resilient infrastructure for our customers puts us in a strong position to meet your needs today.

With multiple data centers in various regions around the world, we have the best cloud-based systems and ample redundancy to ensure our platform is available for you 24/7. And our experienced staff are here for you no matter the time of day or the region of your operations. 

On-Going Support

To ensure the safety of our employees and our customers, and to prevent any disruption to our people-powered services, all Emarsys employees have been equipped with secure laptops and trained for working remotely from home. While travel and in-person meetings have been reduced to a minimum, our staff is ready to stay in touch with clients via video and teleconferencing. In medium- and high-risk locations, we are actively encouraging employees to work remotely. Emarsys offices are also regularly treated with additional disinfection substances. Our employees have been advised to take protective hygiene measures and disinfectant hand wash gels have been distributed.

Business Continuity

While this is certainly not a business-as-usual environment, we understand that our clients need to focus on maintaining stability in their businesses and that frequent, personalized communication with their customers continues to be a core requirement.

As always, it is our privilege to enable our clients to meet the needs of their businesses and their customers. Our team and our platform are prepared to respond to your requirements for agility and creativity in a challenging environment.

How Emarsys Leadership Is Taking Action

We are continuously monitoring the situation and have prepared alternative processes for all critical activities (from system operations to support and critical administrative processes). Our leadership team is holding weekly meetings to ensure we remain agile and prevent any disruptions to your business. We will continue to share updates as the situation evolves.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns during this period we encourage you to contact us directly. We’re here 24/7 and ready to help our clients to keep serving their customers. We thank you for your continued trust in Emarsys.

You can contact us at any time via Zendesk, phone or email: https://help.archive.emarsys.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003325469-Help-and-Support-at-Emarsys.

Our full Business Continuity Summary for COVID-19 is available upon request. Please contact your client success manager.

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources:

ema_blog_b2c_5_1920x1000px-13

The New Age of Travel: Challenging the Status Quo [Infographic]

With year-over-year growth of 5% in 2016, the travel industry has a huge opportunity to capitalize on the increase in “experience spending” among travelers.

twitterY-O-Y growth in #travel is approximately 5% — capitalize on the new age of travel [Infographic] ✈️   CLICK TO TWEET

With 70% of millennials opting to spend money on memorable experiences rather than tangible items, and 43% of business travelers expanding their trips to include time for leisure, the opportunity to win new, loyal customers is great.

But with new opportunities come new expectations. Customers continue to expect a more personalized experience from all marketers, and the travel industry is no exception. This infographic elaborates on how to take control of and personalize the entire travel journey.

travel infographic

If you can find a way to harness the increasing amounts of customer data available, you can use it to show your customers that you understand their intentions, interests, and expectations for travel.

This insight – and, more importantly, what you do with it – can transform your customers’ travel experiences from what they’ve come to expect as the status quo to a pleasantly surprising and extraordinary memory.

Related Articles:

► Get 4 Opportunities for Marketers to Revolutionize the Travel Experience to learn actionable tactics you can implement now to challenge the status quo in your travel marketing strategy.

omnichannel

How Long Is Too Long to See Value in Marketing Tech?

There is a reason why marketers get nervous when choosing a new tech solution. Sure, they’re worried about implementation and integration, and they want it to be over as fast and as painlessly as possible. But with most marketing clouds out there, it’s not painless and it’s rarely fast.

Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, and IBM are the biggest players out there, and though marketers often feel herded toward these chosen few — as if they are the only sources of innovation — they often don’t question the “value” part, as if it’s the cost of doing business to go with one of the big cloud names.

What you don’t hear people talking about is just how difficult implementing these clouds can be, especially when you’re not only integrating all your disparate touchpoints but you’re buying an entirely new suite of features and capabilities. The more features you have available, the longer it will take your team to learn them all, and, hence, the longer your time to value will be.

Time-to-Value Averages

Let’s say you’re looking at buying a platform with basic functionality. In theory, it could take a few weeks to turn it on, but if there is any work your developers have to do, those weeks will quickly become months. In those cases, a handful of features could take three to six months just to get running. Add in advanced features beyond a basic package, and you could spend a year or two integrating the platform with all of your data points before you can truly begin launching automations.

