As marketers, we have streams of data flowing everywhere - from email metrics to content preferences and interests, to search data, web browsing behavior, buying habits, social engagement insights and so much more.
All this data is overwhelming at times, but can help us create the best customer experiences possible. When we can integrate data from different databases, platforms and channels we can create highly-personalized and engaging experiences for customers.
Rhythm: How can brands really hone in on what the customer actually wants?
Email activity, purchase data and website behavior can take you only so far. What's missing is essential third-party data that can widen your understanding of your customers and their needs, wants and propensities.
Third-party data consists of broader knowledge such as demographics, buying behavior in other channels, in-store purchasing and contacts plus competitive intelligence, you can focus on how your customers are interacting with your brands, and your competition, far beyond your own parameters and marketing channels.
Take segmentation. Yes, you can build a basic segmentation program using email data – when your customers signed up, what kinds of emails they click on or ignore – and clickstream behavior, including web browsing and purchasing. Adding in CRM or support data also fills in some blanks.
Bringing in third-party data acquired from outside sources such as major data warehouses moves your segmentation program to a more sophisticated level, which you can address with ever-more-relevant messaging at different customer touch points.
You can also build more accurate channel propensity and predictive buying models with this wider array of data.
Rhythm: What is the most-effective strategy for brands to acquire more email addresses?
Quantity of email addresses doesn’t matter. Brands shouldn’t be focusing on just grabbing more email addresses by any means possible. In fact, it's the exact opposite – finding the best ways to acquire legitimate, high-value email addresses that customers use regularly.
Adestra's 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study turned up a scary statistic: More than 50 percent of consumers have given out fake email addresses when brands ask for them.
This is a huge wake-up call for marketers who seek quantity over quality in email acquisition. Big data works best when marketers focus on getting their customers' real email addresses.
If you strive for quantity, you're just accumulating email records with no regard for data accuracy or for using the address to identify your customers as individuals.
Big data informs how you identify your customers and how you use that data to target them. Without accurate information, you have to work much harder.
Rhythm: What’s on the horizon that will really impact email marketing?
If the email industry doesn't change its acquisition tactics, we'll be ill prepared to deal with the next big ad medium: addressable TV. That's TV that can identify who's watching it and where.
You thought social media and mobile were big, shiny objects that stole attention and budget from email? Addressable TV is going to be 10 times bigger. Television will no longer be just a box you watch but a personalized information feed that uses big data to target advertising.
DirecTV, Comcast and other services can identify households because they know who has which set top box and who's paying for which box. In turn, each of those companies are saying to third-party data providers, "Tell me more about these consumers."
They're getting back detailed information, which they will use to target messaging to viewers because they can identify individual households and build predictive models of what you're going to buy.
Want to learn more about best practices around email marketing and get tips to help your brand win the relationship game? Attend the 2016 Integrated Marketing Forum.