From the Show: How Real Marketers Create Relevant Email

After three intense days at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit with some of the smartest email marketers in the business, it feels pretty good to be working in this space right now!

I was so delighted to hear so many speakers lead with the importance of relevance. We email marketers are the subscriber advocates at our organizations, and it’s imperative that we take that role seriously. While I heard a lot of talking the talk at the Summit, I confess I didn’t hear a lot of case studies that walked the walk. My personal goal this year is to help all our clients make 2007 the first year that they send more targeted, custom, relevant and high performance email than batch-and-blast email.

Melinda Smith and Carey Dietz of Expedia wound up the Summit on Saturday with a solid presentation on creating relevant subscriber experiences every week when most people take two or three trips each year.

Melinda said, “How many of us are tasked with sending less email this year?” No one raised a hand. It’s a great illustration of the lack of understanding among executives (and frankly, some email program managers) about the importance of subscriber experience. It’s true that sending more email (even batch-and-blast) usually generates more revenue. Our job as subscriber advocates and great marketers is to prove that sending more targeted email to segments of the file will actually result in more revenue. Testing gets you there.

Carey spoke about the lessons learned from trying to do “one-size-fits-all” segmentation. Wading through the massive database and selecting the right data points for each key segment that will really drive the business, and listening to subscribers — both feedback as well as behavior — helps Expedia make better choices around segmentation, cadence and content. They’ve found that geo-targeting and behavior work best for their file.

At the end of the day less really is more. Fewer messages (which are more relevant), fewer data points (which are really actionable and applicable to your business) and fewer non-responsive subscribers kept on the file (who are just dragging down your response rates and deliverability). The right email message at the right time with an actionable compelling offer means so much more than lots of email messages that are not relevant to me.

Want more insight from the Email Insider Summit? Check out MediaPost’s “raw” blog.

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