Here’s a typical timeline to value for plain marketing tech:

  • Planning to acquire tech = 1-2 months
  • Implementing and configuring new tech = 1-3 months
  • Training, data entry, automation, analytics, content publishing, etc. = 3-6 months

Each piece of tech has a time to value. How long will it be from the moment you purchase the new tech until you’re able to use it to connect with customers, make some sales, and see growth results?When you add it all up, the best-case scenario with basic features has a time to value of 5 to 11 months. If you go beyond basics, time to value can take up to two or three years.

While the best brands see around 36% revenue growth and 31% profit growth (as shown below), the average is 27% and 25%, respectively, which is still hefty growth that any brand would want to achieve.

Revenue and profit

WHY WAIT 90 DAYS WHEN YOU CAN LAUNCH EFFECTIVE MARKETING PROGRAMS IN 1 DAY?

Types of Time to Value

Time to basic value is the bare minimum of time it takes for tech to bring in new revenue or profit, and as mentioned above, the absolutely fastest TTV could occur within 5 months of planning. However, many brands buy more than the basic package, and each additional set of features adds months to the TTV.

Here are a few other kinds of TTV to think about:

  • Time to Basic Value: How long it takes to see any kind of value from the newly implemented tech. Even though it may still be awhile until you see more results on a bigger scale, this TTV stage is important to keep things moving forward smoothly.
  • Immediate Time to Value: This is the fastest TTV possible and like Time to Basic Value, it sends a critical message to everyone involved, that the tech is already delivering results. As technology continues to evolve, we will see more platforms who can offer immediate activation of the tech post-implementation.
  • Time to Exceeded Value: This is just as important as the Immediate Time to Value, because when you exceed the expectations of integrating software, you make an incredible impression on your team and the C-suite, which translates into more efficient workflows and future rollouts.
  • Long Time to Value: “Long” here is relative. Depending on the technology, a long TTV could be six months or two to three years. The salient thing to remember here is that most marketing platforms have a Long Time to Value. You’ll want tech with a much shorter TTV.

The Risks of Lengthy TTVs

If you take too long to get your innovative new product up and running, you miss out on revenue growth, but it depends on how you look at it. A Sopheon study found that 79% of new products do not launch on time. That means over three-fourths of companies are late to market with innovations, which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

According to an IBMSystem study, 25% of technology initiatives completely fail. 20-25% also fail to show any ROI. The same study also shows that as much as half of all tech projects have to be significantly modified after they’re implemented, which only increases your TTV.

A McKinsey survey also shows that 71% of major tech projects go over budget before TTV is reached, and the greater that amount is, the harder it is to ever reach TTV.

The quicker you get your TTV completed, the more sales, revenue, and profit you’ll see, and what’s perhaps most important is that you can beat your competitors (or at least three-fourths of them) if you streamline your post-implementation process. If you take too long, your competitors can get their foot in the door and win your customers away from you.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the entire success of a company (especially SMBs) may ride on how fast the tech works. If your TTV is too lengthy, how likely is it that the client will renew their contract? Every single day counts because it could be the difference between weeks and years or between revenue growth and lost opportunities.

READY TO GET VALUE OUT OF YOUR TECH IN DAYS, NOT MONTHS?

Best Ways to Cut Down on TTV

While there are many things about tech integration that you have no control over, there are other areas in the post-implementation period where you can reduce your TTV.

Identify What You Want Your Platform to Do

What’s the main objective you want your marketing technology to achieve? You have to start at the top and work your way down through the best strategies to achieve that objective. Within each strategy, there will be proven tactics. For overall revenue growth, you’ll want a strategy like increasing Average Order Value (AOV) or increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

Unfortunately, many marketing organizations become hyper-focused on the features and tactics first. It’s only after they’ve been running campaigns for months that they discover the tactics-first method didn’t deliver what they expected. While they may have hit a kind of time to value (in that the tech has enabled them to run campaigns), it’s simply not enough value to have made the whole endeavor worthwhile.

Define the Timeline

A critical part of any plan is the timeline. Implementation can usually be completed in three months on average, but beyond that, you may not know how to measure the length of TTV or what the phases will even be.

