The Figaro Digital Email & CRM Seminar took place on 1 October 2015 at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden. Our team of experts from Communicator, CrowdCat, dotmailer, Alchemy Worx and Experian Marketing came together to discuss everything from using data to amplify your marketing message to rethinking the email marketing metrics you use to measure engagement. Here’s a quick round-up of what we learned
Thinking Ahead: Three Actionable Tips to Get More Out of Your Data
Andy Ho – Data Insight Manager, Communicator
“Sometimes in digital we miss the common sense approach.”
Email and CRM marketers are often concerned with three main factors, says Andy Ho at Communicator: the time of day (and day of week) that they should be sending their email campaigns; the value they can get from testing and the customer understanding they can gain from data. Whatever you’re testing, calculating the test’s Statistical Significance (SS) – “the likelihood that a result or relationship is caused by something other than mere random chance” – adds an extra level of insight to your data and can help you decide whether to take action. SS can be calculated using free online tools on sites such as Visual Website Optimizer.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to when you should send emails. Think about sending your emails when the majority of your customers have time to look at them and carry out the desired action, whether that’s watching a video or downloading a whitepaper. Just as we can personalise emails in terms of content, we can use customer intent data to tailor and segment send times to optimise the performance of our emails for particular audience segments.
When it comes to measuring results, there’s a wealth of data that can be found beyond mere averages. Use insightful stats alongside average stats. For example, rather than just looking at the average time spent on your site, look at things such as the range of time they’re spending there and whether or not they’re coming back etc. Looking at this data can help you to understand any issues customers might be having on your site and will ultimately inform the relevancy of your communications.
Why Your Most Active Customers May Not Be Engaged At All!
Dela Quist, Alchemy Worx
“Confirmation bias is a dangerous thing for marketers because it means that we’re prone to acting on what we think should happen, rather than what is actually happening.”
Confirmation bias means that you can look at any set of data and see what you want to see in it, regardless of what it’s telling you. As marketers, we generally like to think of our email recipients as falling into three categories: the active users who can’t wait to receive our emails; the inactive users who we shouldn’t really email regularly because it might annoy them and the dead users who mustn’t be emailed at all. According to a whitepaper by Return Path, marketers are knowledgeable about which category their users are in, and the number of emails sent to each category reflects this.
However, the whitepaper shows that primary (active) inboxes read a disproportionate amount of email, with 24 per cent of inboxes being responsible for 82 per cent of read or opened emails.
Confirmation bias tells us to send more emails to our most engaged customers, less to our less engaged and none to the dead. But just because your emails are being opened, that doesn’t mean your users are reacting positively. You might be just annoying them and prompting them to make a complaint. “Don’t mistake activity in their inbox with love for your brand.”
If you look at inactive customers, they’re much less likely to complain. And the same goes for your dead users. Dela’s advice: never use open rates to decide optimal frequency. You cannot engage with an email you don’t receive, and your inactive users may well be more relevant than you’ve assumed.
‘Creatalytics’: Finding and Exploiting the Things we Didn’t Know that We Didn’t Know
Dane Vallejo, Insight Consultant at Experian Marketing Services
“If you’re a slave to your KPIs and your dashboard, you’re not going to spot new discoveries.”
Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfield once stated, “There are known knowns, there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns, that is to say we know there are things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know”. For Dane Vallejo at Experian Marketing Services, there’s a lot to take from this in terms of our approach to analytics and research. Within these ‘unknown unknowns’ is the power to improve people’s lives. Don’t spent hours looking at ‘known knowns,’ says Dane. This information should come to you in an automated fashion. Instead, concentrate on what you don’t know. “If you can find something about your customers that you previously didn’t know you didn’t know, that can fundamentally change the way you speak to them.”
So what can we do to find ‘unknown unknowns’? When you can, do things that don’t scale and analyse unstructured, qualitative data such as sentiment analysis, questionnaires and preference centre data etc. But also do things that do scale. Analyse structured, quantitative data for novelty discoveries, class discoveries and association discoveries. Don’t just stick to open and click stats but combine first, second and third part data sources to find truly insightful connections. And avoid ‘data vomit’: KPI dashboards are great for some things, but don’t rely on them. “If you don’t come away from that selective attention phenomena, you’re really going to miss some of the interesting things that could change the way you speak to your customers.”
Building the Bigger Picture: Marketing Automation and CRM
Skip Fidura, Client Services Director at dotmailer
“Transactions have become sterile. People still want to buy from people; they don’t want to buy from a website.”
“Too often as marketers we don’t think about the conversation. We think about getting as much data as we can,” says Skip Fidura at dotmailer. Automating emails based on event, date or behavioural triggers can ensure communications are tailored and timely. The subject line can be optimised to drive results, so it’s a good idea to conduct testing to see what works best. But make sure you analyse all of the results rather than depending on a couple of stats. “Averages and percentages can lead you down a bit of a blind alley. Always look at results as a whole and over time.”
Keep your relationship consistent. If you send emails every day, then make sure you send them every day. And if you feel as though you should be sending them every hour, then go for it. “If you’ve got something to say, say it. But if you don’t have something relevant to say, then you’ve got to ask why you’re emailing that person in the first place.”
The Science of Mass Conversion
Richard Summers, Founder & CEO at CrowdCat
Psychology breaks up the way you think about marketing and what your marketing campaigns can do, says Richard Summers at CrowdCat. Understanding the way people work can furnish you with the tools you need to create highly engaging campaigns across any area of digital. Crowds work in accordance with chaos theory, which suggests that, although crowds might seem to move in a random fashion, they’re in fact being driven by clear and very visible forces.
Round-up by Estelle Hakner.