Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Transactional Email: The New “First Name” Personalization

Using the First Name and the Demise of Overusage
In the ongoing cat and mouse game of legal and ethical online marketing and spammers, the spammers have caught up with the first name in the subject line. It’s no longer good enough as the only personalized element in the email message.

The Un-Trite Use of Personalization
What marketers can do is to recognize, acknowledge, and leverage interaction data between the marketer and the consumer.

In talking about transactional emails, many marketers will respond, “Oh, we’re having a complete revamp of the database in the next quarter, we’ll wait until then.” If they realized they were missing out on serious revenue, they may figure out a way to work around it.

First, many clients I’ve talked to have gone from one extreme to the other. From first names, to specific billing information. It doesn’t have to be that specific to be a very effective transactional email. Being that specific may actually backfire, and it’s quite difficult to get that information specific per customer and automatically generated, in large CRM systems. It also shows an intimacy that may or may not (depending on the circumstance) offend the consumer.

It may help to talk about specific transactional programs:

1. Recent purchase activity where the customer missed a promotion. One client found that a promotion was not used by many customers, when they could have used it. Acknowledging this, and giving an offer on new merchandise will build loyalty, and help other product lines get exposure to new customers. I.E.: “You forgot to include the Charmin coupon in your purchase last month, but we have Moist Towelettes 2 for 1 sale next week.”
a) Data required: original email sends for the promotion (from email vendor: drop list)
b) Match-back on who used the promotions (order date, promotion discount code or amount)
c) The difference is the new campaign list.

2. Certain policy updates or activity. “Your loyalty points haven’t been used- you now qualify for a bulk set of Charmin!” for example.
a) Data required: aggregate loyalty points for customers and date of last use
b) Have the email vendor make sure this is uniquely sent (no duplicate drops per customer)

3. Regional promotions, seasonal promotions, and bulk and volume discounts.
a) regional requires zip_code
b) seasonal – no special data required
c) volume/bulk discounts: quantity per order on specific products that offer bulk discounts.

4. Noting the total monthly purchase, and offering a freebie if they bump up to “best customer” segment.
a) Monthly report of customers spending $x over average and under “best customer” $y amount.

Coordinated with a data load, transactional data can be easily segmented for each new category, and executed each day. So everyone that qualifies for “not quite best customer” will get an email, once in their lifetime, from the company that offers a coupon to bump them up to the “best customer” target.

Generically, these type of features require the following new data appended to the marketing database:
- transaction date “has purchased”
- product family or category
- amount of order
- contact history – when they were last emailed this type of promotion.

Transactional Emails & Marketing
There are categories that are foisted on us. CAN-SPAM has introduced two categories- promotional emails and transactional emails- and many corporations have internally divided messaging between IT and Operations, and Marketing. A few enlightened companies have combined these to “CRM”, so that the contact with the customer is somewhat consistent. What I’m advocating in this post is to march along as a marketer with CAN-SPAM compliant rules as “promotional” emails, but leverage all of the rich transactional data available internally.

Other Reading on Transactional Email
Leveraging the Power of Transactional Emails: It’s Marketing’s Job
Making Transactional Emails Better Marketing Tools
#9 Transactional Emails

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Written on Saturday, 09. June 2007 at 19:18 In the category campaigns, techniques. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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