Mention “personalization” to most email marketers and you’ll see the fear in their eyes.
Personalization means tapping into customer data. Generally, that means trying to merge all the databases and systems that are under the purview of different teams to create a single view of the customer – cleansing it, creating a central data governance strategy, and convincing stakeholders all along the way.
In short, it seems impossible.
Last year, a report from the DMA Annual Conference and Exhibition found that, among the marketers surveyed, only 50% are “enthusiastic” about the role of big data in the marketing industry. Other reactions ranged from “cautiously optimistic” (31%) and “uncertain” (14%) to “tepid” (3%) and “disillusioned” (1%).
But what if email personalization didn’t require all the big data heavy-lifting that you think? What if you didn’t have to change anything about your current email service provider and contact database?
Here are five steps that you don’t actually have to take to achieve email personalization:
1. You don’t have to get sign-off from different stakeholders across the company.
With the right contextual content platform, email marketers won’t have to try and coordinate data across every department. Instead, they can leverage real-time data analytics to personalize content according to the data that’s already available from the email database.
2. You don’t have to consolidate and cleanse data from every team.
If you start to integrate data from different departments, you’ll have to make sure that every customer record matches – consolidating means a lot of de-duplicating and finding any erroneous data from misspellings or out-of-date records.
But guess what? Email personalization doesn’t require consolidation and cleansing – all you need is a contextual content layer that can interact with your existing email service provider and contact database that can respond, in real-time, to fields such as name, location, weather, and more.
3. You don’t have to build a data governance strategy.
Data governance is a big concern for organizations that depend on customer data. Together, the company has to figure out who is in charge of which database – and how those responsibilities filter out across different teams. This isn’t easy.
Last year, Forrester found that less than 15% of organizations have data governance that is “linked to business initiatives, objectives, and outcomes.”
Since contextual marketing technology uses real-time data analytics, data governance isn’t a problem –data points such as location, weather, loyalty rewards, and more are integrated through third-party APIs and merge tags at the moment of open, rather than through a complicated process of segmentation.
4. You don’t have to hire a chief data officer.
The chief data officer (“CDO”) role is coming into vogue this year. In fact, 61% of CIOs in large organizations want to hire CDOs, but many companies are having a hard time finding the right hire. This has left a lot of data initiatives stuck in limbo.
Email personalization doesn’t have to wait. If you’re making use of the data you already have, real-time data analytics can manage the seemingly infinite customer data flowing into the company.
5. You don’t have to integrate every system and database in the company.
A lot of enterprises have legacy systems that are completely embedded into day-to-day operations. These systems might not be able to talk to one another and certainly don’t have ways to integrate or exchange data.
By using a contextual content platform to personalize email, businesses don’t have to integrate all of these complicated systems and processes. This layer operates above the data fray of silos and systems.
The Personalization Advantage
The advantages of email personalization have been well documented. One study found that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands aren’t using them.
A lot of this has to do with the perceived complexity of personalization. Email marketing, however, can become an agile way to create more relevant marketing communications for customers with relatively little effort. It all starts with using the data you already have to create contextually relevant emails.
Want to learn more about creating contextually relevant, personalized emails for customers? Download our eBook, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Contextual Marketing” or take a look at how brands like Yahoo and Hyatt are using personalized emails.