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Recap: Data That Drives Email Marketing Relevance (KC IABC BCS Breakout Session)

During the 2017 Kansas City – IABC Business Communicators Summit, I was able to attend a breakout session featuring Jessica Best, Director of Data Driven Marketing at Barkley Integrated Marketing and Advertising Agency. She spoke to our group about the importance of email marketing and how to use data to its fullest potential to benefit an organization. Before we dive into what Jessica had to say, let’s get down to brass tacks. You NEED an email program if you’re going to reach any significant portion of your customer base. The ROI on email marketing still tops any other marketing channel’s returns and it is a relatively inexpensive platform to utilize.

Aside from the low monetary investment that such a campaign requires, she made the point that your lists are known audiences and putting the data you collect on them to work can be accomplished in 6 steps:

Define your Goals

As with any marketing endeavor, it is important to define your goals and ask questions about what you would like to achieve. This should be the first step of most marketing processes, as goal definition is the only way to measure what has or hasn’t worked after the campaign has been implemented. What does your email program, each campaign and each email need to accomplish? What do you want to try, test or trim from your campaigns?

Define your Key Performance Indicators

Next, you need to define your key performance indicators in order to measure the success of your goals. Having these indicators in place allows you to know when to “high-five” the members of your team at the conclusion of a successful campaign. What numbers will you watch to determine if you’ve hit your goals? She explained that looking at open rates is much too narrow to use as an indicator of success. We need to think more broadly about the campaign and try to find an insight that shows the intent to buy or utilize what you are offering.

Determine your Data Sources

As you begin to understand what you want and how to determine if you’ve achieved it, it becomes necessary to determine which data sources you have at your disposal. This is where the real work begins! Which data sources do you have access to that add new contacts or subscribers to your lists? What info is collected via these sources? Do you have data on your customers, prospects or employees and where is it stored? Having your tools in front of you and providing consistent organization of your audience data is the first building block to using it to your advantage.

Determine which Data Makes a Difference

Data can determine the timing of your emails – Simply using data collection to determine when to automatically send email and which segments to target can lift response rates two to five times higher than what you receive currently.

Data can determine what content to send – By using variable content and personalization and logging how recently or how often subscribers have engaged you can decide what fits your audience’s needs.

Data can determine your campaign’s impact – Is there a correlation between diminishing returns due to a higher volume of emails sent? Can you increase this volume? Do you suffer on click through rates? In other words – What have you learned through this process about WHY you sent the email and whether to send it again?

What Data are you Missing?

Retrospection and adjustment are huge components to a successful marketing campaign and this is the step where your initial goals come into focus again. With what you’ve planned to achieve, where are you lacking in the data-sphere in order to accomplish your plan? Is there a data driven idea that you would like to use for your customer base that you’re not currently using?

Choose your Data Hub

Now that you’ve got answers to some of these questions and, hopefully, a great deal of data with which to use on your future campaigns – where is this data going to “live”? Do you use a CRM? How about a “data warehouse” for your sales and customer lists? Online ordering, website signups and paper signups in-store are all ways to store and track this data for use on future campaigns.

Whether you’re just breaking into email programs or if you’re looking for a way to update your current process, analyzing it with these steps is a great way to grow the returns you are getting from your audience members!

After graduating from the University of Missouri – Kansas City with degrees in Sociology and Anthropology, I enlisted in the United States Navy to see the world and gain life experience that a classroom couldn’t offer. Upon completion of my contract as an engineer, I began the pursuit of my scholastic passion for writing by enrolling in a Master of Arts program in Communication and by working in field-related internship programs to reintroduce myself to the industry that I’d been apart from while serving. When I’m not at work, I like to continue my role as a student of life by engaging in philanthropic endeavors with Kansas City area non-profit groups and by serving as the Co-Chairman of the KC IABC Young Professionals Organization.