That’s why it’s important to at least come up with some milestone markers. What does the process look like a month after implementation? Two months? Three or four? If you’re still trying to determine TTV after five months, then something’s probably wrong. Marketing software and platforms really shouldn’t have to take that long, not with so many technological advancements at our fingertips.

Training

Onboarding is another area where the smoother and more complete the training is, the shorter the tech’s time to value will be. A reputable platform company should have loads of content and tutorials to share with your e-commerce marketing team, and the best ones provide service teams that are a phone call or an email away. Here’s where your ability to educate the team makes a huge impact on proving the new tech was worth the investment.

Embedded Knowledge and Use Cases

At some point, all the promises that have been made about a piece of tech have to be proven true or false. Slide decks and talk aren’t the determining factors. One thing that many CMOs and Marketing Directors see as proof are use cases. They want to know how the tech worked for those brands who invested ahead of them, and today’s newest platforms should include industry-specific case studies already built into the platform, which makes it possible to choose the best strategies quickly and activate campaigns in days, not weeks.

Final Thoughts

Time to value is something that has applied to many businesses for years, especially companies who make specific products, whether that’s mittens or vehicles. In marketing, TTV is less transparent, which is a confusing problem when you have to upgrade or move to a different platform yesterday. However, by taking a long view of acquiring tech, starting with the objectives you want to achieve, and then matching that up with the most suitable tech available, you will start to gauge time in a whole new and more useful way as it relates to tech.

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WANT MORE ON MAKING TIME TO VALUE WORK FOR YOUR MARKETERS?

E,marsys

What Does Benchmarketing Mean?

As marketing leaders, we’re always looking for a way to make a serious impact. An impact on our customers and, ultimately, on our business. The pressures of succeeding in the organization as a marketing leader have also mounted. We’re often fighting an uphill battle when it comes to proving our worth as a marketing organization.

But marketing doesn’t have to be like this.

With all of the tools and data available to us, it’s time for marketers to make a change. To leave behind our old way of doing things — of looking at and reporting on the same metrics over and over again — and start showing our organizations that we should be considered one of the most strategic assets in the business.

How can we do this? Marketers need to shift from focusing only on the channel-specific, operational KPIs we’ve come to know and plaster on every board report and instead emphasize strategic KPIs that actually impact our business.

We can do this by taking a traditional part of marketing one step further. Let’s go from benchmarking to benchmarketing. In this article, we’ll discuss what benchmarketing means, how businesses can use it to their advantage, and different tools that can help us execute against this methodology.

What Is Benchmarketing?

We’ve all heard of benchmarking. It’s an important part of any marketing strategy. Understanding how your business compares to others in your industry can help you not only gauge how your business is doing, but also understand areas of improvement for your own strategy.

But what about Benchmarketing? This is a term you may have heard thrown around in the marketing space. Basically it means benchmark marketing. But the idea behind benchmarketing is to take the benchmark reports we all know and love one step further: We should be using strategic KPIs that go beyond operational and channel-specific metrics and give us a better understanding of how marketing is actually impacting a business.

Why Is Benchmarketing So Important?

Most benchmark reports we come across offer us benchmarks on email (open rates, click-through rates, sends) or social media (number of followers, likes, retweets). But what do these metrics actually tell us about how we’re performing as a business and how our business compares to others? They don’t. They give us a surface-level indication of how our channels are working.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that operational and channel-specific KPIs aren’t important. They are. As I mentioned, they give us a view of how our customers are interacting with our channels. But when it comes to showing the value of our work and understanding how marketing is performing for a business as a whole, they don’t provide enough information.

This is where strategic KPIs come in to play. These metrics can actually give us an indication of how our marketing work can make an impact on our business. For marketers, this is often an incredibly hard (if not impossible) task to do. Most marketers feel like they have trouble connecting their day-to-day work to business results. And unfortunately, the C-suite often notices the lack of connection marketing has to the bottom line.

But by focusing on strategy KPIs that actually align to business goals, you can use benchmark data to influence your marketing strategy and plan out the best strategies for your business.

Examples of Benchmarketing

So I’ve mentioned benchmarketing with strategic KPIs, but what do those KPIs look like? As a business, your company probably has high-level objectives that you’re obligated to meet. For e-commerce businesses, that usually consists of goals like revenue and customer growth.

