Email Marketing: Where Words and Numbers Intersect
“Marketing is not about creativity and imagination anymore, it is about analytics,” said Cory Haynes, Director of eBusiness at Russell Investments, at a “Lunch & Learn” discussion at BrightTALK two weeks ago. When asked what he expects from a good marketer, Cory emphasized respect for his time and a “plug-in” solution that is ready for implementation and easy to tailor to his needs. “You have to really provide a solution, if that’s what you are advertising,” he said. “Don’t make me work extra for it. Do it for me and hand it to me.”
Marketing seems to be moving in two directions – toward a human-centric approach and, simultaneously, toward a data-driven approach. What differentiates successful companies in the market today is credibility built through proven performance in addition to a recognizable brand name. Therefore, having detailed information about the performance of your product and communicating that insight to others can help you be more successful as a marketer.
When I look back to my understanding of marketing before joining BrightTALK, I smile at my naïve and complete faith in “imagination and creativity.” Along with the ability to communicate, those abstract qualities are still important to marketing, but only insofar as they inform the approach you use to show and extract value. The creativity in modern-day marketing is not in word choice, because the right words to use are the ones that are least likely to be confused or misinterpreted; it is in the choices you make when faced with very concrete numbers that indicate cost, revenue and performance and creating the systems that enable you to get that information.
I have learned that adopting a segmentation approach to email marketing when targeting a large audience, and then analyzing the results to extract knowledge about audience behavior and campaign performance, is key to my success as a marketer. Segmentation invariably complicates email marketing, but the effort is well worth it when you consider the ROI. In one test, segmenting an underperforming list by industry and sending each segment slightly different copy inviting them to attend a webinar and a distinct subject line increased registration rates for the webinar by 35%. This improvement makes sense, because a business relationship is both about business and about establishing a relationship by understanding and responding to a client’s need.
As an email marketer, it is my job to reach out to hundreds of people every day – start a conversation, make friends, grow relationships. Thinking about this process from a human perspective, I have learned that being able to address different readers in the right language is crucial to the results of any marketing campaign, and that very often the right language is a combination of persuasive words and even more convincing numbers. Audibly or not, “why is this important to me” is the question every client in every sphere is asking and marketers have to be able to provide a quick, credible and well-supported response.