As a marketer, revenue and customer growth may seem out of reach. But at the end of the day, why are you sending emails, creating website pop-ups, and creating Instagram ads? You’re doing this to generate purchases from your customers, and purchases can grow your customer base and eventually turn into revenue growth. So as a marketer, you’re closer to touching these metrics than you think.

The problem here is that too many marketers look to the channel-specific benchmarks to compare how they are doing to other businesses like them. Instead of focusing on those metrics, compare how your business is doing compared to others with strategic KPIs. This gives you the opportunity to identify what strategies other businesses are using to impact their business goals.

Do you see a strategy that you’re not focused on? Or find that your marketing strategy is too tactic-focused? Use benchmarketing as inspiration to plan out and execute a new and better marketing strategy.

This will also help marketers stop focusing on tactics (like Abandoned cart emails) first. By focusing on strictly tactics, we’re missing the opportunity to connect our work to a greater strategy that can actually impact the high-level objectives we’ve identified above. Instead, marketers should look at strategy KPIs first and then plan out the tactics that best fit into and compliment those strategies.

Let’s look at some of the strategic KPIs that other e-commerce businesses are using to tie their marketing back to revenue and customer growth.

Identify the strategic KPIs most important to your business

Revenue Growth

When it comes to revenue growth, marketers have several strategies that can help impact this incredibly important business goal.

Increase Conversion Rate

When thinking about strategies that can impact revenue growth, Increase conversion rate is one of the best strategies. By focusing in on converting the contacts that are already interacting with your brand, you can increase purchases and, in turn, increase revenue.

Customer Lifetime Value Increase

Another strategy many e-commerce businesses focus on is Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) increase. By focusing on the entire lifecycle of the customer (not just converting them to their first purchase), marketers can make each customer a more valuable asset to their business. When you grow your CLTV, you’re not only growing purchase rate and frequency, but also growing revenue.

Increase Purchase Frequency

Another method for turning up revenue growth is to focus in on purchase frequency. Much like the above strategies, this strategy allows marketers to make each customer more valuable by converting them to purchase more often. If you’re not focused on increasing the frequency that your customers are buying, you’re not effectively impacting revenue growth.

Customer Growth

Moving on to customer growth, marketers should have a huge focus on this metric. After all, as marketers our goal is to attract customers and delight them to the point of purchase. The problem many marketers have is that after we get them to convert, we tend to mishandle the relationship. We’re so focused on customer acquisition that we forget how important customer retention is. But customer retention should be a main focus to continue growing your business.

Let’s dig in to the strategies that other successful e-commerce businesses are using to drive customer growth.

Increase Lead to First-Time Buyer Conversion

In order to focus on retention, you need to have a pool of existing customers. One way to grow your customer base is to increase lead to first-time buyer conversion. By focusing on this strategy, marketers are able to build their pool of customers and begin to set the groundwork for growing a loyal customer base.

Increase First-Time Buyers to Repeat Buyers

As mentioned above, acquisition is only one part of customer growth. Customer retention is a bigger, often times more important, piece of the puzzle because it’s a lot cheaper to retain your customers than to attract new ones. Companies that focus on increasing their repeat buyers are making a bigger impact on the overall success of their company. By mining and turning your existing customers into repeat purchasers, you’re creating a loyal community that can help your business grow.

Retain Active Customers

Again, customer retention is a major focal point for e-commerce businesses. Successful marketing teams know that the key to keeping up in the fiercely competitive e-commerce space is to keep customers happy, engaged, and purchasing. That means that marketers need to understand the buying cycle of each of their customers and work to prevent active customers from falling off.

Just by identifying these strategies as important metrics to benchmark, you’re giving your marketing organization an edge on many businesses in the e-commerce space. As mentioned before, most marketers are looking at operational and channel-specific KPIs to gauge their success in the space. But the reality is, those metrics only give us one piece of the pie. Marketers need to understand how they compare to others more strategically if they want to make a true impact on their business.

Benchmark your way to success with the right KPIs

Benchmarketing in Business: How to Do It

So now that you understand what kinds of KPIs can actually connect marketing results to business, let’s look at how you might do this in your own business.

If your CEO identified customer growth as a main target for your business, as the leader in marketing, you need to identify different strategies that can best impact that objective.

From the section above, you’ve already identified that top e-commerce businesses in your space are focused on growing their customer base by Increasing first-time buyers to repeat buyers. If this isn’t something you’re focused on, or if it’s something you’re underperforming in compared to your competitors, then it’s worth digging deeper into this strategy.

Once you’ve identified a strategy you want to either focus on or improve, now is the time to begin thinking about what the best tactics are to help execute this strategy and make a true impact on your business.

Let’s focus in on Replenishment for this example. This tactic is a great way to convert customers repeatedly on an item that is only good for so long. Whether you sell running shoes or makeup, Replenishment is a great way to keep customers engaged with your brand by offering them the opportunity to repurchase their favorite item right when they’ll be needing another.

If you’re a beauty brand and a customer purchases a certain type of mascara, replenishment messages are a great way to remind a customer that it’s time to grab their next product so they don’t run out. You can use purchasing data from your existing repeat buyers to understand how often customers purchase this product and create a replenishment timeline that can trigger once a customer has reached the point of needing to repurchase.

To simplify, this is what your campaign would break down to look like:

  • Objective: Customer growth
  • Strategy: Increase first-time buyers to repeat buyers
  • Tactic: Replenishment

This is just one example of how you can use benchmarketing in your business to identify and execute against strategic KPIs that will actually impact the high-level objectives of your business.

 

Essential Benchmarketing Tools

Now that we’ve outlined what benchmarketing means and how you can use it in your business, let’s look at a few tools that can help you execute this methodology.

 

Google Analytics

If you’re not already using Google Analytics in your business, it’s time to start. This tool is great for helping you build a picture of the customers and contacts you have engaging with you on a regular basis. It can even help you identify your competitors in the space — a crucial part of benchmarketing. Before you can begin comparing your business to others, you need to understand who your competitors are and if you’re competing for the same customers. This is just the tip of what GA can do, but it’s an important part of getting started with successful benchmarketing.

Benchmarketing.io

Bencharketing.io is an awesome tool for identifying both channel-specific and strategic KPIs. This tool is unique in that it allows marketers to identify different strategies and KPIs and then uncover the tactics that best impact these strategies. This allows marketers to actually connect their day-to-day work with the high-level objectives of the business, finally giving them the ability to showcase their impact on the business. This tool is completely free, only requiring an email address for signup.

Final Thoughts

As marketers, we understand how important it is to gauge our success against those around us. But too often, we get stuck looking at the same benchmark reports, from the same companies that focus too heavily on channel-specific metrics that don’t tell us much about our business. So what if our competitor has a higher open rate on emails than we do? They may have a higher open rate, but that doesn’t mean that their customers are purchasing more than ours or that their emails are helping impact the bottom line.

In today’s marketing landscape, marketers must shift our attention from traditional benchmarking reports to next-generation benchmarketing. By making this shift, we’re helping our departments by definitively connecting our traditional marketing work to the strategies and high-level objectives that matter most in a business.

Are you ready to try benchmarketing on for size in your business?



Ready to uncover the metrics that matter most to your business? Sign up for Benchmarketing.io for free!

Close Up of woman hands using mobile phone and laptop computer with blank copy space screen for your advertising text message or content business in the Vintage effect.

Email Icebreakers: 4 Creative Ways to Start Conversations with Subscribers

Email is among the most flexible and versatile tools in the marketer’s repertoire. However, it often gets relegated to just a few use cases: event and product promotion, transactional confirmations, content distribution, and several others.

It makes sense; after all, email is really good for those missions. But it’s too frequently overlooked as a prime way to start meaningful discussions that evolve into engagement and loyalty.

twitter“#Email is overlooked as a way to start convos that evolve into #engagement & #loyalty,” says @MMtwopointfive CLICK TO TWEET

The new front in the war for customers’ attention and favor has shifted to the customer experience. 9 in 10 companies now say they “compete primarily on the basis of customer experience.”

When subscribers feel heard and are engaged on a personal level, they’ll be more likely to return. But just like “real life,” starting a conversation via email can be easier said than done. Fortunately, marketers have plenty of email marketing tools at their disposal to break the ice and begin a dialogue.

Start with Your Best Pickup Line

If you want to develop lasting, ongoing conversations with your audience, it’s best to start them as early as possible. For email marketers, that usually means the welcome email.

A welcome email or series of emails is your best opportunity to set the tone for your subscriber relationship. These messages often have 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of other marketing emails. After all, your subscriber has just volunteered their contact information and agreed to get emails from you. They’re primed for engagement — strike while the iron’s hot!

Pack your welcome emails with plenty of personalization and ways for openers to respond. This can give you valuable information to tailor future content and offers, and conditions subscribers to keep opening future messages.

Related Content: Are You An Email Marketing Power User? How to Step Up Your Game: Elliot Ross [Podcast]

Chuck E. Cheese’s invites openers to continue engaging by downloading their app, managing their rewards account, and following on social. Their email also dynamically populates the address and contact information of the nearest or preferred brand location, so new subscribers can directly call and ask questions or book an event.

Dynamic Personalization

Related Content: Email Personalization: Automating Email Content at Scale – Matt Hayes [Podcast]

Replace or Support Your Message with Video

Need to have a really important, impactful conversation with subscribers? Copy and design can go a long way, but sometimes a more lively, more human medium is more effective for getting a must-see message across.

In some situations, video may be the ideal channel for your needs, especially if you’re trying to elicit an emotional response, generate buzz and excitement, or broach a sensitive subject.

Marketers have been taking advantage of the power of digital video for a long time. But historically they haven’t been able to transfer the life, vibrancy, and sound of video to email.

Fortunately, that trend is changing. Creative technology has opened the door to embedding real video directly into your emails. And just like video is great for kicking off discussions on your website, social channels, blogs, paid ads and more, it’s equally effective for beginning dialogue in email.

Humana used video to great effect to support an email bringing up a very important (and potentially sensitive) topic. By leading with a video featuring a kind and caring medical professional, the insurer was able to bring up breast cancer in a softer, more empathetic manner than simple text or images could achieve.

Humana

Ask Questions with Embedded Polls

Want to hear what your subscribers think? Ask them!

Pointed questions are a great way to kick off a discussion. But you probably don’t want a flood of individual replies piling into your inbox. It’s not scalable, and you’ll have a hard time turning the responses into meaningful data.

Instead, consider embedding a simple poll into your emails to see what your audience really thinks. Using a poll inside an email has several advantages over sending a link to a web-based poll. It keeps your subscribers within the email experience you’ve carefully designed and minimizes click-through attrition. Plus it makes it easy to attribute responses to specific user profiles tied to a particular email.

Here’s a great example of a simple, sweet Mother’s Day-themed email poll from Kroger:

poll from Kroeger

Some best practices for using embedded email surveys:

  • Limit your inquiries to one or two per email. You can always follow up with more questions in future messages.
  • Offer an incentive. Give people a reason to respond, like a special offer or an improved experience.
  • Consider displaying live survey results to subscribers once they’ve answered. People love seeing how their responses compare to others’ and showing the poll results of a large audience helps build a sense of community.
twitter“When embedding #email surveys, limit inquiries to 1-2, & offer an incentive to complete it,” says @MMtwopointfive CLICK TO TWEET

Request (and Show Off) User-Generated Content

How about making your subscribers the star of the show?

It’s much easier to get responses and submissions from subscribers when it means they get to be in the spotlight. Soliciting and featuring UGC is one of the simplest ways to earn engagement, build community, and get customers excited to interact with your brand.

American Eagle Outfitters offers phenomenal inspiration for incorporating UGC within marketing content. The clothing brand invites customers to submit their best photos and videos styling AEO products and features recent community submissions in their emails. One campaign moves the conversation to social channels, where the brand can be more immediately responsive and interactive.

User-Generated Content

Final Thoughts

Boosting email engagement is a key area of focus. Since email is the primary channel for most high-performing e-commerce brands, the competition to win in the inbox has never been higher. Use engaging pickup lines, personalization, interactive video, polls, and user-generated content to help achieve that goal.

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